Not long after the turn of the 20th century, a grandson of former slaves headed north to Minnesota from Kansas City with about a dollar in his pocket. Cecil E. Newman would go on to found one of the Twin Cities’ most beloved African American institutions: The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. The weekly newspaper helped launch the careers of many prominent black Minnesotans including photographer Gordon Parks. This year, it celebrates 80 years in circulation, making it the oldest-operating, black-owned business in the state. In this episode of “MinneHistory,” KFAI’s Jess Mador brings us the story of how Newman’s quietly powerful editorials influenced the national debate on civil rights.
In 1865, Theodore Hamm established Hamm’s Beer in St. Paul. This beer became known for its cartoon bear and catchy jingle. But in 1973, Hamm’s sent a film crew to Northern Minnesota. Britt Aamodt relates the history of those commercials, featuring animal trainer Earl Hammond and his Kodiak bear Sasha.