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History of North Minneapolis kicks off U of M's Critical Conversations, public discussions on urban issues and ideas

Event includes screening of TPT/U of M documentary ‘Cornerstones’ and community reception

February 6, 2012

The history of Minneapolis’s north side is the topic of Critical Conversations, a new series of public discussions with scholars, historians, artists and community leaders on urban issues and ideas debuting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis.

The kick-off conversation will focus on the people in front of—and behind—the camera in the recent university-produced documentary, “Cornerstones: A History of North Minneapolis.” The documentary, which premiered in November on Twin Cities Public Television, traces the history of Minneapolis’s north side communities through place-based stories interwoven with themes of immigration, race relations and social change. Cornerstone’s director and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Daniel Pierce Bergin will moderate a panel of experts, historians and community leaders:

  • Roxanne Givens, businesswoman, philanthropist and founder of the Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center;
  • Linda Schloff, historian, lecturer and former executive director of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest;
  • Katherine Solomonson, associate professor in the university’s School of Architecture and an architectural historian featured in “Cornerstones;”
  • John Wright, professor in the university’s Department of African American and African Studies.

Discussion topics will include the stories behind the documentary, social dynamics and changes on Minneapolis’s north side landscape over the past century and the importance of neighborhood connections and community common ground. The discussion and question and answer session will be introduced by university Senior Vice President Robert Jones. A public reception will precede the event at 5 p.m., followed by screening of “Cornerstones” at 6 p.m.

“Critical Conversations builds upon the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center’s role as a vibrant campus-community gathering place for urban-focused research, dialogue and cultural events,” says UROC Executive Director Heidi Barajas. “A conversation about the place-based history of North Minneapolis lays the perfect foundation for future discussions about one of Minnesota’s most vital urban neighborhoods and the people who shape its future.” +

The event is free and open to the public.

UROC’s mission is to link the university in public partnership with urban communities to advance learning, improve quality of life and discover solutions to complex urban challenges.

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