Black and white photograph looking south down Arundel Street from Rondo Avenue, ca. 1940.

Arundel Street from Rondo Avenue

Looking south down Arundel Street from Rondo Avenue, ca. 1940.

Black and white photograph of the Booker T. Cafe & Tavern, 381–383 Rondo Avenue, St. Paul, 1960.

Booker T. Cafe & Tavern

Booker T. Cafe & Tavern, 381–383 Rondo Avenue, St. Paul, 1960.

Black and white photograph of Rondo Avenue from the Josiah B. Cheney residence (604 Rondo Avenue), ca. 1900.

View of Rondo Avenue from the Josiah B. Cheney residence

View of Rondo Avenue from the Josiah B. Cheney residence (604 Rondo Avenue), ca. 1900.

Black and white photograph of the Rondo Street police station at the intersection of Rondo Street and Western Avenue, ca. 1900.

Rondo Street police station

Rondo Street police station at the intersection of Rondo Street and Western Avenue, ca. 1900.

Black and white photograph of the interior of the Credjafawn Co-op Store, 678 Rondo Avenue, St. Paul, ca. 1950.

Credjafawn Co-op Store

Interior of the Credjafawn Co-op Store, 678 Rondo Avenue, St. Paul, ca. 1950.

Rondo Neighborhood, St. Paul

St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood ran roughly between University Avenue to the north, Selby Avenue to the south, Rice Street to the east, and Lexington Avenue to the west. African American churches, businesses, and schools set down roots there in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, creating a strong community. Construction of Interstate-94 (I-94) between 1956 and 1968 cut the neighborhood in half and fractured its identity as a cultural center.

Nellie Francis, 1912. From the St. Paul Appeal, July 27, 1912, p.3.

Nellie Francis in the "St. Paul Appeal"

Nellie Francis, 1912. From the St. Paul Appeal, July 27, 1912, p.3.

Nellie Francis and the Folk Song Coterie, from Musical America, August 3, 1910.

Nellie Francis and the Folk Song Coterie

Nellie Francis and the Folk Song Coterie, from Musical America, August 3, 1910.

Griswold’s high school graduation photograph, 1891. From St. Paul Central High School records, Minnesota Historical Society.

Nellie Griswold

Griswold’s high school graduation photograph, 1891. From St. Paul Central High School records, Minnesota Historical Society.

Francis, Nellie (1874–1969)

Nellie Francis pressed the limits of what an African American woman was permitted to achieve in early twentieth-century Minnesota. She was a churchwoman, clubwoman, suffragist, organizer, singer, civil rights worker, patriot, and wife to Minnesota’s first African American diplomat, William T. Francis.

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