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Shirley Murdock in concert Program features Apostle Ronnie Diamond Hoard and Antwon Bradshaw’s Revolution

June 17 - June 23, 2013


Vol. 40 No. 25 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts •


The road to


MUL Archives

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the MUL Dinner April 21, 1960, at the Leamington Hotel


housands of AfricanAmericans migrated to the upper Midwest in search of better opportunities and to avoid the harsh Jim Crow laws prevalent in the South. The end of WWII saw the return of soldiers disillusioned from fighting for a country that didn’t protect the very rights they fought for. The lack of jobs, housing and equal opportunities for African Americans edged the historically moderate Urban League to the forefront of the burgeoning civil rights movement advocating for equal opportunity and socioeconomic change. Poll taxes and literacy tests were among the intimidating tactics employed to discourage African-Americans from voting at the turn of the last century. Pioneering efforts of Minnesotans like Nellie Stone Johnson, Cecil E. Newman, Lena O. Smith-founding members of the Minneapolis Urban League-and Dr. Josie Johnson, Shelton Granger, Katie McWatt, Kwame McDonald, Matthew Little, Dr. Thomas Johnson, Barbara Cunningham and many others, who successfully lobbied for the passage of progressive civil rights bills in Minnesota, in many respects, set the tone for landmark legislation on a national scale.


MUL Legac y

The 2013 Trailblazer Honoree: Dr. Josie Johnson

Sounds of Blackness

The Sound of Transformation

Dr. Josie Johnson For over 87 years, the Minneapolis Urban League has led the charge to serve the community and all those who call it home by serving families, helping people find jobs, homes and create their own pathways to opportunity. Conversely, we’ve been graced by the talents and services of many from within our community who’ve served tirelessly as champions of change. We are pleased to honor one such individual as

our 2013 Trailblazer Honoree, Dr. Josie Johnson. Dr. Josie Johnson Educator, Administrator and Civil Rights Icon Slender, elegant, exuding southern graciousness, Dr. Josie Johnson is Minnesota’s Lady of Civil Rights...and a force to be reckoned with.


Sharing our stories through the Sounds of Blackness When it comes to telling the story of the African experience in America, the saga unfolds against the backdrop of sounds, voices, hymns and hollers that embody that journey. Each genre within the family of black music is an expression of our experience at each stage of progression, punctuating the timeline of history. No other ensemble captures

the rich tapestry of this experience better than The Sounds of Blackness. For over 40 years, the Grammy Awardwinning choir has consistently performed and proclaimed the music, culture and history of African-Americans to audiences all over the world.


Richard Estes

Obituar y The world’s best mortician Richard Estes was MUL 2012 Trailblazer Richard Estes passed away peacefully May 29th, 2013, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital surrounded by his family. At funeral services Saturday, June 8, at Zion Baptist Church in North Minneapolis, his nephew and mentee, Tracy Wesley, tearfully declared, “He was the best mortician in the whole

world.” Community builder Spike Moss praised Estes for his pioneering entrepreneurial spirit and for his selfless commitment to the community. Moss also chastised members of our community who “depended


MUL Memories



Full Circle

Nellie Stone Johnson: A force for civil rights

Academic: New motif for Commons Hotel

Students explore life and work of Sharon Sayles Belton

Blended families 101





Page 2 • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Insight News

MUL Memories

Nellie Stone Johnson:

A force for civil rights Nellie Stone Johnson was born December 17, 1905 to one of a few black families that settled in the rural farming communities of Dakota County at the turn of the last century. From an early age, Johnson revealed an activist spirit, distributing leaflets for the Nonpartisan League on her way to school at age 13, and joining the Minneapolis NAACP at age 16. She eventually moved to Minneapolis, becoming a force for union and civil rights as a founding member of many of today’s civic organizations, including the merger of

the Minnesota Democratic Party with the Farm-Labor Party (DFL). She was also instrumental in the creation of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the State of Minnesota’s Human Rights Department, the first of its kind in the nation. Johnson also authored legislation impacting employment, union and civil rights, including the 1950 Initiative to desegregate the Armed Forces. She went on to become the first black elected official to a citywide office in Minneapolis. Nellie Stone Johnson was highly revered and often

mentored and consulted with local and national leaders, including Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Vice President Walter Mondale and Governor Rudy Perpich. She served on many boards, including our very own MUL board of directors, and was the recipient of the Cecil E. Newman Humanitarian Award and the Distinguished Minnesotan Award. She died April 2, 2002 at the age of 96. The Nellie Stone Johnson School, in North Minneapolis, was named in her honor. In honor of our rich history and Women’s Month, we salute, Nellie Stone Johnson!

Thank You

Minneapolis Urban League for your commitment and dedication to the communityy

Nellie Stone Johnson



8 7 TH A N N I V E R S A R Y



Featuring 2013 Trailblazer Award Recipient:

Josie R. Johnson .H\QRWH6SHDNHU


Daymond John

sounds of blackness

Founder of FUBU, Co-Star on ABC’s



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Insight News • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Page 3

BUSINESS Academic: New motif for Commons Hotel cuisine comfort food. In addition to the 304 rooms, The Commons offers 20,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space. The Commons Hotel has formed a charitable partnership with the American Cancer

By Harry Colbert, Jr. Contributing Writer Following a $15 million yearlong renovation, The Commons Hotel celebrated its grand opening this past Wednesday (June 5). The 304-room hotel, located just steps away from the University of Minnesota at 615 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis, is hoping to attract travelers with a sophisticated pallet and an appreciation for knowledge. Branded as “geek chic,” The Commons incorporates elements of academia in its décor, with light fixtures designed to resemble atoms, molecules or some other academic symbols. The property, operated by Nobel House Hotels and Resorts, was purchased for $18 million. Prior to the purchase, the hotel operated as a Radisson. “These renovations are a labor of love and I cannot believe how beautiful this property turned out,” said Jim Merkel, president and CEO of Rockbridge Capital, which financed the purchase and renovations. Merkel said The Commons is one of eight hotels directly

Society’s Hope Lodge, a program that offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best option for effective treatment may be in a city other than their own.


MINNEAPOLIS URBAN LEAGUE Exterior city view associated with a university – four of which are Big 10 Conference schools. “Every University needs a front porch and this (hotel) is a great looking front porch,”

said U of M Athletic Director Norwood Teague. Teague was not coy in saying the previous hotel on site did not have much curb appeal. The AD said he would

Courtesy of he Commons Hotel

be directing visiting teams to The Commons for their stays. Attached to the three-star hotel is a casual dining eatery, The Beacon Public House. The Beacon specializes in American


Elsa’s doesn’t sleep beads, oil, incense, jewelry, and hand-made clothing. In 1997 that transformed into furniture, unique rugs, artwork, and lamps, which Elsa’s still offers to this day. Tetra attests that Rezene’s legacy can still be found in the customer experience at Elsa’s House of Sleep. Up until the time when Rezene lost her battle to cancer in 2004, customers would find her smiling, connecting with

people, assisting customers, and making furniture deliveries. The family keeps her legacy alive today by treating customers like extended family. Constantino said most of Elsa’s clientele is the result of repeat business, and at Elsa’s the best advertising is word of mouth. Elsa’s staff has neither forgotten the outstanding


For having a positive impact and changing lives in our community for the past 87 years. FROM THE WILF FAMILY AND THE ENTIRE MINNESOTA VIKINGS ORGANIZATION

Travis Lee

From left to right: Merary Montes, Raymond Ledesma, Patrick Davis, Ermias Tekle, Tetra Constantino, El Constantino, and Belainesh Tekle

By Nneka Serwaa Elsa’s House of Sleep, the Twin Cities’ oldest Blackowned furniture business, has survived light rail construction and its share of economic downturns, but despite it all, the business has excelled and has since expanded into Minneapolis. Tetra Constantino, owner,

said that 2013 marks 17 years that his family has operated the original outlet, 1441 University Ave. W. in the Midway area of Saint Paul. The name comes from founder, Elsa Rezene, the mother of Constantino, who came to Minnesota in 1966 from Asmara, Eritrea. Rezene was an entrepreneurial spirited woman who started her first business in 1971 just after high school when she began selling

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Page 4 • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Insight News

EDUCATION Students explore life and work of Sharon Sayles Belton Even though Sharon Sayles Belton has made tremendous contributions to the city of Minneapolis and to the AfricanAmerican community, many of our children have no idea who she is. WE WIN Institute decided to remedy this problem by teaching students in its Rites of Passage programs about the accomplishments of this great African-American icon. WE WIN is a non-profit dedicated to the academic and social successes of children. WE WIN students studied the life and accomplishments of Sayles Belton and learned how she grew up in Minnesota, how she went to Central High School in Minneapolis and how she was even a nurse’s aide and probation officer. The students were taught that this African-American giant was the 8th Ward city council person and then became the first African-American and first woman mayor of the city of Minneapolis.

The children were honored to present her life to Sayles Belton in person at a program presented at WE WIN Institute. After, students played drums and danced and the former mayor did a few steps and told the children that when she was in high school she used to do African dance. Sayles Belton also told the audience, which was full of parents and community members, that programs like WE WIN were important to help guide the direction of children of color. “In this room, there are children who will be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and of course mayors of our cities,” said Sayles Belton. She looked at the poster that was created by the children about her life, and said, “This picture looks just like me.” Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton through the eyes of WE WIN students By Tiffany McGowen, Monikah Marshall, and Tahzenay Tesemma

Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton

Photos: WE WIN Institute

L-R: Tiffany McGowen, Monikah Marshall, and Tahzenay Tesemma.

Sharon Sayles Belton is a great leader. She grew up in Minnesota. She was an African-American administrator and politician. Ms. Belton was the first AfricanAmerican and first woman to be mayor of Minneapolis. Her hard work has earned her the honor of a bridge being named after her. Sharon Sayles Belton was born on May 13, 1951 in St. Paul. Her parents are Bill and Ethel Sayles. Mrs. Sayles Belton volunteered at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Minneapolis as a nurse’s aide. She attended Central High School in Minneapolis. After graduating high school she attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Mrs. Sayles Belton was elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 1983. She represented the state of Minnesota at the 1984 Democratic Convention. Mrs. Sayles Belton was elected to be the city council president in 1990. She was elected the first African-American and the first female mayor of the city of Minneapolis. She served two terms. In 2010, she joined Thomas Reuters, which is based in Eagan as vice president of community relations and government affairs. Her leadership in the community has inspired the city to rededicate the 3rd Avenue Bridge, over Interstate 94, in her honor. It will be known as the Sharon Sayles

Belton Bridge. Mrs. Sayles Belton is currently a senior fellow, working with the Hubert Humphrey Institute’s Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice. She is involved in anti-racism initiatives and improving information sharing between community organizations and research institutions like the Humphrey Institute. She also does lectures on her experiences as an elected official and policymaker. We believe that Sharon Sayles Belton is a good influence because of her accomplishments. Mayor Sayles Belton’s hard work and dedication to Minneapolis has really paid off. Having a bridge named after her is a great

honor. Being the first AfricanAmerican woman to be the mayor of Minneapolis has inspired the African-American community. We think that Sharon Sayles Belton is a good influence on all African-Americans because she worked hard to make the city of Minneapolis great. She demonstrated that all of us can accomplish whatever we want if we believe in ourselves and work hard. She is, and will always be, an inspiration to the students at WE WIN Institute because she is a good role model. She demonstrates through her actions that we can be whoever we want to be if we follow our dreams and do not give up.



He and Larry Willis gave the performance of a lifetime at the Dakota By Harry Colbert, Jr. Contributing Writer

I didn’t truly tell his story because I didn’t truly know his story. You see, one can’t know his story until one witnesses his greatness.

Top photo: Hugh Masekela (trumpet). Bottom photo: and Larry Willis (piano) during their amazing performance at the Dakota Jazz Club.


• Bradshaw now doing kingdom work

• Shirley Murdock in concert

I take great pride in being a journalist. I recognize the true honor bestowed upon me. I strive every day to be truthful, thoughtful and accurate and maintain the public’s trust. It’s a weighty job. Yes, in the past I have erred. I’ve left off a period at the end of a sentence here or there. I have missed a word that should have been capitalized – forgot to add an apostrophe … nothing major, but errors nonetheless. It happens with every writer. You beat yourself up over it, maybe say a foul word (or few), but you move on. In all my years as a journalist, I’ve never had to write a retraction – until now. Hugh Masekela, I owe you an apology. Last week I interviewed jazz great, Hugh Masekela over the telephone. Prior to the interview, I had very (I mean very) little knowledge of this great treasure. I was given the assignment to do an advance write-up of his Dakota Jazz Club performance, so I did some cursory research (Google, YouTube) and thought, OK, I have everything I need to conduct the interview. I mean I was impressed with his 1968 Grammy for Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Instrumental for the song, “Grazin’ in the

Grass.” I faintly remember hearing it a time or two. I remember liking it. I read of his political activities to end apartheid in his native South Africa. Again, I was impressed with his work, but I’ll be honest; I wasn’t seeing much there story-wise other than another old timer coming to town to play some stale, dull version of jazz that I was sure would have me board to tears. Mr. Masekela, sir, I owe you the grandest of apologies. Readers of Insight News/ Aesthetically Speaking I owe you an apology. Now don’t get me wrong; my write-up was factually accurate. I didn’t misquote the man or anything. But I didn’t truly tell his story because I didn’t truly know his story. You see, one can’t know his story until one witnesses his greatness. Now I can tell the story of Hugh Masekela. A bit of candor, I almost didn’t go to the show I previewed of Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis at the Dakota Jazz Club. I wasn’t assigned the story; and besides, my plate was pretty full already. But the night before the show, I had dinner with a friend visiting from out of town and she mentioned she was going to the Dakota for a show the next day. She didn’t know who was performing, but someone suggested she check it out.


• Snapshots

Page 6 • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Aesthetically Speaking

Producer bringing Shirley Murdock gospel concert to town this week

Bradshaw now doing kingdom work the person. What I am doing is eternal because not only do I teach a hip-hop class so they understand what type of power they have with their tongue, but I let them know that what they rap about, it has consequences. I see so many young people out here who hear music and just want to get high. Or (they) hear music and just want to go and get drunk and find “a pool full of liquor so I dive in it.” I heard that song. No disrespect to Kendrick Lamar, but what he was putting out there is it’s okay to go and get drunk. But after they hear the song and get drunk, who knows, they might be in a car accident or they go home and get into a domestic fight with their significant other. Or they won’t be the father that their children need(s). I go after what they represent – principalities and darkness. Does this make sense, Al?

By Al McFarlane, Editor-In-Chief Antwon Bradshaw’s new CD release, “Revolution,” which features Ronnie “Diamond” Hoard, the celebrated master artist-musician from the legendary Ohio Players, is attempting to bring gospel to a broader audience. I auditioned the CD on a recent broadcast of Conversations with Al McFarlane, which airs 9 a.m. Tuesdays on KFAI 90.3 FM in the Twin Cities and online on Earlier, Bradshaw addressed a meeting at Zion Baptist Church in north Minneapolis of elders, ministers and pastors, inviting their support for a concert he’s promoting. The concert features superstar Shirley Murdock, Hoard and other stellar local and national gospel artists. The concert is June 21 at Bethel University’s Benson Hall, 3900 Bethel Dr., St. Paul. Minneapolis artists, including The Hurst Family from Higher Praise Ministries, Joyful Noize, Tryenyse Jones from Urban Jerusalem and Wayman AME Church’s Wayman Steppers, will also perform. Here’s my conversation with Bradshaw. Al McFarlane When you addressed the elders, you noted that there was nobody in this room under 30 years old. That was a telling statement. What made you say that? What did you mean by that? Antwon Bradshaw The church works. It’s just young people don’t access the church like the old people. When you understand who God is, of course you’re going to go to church because you’re not a fool. But when you’re young and you are a fool, you don’t realize that the church can help you. I am one of the Youth leaders at Zion Baptist Church. I teach

Al McFarlane It does.

Courtesy of INOC Music

Antwon Bradshaw and Ronnie Diamond Hoard (foreground) the hip-hop class at Vacation Bible Study that runs from June 24 to June 28 at Zion. If you have any young knuckleheads that rap, but every third word is a curse word, bring them to me. I teach them how to rap correctly and to not destroy their people. Back in the day, I came up with a CD called “Bachelor Recall” and I rapped secular. It was for the world. I actually did a good job. I destroyed and tore down everything. I glorified drugs. I put down women. I talked

about how I abused my family. It actually resonated in the hood and it sounded good. But the result was that my little brother, who was trying to act like me, started playing with a gun because I was glorifying guns. He shot himself in the head, and that was a breaking point for me. Al McFarlane Did he die? Antwon Bradshaw Yes, he died. And I just adopted his son, because of what I was glorifying. And if you listen to the “Revolution” song, Apostle breaks it down. He says, “life and death is in the power of the tongue. What you speak, you might just become.” And, you know, it hit hard when I understood that I was responsible for this young man’s life. And as soon as I understood that, God started to work in my life. I lost everything. I lost my family, I lost my wife, I didn’t see my daughter for four years. It wasn’t until I went to Zion Baptist that I began to heal. I grew up at Zion Baptist.

Al, I had been to prison and everything. And I still hadn’t learned my lesson. So when I came to Zion Baptist, they accepted me for who I am. I had nothing. I didn’t even have clothes on my back. They accepted me and brought me into the Men’s House. Not only did they give me responsibility, but they gave me a chance to get right with God without all of the stuff that’s going on in the neighborhood. I had a chance to get away from loose women. I had a chance to not be at clubs, drinking. I had a chance not to smoke drugs and just tear the neighborhood up by selling drugs. I had a chance to concentrate on me. And you know they just loved on me and loved on me. I did some things while I was in that Men’s House that could have put me back in jail and they could have told me not to come back to church. But because they loved me, I saw real love, without money and it just changed my heart condition. Once my heart condition changed, I got everything that I lost, back. I

even got remarried to my wife. Being a rapper you’ve got two choices. You can come in the game on a gimmick or you can be original. I chose to be original. I put the lyrics out there that were more or less given to me because of the praying hands that were laid on me. The lyrics say, “deception, greed, white powder, tricked my mother, tricked me.” It’s drugs that destroyed us as a community in a physical sense. When they do drugs or sell drugs, either they die or go to the penitentiary. The young people are rapping about it. And if the drugs destroyed us in the physical sense, what do you think it’s going to do in the spiritual sense. Rap lyrics are about what destroyed us. Al McFarlane What’s the gimmick? What do you mean? Antwon Bradshaw You have rappers out here that will rap against each other and talk about each other. And the only thing it does is start beefs. But I went at what they represent. When an MC is rapping about the streets and glorifying about what destroys us as a people, I attack that. I don’t attack the person, I go at what they represent. And I shut them down. Al McFarlane You talk about the deed. Antwon Bradshaw I talk about the deed and not

Antwon Bradshaw This is a message to the elders, pastors; I respect what you are doing. If it is traditional, keep it traditional. But I’m going to let you know that unless you become radical, you are not going to reach the young people. I told everybody at that meeting, Al, that I was an undercover agent for Christ. I said, the Feds got undercover, so Christ got undercover. And it’s not that we’re undercover proclaiming the Kingdom. It’s just we have to get to them. And when we get to them, we do it with love. And when they find out where this love is coming from, it makes it all easier to do something right. Pastors, stop throwing away people that don’t fit the requirements or don’t look like they can do anything for the church or the Kingdom. There are a lot of us out here. And a lot of us want to hear the truth and want to hear what is good. But people don’t take the time out to even deal with people because of the way that they smell, or the problems that they might have. I don’t know where I would be if the Men’s House at Zion didn’t take me in. I can’t believe they did. I was appalling. I was hopeless. And I just gave up. Al McFarlane Let’s talk more about that. You said that you spent time in prison. Tell me about your background. Where were you born and what’s your story? What brought you to where you were in conflict with community, conflict with society and then put in jail? Antwon Bradshaw I was born in 1976. I come from the pimp and the prostitute era. I say that with all due respect. I don’t mean to offend anybody. But my mother was a street person and she sold her body to put food on our table. I was born in Toledo, Ohio and I was kidnapped, literally kidnapped by my mom and her pimp and brought to Minnesota


Aesthetically Speaking • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Page 7

Shirley Murdock in concert Doors open at 6pm June 21, for seating for The Cool Presents Shirley Murdock at Bethel University’s Benson Hall, 3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul. The gospel concert begins at 7pm with opening acts: The Hurst Family, Joyful Noize, Tryenyse Jones, Ronnie Diamond Hoard, and The Wayman Steppers. The concert is hosted by Walter Q Bear Banks of KMOJ Radio. Murdock grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where she sharpened her gift of ministry in music in the choir of Calvary Baptist Church. Singer/musician Roger Troutman  hired Murdock as a  backing singer  for his family›s  band  Zapp, which had several hits on Warner Bros. (and its  Records imprint). Based on this success, Troutman began recording tracks with Murdock and lead singer Sugarfoot of the Ohio Players, among others, at his  Dayton-based  recording studio, Troutman Sound Labs. Murdock and Troutman’s first  chart  single  was a Warner Bros. single issued as Roger (featuring Shirley Murdock), «Girl, Cut It Out», which charted at number 79 R&B in early 1985. Murdock signed with Elektra Records and released “No More,” which she co-wrote with Gregory Jackson, Cincinnati, Ohio Funk Keyboardist and member of Zapp. This song made it to number 24 R&B in early 1986. Then came her signature hit, «As We Lay,” written by Zapp›s Larry Troutman and keyboardist Billy Beck (of the Ohio Players). The tender, melancholy ballad made it to the R&B  Top Ten  and peaked at number 23 Pop in 1986. She reconnected to her gospel music foundation when

Bradshaw From 6 at the age of eight. I lived right across the street from Delisi’s Bar on Penn and Broadway. I stayed at 2327 Penn (Ave. N.). My mother introduced drugs to me. Not to use drugs, but to sell drugs and make money because she was always getting high off of crack. She needed someone to make money so we could pay the bills and take care of my brother and sister. Because I was street-wise, she used me. My first clientele was my mother and her friends. And I tell you right now, it destroys my mind. I can’t stop crying when I think about it. I think out of all the years of my mama being on this earth, the devil used me to do this. I can’t think of myself being in the

Masekela From 5 I replied that I did an article about the show and as a way to catch up I decided I’d go as well. We went to the 9 p.m. show – the duo’s second show of the night. I wasn’t expecting much. After all, the two are both in their 70s and this was their second show. They had to be plum tuckered out. Yeah, right.

Courtesy of INOC Music

Shirley Murdock Bishop T.D. James featured her on his 1999 Sacred Love Songs and The Storm is Over CD’s, and, signed her to his Dexterity Sounds record label. In the early 2000s, her gospel release «Home» was nominated for a prestigious Stellar Award. Murdock was also honing her acting skills in Michael Matthews’ hit gospel stage play, «Fake Friends,» featuring

Marvin Sapp, David Peaston, the late Ali Woodson and Gary (Lil’G) Jenkins. She worked with Tyler Perry in the Perry’s hit stage play, «I Know I’ve Been Changed.» She has also worked with Clifton Powell, Jackee Harry, Christopher Williams and David Hollister in both the stage plays and DVDs of «Man Of Her Dreams,» and, «3 Ways To Get A

Husband,» which featured Billy Dee Williams, and Leon and Lenny Williams. She worked with Robin Givens and Johnny Gill in «A Mother’s Prayer,» and with Cissy Houston in the stage production of «Your Arm’s Too Short To Box With God.» Murdock’s first live CD/ DVD, «Live: The Journey» features Regina Bell, Beverly Crawford and Kelly Price.

Murdock said she was honored to sing «The Dream» from this project at the MLK Memorial Dedication Ceremony and at THEARC Theater with the National Symphony Orchestra. «Live: The Journey,» her project, Soulfood, and other Shirley Murdock projects are available now online at ITunes, Amazon and in stores everywhere.

Tickets: $30 and $35 for main floor seats and $ 25 for Balcony. For more information, Aquila (952)3341662. Ticket are available at Urban Lights, Electric Fetus and Digital City. Patrons who purchase floor seats will receive a CD gift set, while supplies last, which includes Ronnie Diamond’s Unity Album.

streets anymore and it hurts me mentally to even think that I did this with my mom. But the devil is tricky and he will start when you’re young. And transform you. What made me go to prison when I was 16 was that I shot someone six times because they were trying to rob me. The street value of the drugs he was trying to rob was $200 or $300. So I shot him. Nine years and three months in the penitentiary. If you break the money down, it’s like a couple of cents a day was the value of everyday that I lived in the penitentiary. I had the mind frame that no one was going to take anything from me, but really, the world took everything from me because I was lost, I had no spiritual backing, I had no mentors. I had no elders in my life to tell me that this is

wrong. So when I went to the penitentiary my sickness kept growing because the elders in the penitentiary teach you the same thing.

go to. If I walk down the alley over on James Avenue and see somebody getting high, I say, “hey man, just close your eyes and receive it. Even if you don’t believe it, still receive it.” And I pray protection upon them, or pray that addiction is out of their mouths and their minds and their hearts. I am one of those people that you can send because I’ll go. I’m so used to destruction, nothing surprises me. I could be outside and hear some gun clapping and I won’t even duck. I’ll just look and make sure where it’s coming from so my kids don’t get hit. You see where I’m coming from, Al?

a rich phrase. You said, “gun clapping.” I’ve never heard of that before. Clapping is a joyful thing and now you’re saying that our neighborhood, our community has constructed new language that includes the concept “gun clapping.” It’s amazing. It is sad.

mean, I have been in an area where I’m ministering the young people or giving them my CD and they all leave me alone. They tell their other fellow officers, “Oh this guy is doing Kingdom business. You all leave him alone.” It’s just authority. That’s what I’m trying to say. When I’m doing what I’m doing, I have authority. And literally the saying, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” – that is so true because every weapon that was formed against me back then is used for me now. That’s why I know God is relevant in my life and he preserved me because he knew what I was going to be doing right now. That’s why I don’t glorify any of the stuff that I used to do. I just tell you that it was a stepping-stone to get me to who I am right now.

Then something magical occurred. With nothing more than Masekela’s trumpet and voice and Willis’ piano playing I, along with the couple hundred in the audience, were treated to the performance of a lifetime. In all honesty, I’ll probably need to issue another apology to the two because I just don’t feel my vocabulary is vast enough to express the greatness that the two old friends displayed on that stage. But a once-in-a-lifetime feeling

fell over me listening to these two treasures, and listening to Masekela tell tales of hanging out in Harlem and stories of playing with Miles Davis and the stories he told of Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughn. It was like getting a first-hand lesson in music history, delivered by one of the deans of the college. I didn’t just hear Masekela and Willis – I felt them. I felt them deep in my soul in a place never before reached. Now ask me to name the

Al McFarlane Yes, more gangsters. Antwon Bradshaw It’s called survival. But you are not supposed to survive – you are supposed to live. Being in the streets did one thing for me. It equipped me to be a part of the street with the Kingdom. Because now that same drive that I had in the streets; I’ve got that same drive doing the Kingdom business and I’m not scared to go into these dark places that some of these pastors, and some of these deacons, and some of these youth ministers are afraid to

Antwon Bradshaw You know what Al? Al McFarlane Tell me.

Al McFarlane I do. I’m making a note, Antwon. I hadn’t heard this phrase before and it’s a marvelous phrase. It’s

Antwon Bradshaw I used to hate the police. The reason why I hated the police was because I was doing something that they were trying to stop. But now the police have seen me and they are like, “go ahead Mr. Bradshaw, do what you do.” I

numbers they played and I can name two, maybe three at best. Of course there was “Grazin’” and Masekela’s version of the Herbie Hancock classic, “Cantaloupe Island” served as the encore (and of course after that show, there had to be an encore), but other that that, my ears were virgin. But I didn’t need to know the titles of the songs. For all I care, every song is nameless. Their performance was timeless.

To sum things up, I’ll offer you the Facebook status I posted while in a virtual trance witnessing what I was unbelievably witnessing. “Have you ever experienced something so wonderful, so beautiful, that you were sad a bit because a special someone wasn’t there to experience it with you? That’s how beautiful the music is tonight.” That’s about the best I can do in describing what I saw. It

was so powerful, so wonderful I felt I needed to share that glorious moment. That moment needed to be shared. I failed in my job as a journalist to accurately tell Mr. Masekela’s story. His horn and his voice told me the story. Now I can truly tell his story. Unfortunately, I’m telling it after the fact, not before. Will you please accept my apology?

Page 8 • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Aesthetically Speaking 1








1: Jazz legends Hugh Masekela (standing) and Larry Willis (piano) during their amazing performance at the Dakota Jazz Club. 2: Strike a pose! Jazz songbird Nicole Henry on stage at the Dakota Jazz Club.


3: Counterclockwise, Gina Robinson, J Eddie Bunette, Souna Davidson, owner of Earth’s Beauty Supply and Sawie Nebo checking out jazz singer Nicole Henry at the Dakota Jazz Club.








directed by




5: Beauty personified! Karina Curbelo and Piia Hanson pose for the camera before taking in Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis at the Dakota Jazz Club.

JUNE 28TH - 30TH


W W W. C O U N C I L O N B L A C K M I N N E S O TA N S . C O M

Now – August 4, 2013 McGUIRE PROSCENIUM STAGE This work is funded in part with money from the arts and cultural heritage fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

4: Fashion forward Richard Moody with the first families on Minnesota music, Ginger and Bobby Commodore at the Dakota for Nicole Henry’s performance.






6: Shanee Bailey kicking back checking out Nicole Henry at the Dakota Jazz Club.

Insight News • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Page 9


Blended families 101 Man Talk

By Timothy Houston What is a blended family? In its most basic sense, a blended family is one where the parents have children from previous relationships but all the members come together as one unit. It is said that the blended family is now the predominant form of family and it is estimated that there are approximately 23 million blended families in the United States. However, as blended families become increasingly common, the definition of a blended family is changing. Understanding the basics of a blended family can be essential for ensuring that your family can embrace its strengths to work through its differences. A blended family is different from a step family. While the concept of the step family has been around for centuries, many blended families were not recognized until the two parents married and agreed to care for the children together, even if one parent was not biologically related. Today, it is much more acceptable for the adults in the relationship to live together and raise the children jointly without the legal commitment of a marriage or adoption. This more lenient approach can cause difficulties, particularly in terms of child support, medical decisions,

Elsa’s From 3 service its namesake offered, nor the warm feeling she always left with her customers. Subsequently, 10 family members, including Elsa’s three children and her sister have all held key positions within the company and have been important to its success. Most of the sales, customer service and delivery team have been part of the Elsa family for many years and makes work enjoyable, according to Constantino. The original real estate that the store sits on today was found by Rezene and later purchased by Constantino. Constantino credits the current success and direction of the business to his mother’s vision. “Under her leadership I was inspired to do the things that have been done and many more that have yet to be accomplished,” said Constantino. “We have purchased the real estate at our current location at


and other complex issues. To overcome these challenges, the following suggestions should be considered: 1. Be yourself Always be yourself. Kids can easily see through masks and figure out who we really are. You will invariably tire yourself if you’re trying to play out the perfect blended-parent twenty-

four hours a day. Just be you. 2. Communicate Designated family time should be devoted to communication. This includes listening as well as speaking, and it is likely to open doors to conflict resolution that are bound to come up in daily life. Blended-families usually have some difficulty with communication in the beginning

1441 University Avenue and expanded to our second location at 3540 East Lake Street.” In conjunction with steady business growth, Elsa’s has maintained a consistent focus on meeting the needs of customers on a budget. In recent years it began allowing customers to put items on layaway for up to six months without additional fees and it offers different financing options. “We don’t have a huge showroom, so we allow customers to see our offerings in online catalogs. Because we keep our overhead low we pass those savings on to (the customer),” said Constantino. “The only thing we ask in return is repeat business if we’ve earned it. And tell your friends about us, as well.” Constantino went on to comment that he looks forward to the next 17 years and beyond and that he is thankful to the customers that keep coming back and referring others. When asked about how tough it was to run his mom’s store after her passing,

Constantino said that it was very difficult for his family and those who knew her, but the family looks to her legacy for motivation and strength when things get tough. Constantino credits Elsa’s survival to a commitment to community. Many stores have come and gone in the Midway area of Saint Paul, but Elsa’s is still going strong thanks to its community-based clientele. “We didn’t have to cut costs and quality when competition moved in because our customers, know – expect and anticipate – that we will provide the best price for the same furniture and even better customer service,” said Constantino. The Saint Paul location is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The Minneapolis store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday but closed on Sundays. For more on Elsa’s visit or call (651) 647-0225 or (612) 367-8941.

of the relationships, usually because each member comes from a different original family and they each bring different styles of communication. So, time, patience, and practice are essential in the beginning to blend communication styles successfully. Open communication helps keep expectations realistic. 3. Be flexible

Each family should be willing to make personal adjustments when need. Flexibility and compromising are key ingredients necessary to lead to happier and less stressed blended-families. Don’t be so ridged, and keep in mind that routine is important, especially for younger children but the ability to adapt is a good idea for everyone. 4. Be patient

Blended-parents must move slowly. Nothing of value grows up overnight. The seeds of love need time to grow through respect, caring and affection. Patience is indeed a virtue and one that every blended-parent must develop. 5. Keep laughter in the mist Don’t be too serious. A sense of humor is an essential ingredient to stir into the blended family pot. Humor softens the rough spots and brings families together when used correctly. Just remember not to use it at another person’s expense and do not allow any of the children to do it either. 6. Be respectful Members of a blended family don’t need to agree with each other on everything, but they must learn to respect the opinions, privacy and personal possessions of all members of the family. Biological parents should make it clear to their children that disrespect will not be tolerated and must also be careful to show their own respect. Blending families is difficult but not impossible. Communication will be the key to success, so get as much information about the topic as possible. It is also a good idea to seek out external counsel and work groups. The more work you put in up front, the greater the opportunity for success. Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. To get copies of his books, for questions, comments or more information, go to

Page 10 â&#x20AC;˘ June 17 - June 23, 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Insight News

COMMUNITY Kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; meals at Waite House program Pillsbury United Communitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Waite House is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge and meet nutritional standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Meals will be provided at the following sites and times: Waite House Neighborhood Center 2323 11th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55404 Lunch: 1:00-2:00pm Snack: 4:00-5:00pm Monday-Friday

Legislative Assistant The MN House of Representatives Republican Caucus has a full-time Legislative Assistant position available. The complete job posting can be found at: or call 651297-8200 for a faxed or mailed copy. Cover letter and resume must be received by Friday, June 21, 2013. EEO/AA EMPLOYER

Adult Basic Education Supervisor Saint Paul Public Schools seeks an Adult Basic Education Supervisor. Candidate must have Masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in education, community education or related field, hold valid teaching license from MN Department of Education in adult education or related subject, and five years professional experience, including program development, training and supervising other staff members and volunteers, and working cooperatively with administration, program staff, and representatives of agencies, business and labor. Must hold, or be eligible to hold, valid license in community education administration from MN Department of Education. For more details and to apply, visit htm. Saint Paul Public Schools is an equal opportunity employer and supports an inclusive workplace environment.

1952 photo of Red Caps in front of the Union Depot

Calling all Red Caps The opening event of the 30th annual Rondo Days Festival is a reception to honor the Red Caps, the station porters who welcomed and served travelers and the railroad industry at the St. Paul Union Depot for more than 78 years. As part of the renovation of this historic train station, the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA) is commemorating

Early Notice of Procurement Package Solicitation

these men by establishing the Red Cap Room at the depotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second floor. All former Red Caps, their families and friends are invited to attend the dedication ceremonies at the St. Paul Union Depot, 214 4th St E, St Paul, MN 55101, 2nd Floor on Friday, July 12, 4:00 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 6:00 pm. Over the course of their long relationship with the Depot, the Red Caps brought a sense of professionalism,

commitment and dedication to those traveling the railroads, which enhanced the reputation the Depot enjoyed. These men were truly St. Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great ambassadors who made all travelers feel welcomed, answered questions, offered suggestions and tips on what to see or do while in town, and of course saw that baggage was checked in or retrieved. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Red Cap Roomâ&#x20AC;? is a vivid reminder of the rich association and unique

role the Red Caps played in the Depotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history,â&#x20AC;? said Rondo Festival co-founder Marvin Roger Anderson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many of these men lived in the old Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul, and we would like to honor them as role models within the community and beyond.â&#x20AC;? Timothy A. Mayasich, RCRRAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S director has said that, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Red Cap Room will be our premiere site for community events, for dinners, galas as well as private

functions.â&#x20AC;? This free event is cosponsored by Rondo Days Inc., the Ramsey County Railroad Authority and the St. Paul Union Depot. Anyone with information or interesting stories about former Red Caps should contact Marvin Roger Anderson at 651-402-0095 or More information can be found on the Rondo Festival website:

Mortenson|Thor Construction

700 Meadow Lane North Minneapolis, MN 55422 Phone (763) 522-2100 Fax (763) 522-3707


To: All Interested Subcontractors and Suppliers

From 1

Reference: Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium, Structural Steel, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Electrical, and ETFE Procurement Mortenson Construction is the Construction Manager for the new Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mortenson intends to solicit proposals for Procurement Package #1 and Procurement Package #2. This letter is to inform subcontractors and suppliers of the procurement packages, subcontract categories (SC), and pertinent dates related to the Request for Proposals (RFP).

Accepting applications for the 2013-14 school year:

Procurement Package #1 will consist of the following subcontract categories:


â&#x20AC;˘ SC #1.1, SC #1.2 - Long Span Structural Steel Fabricators and Erectors Procurement Package #2 will consist of the following subcontract categories: â&#x20AC;˘ SC #2.1 - HVAC Wet and Dry (including Temperature Controls) â&#x20AC;˘ SC #2.2 - Plumbing â&#x20AC;˘ SC #2.3 - Fire Protection â&#x20AC;˘ SC #2.4 - Electrical â&#x20AC;˘ SC #2.5 - ETFE Roof Systems The currently anticipated process and schedule for Procurement Package #1 and Procurement Package #2 is as follows: Request for Proposal (RFP) and 50% Design Development Documents Issued June 21, 2013 Pre-Proposal Meeting/WMBE Meet and Greet June 27, 2013 RFP Submission July 15, 2013 Proposer Interviews July 16-17, 2013 Selection August 1, 2013

Transportation r#VT%SJWFST Minneapolis Kids r$IJME$BSF"TTJTUBOU

The dates for Procurement Package #1 and Procurement Package #2 are intended to be the same, but separate RFPs will be issued for each procurement package. All dates are approximate and are provided as a courtesy to potential proposers. Mortenson reserves the right, acting in its sole judgment, to modify this schedule or process, and to reject any or all proposals. Award will be made on a best value basis and the successful proposer will not be required to be the lowest responsible proposer.

Plant Operations: r+BOJUPS&OHJOFFS

Please contact the following Mortenson Construction representatives with any questions: Brent Leiter - 763-2875797 ( Kevin Dalager - 763-287-5804 (


The Minnesota Sports Facility Authority has adopted a comprehensive Equity Plan for the construction phase of the Project. The Targeted Business Program sets an 11% and 9% goal for construction contracts for the Project to be awarded to women- and minority-owned Minnesota-based business enterprises, respectively. The Work Force Program sets a 32% and 6% goal for workforce utilization for the Project of minorities and women, respectively. On behalf of Mortenson and the project team, we sincerely appreciate your interest in this project. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require additional information.














Minneapolis Public Schools strongly encourages diverse candidates to apply.

Born in Houston, Tx., in 1930 and one of three daughters born to Judson Johnson and Josie Robinson, Johnson was introduced to the civil rights movement at an early age, collecting signatures against the poll-tax, with her father. She went on to earn a B.A. in Sociology at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and an M.A. and Ed.D at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Johnson has always lobbied for change, be it for fair housing and equal-opportunity employment, to youth and family development. She served as a community organizer for the Minneapolis Urban League, eventually becoming its director in 1968. She served as a legislative liaison to the Mayor of Minneapolis during the Civil Rights upheaval in 1971. Johnsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s illustrious career highlights also include serving as Chief of Staff for the Lt. Governor of Colorado and working as the Campaign

Manager for the Jimmy Carter Campaign in Tennessee. She was also the first African American named to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota. She later served as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and a Senior Fellow for the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs. In honor of her many years of service and commitment to civil rights, the University of Minnesota created The Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award in 1997. Johnson is the proud mother of three daughters and three granddaughters. She continues to serve tirelessly for civil rights and is passionate about educating the next generation of freedom fighters. She was recently honored by the St. Paul Foundation as a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Facing Raceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Ambassador and by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which she helped found. The Minneapolis Urban League salutes its 2013 Trailblazer Honoree, Dr. Josie Johnson.

Assumed Name 1. State the exact assumed name under which the business is or will be conducted: Mason Business Development Services 2. State the address of the principal place of business: 4348 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409 USA 3. List the name and complete street address of all persons conducting business under the above Assumed Name OR if an entity, provide the legal corporate, LLC, or Limited Partnership name and registered office address. Attach additional sheet(s) if necessary: Allison R Mason, 4348 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409 USA 4. I certify that I am authorized to sign this certificate and I further certify that I understand that by signing this certifi cate, I am subject to the penalties of perjury as set forth in Minnesota Statues section 609.48 as if I had signed this certificate under oath. Signed by: Allison R Mason Date Filed: 05/31/2013 Insight News 06/10/2013, 06/17/2013

Insight News â&#x20AC;˘ June 17 - June 23, 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Page 11

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Whitney Young, President of the National Urban League

History From 1 The Civil Rights Movement produced a variety of voices, reflecting the complexity and texture of the times. The nonviolent passive resistance civil disobedience strategy was espoused by Rev. Dr. Martin


Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford Vice President of Sales & Marketing Selene White Culture and Education Editor Irma McClaurin Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver

Luther King Jr. Malcolm Xâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s... by any means necessary mantra reflected a more assertive posture. Though contrasting, each strategy served to propel the movement toward a singular purpose: equality and justice for all. There were other strident, bold voices at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement relentlessly advocating on behalf of the disenfranchised. Whitney Young was one such voice. Earning his Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota, Young volunteered for the St. Paul branch of the Urban League early in his career. He went on to become one of the most prolific leaders of the organization, expanding it from 60 to 98 chapters, catapulting it to the front lines of the civil rights movement. A skillful mediator, he fostered understanding and collaboration, bridging the gap between white political and business leaders, and black moderates and militants. He is credited with almost singlehandedly persuading corporate America and major foundations

Sounds From 1 Performing a range of sounds including Jazz and Blues to Rock & Roll, R&B, Gospel, Spirituals, Hip-Hop, Reggae

Estes From 1 on Mr. Estes when they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the money to provide a decent, dignified burial for their loved ones. With Mr. Estes they found compassionate generosity.

Harry Colbert, Jr.

Keepers of the flame. Insight News editor-in-chief Al McFarlane (right) operates the board at the studios of KFAI Radio (90.3 FM) as he engages in a discussion with (from left to right) Minneapolis Urban League President Scott Gray and human rights icons Professor Mahmoud El-Kati and Dr. Josie Johnson. Johnson will be honored during the Urban Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 87th Anniversary Gala. to support the civil rights movement. He was one of the organizers of the March on Washington in 1963. Because of his work and that of his colleagues and contemporaries, The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act followed in 1965. Youngâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s boldest visionary move was the introduction of his â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Domestic Marshall Planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, a proposal that was partially incorporated in President Lyndon B. Johnsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;War on

Povertyâ&#x20AC;&#x153;. Youngâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Plan called for an investment of $145 billion over 10 years supporting affirmative action, social programs and integration across the U.S. Whitney Young served as Executive Director of the National Urban League until his death in 1971. He enjoyed a close relationship with President Johnson and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award to a civilian. Today, we stand on the

sacrifices of our local and national heroes...our pioneers of change. Many a Minnesotan leader has stood on the right side of history, including Hubert H. Humphrey, Walter Mondale and others, with unwavering progressive leadership on civil rights issues, in many cases, setting a precedence for the nation to follow. From the election of the first AfricanAmerican and first woman mayor of Minneapolis, to the first African-American president

of the United States, many have lived to see a dream come true. Despite attempts to dismantle the foundation laid by those pioneers, in 2012, Minnesotans still lead the charge to attain equality and justice for all. As we honor the champions amongst us, past and present, the Minneapolis Urban League will continue to advocate for those in need, serving as a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;voice for the voicelessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, helping our community navigate the Gateway to Opportunity!

and Soul, this group colors each and every â&#x20AC;&#x153;sound of blacknessâ&#x20AC;? with uplifting messages of hope, love, unity and peace for all humankind. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The family of AfricanAmerican music are all a large part of our testimony as a peopleâ&#x20AC;?, says Gary Hines, Director of the acclaimed

group. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We embrace and perform the music of our people and experience-hence our name.â&#x20AC;? The mood during the Civil Rights Movement no doubt mirrored the antebellum period leading up to Emancipation: a people passionate, yet frustrated, bound and

determined, fueled by intense righteous indignation. The only difference being a people hoping, waiting to be a people demanding equality and justice. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamationand the 50th Anniversary of the

historic March on Washingtonthese sounds of struggle, hope, joy and blackness, are more compelling than ever serving as an authentic record of the tumultuous, yet triumphant times through the eyes of those lived it.

But some of the same families, when insurance proceeds were available, would take their business to white-owned funeral homes,â&#x20AC;? Moss said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The indignity Mr. Estes suffered,â&#x20AC;? Moss said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;was that the white funeral homes would call him to come in the night and prepare the Black bodies for burial ceremonies.â&#x20AC;?

Moss encouraged Estesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; successors to continue to hold high the standard of excellence that has become the trademark of the Estes Funeral Chapel, and he challenged the Black community to support this and other Black-owned businesses who serve our community and the general market, and in doing so, create a viable economy for our people. Estes was born February 5, 1929, in Baxter Springs, Kan., to the late Ray and Veoma (Woolridge) Estes. He was the second of four children. The Estes family had a very strong bond during his youth and beyond, and they were raised in the church. His mother, Veoma, was a gifted pianist and music teacher and started Richard and his three siblings, Rayma, Margie, and Fred singing in a group called the Estes Four Quartet. Ray, his father, was the senior deacon at Mount Olive Baptist Church and ran his farming operation. The children learned work ethic, perseverance and determination at an early age. As the most significant role models in his life, his parents laid the foundation for his development and character. In addition, he also was exposed to other role models in his family during his youth who left an indelible impression on himâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;his three uncles, the late John Estes, William Estes and Garland Woolridge. All were licensed

morticians and funeral directors who owned their own funeral homes and served the greater communities of Coffeyville, Kan., Des Moines, Iowa, and Los Angeles, Calif. Estes observed the service, dedication care, and comfort they provided families in the communities they served and had a desire in his heart to serve humanity as they did, and he set his lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s path to do so. In 1948, Estes graduated from Baxter Springs High School and attended Pittsburg State University. In 1951, during his senior year in college, he was drafted into the U.S. Marine Air Corps at Eltora Air Base in Santa Ana, Calif., where he served for two years. Determined to achieve his goal of becoming a mortician, following his tour of duty, Estes entered the California College of Mortuary Science in Los Angeles. As a full-time student, he also worked full time studying in the early morning hours and on weekends. His dedication and work ethic paid off, and graduated with a degree in Mortuary Science in December, 1956. Well-equipped with knowledge and credentials, Estes wanted to be trained by the best, so he returned to his roots. He moved to Des Moines and served an apprenticeship under his uncle, John Estes for five years. There he learned to exercise the care, concern, compassion, and service customers have come to know

and experience throughout the last 51 years. In the early 1960s, Estes moved to Minneapolis, Minn., and joined Woodard Funeral Home. With the Estes-Woodard entrepreneurial seed planted, he had a desire to launch his own business to serve the community in a way that was consistent with his vision, values and conviction. He believed in â&#x20AC;&#x153;doing things the old-fashioned wayâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;working to earn your way.â&#x20AC;? He continued to work diligently until he raised enough capital and initially partnered with his brother, Fred Estes and brother-in-law, the late John Wiggins, to purchase an existing business at Humboldt and Plymouth Avenues in north Minneapolis, opening Estes Funeral Home in 1962. He served the community at that location for 25 years, several of those years alongside his son, Kenneth Estes and his niece Kimberly Wright who also is a licensed mortician. Understanding the importance of ownership, Estes later became a sole proprietor. Persevering through barriers of entry for his new business and purchasing his own land, in May, 1987, he built and opened the new Estes Funeral Chapel, a state-of-the-art facility, at 2210 Plymouth Avenue North, where he faithfully served the community for 25 years. His niece, Lisa Estes, and nephew, Tracy Wesley, both licensed morticians, worked alongside him. This facility is a prominent landmark in north Minneapolis and is a testament to his faith in God, hard work and business acumen. Not only was Estes an exceptional businessman, he also was a conscientious community servant. He was a faithful member of Zion Baptist Church for 56-years. Other community affiliations include: The Cantorians, the Alpha, Psi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Palestine Lodge #7 - Prince Hall Affiliation MN Jurisdiction, North Star Consistory #14, Fezzine Temple #26 AONMS - Prince Hall Affiliation, University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science, Boyfriend to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of The Girl Friends, Inc., and served as former president of the Minneapolis District VI affiliated with the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association. He was a generous supporter of several non-profit organizations such as the UNCF and the Northside YMCA. In addition, he believed in supporting career development programs for students pursuing mortuary

Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Ben Williams Production Intern Sunny Thongthi Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Receptionist Lue B. Lampley Contributing Writers Cordie Aziz Harry Colbert, Jr. Julie Desmond Fred Easter Oshana Himot Timothy Houston Alaina L. Lewis Darren Moore Alysha Price Photography Suluki Fardan Michele Spaise Contact Us: Insight News, Inc. Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis., MN 55411 Ph.: (612) 588-1313 Fax: (612) 588-2031 Member: Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC), Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. (MBPCI), National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Postmaster: Send address changes to McFarlane Media Interests, Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411.

Where thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s smoke, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ire Keep backyard campfires and chimeneas from smoking you and your neighbors out. The smoke is not just a nuisance â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it can be toxic and harmful to people. t-JNJUCBDLZBSEGJSFTJOUIFDJUZ t/FWFSTUBSUGJSFTEVSJOHBOBJSQPMMVUJPOBMFSU t*OUIF5XJO$JUJFTJUTJMMFHBMUPCVSOBOZXBTUF -FBSONPSFBU

Minnesota Pollution $ontrol Agency


Page 12 • June 17 - June 23, 2013 • Insight News

Estes From 11

As the operator of the Hennepin Energy Resource Center, Covanta Ene Energy is proud to help power and heat Ene Min Minneapolis with renewable energy.

science and worked with the University of Minnesota African-American Students in Mortuary Science Board. Many students completed their practicums under his direction at Estes Funeral Chapel. To honor Richard and April for their kind generosity to the community, the Northside community dedicated a Peace Garden at the original Estes Funeral Home site. Estes received several notable awards throughout his career, but most recently, he was the recipient of the Trail Blazer Award through the Minneapolis Urban League. The award recognizes those who have achieved more than 30 years of successful business ownership. He also was recognized by the Givens Foundation for AfricanAmerican Literature in appreciation of his leadership and investment in acquiring the Archie Givens, Sr., collection of African-American literature

for the community. Richard Estes and April Martin Estes were united in marriage on December 29, 1972. April, his wife of 43 years, survives him. Other survivors include his children, Kenneth Leon Estes of Yuma, Ariz.; April Leann Estes (Russell) of Minneapolis, Minn.; Brittani Clay Estes of Minneapolis, Minn.; Myles Ray Estes of Minneapolis, Minn; step-son, D. Craig Taylor (Teresa) of St. Paul, Minn; sister, Margie Estes Wright of Baxter Springs, Kan.; brother, Fred Estes of Golden Valley, Minn.; sister-in-laws Mildred Brown of Louisville, Ky.; Carrie Donnelly of Chicago, Ill;, Francis Murrell of Fort Scott, Kan.; brother-in-laws Hayes Thompson of Chicago, Ill; and Meldon Wesley of Olathe, Kan.; granddaughters, Ashley LaRon Estes, Kennisha Nicole Estes both of Baton Rouge, La.; godchildren Jennifer Bluford of Chicago, Ill. and John Bluford of Kansas City, Mo.; and a host of nieces, nephews and close friends.

We are also proud to help empower the City of Minneapolis by supporting the great work of the Urban League of Minneapolis. Min Covanta Hennepin strives to be an active and supportive community member by providing jobs for local residents and investing in the areas of education, the environment, and economic development.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Recover Energy-from-Waste.

Caring for the community.

For 87 years, the Minneapolis Urban League has cared for the African-American community, providing direct service for thousands of people, and helping to lead the struggle for justice and equal opportunity. Medica has cared for the community for nearly 40 years. Like the Urban League, we too are committed to improving the lives of our members. For thousands of families across the region, Medica is their thing. It’s your thing, too. Learn more at We salute the Minneapolis Urban League for eight decades of leadership and service. And wish you good health and good fortune for decades to come.

You Belong.

Insight News ::: 6.17.13  

News for the week of June 17, 2013. Insight News is the community journal for news, business and the arts serving the Minneapolis / St. Paul...

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