Neighborhood Resistance to I-94, 1953–1965

In the 1950s, planned construction of Interstate Highway 94 (I-94) threatened to fracture four Twin Cities neighborhoods: Rondo, Prospect Park, Merriam Park, and Seward. Although each community responded differently and achieved different results, all were models of persistence and resistance.

Racial Housing Covenants in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis real estate developers began writing racial covenants—race-based property ownership restrictions—into property deeds in 1910. They were banned by the Minnesota state legislature in 1953, but their use in the early twentieth century laid the foundation for contemporary racial disparities in Minnesota.

Image of Ida Dorsey’s bordello at 212 Eleventh Avenue South, Minneapolis. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user McGhiever, February 19, 2019. CC BY-SA 4.0

Ida Dorsey’s “sporting house”

Ida Dorsey’s bordello at 212 Eleventh Avenue South, Minneapolis. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user McGhiever, February 19, 2019. CC BY-SA 4.0

Dorsey, Ida (1866–1918)

Employing the racial prejudices and fantasies of elite male clients once used against her, Ida Dorsey established herself as one of the Twin Cities’ most notorious madams, running multiple brothels between the 1880s and the 1910s. As a woman of color in an industry dominated by white women, she demonstrated herself an adept businesswoman and real estate owner when most women had neither income nor property.

Minnesota Stories: Remember Rondo

"Rondo, a thriving African American community in St. Paul, was virtually eliminated by construction of the I-94 freeway in the 1960s." Video posted to YouTube by the Minnesota Historical Society on July 12, 2013.

Duluth lynchings memorial

Duluth lynchings memorial

A memorial to the three African American men murdered by a mob of white people in Duluth on June 15, 1920: Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, October 10, 2003.

Duluth police station

Duluth police station

Police station in Duluth after being damaged by the lynch mob that murdered Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie on June 15, 1920.

Cellblock in Duluth police station

Cellblock in Duluth police station

Cellblock in Duluth police station damaged by the lynch mob that murdered Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie on June 15, 1920.

Interior of police station damaged by lynch mob

Interior of police station damaged by lynch mob

Interior of the Duluth police station damaged by the lynch mob that murdered Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie on June 15, 1920.

White lynch mob posing with murdered African American men

White lynch mob posing with murdered African American men

White people making up a lynch mob pose for a photograph after murdering three African American men (Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie) in Duluth on June 15, 1920.

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