Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery offers Black History Month exhibit

The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery is kicking off Black History Month with a new exhibit. 

The exhibition focuses on the migration of early African Americans in Southeast Minnesota. Curator and genealogist, Mica Anders curated the exhibit. "I think the biggest takeaways were that African Americans were here so early and that they did not stay," says Mica Anders. Her research begins in 1860. "What I learned is that some people came on their own free will. Some people came from the south who were formerly enslaved either they escaped (or) they were brought here by enslaver," says Anders.

From a region including Goodhue, Winona, Rice counties and more, back then African Americans comprised of less than one percent of the population in southeast Minnesota. Anders says those who came here by choice sought land and work.  Anders says, "A lot of people were successful in service roles. So they’d be barbers or shop owners or restaurant owners but sill in roles that would keep them in a service capacity. But they were re still able to strive and do well for their families."

FOX 9’s Bisi Onile-Ere speaks with Mica Anders about the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery’s new exhibit for Black History Month.

The exhibit--incorporating photography, archival materials, and illustrations. Highlighting notable figures while also displaying a dark side of history. "I think the biggest thing is the untold stories are the story. I think the other thing is Black folk have been here it’s not new…it didn’t happen with the great migration yeah more people came, but the history of Minnesota is an everybody history," says Anders.

Anders says at one point, Red Wing, Minnesota had one of the largest black populations outside the Twin Cities and Duluth. the exhibit is free and will be on display until July. More information can be found at the link below.