Land of 10,000 books Weblog

February 4, 2011

Race and Justice on the Minnesota Frontier

Filed under: African American, Book Excerpt, MHS press, Native American — regana @ 10:53 am

A Peculiar ImbalanceIn honor of Black History Month, we bring you an amazing story of early Minnesota told by historian William Green in his book, A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Early Minnesota.

In 1827 a military officer brought Jim Thompson, born a slave on the Virginia plantation of James Monroe, to Fort Snelling. There the young Thompson became fluent in French and Dakota. Methodists in Ohio purchased his liberty in 1837 so he could work as a translator for a missionary at Little Crow’s village of Kaposia. The mission lasted just two years. Thompson married a daughter of the Dakota leader Cloud Man, was briefly one of the whiskey sellers in what would become St. Paul, ran the first ferry across the Mississippi, and was a major donor to the construction of the city’s First Methodist Church. But his efforts to protect a girl from rape and his testimony at her assailant’s trial left the best clues to his character and his position in the community.

“The Story of Jim Thompson” is just one of many surprising tales told in this fine book.

Bookmark and Share

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment