Remembering civil rights activist Anna Arnold Hedgeman of Anoka
A "March on Washington" was held Friday in Washington, D.C., to mark the anniversary of the original March on Washington held in 1963.
Most Minnesotans don't know that a Black woman who grew up in Anoka — Anna Arnold Hedgeman — was the only woman on the organizing committee for the 1963 March on Washington.
She was a longtime activist for civil rights and social justice — but has been mostly forgotten.
New York University historian Thomas Sugrue has written a book exploring the stories of Northern activists who challenged racial inequality, titled "Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North." Anna Arnold Hedgeman is featured prominently in the book. She was also the first African American to attend Hamline University in St. Paul.
Sugrue spoke in 2018 at the Minnesota Historical Society's "History Forum," to a sold-out audience that had never heard of that trailblazing Anoka woman.
Anna Arnold Hedgeman died in 1990 at the age of 90. There’s now a Hedgeman Center for Student Diversity Initiatives at Hamline University.
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