City Coordinator's Office

350 S. 5th St, Room 301M
Minneapolis, MN 55415

400 Year Commemoration Lecture Series

We will be providing education and awareness raising opportunities for City staff and community members around the commemoration of this event. We will provide a toolkit with resources that staff can access at their leisure full of articles, videos and reflection activities, as well as opportunities to reflect on how what they are learning related to their role in the City. In addition, the City will feature speakers who will help staff and residents better contextualize how the institution of slavery has impacted Minnesota, as well as the ongoing policies, programs and practices that led to the current disparities. We will close this series by imagining together a future where there is share prosperity and liberation across all populations in the City.

The series is designed to increase the awareness and understanding of the African American experience over the last 400 years. The series starts by centering the African American experience in who we were prior to enslavement and ends with a call to reimagine a future of health and wellness moving forward. All sessions will be held at City Hall in the rotunda. 

Remembering - July 23, noon-1 p.m.

    This session will give space to participants to remember who African Americans were before 1619, including our ancestry, our culture, and our people. It will give us an opportunity to collectively explore what happened to African Americans who were enslaved, and address what slavery looked like in Minnesota. How did we get over? What are the narratives of personal and communal resistance?

    The speaker for this event is Dr. Christopher Lehman, a professor at St. Cloud State University and author of Slavery's Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State, and it will be published by Minnesota Historical Society Press this October. Come hear Dr. Lehman share his book and help us understand why remembering this history has relevance today.

Recovering - August 13, noon-1 p.m.

    At this session, participants will recover our history to better understand the connection between the period of enslavement and the last 400 years. We will explore the history of disinvestment and racial trauma, particularly as it pertains to racism against African Americans in Minnesota. This session will also unpack key movements along the way that have furthered our liberation and where we still need to go.

    The speaker for this event is Lissa Jones, the creator and host of KMOJ’s Urban Agenda as well as the host of Given’s Foundation podcast, Black Market Reads. Be sure to come hear Jones speak to why telling the truth about the history of racism in Minnesota is essential to our collective healing.

Reimagining - September 10, noon-1 p.m.

    This session will give participants an opportunity to re-imagine a City that is not based on the perpetual harm of not only African Americans, but other people of color as well. It will explore what the future for the next 10, 50, to 400 years look like and the reparative actions that we can take at the individual, communal, institutional and structural levels to get there. 

  • Moderated by Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins
  • Confirmed Panelists:
    • Me’Lea Connelly, Vision and Strategy Lead at the Village Financial Cooperative
    • Dr. Rose Brewer, Professor at the University of Minnesota
    • Justin Terrell, Executive Director of the Council on Minnesotan’s of African Descent


Last updated Jun 20, 2019



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