Join us for virtual History Revealed presentations by authors, historians, and archeologists from throughout the Twin Cities and beyond while we all practice social distancing.
To purchase books, please contact our partner, Subtext Books for online ordering or curbside pickup.
All video and posts shared by permission.
Past History Revealed Presentations
Black Women’s Struggle for the Right to Vote
A Conversation with Dr. Martha S. Jones
Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 7:00 PM
In partnership with the East Side Freedom Library
Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ric3Go2WQ4
Amidst all the turmoil of 2020, it has been easy to forget that this year marks the centennial of the Women’s Suffrage amendment. It has unfortunately also been easy to take the given narrative for all there is to know. In her new book, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, Martha Jones challenges the standard story that the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. She details how African American women defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all people.
History Revealed: Recent Archaeology Findings In Ramsey County: Public Digs with the Metro County Historical Society Collaborative
Dr. Jeremy Nienow
Online Event – Zoom
Thursday, July 24, 7:00-8:00 PM
In partnership with the Roseville Library
Youtube video: https://youtu.be/9V1ScdEQTrE
Archaeologist Jeremy Nienow will discuss some of the findings from recent archaeological digs at sites throughout Ramsey County. A project of the Metro County Historical Society Collaborative, a group of historical societies from throughout the Metro area including the Ramsey County Historical Society, the Maplewood Area Historical Society and others, this series of digs included Gibbs Farm and areas along Fish Creek. Members of the public were able to participate in unearthing findings and learning how archaeology is done. Dr. Nienow will discuss some of the results and talk about how archaeology of this type can help shed light on Native Peoples and early historic settlement. He was joined by Bob Jensen of the Maplewood Area Historical Society.
Thursday, July 9, 7:00-8:30 pm
Exploring the Historical Roots of Racism in Minnesota
Panel Discussion with Martin Case, William Green and Christopher Lehman
In partnership with the East Side Freedom Library and Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Premiere on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EastSideFreedomLibrary/videos/904936243330741/), YouTube (https://youtu.be/OK64iOMWcQg).
In the past year, local historians have published three eye-opening books, each of which, grounded in careful research, explore the roles played by racism in the development of Minnesota. Marty Case’s The Relentless Business of Treaties explores how the U.S., territorial, and state governments, and their leaders, stole land from the indigenous people who had lived here for centuries. Chris Lehman’s Slavery’s Reach reveals the power and influence exerted by wealthy southern slaveholders in the early years of the “North Star State,” and the cooperation extended to them by the state’s founders. Bill Green’s Children of Lincoln tracks the journeys away from abolition and racial equality trod by the new state’s leaders in the immediate post-Civil War years.
These three historians undertook their research and wrote their books independently of each other. Each of them has spoken about his book at ESFL. Now, we are able to bring them together for a conversation about the connections and implications of their conclusions. Given the heightened concern over racism being expressed in our communities, this is a timely conversation for them—and for us—to have. Please join us.
Join us for a fascinating discussion moderated by Peter Rachleff of the East Side Freedom Library.
Martin Case, author of The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became US Property; William Green, author of The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860-1876, (winner of the 2020 Hognander Minnesota History Award); Christopher P. Lehman, author of Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders and the North Star State will join Peter.
See below for past History Revealed presentations and Youtube videos from the authors.
Thursday, June 4, 7:00-8:00 pm
Grocery Activism – virtual book launch event with author Craig Upright on Facebook
In partnership with the East Side Freedom Library
If you missed the premiere of Grocery Activism, you can watch it here: Youtube video from June 4, 2020
Craig Upright with discuss his new book, Grocery Activism with Peter Rachleff from the East Side Freedom Library, and how the history of food coops is pertinent to food supplies and distribution today.
About Grocery Activism:
Grocery Activism looks back to the 1970s, when the mission of cooperative grocery stores shifted from political activism to the promotion of natural and organic foods. The story of the fraught relationship of these new-wave organizations to the organic food industry, it is an instructive case study in the history of activists intervening in capitalist markets to promote social change.
Yuichiro Onishi, Transpacific Antiracism
Youtube Video from February 10, 2020
In partnership with the East Side Freedom Library
By studying anti-imperialist movements since World War I in three different places — the United States, Japan, and Okinawa — Transpacific Antiracism examines the underlying aspirations of multiple oppressed peoples, and their efforts to develop emancipatory ideas and connect themselves in their struggles for freedom, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. The “internationalized” Black Radicalism presented in this book embraces a multi-ethnic solidarity in search for an alternative, more democratic, society. Join us for an important presentation and conversation. Yuichiro Onishi is a Professor in both the Asian-American and African-American & African Studies departments at the University of Minnesota and a member of the East Side Freedom Library’s Board.
Will Cooley, Moving Up, Moving Out: The Rise of the Black Middle Class in Chicago
Youtube video from January 9, 2020
Will Cooley discusses the damage racism and discrimination have exacted on black Chicagoans in the twentieth century, while accentuating the resilience of upwardly-mobile African Americans. Cooley examines how class differences created fissures in the black community and produced quandaries for black Chicagoans interested in racial welfare. Though faith in Chicago as a land of promise wavered, the progress of the black middle class kept the city from completely falling apart. In this important study, Cooley shows how Chicago, in all of its glory and faults, was held together by black dreams of advancement. Will Cooley is a historian of the twentieth century United States. He grew up in Glenwood, Minnesota, earned his B.A. at Hamline University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. He was an Associate Professor of History at Walsh University in Ohio and is now a Community Faculty member at Metro State. He has published articles about labor, immigration, and African American history. His current project, “The People’s War: The American Addiction to Punitive Drug Policies,” is under review at the University of North Carolina Press’s Justice and Power Series.
Christopher Lehman, Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State
Youtube video from December 11, 2019
From the 1840s through the end of the Civil War, leading Minnesotans invited slaveholders and their wealth into the free territory and free state of Minnesota. Dozens of southern slaveholders purchased land and backed Minnesota businesses. Slaveholders’ wealth was invested in some of the state’s most significant institutions and provided a financial foundation for several towns and counties. Dr. Christopher P. Lehman is a professor of ethnic studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Center for African and African American Research. Through careful research in obscure records, censuses, newspapers, and archival collections, he has brought to light this hidden history of northern complicity in building slaveholder wealth.
Martin Case, The Relentless Business of Treaties
Youtube video from November 7, 2019
The story of “western expansion” is a familiar one: US government agents, through duplicity and force, persuaded Native Americans to sign treaties that gave away their rights to the land. In this book, for the first time, Case provides a comprehensive study of the treaty signers, exposing their business ties and multigenerational interrelationships through birth and marriage. Taking Minnesota as a case study, he describes the groups that shaped US treaty making to further their own interests: interpreters, traders, land speculators, bureaucrats, officeholders, missionaries, and mining, timber, and transportation companies. Martin Case is a freelance researcher and writer. He was a key participant in the development of Why Treaties Matter, a collaboration of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian Institute, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Megan Marsnik, Under Ground
Youtube video from October 5, 2019
Like many stories of revolution and uprising, Under Ground has passionately-spirited, colorful protagonists and deeply-hated antagonists. It chronicles shootouts at labor rallies, guns transported to and from secret bunkers, fights in brothels, police corruption, xenophobia, and false imprisonment. It features a cast of historical figures including Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Mother Jones, Big Bill Haywood, and socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs. It is about courage and consequences. But unlike most novels written about the labor movement in the U.S., this novel is told from the perspective of a strong, immigrant woman, who reminds us that there are things worth dying for, but more importantly, there are things to live for. Megan Marsnik is the granddaughter of Slovenian immigrants, the daughter of union activists, and a union member herself. She was born and raised in Biwabik, a small town on Minnesota’s Iron Range settled primarily by Eastern European and Scandinavian immigrants. Marsnik earned her MFA in writing and poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, CO, where she won the Jack Kerouac Award for outstanding prose. She teaches creative writing and philosophy to high school students in Minneapolis.
William Green, Children of Lincoln
Youtube video from September 6, 2019
Framed around four white advocates of African American rights in Minnesota, The Children of Lincoln reveals a little known but critical chapter in the state’s history as it intersects with the broader account of race in America. It reveals a pattern of racial paternalism, describing how even “enlightened” white Northerners would come to embrace policies that reinforced a notion of black inferiority. William D. Green is professor of history at Augsburg University and author of The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860-1876.
Panel & Readings: Queer Voices
Youtube video from August 6, 2019
Since its beginnings in 1993, the Queer Voices reading series has featured both emerging and established Minnesota-based writers of the LGBTQIA+ community. With a track record of more than twenty years, the series has become a national model and one of Minnesota’s most important literary institutions. It is reputed to be the longest-running curated queer reading series in the country. In this volume, published by Minnesota Historical Society Press, series curators John Medeiros and Andrea Jenkins and facilitator Lisa Marie Brimmer present the finest poetry, fiction, and nonfiction pieces by the presenters. Their work, generated and performed in a powerful space of understanding, explores the material of life without internal or external censorship. Living, loving, working, learning, playing, reflecting, knowing, inventing, and being—these magnificent queer voices affirm the importance of civil literacy and the power of vulnerability. Join us for readings by contributors Stephanie Chrismon, Bronson Lemer, Nasreen Mohamed, Michael Kiesow Moore, and William Reichard.
Greg Gaut, Reinventing the People’s Library
Youtube video from July 19, 2019
Honorable Mention in the Books category of the Gebhard Award, a bi-annual recognition of Minnesota architectural history research by the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (MNSAH), Reinventing the People’s Library traces the history of the Arlington Hills Public Library, one of the branches of the St. Paul Public Library funded by Andrew Carnegie, and its reinvention as the East Side Freedom Library, an institution dedicated to telling the stories of the East Side, including the Dakota who first lived here (and still do), European immigrants who settled here in the 19thand early 20thcenturies, African Americans and Mexicans who came between the wars, and the more recent immigrants from Southeast Asia, central America, and east Africa, who are revitalizing the area. Greg Gaut earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota and taught history at St. Mary’s University in Winona until his retirement in 2011. Since then he has focused on historic preservation, preparing nominations for the National Register of Historic Places and for landmark status under local presentation ordinances. He has contributed frequently to the journal Minnesota History, twice winning the David Gebhard Award for best article on Minnesota’s built environment. He has also written Laird’s Legacy: A History of the Winona Public Library.
Krista Finstead Hansen, Cultures Coming Together in St. Paul: 100 Years of Immigration and Resettlement
Youtube video from June 9, 2019
In 2019, the International Institute of Minnesota is celebrating 100 years of service to the existing ethnic groups and new groups of refugees, immigrants, and asylees in our community. By uncovering the history of this non-profit agency, historian Krista Finstad Hanson will shine a light on the history of immigration to St. Paul, the worldwide crises and US government policy behind the waves of new immigrants or refugees, and the impact immigration has had on our community. Krista Finstad Hanson is the author of two travel guides to museums in historic houses: Minnesota Open House and Wisconsin’s Historic Houses and Living History Museums. She has also written a children’s science textbook, The Great Barrier Reef: A Natural Wonder. Her writings focus on architectural history, travel, and homes, and since 1992 she has written for such a number of local and national publications.
Melvin Carter Jr. & Marvin R. Anderson, Diesel Heart
Youtube video from May 9, 2019
Melvin Whitfield Carter Jr., the father of St. Paul’s current mayor, is a true son of Rondo, the city’s storied African American neighborhood. He was born in a city divided along racial lines and rich in cultural misunderstanding. Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, he witnessed the destruction of his neighborhood by the I-94 freeway—and he found his way to fighting and trouble. As a young man, he enlisted in the US Navy. He used his fighting ability to survive racist treatment, winning boxing matches and respect. And as an affirmative action hire in the St. Paul Police Department, facing prejudice at every turn, this hardworking, talented, and highly principled officer fought to protect the people of the city he calls home. Diesel Heart is the story of a leader who created a powerful family legacy by standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. Marvin R. Anderson joined Melvin Carter in an informal, engaging and enlightening conversation, sharing Mr. Carter’s story and the history of a neighborhood and a city during a turbulent time.
Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello, Modern Bonds
Youtube video from March 12, 2019
What does “community” mean and how did it come to signify everything from close friends to the entire world? Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello returns to St. Paul to talk about her new book, Modern Bonds: Redefining Community in Early Twentieth Century St. Paul, which considers how community was reconceptualized in the first decades of the twentieth century. She takes up a wide range of materials to show how everyday practices and materials–fiction, photography, architecture, public parks, the winter carnivals — united and divided citizens across lines of gender, class, and race while remaking the definition of “community”. Elizabeth Ann Duclos-Orsello is professor and chair of interdisciplinary studies and coordinator of American studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts.
Other Partner Programs
Curt Brown, Minnesota 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State
Facebook Live video presentation sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society
Author Curt Brown shares histories, the human stories, and how people in Minnesota persevered from his book, Minnesota 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State when the Spanish flu epidemic, the First World War and northeastern Minnesota fires devastated our state over 100 years ago. In 1918, Minnesota and its residents were confronted with a series of devastating events that put communities to the test, forcing them to persevere through untold hardship. Some 118,000 Minnesotans served in the war effort, both at home and “over there.” More than 1,400 Minnesotans were killed on the battlefields, an additional 2,300 soldiers were struck down by the influenza pandemic, which left more than 10,000 dead from the flu in Minnesota alone. Then, in mid-October, fires raged across 1,500 square miles in seven counties of northeastern Minnesota, leaving thousands homeless and hundreds dead. Journalist and author, Curt Brown, explores this monumental year through individual and community stories from all over the state.