The Near-Lynching of Houston Osborne, 1895

In the early morning of June 2, 1895, Houston Osborne, a young African American man, broke into Frieda Kachel's bedroom in her St. Paul home. When Kachel screamed, Osborne ran; he was caught and hanged from a cottonwood tree but let down before he died. He died in prison eighteen months later.

Black and white photograph of Booker T. Washington, c.1906.

Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington, c.1906. Washington was a highly influential, and often divisive, figure in the early twentieth century civil rights movement. He is famous for the "Atlanta Compromise," which endorsed separation of whites and blacks.

Black and white photograph of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, undated.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, undated. Wells-Barnett was born a slave in Mississippi. She made her fame as a journalist in Memphis, where she began a long career of reporting on lynchings in the South and elsewhere.

Black and white photograph of W.E.B. Du Bois, undated.

W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B Du Bois, undated. Du Bois was a prominent scholar and activist who publicly opposed Booker T. Washington and his promotion of limited rights for people of color.

Black and white photograph of WIlliam Monroe Trotter, 1922.

William Monroe Trotter

William Monroe Trotter, 1922. Trotter was an early and energetic opponent of Booker T.Washington's and a persistent voice of protest who had trouble making and keeping alliances. He participated in the founding of the Niagara Movement and the NAACP.

T. Thomas Fortune, 1902.

T. Thomas Fortune

T. Thomas Fortune, 1902. Fortune, a former slave, became a well-respected newspaperman and author. Among the reporters he employed was Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Black and white photograph of House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 1886.

House of Hope Presbyterian Church

Photograph (1886) of the original House of Hope Presbyterian Church at Fifth and Exchange Streets in downtown St. Paul. The church later moved to 797 Summit Avenue, where it operates today. This is where the musical performances and some of the speeches of the 1902 meeting were held.

Black and white photograph of members of the Afro-American Council, in session at St. Paul

Members of the Afro-American Council, in session at St. Paul

National Afro-American Council meeting, St. Paul, 1902. Booker T. Washington stands in the front row, hat in hand; McGhee stands two rows behind him. To Washington's left, Bishop Alexander Walters, then Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Over Walter's right shoulder, T. Thomas Fortune; over his left. W.E.B. Du Bois. Emmett Scott is behind Wells-Barnett.

National Afro-American Council Meeting of 1902

In July 1902 St. Paul hosted the most important African-American political event of the year: the annual meeting of the National Afro-American Council (NAAC). St. Paul lawyer Fredrick McGhee organized it and hoped that it would produce a more united and effective national civil rights organization. The opposite occurred.

Color image of the Lena Olive Smith House, 1991.

Lena Olive Smith House

The Lena Olive Smith House, 1991.

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