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Race and the streetcar suburb

Shenandoah Terrace is a neighborhood in south Minneapolis with a dense concentration of racial covenants. In the early twentieth century, one developer made the decision to transform 68 acres of rural land into a racially-restrictive streetcar suburb. Why did this happen? Who was involved? What can we do now to repair the damage that has been done over the last century? Read now.


City of St. Louis Park joins Just Deeds project

Last month, St. Louis Park joined the Just Deeds Project. This move is part of the city’s commitment to being a leader in racial equity and inclusion, and to create a more just and inclusive community for all. Just Deeds is a coalition of community stakeholders who work with homeowners to discharge racial covenants from their property titles. To mark their partnership with Just Deeds, St. Louis Park screened Jim Crow of the North on November 16th at Beth El Synagogue. Following the screening was a panel discussion regarding how the topics of the documentary relates to fostering racial equity. Participants also had the opportunity to learn more about Just Deeds.

MSP airport condemns racial covenants embedded in its property

In October, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC)--  which owns and operates the Minneapolis-St.Paul Airport -- voted to discharge and condemn discriminatory covenants in airport property. The MAC learned of these racially restrictive covenants after being directly contacted by Just Deeds. The MAC Chair, Rick King, stated that, "While we can't erase any harm discriminatory covenants caused in the years before MAC purchased properties, we can and do condemn such covenants and are taking action to formally render such language null and void". To see how much airport land was covered with racial restrictions, click on the “Explore” map on the Mapping Prejudice home page. 
The Twin Cities has the worst housing shortage in the nation

The housing shortage in the Twin Cities is now the worst in the nation, exceeding shortages even in high-demand cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and Austin. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency predicts that the state is expected to be 40,000 houses and apartments short of what's needed over the next five years to keep pace with population growth. For instance, the housing market is considered balanced when there's a five- to-six month supply. However, with the current sales pace, there are only houses on the market to last about a month. This imbalance has caused prices to more than double in less than a decade.The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis now ranks housing affordability as one of the region's top five concerns.
Minneapolis, St. Paul voters approve rent control measures

In Minneapolis, voters recently granted their city council the power to draft up a rent control ordinance. Meanwhile, across the river in St. Paul, voters approved a comprehensive rent control measure. This measure limits most St. Paul landlords to yearly rent increases of no more than 3%. This measure applies to both new construction buildings and vacant apartments, and-- unlike rent control policies in other places -- the St. Paul measure does not allow rents to vary with inflation. This measure is one of the most restrictive rent control ordinances in the county and is the product of a vigorous grassroots campaign by tenant activists. Read details here.

Upcoming Events

The deaths America treats as normal: November 18th, 3:30 PM CST

IAS Thursdays presents a talk by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, an assistant professor in sociology at University of Minnesota Twin Cities. This talk, entitled The Deaths America Treats as Normal, will look at inequality in pandemic experiences, using the 1918 influenza pandemic and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a framework to discuss the racial disparities in mortality. This virtual event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. To register click here.
Looking back to move forward: December 2nd, 7:00-8:30 PM CST


Hennepin History Museum is hosting an online event that will discuss the housing crisis in the Twin Cities. Public policies from decades ago have disproportionately affected BIPOC communities in this housing crisis. Join Mapping Prejudice’s Kirsten Delegard, David Hewitt, Shannon Smith Jones, and Tyra Thomas as they discuss how understanding the history of this crisis can help carve a path forward. To register for the event, click here
Homeless network newz, Season 6: November 4th - December 16th


The 6th season of Homeless Network Newz (HNN), presented by zAmya Theater Project, aims to build awareness about housing justice by highlighting stories, experiences and the creative contributions of people who have experienced homelessness and the impact of COVID-19. The virtual performances will air on Facebook and YouTube Live Nov. 4 - Dec. 16.  You can watch previous episodes here.

Be sure to tune in to Episode 5: “Home Street Home” on December 9th at 7:00 PM CST. Hosted by Corey Walton, including Zamya troupe members and our friends at Dorothy Day, this episode looks at two public art projects -- Free the Deeds and Never Homeless Before 1482 -- to explore the questions:  What is a second chance and why might you need it if you have a felony? And where do we draw the line?

Activist Spotlight

Dr. Ernest Lloyd: the souls of freeways

When Dr. Ernest Lloyd drives on freeways in urban areas, he’s thinking about more than his next direction. He is thinking about the history that lies beneath the concrete. When he drives on freeways, Dr. Lloyd is ruminating on the bedrooms, and the kitchens, and the yards, and the souls of Black people that once lay beneath the concrete he rides on. 

Dr. Lloyd grew up as the son of a sharecropper in North Carolina. Experiencing firsthand the inequities his father faced, he made the choice to dedicate his life fighting for the civil rights of BIPOC individuals. When he decided to get a Ph.D., he knew he wanted to focus his dissertation on the experiences of Black people. Working in the Office of Civil Rights for MnDot at the time of his doctoral research, Dr. Lloyd was curious about the power transportation policy had on Black people’s lives. He was already aware that many freeways -- including I-94 -- razed BIPOC communities and displaced individuals. But he wanted to know whether the same thing had happened in Minneapolis with the construction of 35W. It had. With his dissertation, Dr. Lloyd documented how 35W destroyed a middle-class Black community called the Old Southside. During his research, he conducted interviews with seven elders who resided in south Minneapolis. From these interviews, it became clear that it hadn’t mattered that the Old Southside was a thriving, middle-class community. The community was Black. Employment, education, and financial status did not matter -- “the highway found them nonetheless.” As a Black man employed by the very agency that had desecrated the community he was researching, Dr. Lloyd felt alienated. He continued to work for MnDot and wrote anti-racist transportation policy. But his dissertation left him with troubling questions, which has had the opportunity to pursue as a community advisor and research advisor for the Human Toll exhibit. That exhibit has given him the chance to work with Greg Donofrio and Denise Pike, the co-leaders of the Public History of 35W project


When the exhibit opened at Hennepin History Museum on September 30th, Dr. Lloyd felt a sense of relief. He felt that telling the truth of this story acts as a form of reparation. However, when Dr. Lloyd drives on freeways, his mind is still on the racial history behind their construction. 


To read an essay written by Dr. Lloyd click here. 

Outreach and Community Engagement

National Council for Geographic Education

City of St. Louis Park

University of Minnesota Women’s Club

Educator Day, Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

You are also encouraged to take this survey from Free the Deeds on reparations

Volunteer Today!
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