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The Blocks to Construct a Minneapolis Table for All to Sit at Together
By Ron Edwards and Peter Jessen
Based on The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, by Ron Edwards as told to Peter Jessen

Note: C#s and B#s refer to Columns and Blogs (web log entries) on

Action outline of how to use The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, by Ron Edwards, a story reflected in every American city (as well as rural areas in the South) that have concentrations of the descendents of American slaves (that special group of immigrants of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries not allowed to be educated or to build wealth over time). It is a story of GAPS that need to be filled. Let's enjoy life and have some fun doing so, reconciled together, positively focusing on the dream, the possibilities, the right. Though freed by law after the Civil War, slaves and their descendents have been consistently subjected to deferments of that freedom, first by Jim Crow and secondly by The 1968 Kerner Commission Report, which is quasi Jim Crow in disguise, that states that as Blacks are not like other immigrants and can't make it on their own, they require government support and direction. This is racism. The 1998 book The Bell Curve says Blacks aren't bright enough and thus also says Blacks must be under government support and direction. This too is racism. So, whether from the political left or right, these opposites in content recommend the same process: descendents of American slaves placed under government support and direction, despite the fact that the greatest growth in middle class status today is being achieved by Blacks (evidence doesn't mean much to those who have already made up their minds). This IDEA lies at the root of our problem today. To meet the challenge for tomorrow, these parts of Kerner and Bell must be repudiated today. It has led to polices in education/jobs/housing/growth, etc., that have left descendents of slaves behind, whether in the poverty/crime ridden containment areas of our inner cities, in rural Southern areas of Blacks, or in prisons. The Minneapolis Story resources listed here will help with understanding the past and present in order to successfully meet the challenge of the future so that the descendents of America’s slaves may finally be fully integrated into the mainstream of society and culture and be at the table with everyone. This can be used in discussions, seminars, workshops, dinners and other formats to provide leaders of same with the information and strategies they need to acknowledge and effect needed change of fairness and justice. Understanding the Past: (the good and the bad, and carry forward the hope and the dream)

  1. Read The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, by Ron Edwards as told to Peter Jessen, and especially the summary of the book's recommendations in Chapter 17 and the history "Interludes."
  2. There is an economic and personal cost of racism to both individuals and the institutions of the city and state.
  3. Restorative Affirmative Action provides historical perspective for how to finally end the dream's deferment: focus on the descendents of slaves, and let separate laws/groups/protocols/movements deal with women, GLBT, immigrants, disabled (physically, mentally), etc. show how to redefine and recast Civil Rights with an ethic that levels the playing field to enable American Blacks who are descendents of slaves a chance at equal access and equal opportunity in order to set and then meet goals to close the Black-White gaps in education, jobs, housing, public safety, safe environment, and governing. Understanding the Present: (the good and the bad, having fun reaffirming the hope and the dream)
  1. The Story of America's Inner Cities As Told by the Example of Minneapolis, Mn, as Yesterday's Questions Haunt Tomorrow's Answers: High Hopes or Hopeless Helplessness? Dream Fulfillment or Dream Deferment? by Ron Edwards with Peter Jessen, includes 2003's weekly columns as they appeared in The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the Solution Papers/essays, and the daily Blog (web log) entries of . [coming December 2003]
  2. web page with its on-going continuation of the Minneapolis Story with its weekly columns, daily web log, and Solution Papers.
  3. Read Black newspapers to get a sense of how the City still follows "legal" and "moral" policies that are corrupted by racist principles, which is why White newspapers cannot always be trusted which is why we also need to have in our communities Black newspapers.
  4. Read The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, which carries the weekly column and provides the wider canvas recording and reporting the Black experience as it unfolds in Minneapolis.

THE GAPS to close: (to reverse the bad and the ugly to enact a vision of hope and fulfill the dream)

  1. Education (Chapter 7): huge gap in performance between Blacks and Whites in reading/writing/math.
  2. Jobs (Chapter 9): city in non-compliance with Federal and city construction contract system
  3. Housing (Chapter 8): Hollman as example of razing Black housing to then raise White housing
  4. Public Safety (Chapter 16, Blog #214): accepting unrest and disturbance as the acceptable price of maintaining the status quo and using police to keep Blacks in their place.
  5. Safe Environment (Chapters 1, 5, 8): gap in quality of air/water/soil of Black and White communities
  6. Governing (Chapter 3, 10, 11-13, Blogs #218 and 227): by courts and councils and boards (gerrymandered redistricting, DFL 1 party rule, city unions, non-profits).
  7. Ethical Leadership of Hope (Chapter 2, 4-6, 14-15, 17, Conclusion): equal access & opportunity for all with all at the mainstream table, "here, there and everywhere" with racism, bigotry, segregation & discrimination "not here, not there, not anywhere," using the Golden Rule, Common YESes & NOs.

Understanding the future: CLOSING THE GAPS (education, jobs, housing, with smiles of fun and energy)

  1. Follow 7 Solutions updates and expands Chapter 17 of "The Minneapolis Story," in the 7 areas with the major Black-White gaps: (1) education, (2) jobs, (3) housing, (4) public safety, (5) safe environment, (6) governing, and (7) Black-White ethics. 7.f: Hold a public discussion, a "family meeting," on the gaps in these seven areas.
  2. Engage "Ubuntu" reconciliation of Blacks and Blacks and Blacks and Whites. Do so through the common YESes and common NOs of Chapters 5 and 17. "Ubuntu" reconciliation was the approach of Desmond Tutu in South Africa to bring together the oppressor Whites and oppressed Blacks of Apartheid (see B log entries #163, 164, 172).
  3. Start with education (Chapter 7): Nellie Stone Johnson said "No education, no jobs, no housing, no hope." Merit, not class, must be the base, for all, "the content of character not the color of skin." BUT, education is not unattainable if elementary school is made unattainable even when sitting in class. Poor schools = poor teachers, poor methodology, less resources and less support. As Sandra Scar says: "Opportunity breeds predestination," and opportunity starts with education. The key to realizing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is to press for equal access and equal opportunity, to make the life start a strong start in both Head Start (as originally designed as opposed to today's watered down program mixing those who need it with those who don't, a baby sitting operation harmful to those most in need of it) and elementary education. Needed : original focus of Head Start, better trained teachers, upgrade of early education, reduced class sizes, teach "whatever" but all on foundation of the basics of reading, writing, 'rithmetic, matching teaching styles to student learning styles, and demonstrating expectation of learning success, not failure. See Blogs #215-216.
  4. Retrieve the "Moral Mantel" of when White churches and corporations marched with Black churches & Black organizations and end the withdrawing/giving up on Blacks (see Blog #203). Unite through the unique music of spiritual and pop, and unleash happy warriors. Engage corporations positively (see Blog #206).
  5. Reform the NAACP and the Urban League so that they provide a forum for all voices of the Black heterogeneous community of descendents of America's slaves, and once again keep the eye on the prize in order to finish the unfinished dream. See Blogs 195-6, 198-202, 208-10).
  6. Engage in the steps of mediation and conflict resolution to bring the different voices together on the common ground of common YESes and NOs.
  7. Stop the war on youth and provide them with Higher hope than hip hop.
  8. Remember 9-11 and the many Black veterans of our wars as well (Blog # 217), but not at the expense of our inner cities. Increase the number of Blacks in police and fire departments.
  9. Establish strategic new spokesmen, (1) those arguing before the courts and advocating in legislatures and city councils, as well as (2) public spokesmen and advocates in communities and meetings, in person and in the print and broadcast and other media. (3) the rest of us holding high hopes for the removal of hopeless helplessness. The reality of the civil rights movement is that its success required both the out front advocacy of leaders like MLK, and the behind the scenes advocates by leaders such as Thurgood Marshall arguing before the courts, especially the Supreme Court, and Clarence Mitchell (”Mr. Civil Rights”) tirelessly working the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. to get the votes for civil rights legislation, along with an army of follower-leaders with joy and happiness in their hearts as they march for the good and the positive, for the joy of the dream. This is needed in both Minneapolis as a city and St. Paul as a capital, of people working with the committees, especially their Chairs, in the city and the capital, to promote the kind of laws/regulations/statutes needed to achieve the kind of progress sought: equal access and equal opportunity, especially as it relates to education in the schools (State & city education departments take note), employment in the labor market job sites, and housing in the neighborhoods.
  10. Stop breaking federal/state/city laws/regulations/rules/statues re education, jobs, and housing.
  11. Work with measures of accountability to judge actions and promises of officials and institutions.
  12. Publish all government dollars spent, whether spent by public or private spenders.
  13. Be whistleblowers when necessary.
  14. Stop disenfranching minorities.
  15. Get Star Tribune and other media to work to heal, not slay (see Blogs 190, 191, and 213). Extend coverage from cover stories in City Pages, The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and the web page provided by publisher Beacon on the Hill Press, by adding coverage purposefully missing from the Star Tribune, Insight News, One Nation News, KMOJ Forum.

Peter J. Jessen, Beacon On The Hill Press, . Publisher/Editor of The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, , books I and II . 11-23/28-03

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

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and for the columns. Please cite for blog entries and solution papers.

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