Wilkins, Roy (1901–1981)

Roy Wilkins, who spent his formative years in the Twin Cities, led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1949 to 1977. During those years, the NAACP helped achieve the greatest civil rights advancements in U.S. history. Wilkins favored new laws and legal challenges as the best ways for blacks to gain civil rights.

Godfrey, Joseph (c.1830–1909)

The U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 was a turning point in Minnesota history. Joseph Godfrey, an escaped slave, joined the Dakota in their fight against white settlers that summer and fall. He was one of only two African Americans to do so.

William Bonga, Ojibway.

William Bonga, Ojibway.

William Bonga, George's son, c.1900.

Stephen Bonga

Stephen Bonga

Stephen Bonga, George's brother, c.1880.

George Bonga

George Bonga

George Bonga, c.1870.

Bonga, George (c.1802–1874)

Fur trader and translator, George Bonga was one of the first black men born in what later became Minnesota. His mother was Ojibwe, as were both of his wives. Through these relationships, Bonga was part of the mixed racial and cultural groups that connected trading companies and American Indians. He frequently guided white immigrants and traders through the region. Comfortable in many worlds, Bonga often worked as an advocate for the Ojibwe in their dealings with trading companies and the government.

Cooke, Marvel Jackson (1901–2000)

Marvel Cooke was a pioneering African American female journalist and political activist. Cooke's groundbreaking career was spent in a world where she was often the only female African American. Talking about her work for the white-owned newspaper the Compass, she told biographer Kay Mills in 1988, ''there were no black workers there and no women."

Frederick McGhee house, 665 University Avenue, St. Paul

Frederick McGhee house, 665 University Avenue, St. Paul

Fredrick McGhee house, 665 University Avenue, St. Paul, c.1918.

Frederick (or Fredrick) L. McGhee

Frederick (or Fredrick) L. McGhee

Fredrick McGhee, c.1910.

Mattie McGhee (Mrs. Frederick McGhee)

Mattie McGhee (Mrs. Frederick McGhee)

Mattie McGhee, wife of Fredrick McGhee, c.1900. Photograph by Harry Shepherd.

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