The Scott Collection
Minnesota's Black Community in the '50s, '60s, and '70s
Author Walter R. Scott Sr., Introduction by Anthony R. Scott, Preface by Chaunda L. Scott, Foreword by Dr. William D. Green
Minnesota Historical Society Press (February 1, 2018)
A fascinating documentary look at the African American community of the mid-twentieth century, brought back into print.
In the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, Minneapolis resident Walter R. Scott produced a series of books profiling the African American community of the Twin Cities. The people and stories presented in the three original volumes—Centennial Edition of the Minneapolis Beacon (1956), Minneapolis Negro Profile (1968), and Minnesota’s Black Community (1976)—reflect a vibrant community of businesspeople, artists, educators, athletes, and other public figures while providing an intimate look at everyday life in black homes, schools, neighborhoods, and businesses.
The Scott Collection brings back into print these fascinating documents of African American life and history in the Twin Cities. The original photos and profiles are supplemented with introductory essays that put Scott’s work into context and shed light on what the images and descriptions from the time reveal about Minnesota’s diverse populations then and now. The collection offers a “pictorial resume of the black community, its achievements, and its goals” and a fascinating window into particular moments in time.
Also of interest:
Minnesota's Black Community in the 21st Century
Walter R. Scott Sr. was born in Mississippi in 1929 and moved to Chicago as a young boy with his family. After graduating high school, Scott moved to Minneapolis. He became a night watchman at Northwestern Bell and eventually was promoted to become the first African American to hold a personnel management position at the company. He later worked for the Metropolitan Airport Commission before retiring in 1995. Scott wrote and published The Minneapolis Beacon (1956), Minneapolis Negro Profile (1968), and Minnesota’s Black Community (1976) as pictorial resumes of the black community of the Twin Cities during a pivotal time in race relations. He died in 2001.
Anthony R. Scott (eldest son of Walter R. Scott Sr. ) spent many years as a career counselor and vocational expert for the State of Minnesota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Social Security Office, and his own private firm. He later spent 20 years as a supervisor with the Hennepin County Child Protection Unit. He continues to work as a consultant in employment issues. Scott also currently serves as the president of Minnesota’s Black Community Project, a nonprofit organization that highlights and celebrates the accomplishments of blacks in Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis.
Dr. Chaunda L. Scott (daughter of Walter R. Scott Sr.) is an associate professor, graduate coordinator, and diversity and inclusion specialist at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She earned a doctorate in Adult Education/Organizational Leadership with a focus in diversity education from Teachers College at Columbia University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Scott has written numerous articles on diversity education and workforce diversity, in addition to her research and teaching in those areas and the subjects of eradicating racism, human resource development, and organizational leadership. In 2015 she was granted a Fulbright Specialist Award in Cape Town, South Africa, where she engaged in diversity education work.
Dr. William D. Green is professor of history at Augsburg University. He received his B.A. in History from Gustavus Adolphus College, and his M.A., Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has published articles, op-ed pieces, and book chapters on history, law, and education, and he has published two books on race and civil rights in Minnesota history-A Peculiar Imbalance in Early Minnesota: 1837-1869, and Degrees of Freedom: The Origin of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1914, which won the 2015 Minnesota Book Award-Hognander Prize. He is presently working a history of Minnesota during the period of the Civil war and Reconstruction. He presently serves as vice president of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Reviews and news
“The Scott Collection is an exemplary piece of Minnesota historical research that features successful African American trailblazers in action.”
The Honorable James F. Cannon and Lois E. Cannon
“The Scott Collection highlights the essence and footprints of Minnesota’s thriving black community that had never been captured before.”
Charles E. Crutchfield Sr., MD
“Mr. Scott was one of the great journalists who was part of the Black Journalists Historical Association. He was also a great visionary who had the knowledge, skills, and ability to chronicle the history of twentieth-century African Americans prospering in Minnesota so that current and future generations could be inspired by their legacy.”
Ronald A. Edwards, historian
“Walter R. Scott, a prolific journalist, created a body of captivating African American history and culture in Minnesota. I applaud and appreciate his reflective and connective African American literary work.”
Mahmoud El-Kati, historian
“I remember Walter Scott going around the community gathering photographs for his books that showcased Minnesota’s black community in a positive light. His historic books served to lift up the black community in Minnesota in past decades, and they continue to do so presently.”
Wayne Glanton, retired general contractor
“The Scott Collection is an extraordinary body of work chronicling Minnesota’s African American pioneers. These phenomenal books beautifully display untold stories and history and are a must have for Minnesotans and Americans of all backgrounds.”
Gary D. Hines, founder and director of Sounds of Blackness
“Walter R. Scott’s work is significant for educating people about the many successful African Americans residing in Minnesota during the twentieth century. His books remind us in the African American community that it is critical that we write and record our history so that it gets communicated correctly. Moreover, his research models that African Americans have much to share with the world.”
Dr. Josie Johnson, civil rights activist
“Having known the Scott family for many years, we are looking forward to the rebirth of The Scott Collection. These books superbly highlight and commend the accomplishments of African American men and women pioneers in Minnesota.”
David G. and Sandra Peake, attorneys at law
“As an African American community we should be thankful that Walter Scott had the foresight to document the history of our predecessors in Minnesota through his original and renowned publications that highlight and confirm the value of African American history.”
Frank White, author of They Played for the Love of the Game: Untold Stories of Black Baseball in Minnesota
“Before Walter Scott’s publications, it was easy to believe that there weren’t any black people making significant contributions to life and well-being in Minneapolis. Walter was relentless in his efforts to publicize that black people living in the city were contributing to their community. His books helped bring visibility to Minneapolis’s black citizens.”
Theartrice Williams, former executive director of the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center
“An adaptation of a poem by Langston Hughes will forever remind me of my friend Walter Scott, who was an advocate and pioneer in the advancement of African Americans in the state of Minnesota. He chronicled and recorded their efforts and left a legacy for generations to come to remember those from whence they came and what they did for them to be where they are today. So, to Walter Scott I say:
In the dark,
Brighter than many ever see.
Through the soul’s own mastery.
And now the world receives
From his dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.’
To my friend Walter Scott: You will always be remembered.”
Links to MNHS resources related to people profiled in The Scott Collection:
- 500 pages
- 500 B&W PHOTOS
- 8.5x11 inches
- ISBN: 9781681340609
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