Celebrating Black History in Saint Paul

Celebrating Black History in Saint Paul

The month of February is observed as Black History Month to celebrate the stories and contributions of Black people throughout history.

Photo of Roy Wilkins, courtesy Roy Wilkins Auditorium

Learn more about Saint Paul organizations honoring the achievements and lives of Black Americans that have shaped our community, this month and throughout the year. 


89.3 The Current

Radio station 89.3 The Current is paying tribute to a different musical icon in honor of Black History Month every day in February. Learn more.


KFAI Radio

KFAI Radio is proud to amplify the voices of Black folks from across the globe, and right here in the Twin Cities. Tune in and celebrate Black History Month with KFAIR on Saturday February 27th for 24hrs of all Black content. Learn more.


Minnesota Historical Society

Minnesota Historical Society’s Black History, Black Voices seeks to deepen understanding of Black history and the contributions Black Americans have made to Minnesota, centering Black narratives, history, and issues through ongoing programs, content and resources created by members of Minnesota’s Black community. Learn more 

Read more about how African Americans have shaped the state on MNOPEDIA 


Minnesota Museum of American Art

In partnership with The African American Interpretive Center of Minnesota (AAICM), The M presents a new exhibition, Outer Experiences: Black Life in Rural and Suburban Minnesota, on display in the M’s window galleries on Robert and Fourth Streets. Through photographs by Chris McDuffie and excerpts from AAICM’s oral history project, this exhibition presents an opportunity for all Minnesotans to build a more comprehensive understanding of what it's like to be Black outside the Twin Cities. The exhibition opens on February 21 and runs through June 20, 2021. Learn more.

Through The M @ Home, learn about Gordon Parks who began his career as a photographer in Saint Paul in the late 1930s. Parks was the first African American staff photographer at Life, the first African American director at a major Hollywood studio, and the founder and executive director of Essence magazine. Learn more.

Ordway Center

Ordway Center’s Visionaries Who Matter helps shine a light on the important Black community leaders and artists who have been honored at the Ordway’s Sally Awards and beyond. Listen to the stories of three men who have made it their mission to further move forward the work of racial and social justice: Seitu Jones, Gary Hines, and Lou Bellamy. Watch here.


Park Square Theatre

During Black History Month, Park Square Theatre is offering its production of TEARS OF MOONS, by Antonio Duke and directed by Ellen Fenster, for a full month of streaming access. The play was filmed on Park Square’s Boss Stage and shown through Zoom in November of 2020 along with live post-show conversations. Get tickets.


Penumbra Theatre

Penumbra Theatre, a 44-year-old legacy black arts organization that was once home to playwright August Wilson, is evolving into the Penumbra Center for Racial Healing. Based in the historically black neighborhood of Rondo in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Penumbra’s mission has long been to nurture black artists, promote racial equity, and inspire creative resiliency. Building upon this history, the Penumbra Center for Racial Healing will offer new artistic offerings, robust equity training services, a wellness center and expanded staff to support the fresh areas of focus. Learn more. 


Ramsey County & City of Saint Paul

City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County are hosting virtual events to celebrate Black History Month with staff. The theme is Recognizing The Black Family and highlights the shared history of many Black people in America, the local businesses that support these communities, the intimate conversations Black parents have with their children and celebrates family traditions. Learn more and view recordings. 

Ramsey County Historical Society

Ramsey County Historical Society has curated past important articles from their magazine, Ramsey County History, that celebrate the contributions that African-Americans have made to our communities. Learn more. 

Rondo Avenue, Inc.

In the 1930s, Rondo Avenue was at the heart of Saint Paul's largest Black neighborhood. The construction of I-94 in the 1960s shattered this tight-knit community, displaced thousands of African-Americans into a racially segregated city and a discriminatory housing market, and erased a now-legendary neighborhood. Rondo Avenue, Inc. is dedicated to preserving, conserving and accurately interpreting the contributions of the African-American community of Rondo. Celebrations like Rondo Days and the Jazz Festival bring people together for celebrations of the positive growth and diversity of the beloved Rondo community. Learn more. 

The Rondo Commemorative Plaza at 820 Concordia Avenue includes interactive historical displays with information, images, music and art representative of the old Rondo community before the freeway was built in the early 1960s.

Rondo: Beyond the Pavement, is a student-produced film and podcast presented by Saint Paul Almanac, in partnership with St. Paul Neighborhood Network and High School for Recording Arts, chronicling the history of the Rondo community. Learn more.


Saint Paul Historical

Take a tour of sites of African American Heritage with Saint Paul Historical, curated from “Points of Entry: The African American Heritage Guide to Saint Paul, by CultureBrokers Foundation Inc. Through 16 sites on the tour, learn about people and places like Roy Wilkins, Frederick McGhee, Nellie Griswold Francis and Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, that helped to shape Minnesota's capital city. Learn more.

Minnesota History Center Attractions/Things to Do Minnesota History Center
Penumbra Theatre Attractions/Things to Do Penumbra Theatre
Park Square Theatre Company Attractions/Things to Do Park Square Theatre Company
Minnesota Museum of American Art Attractions/Things to Do Minnesota Museum of American Art

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