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November 2002

From: Peter Jessen []
Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 3:45 AM
Cc:; Doug Grow
Subject: RE: [NIE] Digest Number 214

The NIE issue for Tuesday, 11-18-02, urges us to read the article in the 11-18-02 Strib, “NAACP election highlights differences in beliefs.” It is good to read every side. But “buyer beware.” This article is misleading at best and untruthful at worst. It seems to me that in light of the recent series on the NAACP in the Spokesman-Recorder, and in light of the recent book by Ron Edwards, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, the article suggested for reading, needs a closer look. The article obviously quotes both candidates. From the quotes, it is clear that both have read the Table of Contents of Ron’s book if not the whole book (as Ron wrote the book I know he, at least, has read it). That the article is misleading is nothing new, and indeed that is one of Ron’s themes about the mainstream press. It is interesting to note that although the Strib has had a copy of the book for three weeks for review and comment, it has yet to write about it. That has been left to the Spokesman Recorder (see reviews and story on our Web site, and a forthcoming piece in Insight). From the mainstream press: silence. For example, the article states that:

Ron Edwards stands for: “a return to basics to recapture and regain respect in the community”

Shalia Lindsey stands for: the group’s “reestablishing its community presence” on issues such as affordable housing, education and federal mediation.

What concerns me is that the line attributed to Ron makes him sound out of touch whereas the line attributed to Shaila makes her sound very much in touch. And yet it is the opposite that is true. What is listed under Shaila in terms of what it means is not on the record anywhere whereas these topics are dealt with by Ron, with a resoundingly profound chapter on each, along with his suggestions for how to deal with them, in his book (for example, he addresses housing in Chapter 8, education in Chapter 7, and mediation in Chapter 16).

Also, Lindsey’s statement that the local branch redistricting would have “helped more people of color win City Council seats” is shockingly untrue. The travesty of the collusion of the NAACP to disempower, disenfranchise and impoverish the Black community is clearly explained in Ron’s book, in Chapters 12 and 13, with an explanation of gerrymandering in Interlude 12. And how can Lindsey claim “restoring the stability and integrity of the organization” when the NAACP, according to a recent article earlier this month, is so out of touch that despite the tens of thousands of Blacks in Minneapolis, its membership numbers less than 200?

And to open up the article with “It has all the makings of an intergenerational struggle,” clearly takes away the significant substantive positions where Ron has courageously taken stands that should make all the readers of the NIE proud. Instead, the article casts the election differences as merely trivial, of a young person underdog vs. an over the hill guy, so why not give it to the young underdog? This is very unfair. Age is not the issue. Substance is. Equal access is. Equal opportunity is. The prize of freedom is. The only real promise for progress for Blacks which I’ve seen in Minneapolis or in any other city in this country is in Ron’s book. He summarizes his suggestions in Chapter 17. He trumpets his positive and optimistic vision in his Conclusion. He calls for all, young and old, Black and White, rich and poor, clergy and lay people, neighbor and neighbor, voters and the voted for, to apply the Golden Rule to each other (see Chapter 5).

When Ron is quoted in the article saying “”I’ve been here. I don’t see an implementation of the mission statement of the NAACP or the stipulations from the two lawsuits,” he speaks truth, which he backs up in his book in Chapter 14, where he discusses why the NAACP is no longer a force to be reckoned with. What should be done? Ron lays it out clearly and nicely in Chapters 5 and 17. Ron can bring the grace of age (he believes in and practices Minnesota Nice but makes the understandable demand that it be made to apply to Blacks as well as to Whites, to the poor as well as to the non-poor, to the young as well as the old). He represents one who can bridge the generations and be a catalyst to raise up a new generation of leaders, not to follow him, but to be empowered by the organization to go out in the community and city itself, without pausing to consider whether they have to ask permission to do so (see the eloquent statements in earlier issues of the NIE to that effect by the young Black candidate for governor who was told by the older Black leadership that he had to get permission from them first: those words will never cross the lips of Ron Edwards).

Beacon On The Hill Press applauds your efforts and discussions. As the publisher of Ron’s book, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the significance we place in his book. 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 and prosperity for all 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, a book that should be in the home of everyone in every city in America. Whether you elect Ron or not is the collective decision of those voters who show up and are allowed to vote. Regardless, Ron has written the blue print for showing White Minneapolis why and how “to let my people go” and how Black Minneapolis can work together to make that happen for all. Keep your eye on the prize. Work for freedom, liberty, and prosperity for all, not just a few. Our prayers and best wishes are for you in this moment of decision of yours.

For those who want to learn more, I will take the unusual step later today of placing the Table of Contents of the book on our web site, You can then easily order the book on line from our site, or purchase copies at the Ruminator Book Store at 11th and Washington in downtown Minneapolis or at the Spokesman-Recorder newspaper office. Over the next several weeks the book will become available in other book stores as well.

Show you care. Regardless of how and who you vote for, vote, and show through your numbers you are ready to bring the NAACP and, by extension, the Black people of Minneapolis as well, back to glory.

Tune in, turn out, and vote.
Peter Jessen
Beacon On The Hill Press

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at

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