The writers of the Black Life in Two Pandemics series have examined the deep roots of racial violence in the Midwest and the connections between that history and the COVID-19 pandemic.The series was inspired, in part, by commentators who were shocked and bewildered by the virulence of anti-Black violence in the Midwest.
Our political and legal systems are inextricably intertwined with and fueled by structural racism. This legacy predates the country’s founding, through the genocide of Indigenous populations and the kidnapping and selling of millions of Africans into slavery.
In March 2020, the Urban Art Mapping research team, a small group of faculty and students from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was busy conducting interviews with community members of Midway, a bustling, diverse neighborhood.
Minnesota doesn’t typically come to mind when you think about slavery and the Civil War. It’s also not a place that’s figured into the national imagination when it comes to Black activism, either—at least, not until recently.