Minneapolis African American Historic and Cultural Context Study

You can read about the engagement project for the Minneapolis African American Historic and Cultural Context Study.


The City's Historic Preservation team is creating a historic and cultural context study. The study will identify places in Minneapolis significant for their associations with Black and African American heritage.

You will find:

Photo credit: Hennepin County Library

photo collage of prominent people and places in Minneapolis that highlight African American heritage.


The City hired a consultant team to conduct citywide community outreach to gather feedback. The partnership comprised of:

  • Lange Johnson Development
  • Equity Strategies, LLC 
  • 106 Group 
Lange Johnson Development have worked with many underrepresented communities in the Twin Cities. They have facilitated many conversations, encouraging collaboration among stakeholders. The first part of engagement is complete in the project to preserve Minneapolis African American heritage.

More about the project: 

  • The project was funded by a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF) of the National Trust for Historic Preservation with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • The community outreach effort collected feedback on the needs and wants of the Black community relative to heritage preservation and cultural resources. It helped to uncover insight into significant historic properties, neighborhoods of interest, and the community that shaped the history of Minneapolis.
  • This project will only be effective if we build upon the extensive past efforts of community members in documenting and promoting African American heritage citywide. Community engagement ensures we are incorporating knowledge and expertise of all community participants.


This project is the first step toward creating a comprehensive Historic and Cultural Context Study. The study will guide future initiatives with these historic resources.

These initiatives may include:

  • landmark and/or historic district designations.
  • historic interpretation efforts like plaques, monuments, online resources, or guided tours.  
  • the development of future heritage preservation tools as a result of the study. 

Outreach and engagement project timeline

Step 1

Community engagement meetings

October to November 2021 (see below for details

Step 2

Draft report completed

February 2022

Step 3

Draft report review period

February to March 2022

Step 4

Final report anticipated

March 2022

Step 5
Step 6

Continued outreach and report publication

January 2023 – present

Project outcomes

This project represents a new approach to heritage preservation in Minneapolis. The final report includes the following:

  • A summary of community engagement activities and presentation materials.
  • A draft outline for a contextual history about African Americans in Minneapolis. Called a historic context study, this type of document describes historic development patterns within which places can be understood for heritage planning purposes.
  • A preliminary list and map of places in the city that may be significant to the African American community. Further research and engagement would be needed to explore which places may be formally recognized. The City has not initiated the local designation process for any property as a result of this project.

Next steps

  • CPED Historic Preservation staff apply for a grant to fund the historic and cultural context study, based on the drafted outline. Possible grants include the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (from the National Trust for Historic Preservation) and the National Park Service’s Underrepresented Communities Grant.
  • Continue to engage with project stakeholders and interested community members.

How to participate

Share your input through AACHAF Grant Project Comment Form

Online engagement events

Watch the six recorded online engagement events 

  • Black Music in Minneapolis
    October 12, 2021 6:30 p.m.
    Panelists: Gary Hines, Harry Spike Moss, DeSha Russell   
  • Black Homes and Leisure Activities
    October 19, 2021 6:30 p.m.
    Panelists: Harry Davis, Jr., Vivian Jenkins Nelsen
  • Black Houses of Worship in Minneapolis, 1860-2021
    October 26, 2021 6:30 p.m.
    Panelists: Rev. Billy G Russell, Rev. Tracey Gibson
  • Businesses, Professional and Social Organizations
    November 9, 2021 6:30 p.m.
    Panelists: Dr. Rose Brewer, William English, Theartrice Williams   
  • Sites of Consciousness for the Black Community
    November 16, 2021 6:30 p.m.
    Panelists: Tracey Williams-Dillard, Angela Myers, Mel Reeves
  • Arts and Culture in the Black Community
    November 23, 2021 6:30 p.m.
    Panelists: Coventry Cowens, Leesa Kelly, Seitu Jones 

Contact us

Community Planning & Economic Development

Heritage Preservation




Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415