African-American History in Ramsey County

To celebrate the contributions that African-Americans have made to our communities, Ramsey County Historical Society will be posting past important articles from our magazine, Ramsey County History, during Black History Month.

We will also be celebrating the release and airing of North Star: Civil War Stories. Created in partnership with TPT, North Star explores four stories of African-Americans who served for Minnesota during the Civil War.
Link for more information on North Star: Civil War Stories

Articles on African-American History

2/1/2018: St. Paul’s Resourceful African-American Community, by Arthur C. McWatt. Published in Ramsey County History, Spring 1991, Vol 26, #1.
PDF of A. McWatt article

2/2/2018: Growing Up in Saint Paul: Looking Back at the Black Community, by Eula T. Murphy, with David V. Taylor. Published in Ramsey County History, Winter 1992-1993, Vol. 27, #4.
PDF of Murphy & Taylor article

2/5/2018: They Played for the Love of the Game: Adding to the Legacy of Minnesota Black Baseball, by Frank M. White. Published in Ramsey County History, Spring 2010, Vol. 44, #4.
PDF of F. White article

2/6/2018: A Water Tower, A Pavilion, and Three National Historic Sites: Clarence W. Wigington and the Architectural Heritage He Left to the People of St. Paul, by David V. Taylor
and Architect to the Kings of the Carnivals: “Cap Wigington and His Ice Palace “Babies,” by Bob Olsen
Published in Ramsey County History, Winter 2000, Vol. 34, #4.
PDF of D. Taylor article
PDF of B. Olsen article

2/12/2018: “300 African-American Performers” The Great Cuba Pageant of 1898 and the Struggle for Civil Rights, by David Riehle. Published in Ramsey County History, Winter 1999, Vol. 33, #4.
PDF of D. Riehle article

Nov. 1955 photo of Sgt James S. Griffin. Griffin joined the St. Paul Police Department in 1941 and became the first black St. Paul officer to reach the ranks of sergeant, captain and deputy chief. In May 2004, the department’s new headquarters building was dedicated in his memory. Griffin died in 2002 at age 85. (Pioneer Press File)

2/14/2018: A Memoir, Jimmy Griffin, St. Paul’s First Black Deputy Police Chief, Remembers His Years on the Force, Jimmy Griffin with Kwame JC McDonald. Published in Ramsey County History, Winter 2002, Vol. 36, #4.
PDF of J. Griffin article

2/16/2018: Lost Neighborhood: Borup’s Addition and the Prosperous Pioneer African-Americans Who Owned Homes There, David Riehle. Published in Ramsey County History, Fall 2002, Vol. 37, #3.
PDF of D. Riehle article

2/20/2016: Growing Up in St. Paul: Down St. Albans Hill in a Wooden Coaster Wagon, Arthur McWatt. Published in Ramsey County History, Winter 1996, Vol. 30, #4.
PDF of A. McWatt article

2/27/2018: Growing Up in St. Paul: Memories of Frogtown in the 1930s and Growing Up in St. Paul: Frogtown’s Arundel Street, both articles by James R. Brown. Published in Ramsey County History, Fall 2006, Vol. 41, #3 and Fall 20017, Vol. 42, #3.
PDF of J. Brown article, Fall 2006
PDF of J. Brown article, Fall 2007

2/28/2018: A Different Sesquicentennial: Remembering Frederick McGhee, Paul D. Nelson. Published in Ramsey County History, Fall 2011, Vol. 46, #3.
PDF of P. Nelson article

Watch for more articles during Black History Month!

Featured image above: Fredrick McGhee

Above: John Cotton, (left) was an outstanding athlete and second baseman for the Twin City Gophers, his Marshall Senior High School team and other professional teams in the 1940s and 1950s. He and Lloyd “Dulov” Hogan (right) and the other unidentified player in this photo were part of the thriving black baseball scene in Minnesota in the middle of the 20th century. Photo courtesy of the Cotton family. Photo restoration by Lori Gleason.