NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday August 20th 2019

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August 2019 edition of The Alley

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SOUNDS OF SOUL

Phillips musician recalls Black music scene of his youth

Alfred Johnson

By Tesha M. Christensen

Sitting on the front porch one summer day, painting in the sweltering heat, Alfred Johnson reminisced about his early days in music and the burgeoning Twin Cities Black music scene of the 1970s and 80s.

He’s even found his way into a book capturing the scenes from that time, “Sights, Sounds, Soul: The Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis” (published by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2017), although he’s misidentified in the book on page 33 as Raymond Parker. 

Paging though the book brings Johnson, now age 66, back to those days when the city’s 50,000 African Americans, who were denied access to downtown club stages and radio airwaves, were playing at clubs like Cozy Bar and Lounge up north on Plymouth Ave. and Riverview Supper Club in south Minneapolis (now Broadway Pizza). About Chamblis, “We used to call him ‘Picture Man,’” recalled Al.

Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society
Phillips man Al Johnson (back row, left) has found his way into “Sights, Sounds, Soul: The Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis” (at right) that was published by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2017, although he’s misidentified in the book on page 33 as Raymond Parker.

BLACK MUSIC AT CHURCH AND THE CLUB

A 1972 South High School graduate, Al has lived both on the Southside and Northside of Minneapolis since moving here with his family as a kid in the early 1960s. His kinfolk hail from Springfield, Ill. At the time, in North, “there weren’t hardly any Blacks who lived there. You could count them on your finger,”
Al said. “Most Blacks lived in Central neighborhood or Phillips.”

He loves the Southside for its different cultures – Blacks, whites, Hispanics – and has lived here now for 30 years.

But most of his musical career was on the Northside. 

He took up drums at age 10. “My mother was an evangelist and we traveled all over the country,” Al recalled. His father played base guitar (and performed with the likes of Duke Ellington and Wes Montgomery), and the six kids each had their own instrument. “We played at Bishop Watley’s Church in Chicago. They would treat us like stars. We were on the road with them, and in and out of school.”

Everybody started off gospel in those days, recalled Al, many of them helped along the way by Reverend Leroy Battles, who was well known by local Black musicians. Al appeared on his half hour Church of the Air show televised from the KTSP studio off University Ave.

Black music wasn’t being played on the radio, so few people in Minnesota had heard of the Supremes or Marvin Gaye, Al pointed out. “We had to make our own music up,” he said. 

So he joined groups around town in the 1970s and 80s. The various members all felt like ‘the sky’s the limit,’ recalled Al. “That’s what it was. Some people used to follow us around, like Prince. We inspired a lot of people.”

Al remembered that Prince was known for being hard to get along with. “He didn’t want anybody smoking or doing drugs,” recalled Al. “He’d kick you out of the group.”

Prince didn’t want to play other people’s songs, but wanted to focus on his own music.

Al honed his craft at the Minnesota Conservatory of Music and the University of Minnesota.

THEY SOUNDED GOOD

“I had a long life of night clubbing and playing different clubs,” he said, including working in the house band at The Joint where they played five nights a week. Band members had other jobs, and did gigs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m, playing three sets and 30 songs a night. They also used to do supper clubs out on Lake Minnetonka.

He was on the road with The Mystics when Rockie Robbins was the lead singer.  He played drums for Charlie Clark and the Paramounts (Charlie was a teacher at North High). 

“I played base guitar, too, but my main instrument is drums,” said Al. 

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
ABOVE – A song from this record hit the Top 100 in the world in 1988, catapulting these local musicans to the same list as Elton John and Michael Johnson. Left to right on the cover are Josie Davis, Debbie Williams (keyboards) and Al Johnson (drums). Johnson also helped produce this and four other albums with Davis.

He remembers playing with Creedence Clearwater Revival at some little rodeo down south. “They sounded good. So did we,” observed Al. “We were the only Black group up there.”

Those in the audience asked, “Who are they?” right up until they started playing. Then it didn’t matter.

Al recalls  playing in the middle of farmfields, and jamming in Texas on dirt floors with dust heavy in the air.

TOP 100 HIT

The most popular record he recorded was “Obeying the Call” with Josie Davis and Praise in 1988. 

Their song “Try Smiling” hit in the Top 100 in the world and earned him royalties for 20 years until it became part of the public domain. He’s shown on the front cover of the album with Josie (lead singer) and Debbie Williams (keyboard), and was one of the producers. It was one of five albums he put out with Davis.

Over the years, Al has fit his music around work at a number of places and a stint in the service. He’s been a Hennepin County drug counselor, at the Southside Family Nurturing Center, bus driver, and a neighborhood handyman. 

But, of course, he’s still doing music. It’s in his blood.

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Drummer and base player Alfred Johnson (left) of Phillips stands with his wife Elizabeth and some of his grandchildren, including Olivia Browner (age 3), Albrina Johnson (age 1.5) and Sabrina Browner (six month). Johnson has played gigs all over from local clubs to dirt floors in Texas.

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3 GENERATIONS RUN PRINTING BUSINESS

Carlson Printing at Franklin and Chicago rolls with the times, focusing on personalized customer service

By Tesha M. Christensen

photo submitted
Stan Carlson started Carlson Printing in 1974 with his two sons, and his granddaughter is now working there.

The southeast corner of Franklin and Chicago has been home to a third generation family business since the 1970s.

“Although it has it’s unique challenges, it works well for us,” remarked Christy Crawford, granddaughter of the man who started Carlson Printing Company. “It’s convenient being close to downtown and the freeways, and also exciting to be surrounded by diversity and so many great non-profits working to improve people’s lives.”

Carlson Printing Company strives to be a good friend and neighbor.

“We are proud to be a third generation family business,” remarked Christy. “We feel lucky to have wonderful longtime employees, as well as fantastic customers.”

FROM THE GROUND UP

Christy’s grandfather, Stan, started the business with her dad Chris and uncle Todd in 1974. They ran the business together for several years before Chris bought it, and then her mom Susie got involved.  

“I had no plans of getting into the printing business,” recalled Susie. “I was a stay-at-home mom, and when my kids headed off to school I starting helping at the business, packing boxes, stuffing envelopes and delivering.  I learned the industry from the ground up.”  

Now she’s the company president. “I never would have never dreamed today I would be running the business,” said Susie. “Learning so many different jobs has helped me have a better perspective and understanding.”

courtesy of Carlson family
Two generations of Carlsons are currently working together at Carlson Printing, at the corner of Chicago and Franklin. Left to right: Christy Crawford with her parents, Chris and Susie Carlson. Christy says she stays at the company because she enjoys working with her family.

FIRST JOB: STUFFING ENVELOPES

Christy’s first job was stuffing envelopes when she was about seven.  “I remember Take Your Daughter to Work Day and tagging along with my dad to visit his customers,” she added.

After college, she began working at Carlson in the sales department. “My grandfather would still come into the office everyday at that time. He passed away in 2012 so I really savor those last few years I got to spend working with him,” said Christy.

Over the years, she has worked other places, but what always drawn her back is the connection to her family. 

“I enjoy seeing my family everyday and the whole business really feels like a team effort,” explained Christy. “We work really hard, but also have a lot of fun and laughs.”

She added, “We are always trying to help each other learn and never compete. We move at a fast pace and there really never is a dull day.”

Today Christy is officially in business development, but  like others in small businesses she wears many hats.

A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Carlson Printing does a little bit of everything for clients that range from small to large. They also pride themselves on knowledgeable customer service staff who work with clients from start to finish.

“We do digital and offset printing, as well as full service mailings,” noted Christy. “Our clients vary from Fortune 500 companies to local non profits from the neighborhood. We throughly enjoy working with everyone.”

The offset commercial process is fully digital and the work-flow is based on working with files in PDF format, a change from their early days prior to the arrival of laser printers and desktop publishing. Carlson can do announcements, banners, booklets, brochures, business cards, envelopes, folders, forms of any type, invitations, labels (roll fed sheet), letterheads, logo design, manuals, newsletters, notepads, postcards, reports, sell sheets, spiral and perfect bound books, and stationary.  

Carlson Printing offers a full range of variable data printing services, including: mail merge documents, mail merge labels, form letters and more. Mailing services include processing mailing lists, inkjet addressing, postal presorting, and drop off at the Post Office with the postage option that best fits the business needs.

“Since I have been here we have really grown our digital business,” observed Christy. “Personalized mailings have became a sweet spot for us.”

TODAY’S CHALLENGES

“The biggest challenge we face is the misconception that online printing is cheaper and faster. That is not the case,” said Chris, who is vice president at Carlson. “We offer very competitive pricing at lightening speed, as well as top notch quality. You will get much more of a personalized experience choosing us.”

Christy concurred that their biggest challenge is competition from online printers. “We are lucky to have a lot of loyal customers we have worked with for years,” she stated. “We try and give our customers the best experience possible to keep them coming back.”

More at www.carlsonprinting.com.

“We are optimistic about the future!” said Crawford. “Although the industry is changing there will always be a need for printing. We look forward to evolving and being here when our customers need us.”

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OPEN STREETS Lake + Minnehaha Photos by Tesha M. Christensen

 

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Commemorating 400 years of Black oppression, resistance and resilience

Ebony Adedayo

By Ebony Adedayo, ReCAST Minneapolis Program Manager

Aug. 20, 2019 marks the 400th Year Commemoration of Africans being brought to Jamestown, Va. and enslaved by the British. To honor this event, the city of Minneapolis’ Division of Race and Equity is bringing together city staff and community partners to collectively remember who Africans were prior to the history of enslavement, recover the truth about our oppression and resistance, and reimagine a future that is not predicated on the harm of Black bodies or other people of color.  

To commemorate this, it is important to first understand that the enslavement of Africans predates 1619, as the Portuguese, Spanish, and the Dutch had driven the slave trade since the late 1400s. The oldest slave castle in the world – Elmina off of the coast of Ghana – was built in 1482 by the Portuguese and started being used for slavery shortly after 1492.  Enslaved Africans were sent to Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas for over 300 years. 

Coming to a better understanding of what slavery was and how it operated is important in commemorating this year. This year is also about coming to a deeper understanding of who we are so that we can move forward. 

The need to look back not only applies to people of African ascent but for people of European descent and other peoples of color because this country’s institutions and structures were grounded in anti-Blackness, or the perpetual capitalizing off of people of African descent. 

Why remember? 

At the city, we started the work of the 400 years by remembering who Africans were prior to the period of enslavement. Before the Europeans, there were ancient civilizations with rich systems of commerce, agriculture, governance, and spiritual practices that were designed and maintained by Africans. 

The oldest civilization was Kemet, or ancient Egypt. It is commonly understood that Kemet is not only the oldest African civilization but the oldest civilization in the world, as the oldest human remains have been found in Africa. Kemet had a dynamic system of philosophy and development, and what we know today as Ethiopia, Mali, Ghana, and Nigeria were important concerning trade, education, and the arts. 

In fact, Timbuktu in Mali was such an intellectual powerhouse that Europeans came to study here.  

So Africans had history before Europe. 

It is that history, that know-how, as well as the natural resources that prompted trade between Africa and Europe. Opening the door to non-human trade with Europe, however, gave way to human trade and slavery. Some African chiefs were complicit in slavery; many more resisted and fought against the Europeans at every turn. 

Declaring 2019 the Year of Return, Ghanian president Nana Akufo-Addo has encouraged people of African descent to come to the continent to remember this history. No amount of reading about slavery prepares one for the experience of visiting the Assin Manso Slave River where enslaved Africans took their last bath before being traded, or standing in the Slave Castles were our ancestors were routinely tortured. 

It is an important ritual for people of African descent to understand what happened to us along the way.  

Telling the truth 

The Emancipation Proclamation officially abolished slavery in the United States in 1863. Because of emancipation, some believe that slavery has little relevance in today’s society. However, the oppression of people of African ascent continued through the convict leasing system, Jim Crow, redlining, lynching, mass incarceration, massive unemployment, and officer-involved shootings.  

The state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis is not exempt from this history, as this region kept slaves and has driven these disparities. Whereas Minneapolis and St. Paul top national charts for being one of the best states for White people to live, it is one of the worst places for Black people to live. 

Still, the level of community-based activism has been vigilant, forcing those who otherwise would not to center racial equity and justice in their policy-making and practices.

Reimagining our future 

For the Division of Race and Equity, it is clear that we cannot move forward as a city and as a community by continuing to displace, disinvest, and cause harm to Black people. 

Neither can we move forward by allowing American Indians, Asian Pacific Islanders, LatinXs, or anyone else to be harmed because of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religious practices, their gender, or their class status. 

For too long, racism and other forms of oppression – sexism, homophobia, xenophobia – has been the means that those in power have used to exploit others. 

This strategy of dominance drives fear and hate, and puts us all at risk. We all have a vested interest in figuring out how to live the next 10, 50, 100, and 400 years without subjugating each other.

And we have a collective responsibility to repair the harm that has already occurred by strategic economic investments, educational opportunities, and connections to resources that deepen health and wellness in our communities, particularly for Black people.

  

A final word 

As we remember, recover, and reimagine, the Division of Race and Equity has implemented a multi-pronged strategy that enables us to dig deeper into each of these areas:

• Sacred Conversations is an initiative that gives staff an opportunity to unpack what the 400 Year Commemoration means for them and their work.

• Our summer lecture series and online toolkit gives space for staff and residents to deepen their awareness of the history of oppression, resistance, and resilience. 

• We have also invited community organizations to host events throughout the months of August and September. We wanted to hold these two months as critical moments of engagement, and the Week of Resilience Aug. 19  – 23 as particularly sacred, because of the Jamestown, Va. date of Aug. 20. We are having a community-wide event on Thursday, Aug. 22 that will give city staff and community residents an opportunity to reflect and celebrate on our history together. 

Visit our website at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/coordinator/Equity/recastminneapolis/WCMSP-218799 for more information.

We believe that this work will not only change how we talk about the history of enslavement through increased awareness and education, but it will be a catalyst in changing the narrative about Blackness in America, strengthening our collective ability to push for policy change that makes people’s lives better. 

Still Here: 400 Years of Resistance and Black Joy

Join the city of Minneapolis’ Division of Race and Equity on Aug. 22 to honor the 400 Year Commemoration of Oppression, Resistance and Liberation of African Americans at Sabathani Community Center, 5-8 p.m. 

We will reflect on the legacy of African Americans in this country, including how we have resisted and come through, and celebrate our persistent resilience and joy as we move forward. The event includes a lineup of speakers, performers, and you! It is open to the public, kid-friendly, and free. 

Register at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/e90cbca9e1314cb0bede14bd65d331bb

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Toward collective healing and cultural wellness

From race to culture

By MINKARA TEZET 

Cultural Wellness Center

“Many who find themselves experiencing a sense of dis-equilibrium, alienation, disconnectedness and disease, now have a place where each person is able to relearn the basics of healing and being in relationship with self and others.  

“The founders and the faculty of the Cultural Wellness Center believe that at the core of well-being are relationship, kinship circles, self-knowledge, and the capacity to produce knowledge that is informed by cultural ways of knowing. From the linkages between these, a beautiful web of activity is formed to create community naturally, ” said Atum Azzahir, founder of the Cultural Wellness Center.

Our work at the Cultural Wellness Center is to move from race to culture.  In this work, we are moving toward the recognition of our hearts and our souls as a human collective, as human beings, as representatives of what humanity is to the harmonious functioning of the planet.  

Cultural Wellness is an approach to study culture as a resource.  The resources embedded in culture  for each of us, help us to understand the ways in which we view the world as racialized beings or cultural beings.  Cultural Self-study unearths for us the ways of our people and the ways we express the seen and the unseen, the visible and the invisible parts of our people’s knowledge systems.  

Thinking is how a people create and imagine life for themselves.  Thinking is how we imagine life for other people.  It is a people’s thinking where we imagine how to create well-being on the planet.  

Thinking leads to remembering.  We begin to remember what has happened in our past.  We also begin to see what is happening in our present lives.  Remembering and thinking allow a people to begin to share with one another what they have experienced.  These experiences are individually and collectively experienced.  

In moments of remembering together, we create opportunities to recall who we are, what we have been through and how we have remained grounded, what some people call resilience.  As we begin to gather together to study culture and our people’s ways of being, we will begin to see culture can add value to our human existence.   

The study of Cultural Wellness leads to the practice of community ritual and ceremonies.  

In practicing rituals, we will remember how it feels to express empathy.  We value empathy because it allows us to experience feeling a sense of love from ourselves.  As we study the rituals and the practices of these rituals, we will create community ceremonies across the continuum of life and death.  

Community ceremonies help us to  remember the ancient ways of our people.  Ceremonies teach us to see how life and death are connected to one another and only separated by the objectification of time.  Ceremonies teach us the importance of remembering all of our humanities are tied together.   And as we study ourselves, we will remember the importance of sharing the expressions of life that have been transformed by that which is not visible with our physical eyes.  

First step: telling myself the truth

As I study at the Cultural Wellness Center, I have learned telling myself the truth is the first step in recovery as a sense of personal humanity.  We are learning to see beyond the pain in order to see the gift in learning how to be a better human being.  

Being better is what Cultural Wellness is about for me.  

Each of us is learning at our own pace what it means to live or have a better life.  I have come to realize we do not have to be at war with the reflection of ourselves we see as we move through the world.  However, as we examine the difficult places, we have been we have to also be willing to discover our journey towards healing together.  It is vital to the healing of humanity that we study ourselves in ways that allow us to transform the pain of our experiences into knowledge.  The knowledge we produce together is what will guide our collective futures.  

The first step of Cultural Wellness for me was to consider the capacity to heal (to be or become better) – as an individual and as a community.  Telling the truth to myself was the next step towards family and community healing.  As we consider the capacity to be better, to become better, we are learning to face the pain in our collective lives.  

Relearn ways of our people

We all must remember the practices, rituals, and ceremonies of our people.  As we relearn the ways of our people, we will begin to see the benefit of culture as a resource.  

Cultural Wellness gives us the ability to see what might be considered limits of being human. And at the same time, can allow you to see where there are no limits in our hearts, minds, and spirits. 

What we hold in our hearts is the medicine that will allow humanity to heal. This healing can only happen through the practice of studying and producing knowledge from the experiences as we gather. 

Gathering as a community will teach us to create a sense of balance, rightness, and justice for ourselves. 

Two questions for healing

What we know about ourselves will be the true test of our healing. Healing in this way is an internal process. It forces each of us to study our hearts and minds. 

As I consider the move from race to culture and journey toward a collective thinking, I am left with two questions. Can we be better human beings? Can we change the ways we relate to each other and the planet? 

This article is printed courtesy of the Cultural Wellness Center. © Cultural Wellness Center July 19, 2019.

Editor’s note: History is not just something that has occurred in the past. It is part of the formation of our present. The Alley asked Minkara Tezet of the Cultural Wellness Center to provide some thoughts to help guide us all in our thinking and healing as we move toward our collective future.

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Transit: Rolling in the heat

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

In the wintertime, I have written about how Metro Transit could better accommodate its customers in the icy cold and snowy weather. Today, I shall write about the perils of riding public transit in the heat and humidity of summer. While some people may think 95 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny in the summertime is “nice” weather, those of us who are heat intolerant say nay.

One thing Metro could do is install vending machines that sell cold pop and/or water at every Park and Ride, Transit Center, and Light Rail Station. I lived in Tucson, Ariz. in 2001, and this was one pleasant amenity Sun Tran, the transit system there, provided its users. They only charged 50 cents for a 20-ounce bottle, at a time when “normal” vending machines were charging a dollar. Clearly, the purpose wasn’t to make a profit, but to ensure that people had access to cold liquids on hot days. It probably more than paid for itself by preventing people from having medical emergencies caused by overheating while waiting for the bus. Nowadays, the “normal” price would be $1.50, so I would guess they would have to charge 75 cents to break even. Fair enough, make it an even dollar and put the small profit to shelter maintenance or something.

The other way Metro Transit could make life better is to instruct bus drivers to let people board during layovers when the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Most bus drivers are pretty good about this in the cold or rain, but many seem to think the heat is harmless. Bus passengers aren’t pot roasts!

If money was no object, I’d suggest air conditioning or at least exhaust fans in bus shelters, but I can guess the cost would be prohibitive, even if the Twin Cities weren’t already full of vandals who think destroying the heating elements in some shelters in the wintertime is “fun”. (Really, the penalty for that kind of behavior should be to be forced to stand outside for hours on end in inclement weather of some kind, whether it be heat, cold, snow, rain, or a storm. I really have no sympathy for people like that, since they obviously have no sympathy for anyone else.)

I don’t have to travel today, so I am able to write this from my air-conditioned bedroom!

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What’s Up at the Franklin Community Library August 2019

By ERIN THOMASSON

All Ages
15-Minute Guitar and Voice Lessons

Thursday, Aug. 1, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Registration Required. For kids & teens. Come participate in a 15-minute one-on-one voice or guitar lesson with local musicians, Dallas & Siama! Learn to sing or play guitar for the first time, or learn tips to improve your gifts in a welcoming environment. Use our guitar or bring your own.

Read Together

Tuesdays, Aug. 6, 13 & 20, 1-2 p.m.

Practice reading and enjoying books one-on-one or in a small group.

Franklin on the Green

Tuesdays, 3-4:30 p.m.

Play games outside this summer! We will have badminton, soccer, frisbee and other games set up to play, weather permitting.

Learn Together: Connect and Play

Tuesdays, 6-6:30 p.m.

Connect with your child during this drop-in program exploring early literacy activities. Join your neighbors each week for a different theme including music, art, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), reading and creative play.

Science Wednesdays

Wednesdays, 3-4:30 p.m.

Join us for a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) activity each week!

Puzzlemania!

Thursdays, 3-5 p.m.

Enjoy a variety of educational and fun puzzles and games!

Game On!

Thursdays, 5-7 p.m.

Join us for all types of gaming! Enjoy card games, board games, Xbox, VR and more. Play an old favorite or learn a new one.

Family Storytime

Fridays, 10:30-11 a.m.

For children of all ages and their caregivers. Talk, sing, read, write and play together in a format appropriate for young children. Share books, stories, rhymes, music and movement.

Teen programs

Urban 4-H Club

Tuesdays, 5–7 p.m.

We do everything from urban gardening to digital photo/video to theater. Partner: University of Minnesota.

Teen Tech Workshop

Wednesdays, 5-6:30 p.m.

Get creative and make music, videos, animation and other projects using both high- and low-tech tools, everything from iPads and 3D printers to synthesizers and sewing machines. Led by the library’s Teen Tech Squad.

Cards and Board Games

Saturday, Aug. 3, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Chess, Scrabble®, backgammon, cribbage, Mahjong and more! Come play a variety of games with new or old friends. Games are provided or bring a favorite from home.

Electronic Music Workshop

Wednesday, August 21, 6:30-7:30 pm

Entering grades 3-12. Make beats and experiment with electronic music production in a space that empowers girls, non-binary and trans youth. All are welcome! Collaborator: Beats by Girlz.

Adults

Open Crafting

Monday, Aug. 5, 1-3 p.m.

Looking for a space to sew, knit or work on other crafts? Bring your current project and materials and join us! Sewing machines, knitting needles and other equipment will be available for your use.

Work of Art: Marketing for Adults

Monday, Aug. 12, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Registration Required. Define your product, discover your target audience, make decisions about how to sell your work, and identify a budget and strategy for your artistic business. Collaborator: Springboard for the Arts. Funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Franklin Technology Hour

Thursdays, 12-1 p.m.

Do you want to explore new technology, practice using a computer program, or learn more about the library’s electronic resources? Then come to Franklin Technology Hour! Bring your questions or come and explore a spotlighted resource.

The Ethics of Efficient Legal Research: “How Do You Feel About Good Enough?” CLE Class

Friday, Aug.16, 12:15-1:15 p.m.

This program takes place at Hennepin County Government Center (300 S 6th St). This CLE (Continuing Legal Education) series provides continuing education credits to attorneys, but the CLEs are open to anyone. The classes are free of charge, and no registration is required. Each CLE will be one credit. For more information, contact Becky Breyen at 612-348-7960 or becky.breyen@hennepin.us. The Ethics of Efficient Legal Research: “How Do You Feel About Good Enough?” by Karen Westwood, Director, Hennepin County Law Library and Charlie Wilson, Manager, Knowledge Sharing and Training Services, Ballard Spahr, LLC.

Master Gardener: Backyard Compost Basics

Saturday, Aug.17, 3-4:15 p.m.

Registration Required. Learn about the right equipment and space for composting, maintaining and troubleshooting your compost, composting in winter, and how to use your finished compost. Collaborator: Hennepin County Master Gardeners, University of Minnesota Extension.

Power in Participation: Voter Education Workshop

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 10-11 a.m.

Learn about elections, the voting process, and civic engagement. Great for first time voters! Non-partisan and open to all. Explore a new topic each month. Aug. 27: How You Can Vote. Collaborator: Black Votes Matter MN

Franklin Learning Center: 612-543-6934

The Franklin Learning Center offers free, one-to-one tutoring for adults who are learning English and math, preparing for the GED and citizenship exams, and gaining life skills. We are always looking for community volunteers! No experience necessary; we provide training and materials. Contact us at 952-847-2934 or flc@hclib.org.

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Her family tells Ann Gardiner’s story via her own web site

Tales from
Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery

By Sue Hunter Weir

168th in a Series

AnnGardiner

Ann Gall Gardiner has her own web page. Not all that unusual in these times, perhaps, but she is not from these times: She was born more than 200 years ago, on Jan. 20, 1817, in Kincardine, Scotland and died from tuberculosis in Minneapolis on May 31, 1886 when she was 67 years old.  

The epitaph “Gone, But Not Forgotten” is one that is commonly seen in cemeteries but it requires some effort to keep someone’s memory alive.  Ann’s descendants have done just that by creating a webpage where they have told her story (or as much of it as they know at this point in time) and more importantly, they have shared a remarkable photo of her.

Ann Gall married James Gardiner, a tinsmith, in Aberdeen, Scotland on Feb. 2, 1838. Between 1838 and 1863, they had 12 children, at least two of whom died before the family came to America.

On March 8, 1863, Ann was confirmed in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.  She and her husband left Scotland for the United States sometime between 1870 and 1877.  

One place she wanted to see turned out to be a huge disappointment. After seeing Salt Lake City she said, “We came here expecting to see the gilded towers of Zion, but found only mud dykes.”  Disillusioned, Ann and James left the United States and moved to St. Catherine’s, Canada, where James died on Sept. 19, 1878.  

It is not clear when Ann moved to Minneapolis but she was living here when the 1885 Territorial Census was taken. She lived in what is now the Seward neighborhood, a few doors down from her daughter and about six or seven blocks from the cemetery.

There is a unsigned, undated, handwritten note on the back of the photo that claimed that it was taken in Minneapolis not long before she died. Whoever wrote it said:  “Grandfather told us that she went blind with cataracts and an operation could not be performed.”  One of the things that makes that so interesting is that in the photo she is holding a book, presumably one that she could no longer read. The author of the note went on to say that he thought the photo showed her “strength of character” and it certainly does that.

There are about 50 or so other immigrants from Scotland buried in the cemetery.  James Atchsion is one of them. His family shared his photo on their family tree at ancestry.com. There is less information currently available about his family than about Ann’s but undoubtedly more will be added.  

What we do know is that he was born in Scotland on June 8, 1868.  He emigrated when he was five years old.  He married Mary Johnson in 1891, and he worked as a cutter in a shoe factory.  He and Mary had eight children, one of whom, Henry, died in 1892 at the age of two months.

 The Atchison children were baptized at Bethany Lutheran Church. James died from chronic heart disease on Dec. 11, 1912.  He was only 44 years old.

James Atchison

Part of the satisfaction of doing cemetery research is finding new bits of information that help make sure that those who are gone are not forgotten. A few small facts came to light in the process of writing this story. It turns out that two children who are buried in the cemetery have a connection to Ann Gall Gardiner through her son-in-law. 

The Atchsion family must not have known the location of Henry’s grave, but they can add it to their tree now.  We have the answer to that question – he’s here.

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Ventura Village August 2019

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