20th Century, African American, History, Minnesota

Credjafawn Social Club Forms

Unknown

Oct 16, 1927
The Credjafawn Social Club was formed the evening of October 16, 1927, by ten young adults who sensed the lack of social activities for persons in their age bracket. The name was devised from a letter out of each of the names of the ten charter members.

Although conceived as a social/recreational club, the Credjafawns initiated some outstanding projects of importance for the Twin Cities Black community—opening a cooperative food outlet and a credit union, offering college scholarships, and working to integrate hotels.

What a pleasure to hear of this group of African-American teens committing themselves to each other, and in writing no less!?! How insightful of them to be proactive with their concerns and wants. They refused to be bored because they realized that they had the power to make and attain goals!

We thank thank You for this example of covenant (contractual) relationships in St. Paul. Your Word underscores the importance of covenant: Noahic, Abramic, Mosaic, Davidic, and Messianic. We remember Credjafawn today, and ask Your blessing on Minnesota’s teens to replicate such committed covenant friendships, then, now, and always.

We thank You for their example to the ages! This group of young adults, at first, just wanted something fun to do and a group to do it with. We do not diminish the need or importance of fun. Perhaps it was this happiness and contentment, well ordained by You, that gave them the inspiration to better the lives of others? We commend to You their accomplishments: in providing healthy food through a co-op, in lending through their credit union, in impacting the marketplace through integration, and enabling higher education through scholarships!

G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we remember today that You, though G-d of gods, chose to commit in writing to human beings. Every commitment of friendship You have made to the human race has, is, and will be kept! We scarcely can entertain the thought that, though Infinite, You have humbled Yourself to relate to us so very personally. How do I grasp that the King of the Universe has committed himself in writing, to be forever remembered, to me?

Will You forgive us our preoccupation with ourselves? We are bowled over when we focus on the problems of society on our own. Will You forgive the fears, loneliness, and passivity of teens? Will You forgive us the parental roots of these sins, and our failure to have an answer for the longings of our youth?

Will You give us the grace to establish committed relationships? Will You give us the desire to live for the betterment of others? Will You remove our blindness caused by having so many focal points that we can’t see the one friend we can bless today? Will You bless Minnesota with Credjafawnic Covenants, so we also will bless our generations?

“Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.” Ezekiel 16:60 NASB******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**”The Power of Education” by Patricia Anita Young. https://saintpaulalmanac.org/saint-paul-stories/people/the-power-of-education/
***”Commemorating Cradjafawn Co-op” by Matt Frank. http://msmarket.coop/2018/02/commemorating-credjafawn-co-op/
****Credjafawn impact on the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul, MN. “Rondo Neighborhood, St. Paul” by Ehsan Alam. http://www.mnopedia.org/place/rondo-neighborhood-st-paul

*****”Five Great Bible Covenants” by David Padfield. http://www.padfield.com/2004/covenants.html
******http://biblehub.com/ezekiel/16-60.htm

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20th Century, authors, History, Immigration, Minnesota, Prayer

“Giants in the Earth” Published

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1927
Ole Rølvaag, a Norwegian-born professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield, publishes Giants in the Earth, his brooding, epic novel of immigrant pioneer life. The book becomes a huge success both in Norway and the United States.*

“The infinitude surrounding her on every hand might not have been so oppressive, might even have brought her a measure of peace, if it had not been for the deep silence, which lay heavier here than in a church. Indeed, what was there to break it? She had passed beyond the outposts of civilization; the nearest dwelling places of men were far away. Here no warbling of birds rose on the air, no buzzing of insects sounded; even the wind had died away; the waving blades of grass that trembled to the faintest breath now stood erect and quite, as if listening, in the great hush of the evening….”

-Giants in the Earth, excerpt from Chapter II “Home-founding.” *

Rolvaag, named after his birthplace five miles from the Arctic Circle, was born one of seven children in 1876. He worked as a fisherman with his father and brothers for six years until he was recruited to be a farmhand in South Dakota at age twenty. After a few years, he went after his education graduating from: Augustana Academy in 1901, Saint Olaf both in 1905 (B.A.), and 1910 (MA). His rugged life experiences gave authenticity and realism to his recollections of the struggles of Norwegian pioneers in the Midwestern United States.**

We remember, with You, the plight of the pioneers from Norway to the Midwest. We remember that this earth is Yours, as well as all its peoples and resources, and that in Your forbearance You move them where You choose. So we give thanks for the example of these aliens, and that within their hardships of displacement that they were perfectly placed to thrive by the King of the Universe!

We give thanks to You for the life and extreme austerity experienced by Ole Rolvaag. He knew both the frigid waters of Norway’s Lofoten fishing area, and the burning sun of South Dakota. He battled the elements for the privilege to enrich his mind, and truly took in the discipline and lessons of both.

We recognize the tribulations of the Norwegian characters of “Giants in the Earth”, and reflect on their lessons for all peoples at all times. Each immigrant must wrestle the elements of his environment, a culture that is unfamiliar, and the loneliness for home. We also ponder the judgments of aliens against Your Sovereignty.

Will You forgive our ancestors their environmental judgments against their new home land? Will You forgive the thoughts and words this wave of Norwegians made in their attempt to tame the “amber waves of grain”? Will You forgive our judgments in this era of them? We have forgotten what pestilence means: losing whole crops to blight, grasshoppers, and fire.

Will You forgive Norwegian Americans their judgments and false assessments of their neighbors? They encountered foreigners, also from Europe, who though racially similar held no common culture or language. They met Native Americans who led migratory lives following the buffalo, again somewhat relatable to fisherman following their catch, but different. For all their cultural struggles we seek Your mercy and restoration.

Granted, these are stalwart, hearty people who endured much more than our present generations, but even giants have hearts of flesh. Because of Your kindness, will You forgive the inward struggles of these pioneers? It’s understandable that one would ask, “Who am I?” while at home, but even more so, “Who am I in this new place?” Will You forgive their sins of fear and doubt related to their identity stemming from Norway rather than the Maker of Norway?

We, like them, are displaced from the heritage of our Creator. Much of our travail is that our identity is based on geography, ethnicity, and culture, but these are comforting false gods. Will You give us an unshakable sense of place that can only come from the Cornerstone of the Universe and Your unchanging Word?

17″You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. 18″But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing. 19″When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.…
Deuteronomy 24:17-19 NASB***

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_Edvart_Rølvaag
***http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/24-18.htm

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20th Century, African American, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Francis Appointed Minister to Liberia

Francis-1903

1927
St. Paul attorney William T. Francis is appointed U.S. Minister to Liberia. His success is the product of an active black professional community in the Twin Cities.

Francis had at one time been the chief clerk of the Northern Pacific Railway and had served as a presidential elector in 1920.*

Mr. Francis first found work in the Twin Cities with the Northern Pacific Railroad, working his way up to clerk. By 1904, he had graduated from St. Paul College of Law, and became the chief clerk of the law office of Northern Pacific. This high position made him a powerful leader and advocate for black Minnesotans.**

As was common in this era, he voted and actively participated in Republican politics. (African-Americans, on average, supported Republicans from the time of Emancipation until FDR, shunning the Democratic party for its support of slavery and slave states in the Civil War.) After two failed attempts in local races, his stalwart support garnered him the status of being a most powerful African-American Republican west of the Mississippi as well as serving as a presidential elector by 1920.**

His quiet authority eventually paid off when in 1927 President Coolidge appointed him the U.S. Minister and Consul to Liberia. American tire companies, like Firestone, had made large investments in the rubber industry there critical to a country in love with the automobile. Francis, always alert for breeches of justice, made a key report that uncovered corruption of major Liberian officials taking bribes for supplying men for forced labor. Soon after submitting his report he succumbed to yellow fever, and died in Monrovia, Liberia on July 15, 1929.**

His death rocked the African-American community of Minnesota, and as a lifelong member of Pilgrim Baptist Church he was given the following eulogy by the mayor of Saint Paul.
“Whereas: The City Council has been officially notified of the death of Wm. T. Francis, U.S. Minister to Liberia…
Mr. Francis was a St. Paul product, a citizen of fine spirit, clean purpose and genuine devotion to the public good, held in high esteem of those who knew him. He fashioned his own career out of courage, determination and ability. Facing unusual handicaps he overcame them all by the quality of his character, and by single-handed struggle forced recognition of his worth. He won high honor on worth alone and earned a wide approval because he was sincere, kindly, human and gracious.

At the time of his death he was on the threshold of a distinguished career, and assured of a commanding destiny among men. His government associates were open in their praise of his achievements. Here in his home city he was respected for what he was-a true brave man, gifted with vision, cheerful and uncomplaining, and devoted to high aims. His untimely death is a tragic loss to his country and especially to his home community. He leaves behind him the memory of one who was unafraid of life, the example of one who was victorious against all untoward circumstances.”***

“…and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” I Thessalonians 4:11,12 NIV****

In Your mercy, hear our prayer. We thank You for the stellar example of W.T. Francis. We thank You for gifting him with the tenacity, perseverance, and humility to stay at his task and quietly do so much good for so many. We thank You that his years of trials, like Joseph, prepared him to be the first African-American to be an American ambassador. We thank You that his process of overcoming led to greater freedom for tens of thousands of Africans!

Will You bless those who follow his patient path to greatness? Will You bless his progeny, both literal and figurative, to be blessings to their family,neighborhood, and city? Will You bless African-American leaders to be imitators of his invaluable contributions to the company, state, and nation he serves?

We ask that You forgive the judgments and jealousies that fell on him from Minnesotans, and by those in his own community. We ask forgiveness of the offense of judging You by judging the success of African-American leaders. We ask forgiveness of You by judging the success of all leaders.

Will You forgive us of judgments based on partisanship, of our own mothers and fathers, across political party lines? In this case, will You forgive our judgments against Republican leadership? We have largely forgotten as a society that slave states were led by Democrats, and that the leadership of President Lincoln and Republican principles of liberty defeated the slavery of African human beings in the United States. W.T. Francis did not forget, but used his liberty to procure liberty of Liberians being enslaved and betrayed by their own countrymen. Will You raise a generation of African-Americans in Minnesota that similarly burn with justice for Africa?

We thank You that his inner peace begat external peace. May we receive Your peace in Minnesota, and let it radiate outward. May we work for Your applause just like William T. Francis.

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://www.minnpost.com/mnopedia/2017/03/lawyer-civil-rights-campaigner-and-diplomat-life-william-t-francis
*** http://credo.library.umass.edu/view/pageturn/mums312-b048-i368/#page/1/mode/1up
****http://biblehub.com/1_thessalonians/4-11.htm
*****Read deeper on this good man’s life. https://publishing.rchs.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/RCHS_Winter2017_Nelson.pdf

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