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A Renaissance Black Man in a White Man's World

A Beacon for Freedom in the City

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Rod Edwards On Why American Cities Need Black Newspapers

Ed. note: A major theme of The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, is the bias of White newspapers (in Minneapolis its the Star Tribune and in St. Paul its The Pioneer Press) and the reality that if Blacks in America want the truth, they also need to read their local Black newspapers, as well as so-called alternative White papers. In Minneapolis this has meant the Spokesman-Recorder.

Another Black newspaper, Insight covers both Minneapolis and twin city St. Paul. And major alternative papers offering Blacks an unfettered voice are City Pages, and The Rake, among others.

Ron’s point: unless citizens read the Black press and the alternative press, they will not only not get the full truth, they will often get misleading information and distortion of the truth. As if to proove this point, it has now been nearly a month Despite the Star Tribune having a copy of The Minneapolis Story for nearly a month that the book was given to The Star Tribune; it is known to at least three major columnists, and probably more. And yet, despite the fact that the book is the talk of the Black community in Minneapolis (both positive and negative), meaning it is definnitely news, The Star Tribune has yet to acknowledge the book, review the book, or comment on the book. For this reason, we have decided to put Ron’s thinking on this in this one place as a way of fostering and encouraging all citizens, Blck and White, that seek the truth, to not only read but subscribe to their local Black papers and their local alternative press. What follow are exerpts that are direct quotes from the book, in chronological order as the appear in the book:

About some of what I say you may ask: “If this is true, how come I haven’t read about it in the newspaper?” That alone helps prove one of my points: that what you have missed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune or in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the mouthpieces of the puppet-masters, has been written about in the nn-Recorder, the Minneapolis Black newspaper. So read on. In Minneapolis, as in many cities, it is the Black newspapers that carry the most truth (p. 3).

My special audience for this book is the African-American readers of Minneapolis and, in particular, the readers of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, [and Insight]the only independent [Black] news voices in Minneapolis (as it is with Black newspapers in many cities). More than any others, Black newspapers know the importance of not being “asleep at the switch” when it comes to knowing what is going on. It is a matter of survival to always “know what time it is” in terms of what is going on. This book is about what time it is in Minneapolis (p. 4).

The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder was the only media outlet to give the story of the missing files major coverage (it even put a picture showing the wall of empty file cabinets on its front page), but that is a Black newspaper, so who will pay attention to that? And so nearly a year after the files disappeared (stolen? hidden? shredded ?), neither the newly elected Mayor nor the City Attorney nor any other public official, city or state, has honored the request of Cherryhomes’ successor, Natalie Johnson-Lee, to investigate the taking of the missing files (p. 68).

…it is my belief that the files purposely taken by Cherryhomes could answer a lot of these questions. I believe they were either shredded like Enron did or squirreled away for later use to keep track of who was promised what and who owes whom what political favor. We won’t know until we see the files. And so far, neither the mayor, city attorney, or local media seem to care, as since November 2001, it has been only the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, newly elected Council Member Natalie Johnson-Lee, and I who have called for their return and for an investigation into their taking and their content (p. 133).

What is so telling is that not only were few amazed, but that most just sat back, smiled, and watched. Only recently has anyone tried to do something about it besides Natalie Johnson-Lee, the Spokesman-Recorder, and I (p. 138)

This will not just go away. People are at the end of their rope. A major forum was held in Minneapolis at the Sabathani Community Center on Saturday, August 3, 2002. You can read the full story not, of course in the Star Tribune or other White papers, but in the Black Spokesman-Recorder of the Thursday, August 8-14, 2002 edition (153).

As I have noted before, and as I will show you below, just because you don’t read of this in the Minneapolis Star Tribune doesn’t mean it isn’t being covered. All of this gets reported, but not to any extent in the major papers. To get all the news of your city, read or subscribe to the Black newspaper. In Minneapolis, that newspaper is the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, whose article I include below. Indeed, in any urban setting, if you want the truth in terms of front-page news, read your Black newspaper. The other excellent alternative newspaper in Minneapolis is City Pages.

And that independent, fearless alternative media, as in newspapers, in Minneapolis are the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and City Page (p. 193). The above was in Response to these paragraphs in the Statesman-Recorder (pp. 192-3): This coverage was, in plain and simple terms, a total Whitewash of the public hearing on city ward boundaries with a proposed map that has occurred for 10 years, and that will not occur again until the year 2012. Nor was it just the “Star Tribune”—to our knowledge, no major TV or radio stations covered the event. No better argument is possible for a strong, independent, fearless alternative media in this city to fill in the huge blanks.

Now I know that by now, dear reader, you are wondering how can all this be? How come, you ask, you haven’t read it in the press? If this is true, why hasn’t it been in the newspapers and on TV? Good questions. But it has been. And if, dear reader, you ask where, then I know you don’t read the Black newspaper, The Minnesota Spokesman and Recorder, and I know that you don’t listen to the Black news on radio station KMOJ, nor, for that matter, my TV program. For several years we have all carried the story. In fairness, the White papers have carried it as a joke or in snippets, but not enough to upset anyone, for they know the Vikings are not to be saved. And they know Whites are not reading the Black newspaper, so they have nothing to fear (p. 256).

Fitzgerald concluded by predicting that the Vikings will move to Los Angeles, the Twins will stay in a renovated dome, and the Gopher football team will get its own stadium on its campus. Has anything changed since last summer? Here is Fitzgerald again, in August 2002, not only answering this question but also pointing out the unheralded but necessary reading of the Black independent newspapers in this country: (p. 256)

First let us look at what the two major newspapers said about the Council decision, then let’s discuss what actually took place. The Minneapolis Star Tribune downplayed the walk-out and its significance. I must admit that the St. Paul Pioneer Dispatch was more accurate in its reporting. The most accurate reports you’ll get is from the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and from The City Pages, when they write their stories. But I can assure you that their stories will be far more detailed and accurate than either of the White papers (p. 287).

The fans’ rage will be even greater at the reality of how these wealthy owners went along with the use of outside money to ship out the people’s Vikings, as reported in USA Today (August 6, 2002): the NFL gave or loaned Red McCombs $100 million to help him buy the team to ensure that it would be shipped out. No one knew this before. This was the first time this news leaked out, meaning it had been a secret for five years. Note: you did not read this in the Star Tribune. But it was in USA Today, and it was featured in Larry Fitzgerald’s column in the Spokesman Recorder (p. 258).

As usual, you won’t find the news in the establishment papers, but do check the Spokesman-Recorder and City Pages. I was at the meetings. These papers were represented and they said they would be providing full coverage (p. 270) [and later did].

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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