Insight News

Feb 13th

Knowing the value of history

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Photo credit: Bob HolderMinnesota African American Museum (MAAM) and Cultural Center, 1700 Third Avenue S., Minneapolis, strives to educate the community about the accomplishments of African Americans in Minnesota and throughout the country.

“Our community is so without knowledge about the footprints that came before us,” said founder Roxanne Givens. “In order to spring forward and move ahead we need to know the value of our history. If we don’t know it we continue to lag behind.”

Pictured: MAAM and Cultural Center: 1700 Third Avenue S.

Photo credit: Bob Holder

Pictured: Roxanne Givens, founder and Elder Niama Richmond.

MAAM held its inaugural legacy festival on Jun. 2.  Outreach Coordinator Shvonne Johnson said the festival helped showcase the museum and celebrate the legacy of African-Americans.

“The museum is seeking to be the repository for the African-American community,” said Johnson.  “Although it is not limited to us, it is for us.”

“The museum is the community and for the community,” said Givens.  “It goes hand in hand.”

Givens said she felt the festival was a success because of the reaction of the people in the community.  “Everybody knew this was their place,” said Givens. “It was phenomenally uplifting.”

Johnson said Givens has given a lot to the museum and commends her for her tireless efforts.

Johnson also praised the efforts of supporters Josie Johnson, Professor Mahmoud El-Kati and founding board member

Robin Hickman.

“Josie Johnson supports as a visionary,” said Johnson. “Professor Mahmoud El-Kati goes without saying. His contributions are educating us as a people about our history.”

Givens considers contributors to be a part of Team MAAM. 

“Everybody that is engaged at some point all over the country not just in Minnesota,” said Givens.

Photo credit: Bob HolderAn exhibit showcasing a collection of the heritage of the Negro baseball league called “Bringing it Home” was previewed at the festival. MAAM had to postpone the official opening of the exhibit due to construction delays.
Givens said the museum is not open yet because it is still being renovated. 

Pictured: Negro baseball league exhibit called “Bringing it Home”.

Once the museum is open Givens plans to have interactive storybooks on the third floor. The books will be six feet tall and will have cut-outs so children can climb through them.

MAAM is currently looking for applicants for executive director and part-time administrative positions.  More information on the museum is available via its Website,


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