History Revealed: Whiteness in Plain View
- Chad Montrie
Whiteness in Plain View: A History of Racial Exclusion in Minnesota
with Chad Montrie
History Revealed Series
Program date: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Video on YouTube
Sponsored by the East Side Freedom Library and Minnesota Historical Society Press, in partnership with the Ramsey County Historical Society, the book launch of “Whiteness in Plain View: Racial Exclusion in Minnesota” with author Chad Montrie.
Minnesota is a paradox. Widely seen as a progressive stronghold of the Midwest, the state also has some of the greatest racial disparities in the nation. Those disparities have their roots in Minnesota’s earliest days as a territory and in the decades that followed. From enslaved people brought to the territory by military officers to migrants traveling to the North Star State after the Civil War, African Americans have long been present in Minnesota’s history. Yet while many came here looking to establish new lives, they were often met with White resistance and attempts to exclude them.
Whiteness in Plain View examines the ways White residents across Minnesota acted to intimidate, control, remove, and keep out African Americans over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Their methods ranged from anonymous threats, vandalism, and mob violence to restrictive housing covenants, realtor deceit, and mortgage discrimination, and they were aided by local, state, and federal government agencies as well as openly complicit public officials. What they did was not an anomaly or aberration, in some particular place or passing moment, but rather common and continuous. Chapter by chapter, the book shows that Minnesota’s overwhelming Whiteness is neither accidental nor incidental, and that racial exclusion’s legacy is very much woven into the state’s contemporary politics, economy, and culture.
Chad Montrie is a professor in the history department at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is the author of four books, including The Myth of Silent Spring: Rethinking the Origins of American Environmentalism. His article “In that Very Northern City: Recovering a Forgotten Struggle for Racial Integration in Duluth” appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Minnesota History magazine.
Making Minnesota: Natives, Settlers, Migrants, and Immigrants
The Ramsey County Historical Society, in partnership with the East Side Freedom Library, the Ramsey County Roseville Library and other community organizations, presented a series of programs and events that will center on the experiences of indigenous people, African Americans, and immigrants in Ramsey County from the 1800s through the current day. programs which focus on the too often lost, erased, forgotten or misrepresented histories and stories of Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota. We expect these presentations to enrich and complicate our understanding of the development of the county and the state that we call home.
Past History Revealed Programs
More videos of some of our past History Revealed programs are available on the RCHS YouTube channel.
Ramsey County Historical Society Youtube Channel
To purchase titles from the History Revealed series, or other books of interest, see our partner, Subtext Books at https://subtextbooks.com/
- Chad Montrie