Saturday September 30th 2023

Keep citizen journalism alive!



Meet Your Neighbor: Edric Knight


Edric at an APA league tournament in 2022. Photo: James Henry

I was tabling for the alley at the Phillips West Fall Festival when I met Edric, a retired financial analyst and resident at Ebenezer Tower Senior Apartments. As we discussed our interests and involvements, what stood out to me most was his gift for connecting people. It was through Edric that I first discovered the Phillips treasure that is the Ebenezer Tower resident community. A short interview can’t begin to cover all his organizing activities there (Sample Night at the Apollo talent show, anyone?), but it gave me the opportunity to learn more about him.

Where did you grow up? How did you land in these parts?
Edric: I grew up in Springfield Missouri, Queen City of the Ozarks, a few miles from Branson. Jobless and divorced in St. Louis, a high school friend persuaded me to come to Minneapolis in 1990. My first apartment was in Corcoran for a couple of years, then I moved to Powderhorn Park and ultimately to reside here Phillips West.

You’re retired, tell me about some of the ways you spend your time?
Edric: Well, I volunteer for Mid Minnesota Legal Aid, I’m a board member and treasurer. And I work with the residents here [at Ebenezer Tower] and serve as IT support. I also shoot pool, through leagues. It’s like I’m always studying, trying to learn.

What do you appreciate about Phillips?
Edric: Phillips at large is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the metro. Where else can you find such a celebration of cultures, cuisine, arts and traditions? Midtown is fabulous. This is the 5th and longest state I’ve lived in, and I never experienced such diversity until I came to Minneapolis.

Tell me about a spot in the neighborhood that’s special to you.
Edric: There are so many. I’m into the arts, so I have MIA right around the corner, and after George Floyd’s murder, I went around admiring and taking pictures of all the artwork all throughout the city. I mean just incredible graffiti. I won’t call it graffiti, it was artwork. I like to go down to the river. I’m an avid biker, so I like to tour the city, both sides, not just Minneapolis, but Minneapolis and St Paul. I love it all, the architecture, wherever the arts are. There’s not really one spot [in Phillips]. I’ve seen many changes since I’ve been here.

What changes are most striking to you?
Edric: Well, how Lake Street has been developed. When I got here, there was a lot of violence, much more than there is now. People don’t realize how bad it was back in those days. And Sears is gone. The Family Dollar, that of course is gone, the one across from the Sears building. It burned down [during the unrest in 2020]. That used to be the art center where the Throne Plaza was built. The city had donated the space.

Detail from the Throne Plaza Gateway at the northeast corner of Peavey Park. Photo: Laura Hulscher

Are you referring to the Throne Plaza grand entrance at Peavey Park?
Edric: Yes! When the Throne Plaza gateway [installed at Peavey Park in 1992] was constructed [at Artspace on E Lake St], the Family Dollar store didn’t exist, it was a vacant building for a long time. [Artist] Rafala Green turned it into Artspace for the community. I volunteered to help support the program by getting donations from the company I worked for, (i.e. typewriters, chairs, and food) and provided transportation for volunteers to pick up other donations.

With all the things you’ve done and the territory you covered, is there something you’d still like to do in the future?
Edric: I’m looking forward to creating a workshop. I’m an artist. Before I went to school, I was a welder. I had a shop in the past, in St. Louis, making artistic wrought iron furniture, and I just love working with metals, creating things, ever since I was a teenager. Still got the equipment, it’s all sitting there…

Tell me about the picture of you at the pool table.
Edric: One of my hobbies since retiring is pool. I joined leagues at Jimmy’s Pro Billiards on Central Ave, sanctioned by the APA (American Poolplayers Association). This picture is for placing first at a number 3 ranking for the individual appreciation tournament in November 2022.

A final question. Which pool game has more balls, 8-ball or 9-ball?
Edric: Which game has more balls? You don’t shoot pool, do you? 8 ball! It has 15, 9-ball has 9.

Laura is lucky to call Phillips one of her many second homes. She has learned so much helping to produce the alley in the last couple of years.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2022 Alley Communications - Contact the alley