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Archive for January, 2010

Crispin Iceball: Saturday, January 30 at 11:00 a.m.

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Bundle up! It’s a spirited game of “iceball”–or outdoor baseball in the middle of winter, all for a good cause–with the folks at Crispin Natural Hard Cider and the St. Paul Saints. This chilly good time features the St. Paul Saints in a benefit game for Second Harvest Heartland. Admission is free; however, donations are encouraged: for each $1 donated, Second Harvest Heartland will distribute more than $9 worth of grocery products for those in need. Along with money and nonperishable food, fans are also encouraged to bring warm jackets and clothing that will be collected by Joseph’s Coats. Last year’s event raised $20,000, and the game-time temperature was in the single digits. At 11 am, a tailgating party will ensue, and around noon fans will be invited to sample recipes which will be judged by the culinary experts of Also during the tailgate, stay warm by dancing about to the stellar sounds of Romantica and the Spectaculars. Family fun, baseball, Crispin Hard Cider, and do-goodery all in one shot! Tailgating starts on Saturday at 11 a.m., and the first pitch is at 1:30 p.m. For more info visit (via
phpThZbsoTo learn more about the St. Paul Saints, see Stew Thornley’s Baseball in Minnesota: The Definitive History.

Meet Paul Hillmer Thursday Night

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Peoples History of the HmongMeet Paul Hillmer, author of A People’s History of the Hmong, this Thursday, 1/28, at 6pm at the Concordia University library. Lee Pao Xiong, director for the Center for Hmong Studies, and Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer, will make introductory remarks followed by a thirty-minute presentation by Paul Hillmer, a question and answer period, and a book signing. We look forward to seeing you there!

Twin Cities Literary Scavenger Hunt Finale!

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Around the Literary Twin Cities in Almost 80 DaysThe Around the Literary Twin Cities in (Almost) 80 Days scavenger hunt ended December 26, but tomorrow is the grand finale at the downtown Minneapolis Central Library’s Talk of the Stacks program, where the event organizers (Coffee House PressMilkweed Editions, Graywolf Press, and The Loft Literary Center) plan to announce the winner. The program will feature a conversation about the literary life here in Minnesota with the executive directors of the four organizations mentioned above, moderated by MPR correspondent Marianne Combs.

The KKK in Minnesota

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

KKK in Minnesota 2“The Klan’s power was devastating precisely because it was so well integrated into family life.”

The winter issue of Minnesota History magazine has a fascinating article on the rise of the KKK in Minnesota in the 1920s, titled “One Flag, One School, One Language” and written by Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle and Nancy M. Vaillancourt.

Excerpt from the article

Published quarterly, Minnesota History magazine is available in the gift shop of the Minnesota History Center and online. Members of the historical society receive a free subscription, but subscriptions may also be purchased individually.

“Leave Nothing on Your Plate”

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Food Will Win the War Book CoverMHS Press is proud to announce the publication of a new book by Rae Katherine Eighmey, Food Will Win the War: Minnesota Crops, Cooks, and Conservation during World War I.  Eighmey details the extraordinary efforts of ordinary citizens in Minnesota and across the country, efforts that not only helped Allied forces win the war but also propelled the United States toward superpower status.

Much of Eighmey’s book deals with grassroots food conservation–families changing their weekly menus and incorporating meatless and wheatless days to help out overseas. The book includes more than sixty recipes, retooled for modern kitchens, for a hands-on history experience.

Cornmeal and Rice Waffles

Victory Cabbage

The King Legacy

Friday, January 15th, 2010

phpMyjfF0Our friends at Beacon Press in Boston have partnered with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. in a new publishing program, “The King Legacy,” which gives Beacon the sole right to print new editions of previously published King titles and to compile Dr. King’s writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into entirely new editions, including significant new introductions by leading scholars.

Beacon Press director Helene Atwan writes: “ I have been rereading and listening to Dr. King a lot of late (as you might imagine) and what surprises me most is how current his thinking is, how he seems to be speaking not from the 1950s or 60s but from the post 9/11 era, even from the Obama era. What he has to say to us in an age of globalization, in a so-called ‘post-racial’ age, is as valid and in some respects more urgent in a world where 25,000 children die in poverty every day; in a world where American soldiers are killing and dying in an unjust war; in a world where too many people are judged daily by the color of their skin, or the name they give their God, rather than the content of their character.”

Now available from Beacon Press are:

php8fMmcaStride Toward Freedom, Dr. King’s account of the Montgomery bus boycott, a book which should be read not only for its historic value but for what it teaches us about community activism. Like all of the books in the King Legacy, Stride has a new introduction (this one by acclaimed King scholar Clayborne Carson), which places the book in its historic perspective and describes how the book speaks to the twenty-first century.


php7D2P30Where Do We Go From Here, which was first published in paperback by Beacon Press in 1968 and includes a foreword by Coretta Scott King and new introduction by Dr. Vincent Harding, who was a close associate of Dr. King and is the author of many works about him.



To learn more about the King Legacy and Beacon Press, to order books, and to find additional resources on the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., go here.

Got Game?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Fran Tarkenton, about 1975Prepare for the Vikings’ postseason play by boning up on stats with Joel Rippel’s Minnesota Sports Almanac, which features just about every sport championed by Minnesota’s own, including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, fishing, hunting, soccer, tennis, gymnastics, skating, dogsledding, curling, running, bike racing, auto racing, swimming, volleyball, cheerleading, and more.

Rippel, a longtime sports  reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, includes a dizzying variety of informative data, including the Vikings’ year-by-year records, lists of games not played on Sundays, attendance records (largest and smallest), postseason honors, first-round draft choices, significant players, coaches, and events, and a fun set of players’ records, some of which are here.

[Image: Fran Tarkenton, about 1975, courtesy Minnesota Historical Society]

Ten Below and No Place To Go

Friday, January 8th, 2010

php7hvpXEMinnesota’s brutally cold winter nights were just as dangerous in 1928, when sixteen-year-old Gordon Parks was thrown out of the house by his brother-in-law. Parks, who would find fame as a photographer, was the first African American to work at Life magazine and the first to write, direct, and score a Hollywood film. What does a boy do when it’s ten below and he has no place to go? He sleeps in a streetcar and fights desperation.

Parks’s amazing story of survival, hard work, and success is told in A Choice of Weapons, now back in print with MHS Press and featuring a new introduction by photographer Wing Young Huie.

Author Paul Hillmer and Huffington Post

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Peoples History of the HmongPaul Hillmer, author of A People’s History of the Hmong, is in the Huffington Post today with a new article, Abandoning the Hmong Again?, his analysis of Thailand’s controversial deportation of Hmong people to Laos.

A Cozy Evening with a Good Book

Monday, January 4th, 2010

You may be returning to work this chilly Minnesota morning after a long holiday break away. The start of a new year for those in the north ought to be moved to the Ides of March, so that we can ring in this fresh start without frostbite and windchills. But no matter. While February may be for lovers, we think January is for readers. What better way to come home from long work days this week than with plans to curl up with a bowl of hot soup and a good book?

phpOaeudOWe recommend two groundbreaking memoirs for the month, both award winning and heavily praised, and both focused on the people, their work, and a way of life in the communities of Sleepy Eye and Albert Lea in the state’s southern region. Nicole Helget’s The Summer of Ordinary Ways: A Memoir (Borealis Books) is a controversial but brilliantly written “lyrical story of growing up on a Minnesota farm in the 1980s, where her mother verges on insanity, her five unruly younger sisters get underfoot, and death is a familiar part of life . . . The amalgamation of reminiscences appears random until the final piece, in which Helget weaves an account of her child self with that of her adult self, providing context for the previous memories. Pregnant and married at 19, lonely and isolated, Helget tantalizes with a brief peek at her adulthood, but it’s enough, because the glimpses into her younger life so satisfyingly explain who she has become.”— (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

phpIJe8lqThe second is a tour de force, winner of the American Book Award and the Minnesota Book Award: Cheri Register’s Packinghouse Daughter: A Memoir (MHS Press). Register is a master at revealing the complexities of her past, as the daughter of a Wilson & Co. packinghouse worker in Albert Lea and the first generation of her family to attend college. Her journey reflects the inner conflict felt by a generation propelled into the middle class but who feel “caught between the blue color values of the communities we left behind and our new status as the ‘rich people’ we used to scoff at.” Register writes in the Prologue, after a scene with her father on her Christmas break home from the University of Chicago: “All I know for certain is that at this moment I realized I had truly left home. I would never have to take a job on the sliced bacon line, which was women’s work in the meatpacking industry, nor would I live in dread of a phone call telling me that my husband was on his way to the hospital in an ambulance, having been hit in the head with a carcass or wounded by an errant blade sharp enough to sever joints and slice through bone. But neither could I leave home behind me entirely. . .”

“Cheri Register, in her lovely, deeply moving memoir, has done more than resurrect a buried history of America’s laboring people; in this instance, the bitter 1959-60 Wilson & Co. packinghouse strike in Albert Lea, Minn. At a time in which the two major party candidates for President appealed to the ‘middle class,’ as though there were no other, Register gives rebirth to an old honored phrase in our daily vocabulary: working class.Yes, she is a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), but to me and, I hope, scores of thousands of readers, she is a Ph.D. (Packinghouse Daughter). This is must reading, especially for the young who have so long been short-changed in the knowledge of labor history.” — Studs Terkel