Founded in 1924, the Phyllis Wheatley House was the first settlement house to serve the social service needs of African Americans in Minneapolis. In the 1930s, it became a center of African American life at a time when racial segregation divided the city.
In the years leading up to and immediately following World War I, African Americans in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Duluth established separate chapters of the recently formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The U.S. Congress paved the way for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) when it passed the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) Act in March 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. This New Deal program offered meaningful work to young men with few employment prospects. It resulted in a lasting legacy of forestry, soil, and water conservation, as well as enhancements to Minnesota's state and national parks.