Black and white photograph of the Congregation in front of Pilgrim Baptist Church on opening day (December 16, 1927), 732 West Central Avenue, St. Paul.

Congregation of Pilgrim Baptist Church

Congregation in front of Pilgrim Baptist Church on opening day (December 16, 1927), 732 West Central Avenue, St. Paul.

How African Americans Have Shaped the State

African Americans in Minnesota

African Americans have lived in Minnesota since the 1800s. The local African American population developed from individuals who were born in the state as well as those who migrated to Minnesota from other states in search of a better life. Despite being subjected to discrimination and inequality, African Americans established communities and institutions that contributed to the vibrancy of the state. This article defines African Americans as Americans who are descendants of enslaved black Africans in the U.S. and does not include immigrants or refugees from Africa (for example, Somali people).

Black and white photograph of an Easter party at Phyllis Wheatley House, Minneapolis (Ethel Ray Nance, center right), ca. 1927.

Easter party at Phyllis Wheatley House

Easter party at Phyllis Wheatley House, Minneapolis (Ethel Ray Nance, center right), ca. 1927.

Black and white photograph of individuals starting a hike from Phyllis Wheatley House with Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance), 1926.

Starting a hike from Phyllis Wheatley House

Starting a hike from Phyllis Wheatley House with Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance), 1926.

Black and white photograph of Ethel Ray Nance, ca. 1945.

Ethel Ray Nance

Ethel Ray Nance, ca. 1945.

Black and white photograph of Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance; far right) with Myrtle Hultberg, Mabel Jackson, and an unknown individual, ca. 1922.

Ethel Ray with friends

Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance; far right) with Myrtle Hultberg, Mabel Jackson, and an unknown individual, ca. 1922.

Black and white photograph of the Phyllis Wheatley House diamond ball team, summer 1926. Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance) stands at the far left.

Phyllis Wheatley House diamond ball team

Phyllis Wheatley House diamond ball team, summer 1926. Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance) stands at the far left.

Black and white photograph of Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance), 1917. From the 1917 Duluth Central High School yearbook, Zenith.

Ethel Ray

Ethel Ray (later Ethel Ray Nance), 1917. From the 1917 Duluth Central High School yearbook, Zenith.

Nance, Ethel Ray (1899–1992)

Ethel Ray Nance was an African American activist and writer. During the 1920s, she broke various racial and gender barriers in Minnesota, participated in the Harlem Renaissance movement, worked as a secretary for the National Urban League, and contributed to Opportunity magazine. In later decades, she went on to work for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society.

Flyer created to advertise the first Rondo Days celebration, held in St. Paul, 1983.

Flyer advertising the first Rondo Days celebration

Flyer created to advertise the first Rondo Days celebration, held in St. Paul, 1983.

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