Family Points of Interest

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Family Points of Interest

Saturday Oct. 10, 1:30 p.m.

And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

We invite you to explore our city, especially in the context and through the lens of our justice themed retreat.

We suggest that you visit these sites in the following order…

1. Lake Street

From Holy Trinity Lutheran Church head West on Lake Street, and, as you drive down Lake Street:

  1. Count how many different ethnic restaurants you can identify.  What does this tell you about this neighborhood?
  2. Look for businesses impacted by the riots this summer?  How many buildings are still boarded up?
  3. Look for artwork that communicates the hope of redevelopment or the pain of the black community.  What messages are being communicated? How does this artwork make you feel?
  4. Where do you see hope on Lake Street?
  5. Some places you might stop for a quick visit include:
    1. Mercado Central (1515 E Lake Street). Mercado Central is a thriving marketplace of 35 businesses at the corner of Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis. With the interest to foster business development for Latinos in Minneapolis. Mercado Central always offers a wide variety of everyday and artisan articles for purchase, delicious dishes and fresh ingredients for your meals; as well as a great lineup of services.
    2. Midtown Global Market (920 E Lake Street).  Midtown Global Market is an internationally themed public market with great food, cultural experiences, and unique gifts. You could stop to stroll through or pick up an afternoon snack.
  6. What do you think the needs of this community are? (Socially, economically, physically?)
  7. Pray for the people and the businesses of this vibrant economic corridor.


2. Homeless Encampment

Franklin Steele Park, Portland/16th

The past 2 years have brought attention to the large population of people experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities. Large encampments have popped up all over the city. As Covid-19 has closed many shelters or drastically changed services offered, many have taken to living in encampments.

During the summer of 2020, the city of Minneapolis estimated as many as 550 tents had been set up in Powderhorn Park before the city altered its plan which had legalized camping in parks. Powderhorn Park was cleared of all tents in mid-August as people were asked to move to one of 20 other designated parks with a new limit on occupancy. As of October 2, 2020, it is estimated that 284 tents remain in all parks.

People experience homeless for many reasons including: Eviction or Foreclosure, Ending of a Relationship, Substance Abuse, Housing Costs, escaping Domestic Violence, Disabilities, Mental Health issues, coming out as LGBTIQ+

As individuals and families seek stable housing, they are met with many challenges including safety, work and school, food scarcity, and as winter approaches, cold weather.

Reflection Questions:

3. Bde Maka Ska

Location: Bde Maka Ska.



As you travel from Bde Maka Ska to the Lena O. Smith House, we encourage you to drive east on Lake Street and turn south on Portland Ave.

Let us know how many dinosaurs you see on Portland Ave. between Lake St. and 34th St!


4. Lena O. Smith House

Location: 3905 5th Ave. S

Lena O. Smith was a true pioneer on many levels.

In 1921, Lena O. Smith filed her first lawsuit challenging housing discrimination just 11 days after becoming Minnesota’s first Black woman lawyer (and one of precious few in the country).

Smith had become involved in civil rights activism six years prior as a real estate agent, when she was inspired to attend law school after witnessing the use of restricted housing covenants and other discriminatory practices.

After launching a stream of legal housing challenges, she went on to serve as head of the Minneapolis National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Redress Committee from 1926 to 1930.

In 1930, she became the Minneapolis NAACP’s first woman president. Smith also helped establish a local chapter of the National Urban League in Minneapolis.

In one of her most prominent local cases, she helped African American couple Arthur and Edith Lee in 1931 navigate White outrage after they purchased a home in a predominantly White neighborhood in South Minneapolis.

Her goal was not only to win local cases, but to “give a voice” and visibility to African Americans being cheated out of their homes, their safety and their rights.

“I’m from the West and fearless,” she said in an interview during her time as NAACP president. “I’m used to doing the right thing without regard for myself. Of course, battles leave their scars, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice.”

Smith practiced law until she passed away in 1966, leaving behind a legacy of leadership for housing and labor equity. In 1991, her South Minneapolis home — known as the Lena  O. Smith House — was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Reflection Questions:


5. Arthur & Edith Lee Home

Location: 4600 Columbus Ave S

As you stand on the corner where the Lee’s home stands, imagine thousands of people surround the house, filling lawns, filling the streets, yelling racial slurs and some even throwing rocks at the home.

In June 1931 the home was purchased by Arthur and Edith Lee, an African-American couple. At the time the surrounding area was considered to be a "white neighborhood." Several years prior in 1927 hundreds of property owners in the area had signed a contract with the neighborhood association pledging to not sell or rent their property to non-whites. When the Lees moved in July 1931 they were approached by the neighborhood association and offered $300 more than they paid to sell the home back. After the Lees declined neighbors began to harass them by shouting threats and insults, posting offensive signs in their yard and throwing garbage and excrement on their lawn.

The unrest escalated over the next several days as crowds growing into the hundreds and later thousands continued their campaign of harassment by shouting slurs and throwing rocks at the home. Local police were sent to maintain the peace but offered little additional support to the Lees. On July 16 the Minneapolis Tribune broke a media blackout on the situation with a front-page story entitled "Home Stoned in Race Row." Arthur Lee, a World War I veteran, was quoted in the article as saying "Nobody asked me to move out when I was in France fighting in mud and water for this country. I came out here to make this house my home. I have a right to establish a home." The publicity from the article generated even larger crowds as well as onlookers. All available police in the city were called to form a cordon around the house and ensure nearby streets were not blocked by the mob.

Discussions with the neighborhood and community leaders during this unrest had been unproductive with the Lees' attorney advising them to say they were planning to leave to quell the unrest. The Lees were members of the local NAACP chapter and reached out to them for assistance. Lena O. Smith, the chapter's president, offered legal assistance and argued the Lees should remain as a statement that they would not be intimidated. The Lees accepted Smith's counsel and she drafted a statement published in all of the local newspapers noting that "[Mr. Lee] has no intention of moving now or later, even after we are assured the feeling in the district has subsided." Smith's assertive public statement combined with the strong police presence quelled the rioting.

The police presence remained at the Lees’ house for more than a year thereafter; the Lees’ daughter was escorted to and from school by police. In 1934 the Lees moved from the home to the historically black Central neighborhood.

Interest in the home's history was renewed in 2001 when a law professor published an article on the Lees' second attorney, Lena O. Smith, including her role in the event. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 on the basis of its significance to the social history of African Americans and housing discrimination in Minneapolis.

Reflection Questions:


After visiting these sites, you have free time until supper at Immanuel!

We’d like to suggest that you stop by the Minnehaha Falls area and enjoy the afternoon before returning to Eden Prairie!

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