Minnesota’s Black middle class is one of the smallest in the nation.
Experts point to the destruction of the middle-class Black neighborhood of Rondo in the 1950s, the sharp racial disparities in education and wealth, and the fact that many Black professionals nationwide are migrating to areas south and west.
But designer and entrepreneur Houston White says another reason is the absence of Black-led, multicultural communities where Black professionals and families can put down roots.
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He’s on a mission to change that.
White has already opened a coffee shop and new apartment building in the Camden area, which White calls Camdentown. And his vision is getting high-level support from Minneapolis corporations like Target and U.S. Bank.
On Tuesday night, MPR News’ Angela Davis hosted an intimate North Star Journey Live event with White and a few of his friends who are helping him make his vision reality.
Click play to hear why White believes a vibrant Black middle class is crucial to Minneapolis being able to attract and retain young, Black professionals, and how Camdentown could be an example of how to close the racial gaps in housing and wealth that plague our state.
Houston White is a Minneapolis designer and entrepreneur. His fashion line is sold at Target. He is the founder and energy behind The Get Down Coffee Company, Camdentown Flats and the Be the Change golf tournament. He also hosts the Culturemaking podcast and recently released a book by the same name.
Kiera Fernandez is Target’s executive vice president and chief community impact and equity officer.
Greg Cunningham is the senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer at U.S. Bank.
Assata Gilmore lives in Camdentown Flats.
North Star Journey Live (formerly known as In Focus) is a live event series and reoccurring topic on MPR News with Angela Davis centered around what Minnesota’s diverse communities need to thrive.