North Star Journey points to local Black history

Anthony Brutus Cassius smiles in a black and white photo.
Anthony Brutus Cassius smiles for a photo after being granted a liquor license for his cafe in Minneapolis. He was the first black man granted a liquor license in the city. He used the license to create safe spaces for people of color in the Twin Cities.
Courtesy of the John F. Glanton Collection via the Hennepin County Library

North Star Journey is a project by MPR News that tells little-known stories of people from the diverse communities in Minnesota. The stories move beyond tropes about the traumas that the state’s communities of color have faced and cover the people trying to make their communities better.

MPR News editor Brandt Williams brings Angela Davis stories about Black champions in Minnesota.

They include a Minneapolis man seeking reparations from a church for enslaving his ancestors, the first Black man to get a liquor license in the city of Minneapolis in order to create safe spaces for people of color and the longtime director of the musical group Sounds of Blackness.


  • Brandt Williams is the editor of the race, class and communities team at MPR News.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.