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About the Book

The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes
Author: Ron Edwards
As told to Peter Jessen

Trade book ISBN: 1932047700

Publication: 10/22/02 326 pages

First Print Run: 10,000

Available from Beacon On The Hill Press.

Booksellers: to place large orders:





Ron Edwards, well known civil rights and community activist, connects the dots to bring an understanding of the purposeful segregation and discrimination that he has witnessed, personally experienced, and fought against in Minneapolis over the past 40 years. In his newly released book, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, he provides 18 riveting chapters and 16 enlightening short Interludes of significant historical happenings, as he discusses throughout, how Minneapolis, one of the whitest cities in America has operated. Ron writes about what the great Pulitzer prize winning author James Baldwin called America’s systematic efforts "to keep Black people in their place."

Ron Edwards thoroughly engages his reader in what will become known as a must read not just in the Black community, but for all people who want to see just how a city operates and what is behind a city’s willingness to pay the price of unrest and disturbances in order to deny Blacks adequate education (keeping Blacks in poor schools and thus not competitive with suburban kids), housing (the Holmann project as an example of razing Black housing in order to create White housing), and job opportunities (purposefully denying Black contractors and Black workers), as Whites systematically try everything, from gerrymandering to court records tampering to stealing (shredding?) files to buying off Black leadership to the theft of Black wealth and property, to carrying out a war against young Black men to holding the University higher than people, to manipulating the electoral process to a whole range of corrupt practices, including setting up the mostly Black team, the NFL Vikings, to be run out of town. The Minneapolis Story is not just a tell all, it is an explain all, as Ron connects the dots to explain the systematic efforts to deny Blacks equal access and equal opportunity. But this is not just a Black story, for, as Ron Edwards says, if they can do this to Blacks they can certainly also do it to Whites who are not wealthy, powerful, or connected.

Ron Edward’s biggest concern is for the war America is waging on young Black men and the systematic denial of this by so-called Black organizations that have become so irrelevant that no Black under 25 would give a dime for either the NAACP or the Urban League, who have become part of the problem, not the solution, as they collude with the city powers to keep poor Blacks down on the Mississippi’s Grandest Liberal Plantation. Ron Edwards book is destined to be a best seller as he brings to America an authentic voice of the everyday Black person In The Minneapolis Story, Ron Edwards connects the dots for the reader, acting as a beacon on the hill shining the light of truth.

Ron Edwards brings a welcome relief to stand against the kind of self-serving and self-enriching proclamations of such self-appointed Black leaders. Sometimes like a voice in the wilderness, Ron Edwards never takes his eyes off the prize of equality’s freedom.

And yet, as clear as it is that he doesn’t like the racist system of Minneapolis, it is also clear that he loves his city, its people, and that he brings a joy of living to the work he has done as a community advocate.

Ron Edwards reflects those historic and legendary Black men who despite the station forced on them in life by their White overlords, could still find grace and dignity, respect and honor, in meaningful life of purpose supporting the civil rights and human rights causes. He doesn’t mix up the competing warriors fighting over the government and foundation monies. Blacks are the focus. Ron respects all legitimate minorities, and some of them have legitimate issues, but none come close to the issue of the centuries long discrimination against the Black man. Nonetheless, Ron Edwards finds way to address the situation in Minneapolis throughout the book, and provides concrete ways for evaluating how to develop "a better future" of "positive possibilities." He not only provides ways for people to talk the walk, he brings all of his suggestions together at the end of the book for all of those who want solid, positive suggestions for walking the talk. The Minneapolis Story will open your eyes and hearts. We hope it also opens you up to follow the positive action Ron outlines for all the peoples of Minneapolis to work and play and be in community together

Beacon On The Hill Press

What would happen if a community activist with more than forty years of experience in the City of Minneapolis was willing to distill everything he had learned about the city into a handful examples of what has been wonderful to some and dreadful to others, and showed both how they could get on the same side of wonderful? It would change the city.

Ron Edwards has done exactly that in The Minneapolis Story. He has combined insights learned from his forty-plus years of watching and participating in the city’s successes and mistakes with observations from the front lines of community interaction with the people of the city and the powers of the city (courts, mayors, city council, corporations). The result is a revealing look at Minneapolis as only a great storyteller can tell it, in the tradition of African villages passed on to slaves on plantations.

It is not often a publisher has an opportunity to bring to the public a book that is destined to be a classic, a book that has the potential to make a positive impact on the domestic issues of this country today, a book that has all of the ingredients of a recipe for healing and reconciliation between the races by providing first a catharsis by stating the awful and sometimes terrifying truths and then closing with positive suggestions for positive possibilities for everyone.

Topics like discrimination and racism in the courts, education, housing, jobs, city contracting, the primacy of the University, the gerrymandering recently undertaken to impoverish and disempower the Blacks of North Minneapolis, the co-opting of Black organizations like the NAACP and the Urban League such that they are now in collusion with the White bosses to make sure the "field hands" stay in their fields are the sexier aspects of being at the center of a City for forty years. Not so sexy are the sad, tragic, and fearsome reminders of the other side of the race coin: the systematic lynching, denial of liberties, and constant repression in all things possible, including the total destruction of Black towns, to the ground, including one instance where 200

Black women and children were fed to the pigs. Ron Edwards knows these things from the past because he was told them by his father and grandfather. History has long written these stories but they have also been long forgotten, but Ron brings them back to life for you. Ron Edwards demonstrates that the ultimate difference between a community’s people and its leaders is, in fact, the ability to provide or prevent equal access and equal opportunity in the areas of education, housing, and jobs.

Equal opportunity and equal access are the missing links in the Black community as the City purposefully seeks to maintain a consistency in that denial. Edwards points out that the biggest obstacle to success is the absence of a sense of a common ground in the areas of education, children, and families, as well as in transportation, energy, and the environment, as well as the economy, jobs, wages, and minority business.

Through a series of chapters on the major concerns of the city over the past 40 years, such as education, housing and jobs, Edwards outlines how the city has been willing to pay the price of civil unrest and disturbances to keep Blacks in their place. He eloquently writes how he wants these things "not here, not there, not anywhere."

To give us guideposts to help us in our journey to establish common ground, he tells the stories of key figures, like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, as well as about George Washington Carver, W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Justice Thurgood Marshall. He tells us what we don’t want, what will become his famous NOs, as he explores in short interludes the stories of Dred Scott, the 10,000 men named George, of the systematic taking of the land of Blacks from them by individuals, companies, and governments, as well as the lynching and assassinations.

He objectively records the racism of the 1990 reports on racism by the Star Tribune and the Mpls.St.Paul magazine, and how little has changed since then. He notes the progress, which is great, the glass half full, but reminds us also that a half full glass is also half empty and brings us back to the poor person, especially the poor Black, asked to live in substandard housing and work for wages that even when earned working full time won’t support a family, which is terrible.

At the end he gathers all of his recommendations together and offers good advice on working to get along to find that common ground all can celebrate and if all adopt, can finally bring all citizens together moving forward in the 21st century in a positive and meaningful manner. Remember, Ron is telling you the Minneapolis story because you need to know. He is passing it on to you. Now you buy the book, cherish the book, and pass its knowledge on to others.

Book Description

The book shows how to establish that cooperative common ground of community and neighbor, of professional and non-professional, of the political class and the business class, of the need for the better of all to work to ensuring equal access and equal opportunity for all.

He never caves in to the seeming madness of "the man," and, as he continues his work, becomes a man with unparalleled insight into why what has taken place has, and why what is going to take place will, including the soon to be loss of the Vikings from Minnesota. In this book Ron Edwards gives us the benefit of his knowledge and experience as he works to close the gap between results that are possible, and results that can serve as an example to others.

In the process of connecting the dots regarding Minneapolis operates, he has also described and exercise steps to achieve his "vision" while working with others. Ron Edwards show the importance of being deeply and passionately engaged in community, and now seeks to foster that engagement through the chapters he has collected with his robust dialogues about people, events, and the strategies and operations needed to succeed, strategies resting on intellectual honesty and realism. As a community activist, Ron is always fighting.

If people will read his book and gather in discussion groups, and act positively on what they have read, they will develop an ensuing leadership gene pool that could conceive and select strategies that can be executed to achieve the common YESes and deny the common NOs. People could then work together to create a strategy, to work to prepare the kids for a stiff-arming on the world track.

About the Author

Ron Edwards is a man with few peers who has a track record for serving the community. He served as the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission Chairman ad Vice-Chairman from 1967-1983. He holds the record for the longest period of service with the Urban League, in which he served as Chairman longer than anyone else, eleven years (1978-1989), which followed six years on the Executive Committee. His legendary service earned him friends and enemies. He also served as Chair of the Housing Committee for the NAACP. He currently serves as the spokesperson for the Black Police Officer’s Association.

From the Back Cover

About Ron Edwards, the story teller: "The Minneapolis Story is the story of Ron Edwards’ 40-year struggle to overcome the adversity of racial injustice in Minneapolis. Ron Edwards fights the powerful people and institutions that are determined to take their misguided and elitist views of how to control a city to the rest of America. He pulls the covers off and exposes their actions with his vision of a real America as a beacon on a hill for all, where the bill of rights is for you also"

"Ron Edwards is the "go to" guy for understanding race relations in his city. He has been quoted in over 7,000 newspaper articles, because he has the complete story, one that is true, credible, and needs to be heard. He sees the realities and the possibilities." If you look closely, you see your city.

About Peter Jessen, who Ron told his story to: Research, writing and communications consulting for three national commissions, the Smithsonian Institution, corporations, foundations, and for countless individual executives, as well as guest teaching at various colleges, universities, and business schools. Lived in Minneapolis from 1989-1993. Headed communications consulting firms in McLean Virginia and New York City.