Saint Paul Almanac, in partnership with St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), presents Rondo: Beyond the Pavement, a new student-produced film and podcast that chronicles the history of a once-thriving African American neighborhood torn apart by the Interstate 94 corridor.
If we know who we are and who we came from, it helps us to go forward in our lives. If we know nothing about our history, then how are we to know about our future?
– Donna Evans, Rondo elder
The stories you will hear on this podcast are from the people who lived or live in the Rondo neighborhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In the 1920s, Rondo, Saint Paul’s
Listen Now Produced By Hubert Eaves III for Sallyson/Huemar Music, Inc. Written By Maynard (Mayno) Parker, Clyde (Buddy) Parker, and Hubert Eaves III Musicians Wee (Willie) Walker – Lead
Gordon Parks was an acclaimed artist who confronted poverty and racism with such creative grace that he became an internationally admired cultural icon long before his death in 2006 at age ninety-three. An accomplished photographer, writer, composer, musician, and film producer and director, Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912, and later moved to Saint Paul, where he spent his formative years. His memoir, A Choice of Weapons, which describes his experiences from 1928 through 1944, was first published in 1966 and reissued in 1986 and 2010 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
By Moleen (Harris-Davis) Lowe ● 2013
I remember Rondo . . . the streets were cobbled stone. I remember Rondo . . . 450 was our home. I remember Rondo—the intersection Arundel Hill, On one corner the cab station; across the street, Joe’s Grocery Store . . . I remember Rondo, and we never locked our door. I remember Rondo—smiling faces still in my mind
By Deborah Cooper ● 2019
AT ELEVEN YEARS OLD, my dad, Jack, came to a bitterly cold Saint Paul. His stepfather had been appointed pastor of St. James AME Church, on the corner of Dale
Art by Leann E. Johnson
By Donte Collins ● 2015
we were Ferris wheel watchers firefly fighters dollar store cap gun robbers cops and Sunday creased collars private school scholars giving the church basket the dollars our mothers slipped into our pockets seconds before.
By W. A. Alexander ● 2011
Old Saint Paul, up and down your ripped up sidestreets, kids roam, hands deep in pockets, snapping ice with each step. Their mothers poke out of houses, “Time to come inside,” they say, waiting to hang blankets off shoulders and brush the child’s hair from his face.
By Kate Cavett ● 2007
My name is Debbie Gilbreath Montgomery. I grew up at 978 Saint Anthony, which is on the corner of Saint Anthony and Chatsworth.
By Danta Wilson, D’Onna Clark, Damone Presley, Erica Dennis, Maya Clark, Mietta Green, DaVante Jackson ● 2014
As the Black poet J. Saunders Redding said: The relationship between a people and their history is the same as the relationship between a child and its mother; history not only tells a people where they are and what they are—history also informs us what we still must be and what we still must do.
Learning about what happened in the Rondo community while interviewing those who witnessed their homes being destroyed was heartbreaking. It was astounding the resilience they showed. It lit a fire in me. Rondo never stopped trying to rebuild what was there.
It gave me a lot of confidence in myself to go after what I love to do in life. I learned that I-94 going through Rondo was a power struggle to limit what the black community could actually do. It didn’t stop us at all.
– Jevrye Morris, HSRA student