Ehsan Alam St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood ran roughly between University Avenue to the north, Selby Avenue to the south, Rice Street to the east, and Lexington Avenue to the west. African American churches, businesses, and schools set down roots there in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, creating a strong community. Construction of Interstate-94 (I-94) between 1956 and 1968 cut the neighborhood in half and fractured its identity as a cultural center.From the beginning, Rondo was a haven for people of color and immigrants. Its namesake, Joseph Rondeau, moved there in the late 1850s from a site close to Fort Snelling, where he had faced discrimination due to his wife’s mixed white and indigenous heritage. French...
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Before it was cut in half by I-94, St. Paul’s Rondo was a thriving African-American cultural center