This Day in Minnesota History

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Today's Date: October 17

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William R. Marshall is born near Columbia, Missouri. He would move to Minnesota, own a hardware store in St. Paul, found the St. Paul Press in 1861, and serve as a general in the Civil War. As the fifth governor of the state, he advocated extending the right to vote to African American men, and this law would be passed in 1868, two years before the fifteenth amendment extended suffrage nationwide. He died on January 8, 1896.


The Phyllis Wheatley Settlement House (now the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center), named for the eighteenth-century poet, opens in north Minneapolis. The oldest African American agency in the Twin Cities, the center first serves as a place where young people meet for recreation and skill development and later provides a home-away-from-home for civic leaders, educators, entertainers, and students.


Rochester declares an air pollution alert and earns the dubious distinction of having the highest carbon monoxide levels recorded in the state. This and other alerts in the state during the early 1970s were caused by stagnant weather systems that did not blow away industrial and automobile emissions.