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

Gordon Parks’ Career Begins

images

1938
Gordon Parks had moved to St. Paul as a teenager and struggled through the depression working at odd jobs. One day he buys a camera in a pawn shop and in a matter of weeks has his first show at Eastman Kodak in Minneapolis. Thus begins a long, distinguished career as a photographer, composer, novelist, and filmmaker.

Ears that hear and eyes that see-the Lord has made them both. Proverbs 20:12

Gordon was born dead, or so the doctor thought, on November 30,1912 wrapped in a cloth and set aside. An observer had an idea to put the child in a tub of ice water, and gently rub ice over his body. Surprisingly, this homespun method worked, and he was revived! **

Parks was born the last child of fifteen to Andrew Jackson Parks and Sarah Ross. He worked on the family farm in Fort Scott, Kansas, and held a lifetime attachment to the land. Throughout his youth, he wrestled with the dichotomy of a place that was legally free, yet socially informed by the south. He went to a segregated school, and was discouraged from applying to college by his high school advisor because blacks “were not college material.” ** Sadly, Parks did not finish high school, but it didn’t stop his momentum.

About 1927, his mother died, and he was sent to live with his older sister in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Though she cared for him, Parks constantly fought with her husband, and eventually he was turned out of their home at age fifteen. He struggled with homelessness and poverty in the frigid winters, but survived by doing odd jobs working as a: porter, snow shoveler, busboy, semi-pro basketball player, and piano player for a brothel.**

Eventually, his life stabilized by getting steady work as a server on a train. This job had the fringe benefit of exposing him to different people, cultures, and opportunities. Inspired by the art exhibits of Chicago, he bought his first camera, a Voightlander Brilliant, from a pawn shop and began taking pictures.

Mr. Parks recounted that day saying: “Eastman Kodak developed the first roll of film…. and when I went for the prints, one of the clerks complimented me on my first efforts. ‘Keep it up and we’ll give you a show.’ I didn’t take him seriously and he realized it. ‘I mean it,’ he said. ‘You’ve got a good eye.’” ** He continued shooting, and they did give him the show as promised.

Spurred on by this success, Gordon went to the finest women’s clothing store in Saint Paul, Frank Murphy Fashions, and sought to demonstrate his skills in fashion photography. Though he double-exposed his first roll of film, the one photo that turned out was so elegant that they were willing to repeat the process.*** This began his acceptance in the world of fashion photography.
The success of his Murphy fashion shoots caught the eye of Marva Louis, the bride of the famed boxer Joe Louis. She inspired the Parks’ to consider moving to Chicago as there would be more fashion work for Gordon there. He ended up taking portraits of society women, but it opened the next door for them to move to Washington D.C.**ibid

In a strange turn of events, he was hired by the Farm Security Administration on the weight of an exhibition of his pictures of life on the life of city folks from Chicago’s South Side. Under the tutelage of Roy Stryker, he learned to tell stories in pictures that words could not convey. It was in this era that his most famous photo was born.**ibid

His first assignment given by Stryker was to buy and overcoat, get something to eat, and to catch a matinee. Thinking he had won the lottery, he went shopping, but the staff wouldn’t fit a black man. Next, he went to grab some lunch, but the diner refused to serve him unless he came to the back alley. He was shooed away from the theatre.

The coin dropped for himas he thought; “I can show the public what citizenship feels like as minority in the America of the 1940’s.” He later struck up a conversation with Eva Watson, an African-American janitor in his building the same day. She was willing to have her picture taken by Parks in the lobby of the FSA building, and “American Gothic, Washington, D.C.” was born.**ibid

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So here I am today, Lord, to watch and pray with You about Gordon Parks and his accomplishments in the arts. Let me reflect on how You are El Roi; the Strong One who Sees. You observe the events of time concurrently; past, present, and future. You see our externals, and our innermost thoughts and motivations.

I recall the promptings of the apostle Paul to the early church in Ephesus to use their hearts in “seeing”. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…” Ephesians 1:18 NIV**** I don’t know much about the spiritual life of Mr. Parks, but it is clear that You have downloaded this gift into him.

We give You thanks for this dualistic vision of Gordon Parks; to see people, places, and things in the light of eternity. We thank You that he instinctively saw value and meaning and dignity in the lives of those to whom society was blind. In his own way, he saw through the eyes of Christ.

Will You bless the inheritance given to Minnesota and the United States through the camera lens of Gordon Parks? Will You bless his figurative and literal children to see with the eyes of their hearts? Will You make us soft and receptive to these images of pain, beauty, unrest, and exaltation?

Forgive us, sweet Holy Spirit, we are flooded with images each day through our vices and devices, but we are still thirsty for one glance that inspires. Our conscience has cataracts and we don’t acknowledge the pure, the real, the noble, or Your pure light beaming into our eyes radiating from the faces of our neighbor. Help us, like Mr. Parks, to see because we have truly listened to the human actors in the drama of each day!

Come and heal our blindness! Come and let us hear! Open the eyes of our hearts in Minnesota so we can perceive the messages You are constantly sending to us through others. Open the apertures of our consciences so that we can also see inwardly. Add to our personal and cultural memory; click the shutter so we remember the moments when catch a glimpse of the Immortal and Invisible!

* 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!
** You Tube. “Half Past Autumn; The Life and Works of Gordon Parks”. Published by On the Road. February 8, 2017. Producer Craig Rice. Writer Lou Rother. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzeuL0d5Z_s
*** This photo can be viewed at the current website of Frank Murphy Fashions. http://www.frankmurphyfashions.com/about/history/
**** https://biblehub.com/ephesians/1-18.htm

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20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Gangster Kidnappings

unknown

Jun 15, 1933 to Jan 17, 1934
The brazen kidnappings of prominent businessmen William Hamm (June 15, 1933)and Edward Bremer (January 17, 1934) by the “Ma” Barker gang put an end to Chief O’Connor’s hands-off crime policy in Saint Paul. Both men are returned unhurt after large ransoms are paid.*

In the Prohibition Era of our largely blue-collar city of Saint Paul, there was an empathy and a real motive to look the other way at bootlegging. Physically, the city is located on the Mississippi River, and is the first big stop downstream from Canada. There’s a plethora of natural caves, which made effective stealth warehouses for the product. One also wonders if its populace, mostly of the Catholic regions of Europe, did not share the same moral objections to beer and whiskey of their dry Protestant counterparts in Minneapolis?

To continue the narrative, its people were comfortable with playing dumb to Johnny Law if it meant lucrative cash jobs working for the gangs, and if it kept St. Paul a “wet” city. Civic leadership, allegedly, were on the payrolls of major gangsters from Chicago, and were apt to play it cool if the gangsters kept a low profile. Apparently, this unspoken agreement between Chicago crime and St. Paul police began decades before the Volstead Act.

“This collaboration began in 1900 with the Layover Agreement, an unofficial contract between criminals and Chief of Police John O’Connor.
In exchange for tip-offs about FBI raids and protection during their “layover” in the city, the gangsters first agreed to check in with the St. Paul police when they were in town. Second, they gave a portion of their gains to the police department. Finally, they agreed to commit no crimes within the city limits, though Minneapolis was fair game.”**

unknown-1

During the era of the Great Depression, Hamm and Bremer would likely stand out as targets for kidnapping. Mr. Bremer was affiliated with banking, and Mr. Hamm with brewing. Though very different personalities, Hamm being an affable sort and Bremer more shielded type, both men were visible leaders from noteworthy families in Saint Paul.

Ma Barker also led a prominent family known as the Barker-Karpis Gang. “Though her children were undoubtedly murderers and their Barker-Karpis Gang committed a spree of robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes between 1931 and 1935, there is no evidence that “Ma” was their leader or was even significantly involved.” What is apparent, however, is that she stuck by her sons and their associates throughout their criminal careers.

Alvin Karpis, the probable real leader of the gang, later said that Ma was just “an old-fashioned homebody from the Ozarks … superstitious, gullible, simple, cantankerous and, well, generally law abiding”.**** He concluded that,
‘The most ridiculous story in the annals of crime is that Ma Barker was the mastermind behind the Karpis-Barker gang. … She wasn’t a leader of criminals or even a criminal herself. There is not one police photograph of her or set of fingerprints taken while she was alive … she knew we were criminals but her participation in our careers was limited to one function: when we traveled together, we moved as a mother and her sons. What could look more innocent?’ *****

So we come to You, Jesus, to watch and pray over this event. What do you want to reveal to us today through it? What blessing can come from an enabling mother, this gang, the corruption of police, and the crime of kidnapping?

We ask forgiveness for these past offenses to You in our city and state. Will You forgive Ma Barker for being an enabler of her criminal sons, and the impact of their crimes to our city? Will You forgive us today of similar co-dependence within the families of Minnesota? Give us grace to face our failures as parents, commitment to stand by our kids going the wrong way, and love that affirms them, yet calls out their sin. Will You bless our present and future mothers of Minnesota, and especially the relationships with their sons?

We acknowledge to You the damage done to innocent lives through the willful actions of the Karpis-Barker Gang. Will You bring restitution to all who suffered their crimes, as well as the heritage of the Bremer and Hamm families? Conversely, will You cut off the curses passed down to any generation of the Karpis or Barker clans?

How we need Your healing for our men, and especially our men enticed into gang life!
We acknowledge to You that we have not followed Your laws to honor our fathers and mothers, or practiced proper diligence in the raising of some of our sons. We have driven them away at times: from our families, from schools or job training, from the Church, and, most painfully, from You! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Though we try, we have failed them somehow as: sons, husbands, fathers, and friends. Protect and shield our sons from the enticement of a life of crime, and the arms of surrogate families in the underworld. May these vulnerable boys find a good man to call out their holy masculinity. May they forgive their fathers’ offenses, and break with the spirit of vengeance.

We remember to You how we have subtly yielded to the Enemy in St. Paul, by looking the other way. Our police, it seems, were corruptible because they were internally incomplete. It is hard to bribe a content man. You have said, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.”******* Have mercy on these policemen past, and free those similarly tempted in the present. We ask Your protections over Minnesota’s police both now and forever; be their shield and very great reward!

We end by thanking You for Your eternal justice! You are our advocate within our broken families, though they may seem beyond hope. You bring us back to our Everlasting Father, no matter our state of lawlessness. You used the Catholic priest Lucien Galtier to rename the city of L’oeil de Cochon, so named for the alleged bootlegger and first resident of St. Paul, Minnesota; Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant. “Pig’s Eye, converted thou shalt be, like Saul; Arise, and be, henceforth, Saint Paul!”
*******

* 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!
** Sharon Park “Gangster Era in St. Paul, 1900–1936”. http://www.mnopedia.org/gangster-era-st-paul-1900-1936
***, **** Paul Maccabee, John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936, Minnesota Historical Society, 1995, p.105.
***** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Barker
****** https://biblehub.com/luke/3-14.htm
******* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Parrant

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20th Century, Agriculture, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

Legislature Halts Farm Foreclosures

FH2

Photo credit: http://www.mnopedia.org/group/farmers-holiday-association-minnesota

May 1, 1933
Members of the National Farmers’ Holiday Association march on Saint Paul. Arguing that drought and bad economic conditions are beyond their control, the farmers demand an end to mortgage foreclosures and the development of a refinancing program.
John Bosch of Willmar leads the state’s Farmers’ Holiday movement. He promotes the nonviolence of Mohandas Gandhi. On May 1, 1933, the legislature—at the urging of Governor Floyd B. Olson—passes an emergency law stopping farm foreclosure sales until farm prices rise.*

Thesis. Counter-thesis. Synthesis. Though we try Lord, we cannot live in a vacuum. We are individual cells that must function as a body. Will You give inspiration and insights into this Minnesota event today? Will You give revelation of the hearts of those involved and their inner motives?

Let’s start with getting a grip as to what motivated the Farmers Holiday Association. It’s national presence was started by Milo Reno, and soon permeated the Midwest. Its’ adherents believed that withholding crops and livestock from the market would drive prices up. A slogan from the time read, “Lets call a Farmer’s Holiday, a Holiday let’s hold. We’ll eat our wheat and ham and eggs, And let them eat their gold”.**

To provide further backdrop, please read the following except from Robert P. Murphy’s “Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal.”

“Murray Rothbard argues that if one looks at content, rather than labels, then a fair case can be made that the “New Deal” program of farm intervention began under Herbert Hoover, not Franklin Roosevelt. Hoover had supported the farm bloc throughout his political career, and during his first presidential campaign promised he would institute a price-support program. He proved true to his word in June 1929 ( three months after he was sworn in as President) with the creation of the Federal Farm Board (FBB). The FBB was initially allocated $500 million to give low-interest rate loans to farm cooperatives, and it also had the power (through corporations it had created) to buy surplus farm products off the market and hence prop up their prices. (Hoover won an additional $100 million for the FBB in the spring of 1930.)
As usual, throwing tax dollars at the problem only made it worse. In a market economy, if a particular group of producers, even the cherished farmer, can’t make a living, then it means that there are too many people in that line of work. Heartless as it sounds, the only sustainable solution to the problem of inadequate farm income was for the least efficient farmers to find other careers. Actual and promised government “support” allowed these marginal producers to limp along, so that there really was overproduction in the subsidized crops. (This is different from the belief that the Depression was due to a general overproduction in that sector but underproduction elsewhere.) Realizing that this practice of “buy high, sell low” was wasting tax dollars, and that the price supports were leading to ever-growing stockpiles in government silos, the FBB took the next “logical” step of ordering output restrictions (while maintaining price supports!)***

So now we know the big picture, but how does it apply to our State? Mr Bosch had a friend whose farm was to be auctioned off. To help this friend, local farmers would crowd so many around the auctioneer that no one else could hear the bids, and then they would bid “one cent” per each item so that their neighbor could buy his property back for a few cents and keep his way of life. Another foreclosure was stopped using similar tactics.

Bosch then pondered how to improve the plight of farmers. He came up with the following program:
“1) the farmers demanded a mortgage moratorium at once, 2) a price level for farm products equal to the cost of production, 3) abolish the Federal Reserve system, and 4) in the event of war all corporation profits involved in the manufacture of war materials were to be taxed 100%.” ****

Farmers were asked not to sell any farm products nor pay any mortgage debts until these demands were met. Also, they went further in blockading U.S. Highway 12 near Atwater, and asking drivers to return their shipments as a sign of support. These actions were recognized by the Roosevelt administration and led to remedial legislation. ****

So we pray to the Lord, Will You forgive our offenses to You through the broken relationships in the production, buying, selling, and distribution of food? Your Words tell us very clearly, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” NASB ***** Yet, we have met offense with counter-offense, and an escalation of pain. Have mercy.

Will You forgive our politicians, both locally and nationally, of ways they benefitted from this problem? Both Hoover and FDR wanted to micromanage a problem that their policies had created. They wanted votes and support for their solutions, but did not do so within the bounds of the Constitution. Will You give honor to them where it is due, and rebuke to the vanity of our Federal government? Though the role of our Federal government is clearly defined, it has continually broken its boundaries with the American farmer. Have mercy, the government is not our Savior!

Will You forgive the offenses of these farmers, and the wider offenses of society towards them? No one faults a man who fights for his life. Will You forgive these farmers the pain their righteous indignation caused others who had not caused them harm? O G-d, we do it over and over again, we are most vulnerable to the Enemy of All when we are the victim. We do not forgive because we do not realize our depth of offense against the Only Just One. We transfer our victimization onto our neighbor, who transfers it to the next victim, and the next! Will You forgive these sins of the “good guys” in agriculture?

Will You forgive our bankers and financiers their contributions to this painful event? It is an interesting note that Bosch lists the Federal Reserve as an enemy worth abolishing. Though created to stop the manipulations of our currency, and the excesses of stock market driven panics, it has failed to do either.

It drives the value of the dollar to only a few cents of its former gold and silver backed value, drives the hidden tax of inflation, and silently confiscates the wealth of generations of American families and farmers! Which of our great grandparents would think that we show economic responsibility by our level of debt? Yet, we can scarcely buy or sell any large ticket item without the assessment of our credit? We have mostly accepted this false premise as citizens of Minnesota and the United States. Will You help us to reject it? Will You make us creditors rather than debtors? Will You call the FRS to account for the legalized slavery of Your people, Your assets, and Your natural resources?

We invite Your Farmers Holiday on all who grow, ship, or buy food! Help us tear up the other guy’s mortgage, and remain humbly grateful for the bounties of Minnesota! Amen.

* 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/Farmers%27_Holiday_Association
*** Robert P. Murphy, A Politically Incorrect Guide to the Depression and the New Deal. (Washington D.C.: Regenery, 2009) pp 55-57
**** http://www.willmarlakesarea.com/attractions/historical-sites/farm-holiday/
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/24-1.htm

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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, 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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20th Century, Catholic, Culture, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Safety Patrol

School Patrol 5

1921
The School Safety Patrol is founded in Minnesota. Starting at Cathedral School in St. Paul, the program is a school-police program for boys to help fellow elementary-school students cross busy streets.*

Going back about a hundred years, there were few safety requirements for Minnesota drivers, and even fewer for pedestrians. To improve their safety, City Council member and Safety Commissioner Aloysius Smith tapped Sergeant Frank Hetznecker to carry out his vision for “school police” now known as school patrols.

The Sargeant went to the principal of Saint Paul’s Cathedral School, Sister Carmela Hanggi, who was an early proponent of the school patrol and a key developer of it. On February 21, 1921, at the intersection of Third Street (later renamed Kellogg Boulevard) and Summit Avenue began their work. Eventually, they added Sam Browne belts, the now ubiquitous shoulder to waist belts with badge that identified safety patrols’ official status. Similar student school patrols operate around the world, and greatly enhance the visibility and safety of kids crossing the street on the way to school.**

Lord, we thank You today for the freedom of travel we have enjoyed due to the automobile in Minnesota. We confess to You our propensity to want to exceed the boundaries of common sense with each new development of technology. Where we have failed Your laws and each other in this, we ask for Your forgiveness. We have rebelled against Your laws at times by how we drive, and the lack of peace in our driven natures.

Nevertheless, we thank You for those who created “school police” aka. school patrol of providing safety for children, and encouraging the responsibility of older kids to look out for the young ones. Will You bless the literal and figurative offspring of: City Council member Aloysius Smith, Sargeant Frank Hetznecker, and Principal Carmela Hanggi? Will You bless those who work in safety with ideas and methods that enhance the lives of future generations? Will You encourage the voluntary actions of kids helping other kids, and convince adults to release them into greater responsibility? We love You!

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Consequently, he who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1,2 NIV

 

* 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!
**http://www.mnopedia.org/thing/origins-school-safety-patrol-1921

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20th Century, Agriculture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, State Government

Nonpartisan League

herbert-gaston-nonpartisan-league

1918
The farmers’ Nonpartisan League, a reform group that advocates state control of the grain industry, runs candidates in the Republican primary. The NPL loses in the primary, but joins Minnesota’s branch of the Minnesota American Federation of Labor in forming the Farmer-Labor party.*

“In the 1910s, farmers began to decry poor market conditions and violations of their economic rights. Middlemen in the grain elevator, stockyard, cold storage, banking, and rail industries regularly gouged farmers. To fight corporate interests, the NPL was formed in North Dakota in 1915.
The NPL was founded by former Socialist Party member Arthur Townley, who was also a failed flax farmer. The NPL advocated state-run mills, grain elevators, stockyards, and warehouses. In order to protect farmers further, the NPL fought for state insurance programs, pensions, and employment bureaus. After success in North Dakota’s 1916 election, the NPL began to expand. Minnesota became the center of its activities.”**

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Lord, we say we love fairness, justice, and equal rights under the law, but our practice of these traits are very imperfect and human! Have mercy! Farmers of this era wanted to address the folly and failures of the Democrats and Republicans to represent their views and grievances. They wanted a way out of the “us versus them” paradigm in Saint Paul, and Washington! Lord, hear their prayers!

Will You forgive their root judgments based on politics? Will You forgive the Wall Street Republicans their willingness to commoditize a Democratic farming way of life, and to see all Progressives as revolutionary radicals instead of neighbors desperate for change? Will You forgive the Socialist and Progressives their judgments of the passivity of the Democrats, and characterizing all Republicans as greedy “Wall Streeters”? Will You forgive Democrats their judgments and fears of Socialist extremism, Progressive utopianism, and Republican heartlessness?

We have failed You as traders and transporters of commodities. Those who weighed the grain and set the prices for the train have dishonored You, and the farmers of Minnesota. Through Solomon, perhaps the greatest economic mind the earth has ever known, You have said: “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” Proverbs 11:1 NIV Will You have mercy on all forms of dishonest trading and transport of agricultural commodities? Will You restore our broken trust, and teach us better ways to raise, assess value, and distribute food?

Our Socialism, Progressivism, Democratism, and Republicanism has tested You as the owner of all the yields of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We have ignored Your voice because we listen through the filter of all our ‘isms’. We have discounted each other in opinion and fact. Have mercy!

We listen and ponder this parable of Jesus:
“A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one they beat and treated shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. He sent a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘this is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” Luke 20:9-16 NIV

In its original context, this story was a rebuke of the misuse of authority of the chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law known as the Sanhedrin. The farmers of the vineyard symbolize the people of Israel. The servants represent the prophets of G-d whom the people rejected, the heir represented the Messiah, and the landowner is G-d the Father.

Yet, I see another interpretation of this text relevant to the NPL, the “isms”, and the economic forces of Wall Street. Perhaps each of these forces stumble over their self-importance: the farmer-laborer, the politicians, the bankers, and the traders? Is it possible that each sees themselves as the owner, therefore, possessing the final say over their property? Each has refused the reasonable messages of the servants and heirs sent to them?

Eternal Father, will You forgive us for attempting to own Your possessions? Will You forgive us the rejection of our opponent’s message and messengers? Will You forgive the misbelief in the revolutionary spirit of our heart that drives us to overthrow and possess? Will You forgive the independence of the NPL, the co-dependence of the Democratic and Republican parties and Wall Street?

We give You the false heart motives of this era, and ask that take them up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ. We ask that Your blood cleanses and frees us from every attachment of the Enemy that hinders the agriculture of Minnesota. We ask that You establish proper boundaries for all these groups both present and future. Will You be the Judge of Minnesota, so we can practice the blessing of being truly Nonpartisan?

*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!
**Excellent source of information on NPL and all history Minnesota! http://www.mnopedia.org/group/nonpartisan-league

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