The Twin Cities of Minnesota
The Short St Paul & Minneapolis Ghetto Story
One of the United States’ largest metropolitan’s, nickname the “Twin Cities”, is the region of Minneapolis and St. Paul as these two areas have some of the most diverse communities in the country, while constantly growing.
As stated above, the communities of the St Paul and Minneapolis urban areas are very diverse with African Americans, Mexicans and Latinos, Asians, Africans, Arabs and other ethnic groups, all living among each other.
The Black Community of Minneapolis
To begin, the black community grew as people from places like Chicago, California, and other Midwest and Southern cities moved and relocated into the Twin Cities region for better opportunities and/or living arrangements.
But originally, unlike many other Midwest cities, the great migration of southern African Americans moving north into the Midwest, East Coast and West Coast did not affect the Twin Cities.
In the beginning, St Paul was the location of the largest African American community in Minnesota, but during the early 1900s the population shifted more towards nearby Minneapolis.
The original black communities of the city of Minneapolis were in areas like the Near North Side centered around Freemont Avenue or on the South Side in the area of Portland and E. 38th.
By the 1960s and 1970s, the black and urban community of North Minneapolis expanded towards Penn Avenue and stretched as far as Dowling Avenue.
Present day, the black community is slowing moving further away from the inner city of North Minneapolis with people relocating into areas like Brooklyn Park, for a number of reasons, a rise in rent and gentrification or the opportunity to live in a less active environment.
The Black Community of St. Paul
St. Paul’s black community was known to be located on the West Side around what was once Rondo Avenue, mostly between University and Selby streets, from Dale to Rice streets.
Unfortunately, the Rondo community was destroyed by the building and construction of Interstate 94, which was built in the heart of the once prominent black community of Rondo.
Similar to Minneapolis, the black population of St. Paul grew around the 1960s and 1970s, leading to the community to grow and expand into other neighborhoods of St. Paul.
Outside of places like Selby Avenue on the West Side, there are locations of black communities in St. Paul’s North End and East Side.
The Other Ethnic Groups of the Twin Cities
Minnesota’s Latino community is mostly made up of Mexicans and other nationalities from the region of Central America.
What began in the early 1900s, in neighborhoods like the West Side Flats of St. Paul, grew into being one of the largest ethnic groups of the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The majority of the Latino community is mostly located in South Minneapolis, especially around Lake Street, and in area officially known as the “West Side Flats” south of downtown St. Paul, as well north of E. Annapolis Street, while also being scattered throughout North Minneapolis or St. Paul’s East Side.
The Asian community is mostly made up of refugees, immigrants, or descendants of Southeast Asia while mostly located in the inner city of St. Paul and in sections of North Minneapolis.
Similar to other racial groups of Minnesota and the Twin Cities, Asians have been in the state since the early 1900s with many continuing to migrate from across the world.
The Streets and ‘Hoods of the Twin Cities
In every city there is another side of the community, the streets, and the Twin Cities have no exception.
With a diverse community and multiple racial groups the streets of Minnesota have been known to have a number of gangs from the Gangster Disciples to the Latin Kings and other Mexican gangs to a number of Asian gangs.
While the streets of the Twin Cities were at its most active during the 1990s, many of the neighborhoods have calmed down and the cities have been seeing much less gang activity than the 90s.
The main North Minneapolis ghetto communities are from Glenwood to pass Dowling Avenue into the 40 number streets and in South Minneapolis, the smaller and less active of the two, the urban community is mostly around Nicolet, Portland, and Lake streets.
In the city of St. Paul there are areas like Selby Side, LTG (LowerTown), Mt. Airy, Frogtown, and specific sections of the North End and East Side.
Unlike many cities, gangs in the Twin Cities of the St Paul and Minneapolis ghetto do not have much of a negative impact on the community itself, even though there exceptions, but many blocks and/or cliques are a major factor in the underworld of the Twin Cities street life.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.
Minnesota Latino History: Kolnick, Jeff. “Minnesotanos: Latino Journey in Minnesota”. MNOpedia. 26 March 2016. http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesotanos-latino-journeys-minnesota
Minnesota African-American History: Taylor, David Vassar. African Americans in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2002.