A resource for reliable information about significant people, places, events and things in Minnesota history.

Universal Laboratories Building, 2009.

Where crop fungus was big business

National Afro-American Council meeting, St. Paul, 1902. Booker T. Washington stands in the front row, hat in hand; McGhee stands two rows behind him. To Washington's left, Bishop Alexander Walters, then Ida B. Well-Barnett. Over Walter's right shoulder, T. Thomas Fortune; over his left. W.E.B. DuBois. Emmett Scott is behind Wells-Barnett.

Civil rights and controversy at the State Capitol

Child's birthday party in Virginia

Practicing the Jewish faith in Hibbing, Eveleth, Virginia, Chisholm, and beyond

Photograph of the front exterior of the Minnesota State Reform School. Taken by T.W. Ingersoll, c.1875.

An experiment in juvenile justice

Headline and accompanying photograph printed in the November 6, 1924 edition (page 10) of the St. Paul Daily News.

Minnesota's worst documented encounter with the virus

Photograph of Crispus Attucks staff and residents moving to 1537 Randolph Avenue in Highland Park, 1908.

A refuge for African American orphans and elders

A cyanotype photograph taken from the site of the town of Nininger c.1890.

The rapid rise and fall of a Dakota County community

The Merritt family some twenty years before they began mining operations on the Mesabi, 1871.

Five brothers, two of their nephews, and the world's largest iron mine

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In the early morning of June 2, 1895, Houston Osborne, a young African American man, broke into Frieda Kachel's bedroom in her St. Paul home. When Kachel screamed, Osborne ran; he was caught and hanged from a cottonwood tree but let down before he died. He died in prison eighteen months later.

A marked rise in public anti-Semitism in the 1930s spurred a group of Jewish leaders in the Twin Cities and Duluth to form the Anti-Defamation Council of Minnesota in 1938. In the 1950s the focus of the council shifted from defensive actions to teaching campaigns. These efforts aimed to fight ignorance and improve social relations. The renamed Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas continues this mission in the twenty-first century.

The Universal Laboratories building played a key role during World War II by ensuring that the United States had an adequate domestic supply of the essential crude drug ergot. As war threatened to cut off imported supplies of crude ergot, Universal Laboratories developed an effective collecting and processing operation in Dassel.

Lena Olive Smith was a prominent civil rights lawyer and activist during the 1920s and 1930s. She made major contributions toward securing civil rights for minorities in the Twin Cities. Smith began fighting for the rights of others when she became the first African American woman licensed to practice law in Minnesota in 1921. She was the only African American woman to practice law in the state until 1945.

In July 1902 St. Paul hosted the most important African-American political event of the year: the annual meeting of the National Afro-American Council (NAAC). St. Paul lawyer Fredrick McGhee organized it and hoped that it would produce a more united and effective national civil rights organization. The opposite occurred.

Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark Van Cleve was the child of a military family and a crusader for the rights of disadvantaged people in Minnesota and beyond. Born during her parents' journey to help build the future Fort Snelling, she lived to see a fledgling community grow into an urban center.

Built in 1867, the Chubb House is the oldest residence standing in Fairmont, and the only of the town's houses known to have been built with brick from Fairmont's first brickyard. It was the home of prominent homesteader Orville Chubb, who was the community's first physician. The house is an example of a property associated with the early Yankee American development of southern Minnesota town sites.

The last in a long series of violent conflicts between Dakota and Ojibwe people took place on the banks of the Minnesota River north of the village of the Dakota leader Shakpedan (Little Six) on May 27, 1858. Dozens of Ojibwe and Dakota warriors engaged in fighting that claimed lives on both sides but produced no clear victor.