Minneapolis Syllabus (Dr. Adam Bledsoe)

With thanks to Dr. Adam Bledsoe, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota, for compiling and providing permission to share, this reading list on Black politics, space and policing in Minneapolis is urgent reading for these times.


Minneapolis Uprising Syllabus

This bibliography is intended to offer background to how Minneapolis became a flashpoint for a global uprising against anti-Blackness and state violence. What follows is meant to be a brief introduction to understanding the struggles of the Twin Cities’ Black community, focusing especially on the case of Minneapolis. While this historic moment is only possible because of the dedication and courage of those risking their lives in the streets, studying the legacies of struggle in the Twin Cities is vital to grappling with our current conditions and being able to shape our future.

The first section offers background to the Minneapolis Police Department’s relationship to communities of color throughout the past century and a half.

The second section deals with the multi-faceted Black experience of the Twin Cities from the early 19th century through the late 20th century.

The third section is concerned with how the Black community of Minneapolis and Saint Paul has engaged in various forms of struggle over the past two centuries to combat the anti-Blackness and exclusion they faced.

The final section offers a snapshot of present-day Black Minneapolitan experiences, how local scholars and activists are thinking about these experiences, and some of the proposed means for addressing current forms of anti-Blackness.

By understanding the rich legacy of Black struggle in the Twin Cities, we can better understand the roots of what we are presently living through. Moreover, we can learn from the successes and setbacks of those that came before us as we struggle for the future we want to live in. This bibliography is meant as a small contribution to further study and, most importantly, to further concrete political action.

Minneapolis Police

“Enough is Enough: A 150 year performance review of the Minneapolis Police Department” – MPD 150

“A demand for justice and law enforcement”: a history of police and the near North Side – Kristen Delegard

The Influence of Police Brutality on the American Indian Movement’s Establishment in Minneapolis, 1968-69 – Christine Birong

Report of the Metro Gang Strike Force Review Panel – Andrew Luger and John Engelhof

“Drug Enforcement in Minority Communities: The Minneapolis Police Department” – Police Executive Research Forum/National Institute of Justice

Walking With the Devil: The Police Code of Silence – The Promise of Peer Intervention – Michael Quinn

History of Black Minneapolis

“Why this started in Minneapolis” – Sarah Holder

Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State – Christopher Lehman

A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Minnesota, 1837–1869 – William Green

“Race and Segregation in St. Paul’s Public Schools, 1846-69” – William Green

“Minnesota’s Long Road to BLACK SUFFRAGE 1849-1868” – William Green

North Star: Minnesota’s Black Pioneers

“Eliza Winston and the Politics of Freedom in Minnesota, 1854-60” – William Green

“The Black Community in Territorial St. Anthony: A Memoir” – Emily O. Goodridge Grey and Patricia C. Harpole

The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860–1876 – William Green

Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865–1912 – William Green

The Negro in Minnesota – Earl Spangler

African Americans in Minnesota – David Vassar Taylor

Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century: The Growth of an American City – Iric Nathanson

“When the Klan Came to Minnesota” – Kay Johnson

Jim Crow of the North

Overcoming: The Autobiography of W. Harry Davis – W. Harry Davis

Cornerstones: A History of North Minneapolis

A Fiery Unrest: Why Plymouth Avenue Burned

“Booker v. Special School District No. 1: A History of School Desegregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota” – Cheryl Heilman

The Scott Collection: Minnesota’s Black Community in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s – Walter Scott

Twin Cities Black Political Movements

Crusaders for Justice: A Chronicle of Protest by Agitators, Advocates and Activists in Their Struggle for Civil and Human Rights in St. Paul, Minnesota, 1802 Through 1985 – Arthur McWatt

W. Gertrude Brown’s struggle for racial justice: female leadership and community in Black Minneapolis, 1920-1940 – Michiko Hase

“Phyllis Wheatley House: A History of the Minneapolis Black Settlement House, 1924 to 1940” – Howard Karger

“St. Paul’s Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 1925-1941” – Alisha Volante

“’A Greater Victory’: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in St. Paul” – Arthur McWatt

Racial Uplift in a Jim Crow Local: Black Union Organizing in Minneapolis Hotels 1930-1940 – Luke Mielke

“Labor, Politics, and American Identity in Minneapolis, 1930-50” – Jennifer Delton

Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights and the Transformation of the Democratic Party – Jennifer Delton

“The Modern Civil Rights Movement in Iowa and Minnesota” – Donald Strasser and Melodie Andrews

Black Empowerment in 1960s Minneapolis: Promise, Politics and the Impact of the National Urban Narrative – B. Joseph Rosh

“The Way Opportunities Unlimited, Inc.”: A Movement for Black Equality in Minneapolis, MN 1966-1970 – Camille Maddox

Black Power And Neighborhood Organizing In Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Way Community Center, 1966-1971 – Sarah Jayne Paulsen

For a Moment We Had the Way – Rolland Robinson

“A Small Revolution”: The Role of a Black Power Revolt in Creating and Sustaining a Black Studies Department at the University of Minnesota – Jared Leighton

“Nerve Juice” and the Ivory Tower Confrontation in Minnesota: The True Story of the Morrill Hall Takeover (at the University of Minnesota) – Marie Braddock Williams, Rose Freeman Massey, Horace Huntley

“Remembering the Morrill Hall Takeover: Professor Emeritus John Wright participated in a pivotal moment in the U’s history” – Susan Maas

A study of the organization and politics of the Welfare Mothers Movement in Minnesota – Susan Hertz

Family therapy and the city: an examination of the community’s role in healing 1981-1990 – James Arthur Nelson

Community and the Recognition of the Other: A Levinasian Examination of The City, Inc. 1987-1992 – Nicholas Saray

A crossroads year at a crossroads place: the City School, a Minneapolis alternative school 1992-93 – Jo Applegate Nelson

Somalis in Minnesota – Ahmed Yusuf

SOMALIS IN MINNESOTA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT: An Inventory of Its Oral Histories at the Minnesota Historical Society

21st Century Black Minneapolis

Somali Community Needs Assessment Project – Mia Robillos

“The Prostitution Project: Community-Based Research on Sex Trading in North Minneapolis” – Lauren Martin

“Preventing Foreclosures in North Minneapolis: An Evaluative Study of the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition’s Foreclosure Prevention Outreach Project” – Casie Moen

“Going Beyond the Art: A Program Evaluation of Juxtaposition Arts Between 2005 and 2009” – Alecia Leonard


“Staying off the bottom of the melting pot: Somali refugees respond to a changing US immigration climate” – Ihotu Ali

A study on Somali Minnesotans: present challenges and future prosperity – Abdiqani Farah

“The State of Black Women’s Economics in Minnesota” – Brittany Lewis

“THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE: Evictions and Profit in North Minneapolis” – Brittany Lewis

“The Diversity of Gentrification: Multiple forms of gentrification in Minneapolis and Saint Paul” – Edward Goetz, Brittany Lewis, Anthony Damiano, Molly Calhoun

How Housing is Affecting Economic Development and Health in the African American Community in Minneapolis

Trauma and Suicide in the African American Community

The State of Education in MN

Evictions, Gentrification and Housing Justice w/ Dr. Brittany Lewis


Published by blackgeographies

Website for the Black Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers.

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