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Making Sense of Minnesota's Racial Divide with Resources from MNHS

‘Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion’ and other offerings available


As we approach the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd and with the recent guilty verdict in the trial for the Minneapolis police officer charged with the crime, historical resources can help us reflect on how we got here.

Some of the many MNHS resources available include:

• “Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion,” edited by Walter R. Jacobs, Wendy Thompson Taiwo, and Amy August, offers essays by three dozen contributors reflecting on the murder of George Floyd, the uprisings that followed, and the history of racism in Minnesota. (Available May 18, 2021.) View additional MNHS Press titles on African American history in Minnesota.

• Black History, Black Voices is an initiative that centers Black narratives, history, and issues through ongoing programs, content, and resources created by members of Minnesota’s Black community. On May 19, join the virtual book launch of “Sparked” for a discussion about racism and Minnesota’s progressive illusion. In June, explore the history of Juneteenth (date TBA).

• MNopedia, the digital encyclopedia of Minnesota history, offers a wide range of articles about Minnesota’s past, including “African Americans in Minnesota” by Tina Burnside. Many more articles by and about Black Minnesotans can be viewed online.

• Explore research articles in “Minnesota History" magazine, which offers free access to its entire archive. The spring 2021 issue includes the timely article “Policing Politics: Labor, Race, and the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, 1945-1972” by Michael J. Lansing (PDF).

• History Is Now: Anti-Racism Uprising is a collecting initiative in partnership with the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery and Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. It asks the question, “What do you think tomorrow’s Minnesotans need to understand about the anti-racism uprising and this moment?”

• The “Minnesota Spokesman Recorder” is the only paper in the state to document Black stories by Black journalists continuously since 1934. Thanks to a new partnership with the newspaper early issues are now available in the Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub. Other Black newspapers in the Hub include the Western Appeal and the Appeal which date from 1885 to 1924.

• Look for new social media content in May and June on the MNHS Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels, and explore YouTube to learn about Black history in Minnesota and the many ways Black people have indelibly influenced life in our state.

Explore these and many more resources on our website at

About the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at


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