20th Century, Black History, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history

The Unrestful Night on Plymouth Avenue

Knox Food Market, 1819 Plymouth Ave. William Seaman | Minneapolis Star and Tribune Negatives | Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society. mprnews.org

On the night of July 19, 1967, racial tension in North Minneapolis erupted along Plymouth Avenue in a series of acts of arson, assaults, and vandalism. The violence, which lasted for three nights, is often linked with other race-related demonstrations in cities across the nation during 1967’s “long hot summer.” *

For those in the hippie or peace movements, 1967 represented the “Summer of Love”. Simultaneously, black Americans living in the centrums of the great cities of the United States had much different experiences alleging: chronic unemployment, unlawful detainments by their local police, and poor housing demonstrated uneven enforcement and application of the law. The hope created in the Civil Rights movement met the reality of deferred and disrupted implementation. These unmet expectations spilled over in 159 racial riots across our nation during the months of June and July of this year in: Atlanta, Buffalo, Cambridge, Cincinnati, Portland, Riviera Beach, Saginaw, Tampa, Detroit, Birmingham, Chicago, New York City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Britain, Rochester, Plainfield, Toledo, and Newark. **
But what were the local effects of the “Long, Hot Summer” of 1967? Susan Marks, in her article for the online MNopedia of the Minnesota Historical Society provides us an outline to put this event in proper context. ***

“Chronology

1950s
Unequal housing and job opportunities strain previously friendly relationships between the Northside’s black and Jewish communities. Though many Jewish people move out of the neighborhood, several Jewish-owned businesses remain open on Plymouth Avenue.

1965
African Americans make up 4 percent of Minnesota’s population. A large number of newly arrived immigrants settle on the “Near North Side.”

August 1966
After incidents of looting and arson in North Minneapolis, Mayor Arthur Naftalin meets with representatives of the black community and promises to help improve local conditions.

1966
The Way Opportunities Unlimited, Inc. (The Way) opens in North Minneapolis. It attempts to empower the black community and provide economic opportunities.

Summer 1967
Opportunities for black citizens in North Minneapolis remain poor.

July 19, 1967
Violence erupts on Plymouth Avenue just before 11:30 p.m. Knox Food Market, a Jewish-owned business, is set on fire.
11:30 p.m.
Molotov cocktails are thrown at the home of Minneapolis Fifth Ward Alderman Joe Greenstein.
11:48 p.m.
Riot police arrive in North Minneapolis to restore order.

July 20, 1967
At 12:15 a.m., a crowd moves toward the Homewood Theater, a Jewish-owned venue. Police make several arrests.
11:30 p.m.
Alderman Greenstein’s garage is set on fire, but saved.

July 21, 1967
Samuel Simmons, an African American man, is shot at Wayne’s Bar at 12:30 AM.
12:30 a.m.
Silver’s Food Market and Country House Market—two Jewish-owned businesses— are set on fire.
1:05 a.m.
Police arrive and form a skirmish line.
9:15 a.m.
National Guardsmen arrive.

July 22, 1967
The unrest ends. National Guardsmen continue to occupy North Minneapolis for one week.”

We find another outstanding primary source of information on these nights of unrest in North Minneapolis from the archives of ABC News, as cited by Hezakya Newz. This original newscast, about 25 minutes long, is a plethora of interviews of locals and their take on what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. The most compelling interview, in the opinion of the author, is found at 11:52 – 13:58 of local Civil Rights leader; Mr. Harry S. Davis. Please read the transcript below.

“Q: Mr. Davis, how do you size up what happened here last night?

A: It started, because, for about three weeks now rumors have been flying around through the power structure, for one, that there was going to be a riot.
…For instance, the police had a riot control training program just Tuesday of this week…
Now, understanding the emotions of men, especially policemen, who are on the police force for a number of reasons, and the slightest little thing that would happen would force them into doing something, and this is what happened last night.
Two girls got into an argument; a fight. The police, one of the fellas was trying to separate them, the police saw this thing, they were ready and armed, and they started knocking, pushing, hitting people, and they (the people) began to retaliate.”

Q: Do you blame this on the police then? Is that it?

A: I blame this on the temperament of the power structure for alarming the community to the point that this thing had to happen.

Q: What do you mean by power structure? I mean from the governor on down to the lowest man within the system that makes decisions.

Q: They were predicting riots?

A: Right! They were predicting riots.” ****

In sum, we arrive at these general truths: there existed a nation-wide expression of dissent, locally, we find a historical trail that led us to the Plymouth Avenue riots, and a prominent witness of the anticipation of city and state governments of riotous conditions.
Since the advent of televised reporting in this era, we see some evidence of the democratization of outrage; local events sparking nation-wide acts of empathetical protest. We see in local history that when representative government “kicks the can down the road”, (fails to respond to the present), the result is often multiplied and intensified towards uninvolved third parties “getting their can kicked”! Maybe Plymouth Avenue is an example of predictive programming? What happens when locals no longer trust the law and the good faith of authorities, but find only policies to punish disagreement? Or did this event expose the hair-trigger of our local government’s misbeliefs; when they look for riots they surely find them?

With our hands lifted up, we kneel before the Just One; we can’t figure out the night of July 19, 1967 and we surrender! We remember that You are the continual Seat of Authority over this universe. We recall that the Council of Heaven longs for the expression of justice on earth “as it is in Heaven”! Enlighten us to intercede for this event 53 years ago. According to Your system of justice, let us: acknowledge individual and collective judgments and offenses against You, our neighbors, and ourselves within these nights in Minneapolis and the “Long, Hot Summer” of 1967. Come, heal our system of government in the Twin Cities and Minnesota! Come, free us from repeating the same cycles of fear, prejudice, racism, and bitter-root judgments that lock us into eternal conflict with You and our fellow man. Like the Pilgrim’s, make Plymouth the last port before sailing on to the Promised Land.

Let’s begin our confession of a giant source of pain; the democratization of outrage. Lord, by this I mean that at times we respond, bodily and emotionally, to local stories on a national, or even world-wide scale. We now, through media of all kinds, can witness the events of history closer and closer to the actual time of their occurrence. (This, of itself, is neither good nor bad, and I don’t condemn the technology or news gathering sources.)

Yet, Your spirit shows me this in our acts of democratized outrage; they split our souls in two. Can a man simultaneously walk forward while critically viewing himself from the outside taking a walk? Can we both live and analyze our acts of living at the same time? Isn’t this practice a form of DID (Dissociative identity disorder)? Will we be present-tense participants in our own lives, or passive and past-tense analysts of life? Does not our media intake create the possibility of a condition in which “two or more distinct identities or personality states” alternate in controlling the patient’s consciousness and behavior?

Let us learn and practice to be one as You are One! You are Eternally Present to all. Will You forgive us our split consciousness of July 19, 1967, and re-integrate us where we have allowed and practiced the democratization of outrage? Will You forgive us our mountains of judgments against You and our unknown neighbors whom we observe passively and from a distance through the minuscule peephole of a camera lens? There are so many perspectives outside the frame of a photo. A well-researched newspaper article is a two-dimensional facsimile of real life run through the filter and biases of: the owners of the news corporation, it’s advertisers, the publisher, editor, and the history, beliefs, and misbeliefs of the mind of its author! We have deeply offended our Maker in this. We have thoroughly engaged in the practice of snap-judgments of Your Mind, Your Justice, and Your Peoples both near and far! Will You take these root-misbeliefs, that we can be both the observers and participants of our lives, that we can make both passive and actively-minded just choices at the same time, up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You give us Your solidity of heart and mind? We need to do justly, and we need to learn how and when to control emotional responses while gratefully acknowledging that feelings are gifts from You for the betterment of our lives!

As for the next point of discussion and prayer, Father, we want to acknowledge some specific judgments and counter-judgments of this event.

We start with geography. We acknowledge that the Near North Side to be a place of generational racial judgments and redlining of the heart if not in the law and business practices of Minneapolis! We see a history, too long, of those deemed by the city or county as undesirable ethnically gathered into its neighborhoods; Slavic peoples, Jewish peoples, and African-American peoples. Forgive our city these judgments of Slavs, Jews, and Black Americans as well as the counter-judgments of these groups towards Minneapolis.

We acknowledge the sins and separations of place to You. Will You heal the pain of: Plymouth Avenue, of Broadway and West Broadway, The Way, Knox Food Market, Homewood Theatre, Wayne’s Bar, Silver’s Food Market, Country House Market, Alderman Joe Greenstein’s home and garage, and any other square foot of ground embroiled in this conflict? We invite Your Presence into these specific locations, businesses, and any other unnamed places of conflict in the Plymouth Riots of 1967. Will You restore and create balance where injustices in all directions have occurred?
We declare that the Near North of Minneapolis is Your neighborhood where all men and women of peace are invited!

We move next to general historic realities of the Northside, and again, it’s A-B judgments.

We remember a reality of unequal opportunities and apportionment of the laws of Minnesota and Minneapolis towards various ethnicities, including but not limited to: Slavs, Jewish, and Black communities. We ask forgiveness of this daisy-chain of judgment: of historic leaders of Minneapolis towards Slavs, who judged the Jews, who judged the African American. We ask for the release of the history of counter-judgments of all these parties towards each other, our city, and our state. We have failed You first in this, Father.

Will You forgive the judgments of this neighborhood towards each successive wave of immigration or migration of large groups of “new” ethnicities? Will You forgive Your African-American people their envy, jealousy, and judgments of the established Jewish businesses and culture of the Near North? Will You forgive Your Jewish-American people their judgments and failures to see the Image of G-d in their new African-American neighbors of the 1950-60’s?

We see and acknowledge the evil of looting and arson in this event. We remember the physical destruction of primarily Jewish-owned businesses at the hands of primarily African-American rioters and arsonists. We acknowledge these crimes of judgment and counter-judgment. We condemn crime against Your peoples of any ethnicity, or the assumption of criminality based on one’s ethnicity. We recognize that the majority of all residents of the Near North did not participate in violence against property or persons. We recognize that much of these offense were committed by the young and inexperienced in life. Will You forgive the foolishness of these youths? Will You hear the defiance of those fully aware of these acts, and separate out those with a heart for justice from those simply intent on destruction and looting? Will You take this pain, up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? As we have judged our neighbor, we have falsely judged You and greatly offended the Only Just One of the universe; have mercy!

Finally, we remember the individuals most offended on these nights of July 1967.
We remember the specific targeting of Alderman Joe Greenstein.
We remember the shooting of Samuel Simmons.
We remember the leadership of Harry S. Davis.
We remember the leadership of Mayor Arthur Naftalin.
We remember the injured and unnamed: of the African-American community, of the Minneapolis Police, of the Minnesota National Guard.
Each of the offenses, crimes, and judgments against these is an affront to You personally and Your Justice. Will You take this brokenness; up, out, and onto the Cross? Will You forgive us where we have made Your neighborhood, the Northside, into an unforgiving and unyielding place? We speak against the fires of the past and ask that You make this a place of construction and growth. We speak against the looting of 1967, and invite Your Spirit of giving. Will You make this the most generous African-American neighborhood in Minnesota? Will You erase our democratization of outrage in Minnesota, and replace it with the democratization of those engaged? We love You. We need You to survive. Amen!

P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** McLaughlin, Malcolm (2014). “The Long, Hot Summer of 1967: Urban Rebellion in America”. Palgrave Macmillan.
*** Marks, Susan (2015). “Civil Unrest on Plymouth Avenue, Minneapolis, 1967”, Minnesota Historical Society. Internet. https://www.mnopedia.org/event/civil-unrest-plymouth-avenue-minneapolis-1967
**** Hezakya New & Films. “1967 SPECIAL REPORT: “MINNEAPOLIS RACE RIOTS”. ABC News. Video Source. YouTube. June 29,2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5swH1_r9OI

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20th Century, ekklesia, History

Minnesota Governor Harold LeVander: A Quiet Storm

The appointment of the first Met Council by Gov. Harold LeVander, seated center, in 1967. minnpost.com

January 2, 1967-January 4, 1971
About 1966, a Minnesota attorney unknown to many outside legal circles decided to throw his hat in the ring. He was, by definition, a true outsider who had no political experience other than vaguely supporting the Republican Party. Yet, Governor Le Vander arguably changed the premise of Minnesota’s politics more than his peers in a single four year term.

To backpedal, Karl Harold Phillip Le Vander was born in Swede Home, Nebraska on October 10th, 1910. His parents were Swedish immigrants, and the family followed his father’s call as a Lutheran minister to St. Paul. This calling led the family to move frequently before settling in Watertown circa 1926.

Young Harold loved high school and sports and excelled at both until his graduation in 1928. He went to Gustavus Adolphus for his undergraduate degree where he competed in the debate team, played football, but excelled in hurdles and pole vault for their track team. * Le Vander matriculated in 1932 from the famed Swedish institute, and headed for the University of Minnesota to study law receiving his LL.D. in 1935. ** Other than his brief time as Governor, he remained active as an attorney with Le Vander, Gillen & Miller through the remainder of his life.

So, what of his years as a politician as the 32nd Governor of Minnesota 1967-1971? Perhaps this moderate Republican’s term could be summed up with the phrase “clarification and consolidation”. His cornerstone accomplishments sought to clarify gray areas in law, and to consolidate the structures of leadership to operate more efficiently.

Governor Le Vander differed with many of his party, and acted to demonstrate that big government could be a force for good. Out of the gate he re-organized the structure of the Executive Branch, and dove headlong into a series of “firsts” in Minnesota politics. He greatly expanded the funding of regional governments and schools supported by the first sales tax and $1 billion budget. The term “Le Vander’s pennies” entered the local vernacular in reference to this major change. ***
Another of his famous “firsts” was that Minnesota became the first state to ratify the 26th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. This law lowered the voting age to 18 years old, and clarified the issue and the dissonance brought by the Viet Nam War. He believed along with many of these draftees, that if they were “old enough to fight, then they were old enough to vote.” ***

Next, he sought to elucidate our legal boundaries: human to human, and human to nature. As to the former, he created the Department of Human Rights to protect our civil rights through the Minnesota Human Rights Act largely considered to one of the strongest in the nation. **** To the latter, he created the Pollution Control Agency “ensuring that every Minnesotan has healthy air, sustainable lands, clean water, and a better climate.” *****

His coup de gras, in terms of consolidating regional authority, came with the formation of the Metropolitan Council. Le Vander wanted this agency for long-range planning: of a transportation for the 21st century, and to aid in regional development. As an institution, it is an anomaly in that it is granted power to override the decisions and actions of local governments.

Despite the honor of receiving the most votes to date as a Republican, Governor Le Vander declined the opportunity before his primary. *** His decisions, and the institutions of government they initiated in his one and only term, are still with us today. No longer would Minnesota be a place without a plan, or disengaged decentralization.

We pivot to You, Father. We come to You for clarity. We get disjointed and need Your “consolidatus”; (Latin) make us solid again. Our first step towards this is remembering that You are El Roi, (the Strong One who continually sees), and reveals Himself more and more. Yet, You are King of the Universe, the True Judge, and though a never ending enigma, You reveal Your laws in ways we all can easily understand. Glad to increasingly know You, dear Father, and to be known!

Let’s start with giving You praise for the wisdom of Governor Le Vander and his heart to make clear our laws, and to facilitate consolidated efforts across the spectrum of civic leadership from the state level down to every township. It seems good and right that the weight of our legislation is much lighter when spread out, and the horses are all hitched and pulling in the same direction! Your Word bears witness to this principle in many places, but this is the specific word I hear now.
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NASB

Can we mull some of his noteworthy accomplishments with You now, dear Source? Will You bring discernment into these milestones of Le Sander’s administration from 1967-1971? Help us identify what is pleasing, what is honorable, and what may be an offense in these actions towards Your Kingdom.

As a first cause, we take note of the Department of Human Rights. While any sentient person could easily agree with the notion that everyone deserves equality, dignity, and freedom from discrimination based on any sort of physical markers or attributes. Do not all of G-d’s children deserve a life free from discrimination?

However, we can also attribute some inherent motive conflicts when Minnesota’s government attempted to become the authors and enforcers of virtues of the heart. Those critical of civil rights in this era, often were skeptical of such legal changes because they inserted the power of government into relationships it formerly had no authority over. It raised the question of “who” gets to differentiate wise and unwise choices in Harold Le Vander’s epoch; the government or the individual?

Further, Civil Rights were posited as a solution to the failures to treat people equally under the law. Yet, doesn’t this very notion betray that the government was also a guilty party in denying the rights of its citizens before its ratification? For example, did the neighbors living in the Rondo neighborhood create a system of “redlining” to shut out unwanted ethnicities, or was this the work of those well-familiar with the law such as: the City Council of Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and the Federal Housing Authority?

So we appeal our broken track record, as individuals and as State institutions, of our failures to acknowledge the image of G-d and the civil rights of our people. Will You forgive us as individuals when and where our discrimination denied Your Image within our neighbors? Will You similarly forgive us our misapplications of the laws and denials of justice as extensions of city, county, Minnesota, and Federal governments? Will You take this root offense up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You impart to us the gifts necessary to govern ourselves as You give the Department of Human Rights the same humility?

My next point of prayer touches Your environment in the formation of the Pollution Control Agency. Again, at first glance, who could rationally be opposed to “healthy air, sustainable lands, clean water, and a better climate”? Enforcing laws is normally a cut and dried issue when it comes to shared resources, but perhaps, the dirty little secret of compliance is that even “good” laws can become overly bureaucratic and subject to corruption.

May I offer You a brief example, Father? Allegedly, Dr. Stan Reminiski, formerly of the University of Minnesota, invented a state-of-the-art water purification system in the same timeframe that could capture heavy metals from various industries that were polluting our rivers. His system used some type of magnetism or ionic bonding to “grab” these polluting metals, and far exceeded the requirements of the technology then in use; perhaps a million times more effective. Yet, his labor of love was denied even as an experiment on the Mississippi River because environmental officials could not tick the box that it had a filter to change!?!

How many innovations and revelations, Eternal Father, have You given us through bright humans like Dr. Reminiski that have been blocked from better preserving Your lands and waters? Will You forgive us where our environmental protectors act as simpletons who only follow orders, and as the corruptible officials who are seduced by temporal power and or other types of gains? Will You build a heart and awareness of true compliance, and a humility in our expressions of environmental law such as the Pollution Control Agency? Will You forgive us where we have despoiled Your land, waters, and atmosphere for gain?

As a final point, we ponder the achievement of streamlining regional development through the creation of the Metropolitan Council. We see the same undercurrent of thought in Governor Harold’s push for this over-arching planning body; how can we better harness the energy of various counties to achieve a common goal such as public transit? Or to use his words more exactly, then-Governor LeVander said the Council “was conceived with the idea that we will be faced with more and more problems that will pay no heed to the boundary lines which mark the end of one community in this metropolitan area and the beginning of another.” ******

Eternal One, my point here is not to belittle the accomplishments of this organization, but to wrestle with some of the limitations of its organizational theory. For the sake of my argument, this body’s authority encompasses 188 communities, 22 special purpose districts, and 7 counties with a current 2021 budget of $1.164 billion. ***** If this cost were evenly spread across these cities and townships, it would be a price tag of $6,191,489.36 each. This appear to be a significant price tag for planning, not executing, the various developmental projects. To compound this cost, this body is able to override the will of local governments. Lord, I am probably making this too simplistic, but isn’t that a big ask?

In simple terms, if I asked my kids to pay me a fee to plan their future, and then also told them that I could override their dissent; would they see me as an “aid” to their growth? How can the member-communities maintain motivation to participate with this body, when there is an atmosphere of “voluntary compliance”? Does not this mandate created in 1967, supersede the roles defined by our State Constitution? Where is the accountability in this authority? What are the checks and balances that govern the Metropolitan Council?

Granted, I am only scratching the surface in this plea, and my knowledge is very limited. I simply wish to acknowledge to You this conundrum of compliance. In Ephesians 5:21, you ask us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Yet how does one submit to a friend that won’t? Doesn’t this set us up for a co-dependent and unhealthy relationship? Dear G-d, how was this basic aspect overlooked by such brilliant minds 53 years ago? Will You remove this bitter root sown in 1967? Will You create a new way of planning that does not negate the will of the beneficiaries in the 7 county metro area? Will You take this weight; up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ?

In sum, Governor Le Vander brought marked changes that are still with us in Minnesota. No one, however brilliant and wise, can forsee all the potential strengths and weaknesses of their actions. To his credit, he surely did make the levers of government work more efficiently. Yet, one is left with a new awareness of why righteousness and humility are virtues so reinforced in Your kingdom; even a good system is as good as the hearts and wisdom of those who operate it. May we forever plan, build, move, create, honor the lowly, respect Your nature under Your authority. May we walk out our new laws and new paths with grace and truth. May we forever love the law like governor Le Vander, but remain cognizant that we are all lawbreakers in need the mercy of Our Father and our neighbor! Amen!

LeVander, Harold. “What I Remember Most.” Minneapolis Tribune Picture Magazine. January 1, 1967. Print.
** Roberts, Chad. Internet. July 29, 2011. https://patch.com/minnesota/mendotaheights/dakota-county-history-101-harold-levander-1910-1992-g99bcd2ad36
*** Minnesota Historical Society. Internet. “Harold P. LeVander Biography” https://mnhs.gitlab.io/archive/governors-of-minnesota-collections/collections.mnhs.org/governors/index.php/10004227.html
**** https://mn.gov/mdhr/
https://www.pca.state.mn.us/about
***** https://metrocouncil.org/About-Us/Who-We-Are.aspx
****** https://metrocouncil.org/About-Us/Publications-And-Resources/History-of-the-Council.aspx

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20th Century, African American, History, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Humphrey on Civil Rights

Unknown

1948
Hubert Humphrey makes an impassioned plea for civil rights at the Democratic National Convention. His speech offends Southern Democrats, who walk out of the convention, but sets the party on a course toward the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“To those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights–I say to them, we are 172 years late!” -Hubert H. Humphrey at the Democratic National Convention*

Hubert H. Humphrey saw the United States as the emerging leader of the free world after World War II, but dared to question its authenticity. The specters of fascism, communism, and racial balkanization were very real in the aftermath of WWII. It also underscored the dichotomy of winning liberties for those outside the US while ignoring the racial injustices at home. What did he see as the root cause and motive for the Civil Rights movement?
“For us to play our part effectively, we must be in a morally sound position.” ***

Yet, by what means would America redefine itself and reclaim this “morally sound position”? Humphrey posited our need to lead by example of a consistent standard, not a double standard on rights. Humphrey proposed the notion in this address that human rights exceeded the value of states’ rights.
“To those who say that this civil-rights program is an infringement on states’ rights, I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.” ***,****

Further, he willingly threw down the gauntlet of human rights with the full knowledge of its opposition within his own party. The locus of this opposition were Southern Democrats concerned that the Civil Rights movement made our Supreme Court stronger than State law. Their debate over the next decade centered on the Declaration of Constitutional Principles, also known as the “Southern Manifesto”, arguing that the Tenth Amendment limited the Supreme Court from overreach into their State law. See Tenth Amendment below:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Humphrey’s address rang the bell on a sixteen year, tag-team wrestling match of our national conscience. Most legislators agreed that something must be done about racial injustices, but disagreed as to the proper method Constitutionally. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, it had more Republican than Democratic support. The roll call tally of June 19, 1964 shows that 82% Republican “Yeas” and 18% “Nays”, and 69% Democratic “Yeas” and 31% “Nays”. ***** Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona embodied the position of Republican critics. He voted to end segregation, and was an active member of the NAACP, yet objected to Title II and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Why? He felt they could interfere with the rights of a business to do business with or employ whomever they chose. Additionally, he had reservations that these Titles could be misused to usurp States’ rights and free speech of the individual. ******

In all, this riveting oratory decries the courageous heart of Hubert Humphrey. Though viewed as emotional grandstanding to his detractors, he willingly spoke his conscience, and the conscience of millions. He dared ask the question, “What is to be done when America’s head conflicts with our heart?”

So we seek You in this moment, Father. We come to You asking insight and wisdom as to Humphrey’s rhetorical line in the sand. How did this speech affect You?

First, we ask forgiveness for the racism of Humphrey’s era. We have offended You first in our legal, cultural, and personal false assessments of African-Americans. Granted, Minnesota’s culture was less legally overt and more free than many states, but we acknowledge the subtle and quiet prejudices that hurt these brothers and sisters: we tolerated red-lining in housing, we tolerated discriminatory lending practices, in many ways, we zoned African-Americans away from us. We have practiced associating crime with a color, and negated the noble contributions of many minorities. Will You forgive our misbeliefs and unbeliefs? We have denied You when we deny Your Image in our African-American brothers and sisters. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Next, we thank You for the life of Hubert H. Humphrey, and the gift You placed in his heart of having the courage of his convictions. Clearly, he was willing to be misunderstood, even by his own, for daring to call out injustice. We commend him in his intense moments at the Democratic National Convention held at Philadelphia Convention Hall on July 12-14, 1948. Will You continue to give us leaders like him who are willing to speak the raw truth in love and respect?

We acknowledge to You the pains of betrayal at the hands of our beloved! WE acknowledge to You the oceans of these judgment’s past. Will You forgive the judgments’ of Democrats towards those of their own, mostly but not limited to Southerners who expressed dissent at Humphrey’s take on civil rights? Will You forgive Democratic dissenters of Humphrey’s vision their counter judgments’ and bitterness? Will You forgive Republicans their judgments’ of those within their party who voiced dissent to the Civil Rights Act? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of those led by Goldwater towards those who supported Humphrey’s ideals?

In this, we may have judged our political opinions to be more sacrosanct than the relationship with the beloved human being in front of us. We have closed our ears to their objections, because it is easier to break relationship than listen to honest criticism of our political and personal doctrines and dogmas. We have feared our detractors, and closed our minds to the wisdom to be gained in real dialogue and debate. You have said, “Come now, let us reason together…” ******* We have turned it to “Come now, you are unreasonable!”

We have offended You in our failure to listen to our friends, and hear out our opposition in our zeal for our rights. We have attempted to gain a more just America, too often, by too much political and legal force. We have attempted to heal the bitter judgments towards African-Americans through bitterly judging those who disagree with our version of justice for African-Americans. Will You forgive and heal us then, free us in the present, and bless the future of Civil Rights? May we come to agree with Our Creator as to the worthiness and inherent value of every human being made in Your Image. We have failed to learn our lesson from the world’s first sibling rivalry where Cain hated and murdered his brother Abel over doing a good thing; an offering of thanks?!? In this we are 5778 years too late!

* 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!
** Photo credit: smithsonianmag.com
*** See transcript of this famous speech. (1948) Blackpast. “Hubert Humphry, Speech at the Democratic National Convention” December 14, 2010. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/1948-hubert-humphrey-speech-democratic-national-convention/
**** See HHH give this speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xQZX5ZvcnY
***** See a photo of the official roll call vote. The Center for Legislative Archives “Roll Call Tally on Civil Rights Act 1964, June 19, 1964” On June 19, 1964, the Senate passed the Civil Right Act of 1964; 73 to 27. The House passed the amended bill on July 2; 289 to 126. https://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/civil-rights-1964/senate-roll-call.html
****** Mooney, Kevin J. “The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Conservative Movement”, November 14, 2013. https://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-1964-civil-rights-act-and-the-conservative-movement
******* https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/1-18.htm

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20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Humphrey Elected Mayor

images

1945
Hubert H. Humphrey is elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945. For two terms he works hard to clean up city politics and extend civil rights. Minneapolis enacts the nation’s first fair-employment-practices law while he is in office.*

Minneapolis circa 1945 had its problems; many of them were already decades old. The Prohibition of alcohol through the 18th Amendment, in effect, became the graduate school for its street-level criminals, and seducer of many straight-appearing politicians from both major parties. For example, Kid Cann, a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld, went from pimping to becoming a godfather allied with Chicago and Genovese organized crime families. Kid Cann found his rivals in David Berman, “Big Ed” Morgan, and Deuce Casper. In the process, Minneapolis became a major center of bootlegged booze, gambling, brothels and unbridled corruption within its political class.**

Indirectly, one could argue that Socialists, Unionists, and Communists were tied to this process through their control over transportation and manufacturing. To demonstrate, the Teamster Trucking Strike of 1934 was the first time a sitting U.S. president, in this case, Franklin D. Roosevelt, openly took the side of a trade union in a labor dispute. His favorable view of Teamsters Local 574 and aggressive policing of union protests tipped the scales of public opinion away from the anti-unionist group Citizens Alliance and the business owners.**

Granted, being a trade union member did not necessarily make one corrupt. Yet, only a few strategically placed or bribed union leaders could, in effect, control the Port of Minneapolis and the lion’s share of traffic on the Mississippi. Highly organized unions lessened or eliminated competitors, and some of these competitors may or may not have succumbed to the influence of corruption from above through politicians, or from below through the mob.
Politically, the city hall of Minneapolis had been corrupted since 1900 irregardless which party was in power. Humphrey sought to resist the corrosive infiltration of Communists there, and even oust Communists from the DFL party during his tenure as mayor.** In 1947, he helped found the ideologically liberal, anti-communist Americans for Democratic Action. Perhaps his greatest accomplishments as mayor were in the sphere of on-the job civil rights. He started the Council on Human Relations prohibiting racial discrimination in the workplace, which seeded the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.*****

Lord, now we move with You from eternity past into Your eternal present. Will you direct us to ponder and gain insights into this window of time? Will You guide our thoughts as to how this history has broken with You?

As the Living Word of G-d, we ask You, Jesus, to guide us into a study of Your thoughts on corruptions past before we deal with the corruptions of Humphrey’s day. In Your conversation with Jeremiah about the Temple You point, like always, to the root problem.
“They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me.”
And…
“You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the LORD.” ****** Jeremiah 9:3,6

Just as You were waiting for the people of Jerusalem to recognize You as their ultimate source, we have failed to acknowledge You in the Minneapolis of the 1940’s. Will You have mercy on this offense towards You? Where it applies, will You forgive our attempt to get life out of the lies of: organized crime, unionism, liberalism, socialism, communism, and the defilement of our legal system, police, and local government?

Some of us believed the mafia was a superior provider, protector, and keeper than You. We today acknowledge that the crimes of the dons of Minnesota: Kid Cann, Berman, Morgan, the Baldy Gang and other organized criminal operation were against You, and Your family; will You forgive? Will You restore the heritage of their victims, and bring restitution to the innocent? We gangsters believed loyalty was the highest virtue, but didn’t see our own betrayal of the persons, places and things of the Almighty! Let’s listen again to Your words spoken through the mouth of Hosea over 2700 years before our crimes.
“I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.” ******* Hosea 14:4 NIV

Some of us believed that the deck was stacked against us as laborers, that we had no power, and that we needed the collective bargaining of the union to make things right. We today acknowledge these beliefs and misbeliefs as sins. Where we failed to call on the Shop Steward of the Universe, we will never know what resolutions You had in mind for us. Will You forgive us this slight to Your omnipotence?
“Be merciful to those who doubt.” ******** Jude 22 NIV

Some of us believed that we could be saved through the arms of our political “ism”, and failed to acknowledge You as “I AM”. We have verbally maligned our neighbor, for whom Christ died and rose again, and have no fear or are even consciously aware of this incredible insult to You. We have played our neighbor’s judge, over and over again, to the tune of “the ends justify the means.” We were both cognizant, and not cognizant of this affront to Your Justice. We have let our political enemy live in our heads, and our well-being and physical bodies have paid the price. I AM, will You forgive us these and other unnamed offenses to You in this era?

We give thanks for the efforts of Humphrey to end an age of destruction and corruption. He pointed to a higher ideal, and at least a partial recognition that our value is more than skin-deep. For this, we commend HHH and his physical and figurative children. Will You bless them to complete the work of civil rights by recognizing the G-d of Civil rights? Will You bless us to acknowledge You so that human rights won’t be as corruptible as human beings? Maranatha!

* 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/Organized_crime_in_Minneapolis
*** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/07/remembering-truckers-strike-1934/
**** Iric Nathanson (May 23, 2011). “‘Into the bright sunshine’ — Hubert Humphrey’s civil-rights agenda”. minnpost.com.
***** Delton, Jennifer A. (2002). Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights And The Transformation Of The Democratic Party. 978-0816639229. p. 103.
****** https://biblehub.com/jeremiah/9-1.htm
******* https://biblehub.com/hosea/14-1.htm
******** https://biblehub.com/jude/1-22.htm

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20th Century, Chicano, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Latino, Mexican-American, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Mexican Community Organization 1922

Unknown

1922

“Mexican-Americans in St. Paul form the Anahuac Society. The organization sponsors social events and encourages participation in community affairs and the celebration of traditional Mexican holidays.” *

Anahuac means “near the water” in Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language spoken in Tenochtitlan, Mexico, so it is no surprise that it be transferred onto a home with many waters like Minnesota.** The Anáhuac Society established  in Saint Paul was meant to provide a solid foundation for Latinos to survive in a new environment, as well as an institutional basis for organizing.*** Anahuac is also a small town in Texas which claims “the first armed confrontation between Anglo-Texans and Mexican troops, on June 10-12, 1832.”***

Some of Saint Paul’s first Latinos likely were driven north during this era due to the unrest of the Mexican Revolution or Revolución Mexicana. The corruption of the Diaz administration was challenged by Madero and Pancho Villa. Mexicans who fled this conflict found work first in the sugar beet industry of Minnesota.

Let’s observe with You, Lord, and see where this prayer leads. We see a people displaced by war or revolt seeking a new way of life. We see a bold quest for freedom in spite of the rigors of farm labor.

Will You forgive the judgments made between groups during the Mexican Revolution, and their transference through these pioneers to Minnesota? All immigrants to Minnesota have carried our historical baggage here. We have viewed our neighbors and government through the lens of both our beliefs and misbeliefs shaped by the pains and experiences of our countries of origin. We give You our dirty glasses this day Lord, will You give us new eyes for those around us who have also overcome to reside in this place?

Will You remember the hearts of these new arrivals, and their commitment to stay and build community? Will You bless their progeny to see their wisdom? Will You bless those who have chosen to live here humbly in peace, even rather than be warriors in their homeland?

Will You bless the contributions of Latinos to our state, especially through generations of untiring work in agriculture? Will You remove the present day judgments of those who work with their hands in the field? Will You show us new solutions to the problems of guest workers and illegal immigrants?

We are drowning in judgment over the plight of guest workers and illegal immigrants in the present tense. We have refused, to often, to even hear the thoughts of our neighbor on the subject. Our Democratic friends have judged their Republican next door to be: racist, haters of brown people, and living in a bubble of white privilege. Our Republican friends may believe in the human rights of illegals, but that civil rights are belong only to citizens. They have judged their Democratic friends of being incapable of rationality, over emotional, and false accusers of those who love our laws and hate lawlessness. 

In any case, will You forgive us whether we are those who judge, or those who counter-judge our neighbor in Minnesota? We invite You to be our Judge and Justice for all Minnesotans. Will You make a place that is lawful and just for all nations who love Your laws of grace and truth?

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” ****  Proverbs 16:32

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universidad_Anáhuac_México_Norte

**http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesotanos-latino-journeys-minnesota

***http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/travel/weekend-getaways/article/Twenty-four-hours-in-Anahuac-in-August-11943198.php

 

 

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20th Century, Culture, Dakota, First Nations, History, Indian, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, suffrage, Uncategorized

Society of American Indians Conference 1919

Unknown

October 2, 1919 to October 4, 1919

“The eighth convention of the Society of American Indians is held in Minneapolis.” 

“It is not right that the Indian, who fought for his country in France, go back to his tribe without the right to vote.” —Dr. Charles A. Eastman, a Dakota Indian born near Redwood Falls who becomes president of the Society of American Indians and a professor at Amherst College. * 

At first glance, this issue seems like a slam dunk; American citizens have the right to vote, Indians of this era were American citizens, therefore this is a breech of their Constitutionally secured rights. It breaks faith with both the spirit and the letter of our law. Perhaps Eastman’s statement errs, however, in the assumption that most Indians were citizens? 

Through the efforts of individuals and organizations like his, the Dakota would eventually be recognized as citizens by the Indian Freedom Citizenship Suffrage Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act. Unfortunately, before 1924, only about 8% of Indians were U.S. citizens, therefore, it is somewhat logical that they did not vote in a nation they did not wish to be part of. ** Many considered the tribe of origin to be their sovereign nation within U.S. borders before the Snyder Act, and many tribes are defined as “First Nations” for the same reason today. 

To add a spiritual dimension, we can explore a relationship between civil rights and worship dysfunctions. Both concepts speak to the inherent, unalienable value of a subject. Civil rights are directed to protect the intrinsic, non-negotiable worth conferred by G-d upon each human being. Worship, perhaps, could be defined as human recognition and practice of the intrinsic, non-negotiable worth of G-d. When and where we are dysfunctional in our worship of G-d, we open ourselves to be dysfunctional in respecting the worthiness and honor of our human neighbors.

Prior to his time organizing for SAI, he organized for the YMCA in western states and Canada among Indians. Below is quote of some observations that informed his faith.

“During that time, as an avowed Christian, Eastman nevertheless seemed to maintain a reflective stance toward that religion because of his early traditional Dakota upbringing. He studied what he called “the Protestant missionary effort among Indians” and “almost unconsciously reopened the book of my early religious training.” He wondered how it was “that our simple lives [before Christianity] were so imbued with the spirit of worship, while much churchgoing among white and Christian Indians led often to such very small results.” ***

Lord hear our prayer for Minnesotan’s of 1919. We are guilty of a worship dysfunction in this era.  We have attempted to assume the rights of citizenship in Your kingdom without humility. Our legal status is based on the unmerited favor and rights bestowed on us by the blood of the risen Messiah! How can we receive unmerited legal access to the King of the Universe, and then deny legal rights to those we see everyday?

Likewise, our worship dysfunctions manifested in our failure to recognize Your image and worthiness and inherent legal rights of our Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota neighbors. Will You have mercy on our lack of mercy for these neighbors? Will You have mercy on our worship dysfunctions that usurp Your position as Author of All Human rights!?

Will You raise our awareness of the perfection of Your authority? May we be humble and learn from our elders about our relationships and laws; human to human. May we receive our justice as a gift from the One so that we can pass it to the many until You reign forever! Amen.

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Citizenship_Act

***https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/opinions/dr-charles-eastman-a-dakotas-conflicted-take-on-christianity/

A nice summary of the life of Dr. Charles Eastman. (aka Hakadah and Ohiyesa)       http://aktalakota.stjo.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8884

 

 

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19th Century, Democrat, Governors, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Politics, State Government

Merriam Becomes Governor 1889

unknown

January 9, 1889 to January 4, 1893

“William R. Merriam becomes the state’s 11th governor on January 9, 1889. As governor, Merriam was a thrifty executive who was more interested in limiting spending than in legislative reform. The most notable legacy of his administration was the adoption of the Australian ballot system, which allows citizens to vote in comparative privacy.” *

Thank You for the work Merriam did for the state of Minnesota. Thank You for a governor that limited spending, made voting private, and also helped establish the census.Remember the good done by this man and bless his memory!

Jesus, our election season is upon us. I dread the level of contempt and contention within my own party! I dread that we are so stratified that we tolerate a party system, I dread that we are so stratified that we tolerate a party system, or still believe it necessary to our liberties. Read John Adams’ quote below:

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. This is, to my understanding, a major root of bitterness that unnecessarily divides our society.”* 

I concur with President Adams, this is a major root of bitterness that unnecessarily divides our society.

As your child, I acknowledge to You that we have judged our brother’s political and leadership choices. We argue without the intent of sharpening and testing ideas. We banter and bash each other into compliance, but  do not serve each other in submission. The strong win, and the weak lose. 

We have offended Your righteous order by choosing separation from our “naive”, “heartless”, “brainless”, “racist”, “sexist”, “classist”, “homophobic”, “Islamophobic”, neighbors. I ask that You choose to remember these words of judgment no more. Forgive our one word dismissals of our neighbors. Today I ask that we as a people will receive words from You to heal our personal relationships, and overflow to our state.

Most of the time, most of us would rather shout down our verbal opponent, shame him or her into compliance, than dare ask ‘Why’? Would it be so wrong to see it from an opponent’s view: “Why do you believe “X” will benefit our state? Please tell me about your views.” I ask You the “Why?” question Lord! Why are we so stubborn to cling to our own ideas, and fail to trust enough to allow them to be strengthened by scrutiny or testing?

We have hidden our hearts from each other Lord! We have held on to anger and fear and resentment. We have loved winning the argument through emotional manipulation! We have loved winning the argument through framing the meaning of facts! Will You free us from this heritage of division that comes through the channel of political party and elections?

  I thank You for the freedom of conscience that we inherit because Governor Merriam chose to introduce the Australian system of ballots cast in secret. We are protected, in the voting booth at least, from scorn and forces of external manipulation! We can anonymously reveal our inward thoughts! Again, bless this freedom, bless Australia, and the memory of William Merriam!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Adams

 

 

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19th Century, African American, Black History, Democrat, education, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Republican, State Government

Minnesota State Constitution 1857

unknown

1857
“Before it can become a state, Minnesota Territory must draw up a constitution. Republicans and Democrats disagree on fundamental issues and hold separate conventions. Much of the debate focuses on suffrage–Republicans believe black males should be able to vote; most Democrats oppose the measure.

When the two conventions come together in a “compromise committee,” Republicans agree to limit the right to vote to white males as long as the constitution is relatively easy to change at a future date. In 1868, the legislature passes an amendment giving black males the right to vote.” *

Jesus, thank for the good that comes from making a compact, covenant, or contract. It’s good to positively define what to do , as well as what not to do. Thank You for the battles of this Constitutional Convention in 1857.

Will You forgive the Democrats of Minnesota their judgments’ of Republicans. More accurately, will You forgive this Democratic judgment of black Minnesotans, and the desire to withhold the vote from them. Forgive the Republican party its counter-judgments of Democrats, and Minnesotans of African descent. Forgive both parties offenses of using “moral superiority” as a political weapon, and all assumptions, judgments, and counter-judgments based on it. Will You forgive the judgments, grudges, and bitterness of black Minnesotans’ towards each party?

Jesus, as a member of Your inheritance, and an heir to the state of Minnesota, I want to pronounce forgiveness for the acknowledgement of sins between the Democrat and Republican parties and black Minnesotans. Lord, will You bring this act to fruition? Lord, will use our state as an example of restoration? Will You reverse the generational curses we have received by our participation in these political parties? Will You reverse the curses pronounced over any American of African descent, and especially all Minnesotans of African heritage? Will You leave a heritage of blessing?

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe Yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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19th Century, Black History, Culture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, women

Rebuffing Slavery  

Eliza Winston

Eliza Winston, nanny,  circa 1860

 

1860

“Slave Eliza Winston accompanies a Mississippi family to Minneapolis. When free blacks and white abolitionists learn that Eliza wants her freedom, they complain to a judge who orders her freed. Some pro-slavery people become angry at the court’s decision; Eliza is sent to Canada for her safety.” *

Thank You for Eliza Winston, and for that You had a purpose in her trip to Minneapolis long before she knew about it. Thank You for Your awareness of every pain, and every tragedy. Thank You that spoke through Paul for the freeing of the slave Onesimus, and therefore, it can be assured that freeing any slave is dear to Your heart.

Jesus, I know so little of this case, and I appeal to You to fill the blanks. Will You forgive the hostility Eliza received from here detractors here, and perhaps from the state court? Will You forgive those who harbored hostility towards her despite our state court’s decision?

G-d, I see the exposed roots of ethnocentrism and racism. Will You dry up these bad roots in Minnesota, and bless the heritage of Eliza Winston? Will You free her heritage from counter-judgments of our legal system, or any who would diminish a person’s value based on skin color? Will You shield us from making bad decisions because we are the object of wrath and anger?

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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