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November 5, 2013

“History’s Shadows” An Excerpt from Secret Partners: Big Tom Brown and the Barker Gang

Filed under: Book Excerpt, History, True Crime — Alison Aten @ 12:05 pm

Tom Brown, in a photo retouched for use in the Pioneer Press, about 1934 from Secret Partners by Tim Mahoney Secret PartnersExcerpt from Secret Partners: Big Tom Brown and the Barker Gang by Tim Mahoney

Click on the link above for more info and upcoming events with Tim Mahoney.

*****

Among the most dangerous criminals of the public enemies era was a man who has long hidden in history’s shadows: Big Tom Brown. In the early 1930s, while police chief of St. Paul, Minnesota, Brown became a secret partner of the infamous Ma Barker gang. He helped plan the gang’s kidnappings and profited from their bank robberies, even as they gunned down cops and citizens in his hometown. He teamed up with a corrupt prosecutor to railroad men to prison, he beat confessions out of prisoners, and he was suspected by some of engineering two execution slayings.

Yet justice never caught up to Tom Brown. An overwhelming volume of evidence points to Brown’s involvement in illegal activities throughout his tenure as a policeman. But because of decisions made in St. Paul and Washington, Brown was never prosecuted for his crimes and the evidence was tested only at a civil service hearing, and not in court. The investigation of Brown never reached whatever allies he had among the city’s elite.

The Barker gang’s stalwarts, Fred Barker and Alvin Karpis, led a bumbling band of hillbilly burglars until they moved to St. Paul during Brown’s tenure as police chief. In the Ozarks, “My life in crime was minor league stuff,” admitted Karpis. But under the protection of Tom Brown, and the tutelage of St. Paul’s master criminals, his gang evolved into notorious and feared public enemies. Soon Karpis was pulling his “first genuine major league stickup,” at a Minneapolis bank.

Barker gangster Volney Davis confessed to the FBI that without the protection of Tom Brown, the gang “would have all been caught in St. Paul.” Edna Murray, the “Kissing Bandit,” told the FBI that if not for Tom Brown and James Crumley of the St. Paul police, the gang’s most infamous crime “could not have been successfully accomplished and certain members of this [Barker] mob would have been in jail a long time ago.”

Had the Barker gang never come under Brown’s protection, Ma Barker might have died lonesome in the Ozarks, an impoverished, obscure widow. Her son Fred and his pal Karpis would likely have been executed in Missouri before the nation knew who they were. The vicious killer Doc Barker would have remained in prison until he was an old man. At least seven murders and two grievous woundings might never have happened.

But Brown’s dark influence spread beyond the Barker gang. If not for the corrupt police force that crystallized during Brown’s tenure, the legend of John Dillinger might have ended on an Easter weekend in a snowy St. Paul parking lot. The Lady in Red would have been just another immigrant with visa troubles. No trap would have been set for Dillinger outside the Biograph theater. Newsreel hero Melvin Purvis might have retired as just another FBI functionary. Little Bohemia would be just another rustic Wisconsin resort, and not the site of a legendary FBI fiasco.

Many of Tom Brown’s fellow gangsters were shot dead, while others were locked up in Leavenworth or Alcatraz. But Brown proved to be the Houdini of gangster-cops. He outsmarted J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, retiring to collect his police pension and run a tavern in the north country. Despite all the blood on his conscience, all the families whose lives he devastated, and all the dark money he collected, he never spent a night behind bars.

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October 21, 2013

One Minneapolis One Read Artist-in-Residency Program and Exhibit Explore the Legacy of Gordon Parks and Contemporary African-American Life

Filed under: African American, Arts, Event, History — Alison Aten @ 9:44 am

One Minneapolis One ReadA Choice of Weapons

As part of the One Minneapolis One Read program, a new exhibit opens this week at Mill City Museum and Juxtaposition Arts with a panel discussion and opening reception on Oct. 24, 6-9 pm at Mill City Museum.

The panelists will include:

Archie Givens, President, The Givens Foundation for African American Literature
Robin Hickman, Founder, SoulTouch Productions’ In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks Legacy Initiative and a great-niece of Gordon Parks
Wing Young Huie, photographer
Jahliah HollomanJuxtaposition apprentice
Moderator: Daniel Bergin, TPT

Minneapolis residents will have a unique opportunity to view a collection of photos by Gordon Parks and join in a community conversation around his book A Choice of Weapons, this year’s One Minneapolis One Read selection.

The exhibit will also feature approximately 30 photographs created by Minneapolis high school students alongside images by Parks, on loan from The Gordon Parks Foundation.

Taking inspiration from the book, the students worked with acclaimed photographer Jamel Shabazz at Juxtaposition Arts to create their own photographs. Shabazz will work with the students in early October during a week-long artist residency. (See feature in TC Daily Planet!)

For more information about these and other events visit the One Minneapolis One Read website.

About the Artist-in-Residence

Shabazz is an award winning photographer based in Brooklyn, NY, who has drawn influence from Gordon Parks, James Van Der Zee, Robert Capa, Chester Higgins and Eli Reed. Shabazz is also known for his community based youth work.

About the book A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks

One Read’s goals are to promote through literature and discussion a better understanding of race and the impacts of racism on our communities. A Choice of Weapons is a compelling autobiography, first published in 1966, about how Parks struggled against extreme poverty to find his purpose as a photographer, writer, director and musician.

A Minnesotan who developed an impressive artistic legacy that included an extensive photographic body of work, Parks documented important African-American political, artistic, cultural figures as well as daily life.

A Choice of Weapons is available in paperback at local independent and chain bookstores, online booksellers and MHS Press. It’s also available through the Hennepin County Library.

About One Minneapolis One Read

One Minneapolis One Read is presented by The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Schools to promote literacy and respectful public dialogue. Minneapolis residents can play a positive role in their communities and explore important – sometimes difficult – issues that they face as a community by reading A Choice of Weapons and getting involved.

At its heart, One Minneapolis One Read is a community-driven effort with individuals, neighborhood groups, educators, businesses and nonprofits all coming together to make this a truly citywide read. Read the book. Join the Conversation.

One Minneapolis One Read is a collaboration of The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Schools with support from Clear Channel Outdoor, Comcast, Gray Plant Mooty, Mill City Museum, Minnesota Historical Society Press, Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), Pillsbury House Theatre and The YWCA of Minneapolis.

About Juxtaposition Arts

Juxtaposition Arts is a youth contemporary arts program, teen-staffed design firm and nonprofit cultural development center that anchors a diverse neighborhood in North Minneapolis.

Juxtaposition’s mission is to develop community by engaging and employing young urban artists in hands-on education initiatives that create pathways to self-sufficiency while actualizing creative power. We envision the youth of north Minneapolis entering the creative workforce as dynamic innovators and problem solvers with the confidence, skills, and connections they need to accomplish their goals and contributed to the revitalization of the communities where they live and work.

Juxtaposition believes that the creative genius of youth is an underutilized community asset. Since 1995, the organization has nurtured connections between underserved Twin Cities’ youth and artists and the region’s vibrant art and design communities.

About the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

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October 18, 2013

Family Fun Day at Mille Lacs Indian Museum Tomorrow!

Filed under: Children, Event, Native American — Alison Aten @ 11:36 am

The Creator\'s Game Powwow Summer Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Kit

Visit Mille Lacs Indian Museum for a day of fun and games tomorrow! Try and shoot goals with lacrosse sticks, a game that’s growing in popularity today but which has roots in American Indian history. Author Art Coulson and Robert DesJarlait will talk about and sign copies of thier book The Creator’s Game, a children’s story about lacrosse. Marcie Rendon will talk about and sign her book Powwow Summer, which follows a family as they travel along the powwow trail. And join artist Cheryl Minnema (Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Kit) as she helps young visitors decorate Ojibwe shoulder bags to take home. Visit with the authors from 1 to 2 p.m., then join a drum and dance demonstration at 2:30 p.m. This event is free and does not include museum admission.

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October 1, 2013

“Asian Flavors” wins Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Award

Filed under: Arts, Asian American, Awards, Cooking, Food, History, Immigration, MHS press — Alison Aten @ 1:05 pm

Regional Emmy® Award Courtesy of Twin Cities Public Television Raghavan Iyer with Regional Emmy® Award Asian Flavors documentary team

Our Asian Flavors documentary, co-produced with tptMN, won the 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Award from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) in the Cultural Documentary category.

Inspired by the book Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875 by Phyllis Louise Harris with Raghavan Iyer, this thirty-minute documentary celebrates Asian immigrants who have left an indelible and flavorful mark on Minnesota’s culinary, cultural, and economic history.

Congratulations to a winning team!

The Asian Flavors team:

Daniel Pierce Bergin, Producer/Director
Angela Barrett, Production Assistant
Fanique Weeks-Kelley, Production Manager
Jim Kron, Director of Photography
Jerry Lakso, Online Editor
Bob Tracy, Executive in Charge
Pamela McClanahan, Project Consultant
Phyllis Louise Harris, Co-writer/Project Consultant
Raghavan Iyer, Presenter
Shari Lamke, Senior Director-Supervising Producer
Lucy Swift, Vice President, MN Productions & Partnerships
Terry O’Reilly, Chief Content Officer

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September 27, 2013

Circles of Tradition Dakota/Ojibwe Family Day 9/28

Filed under: Authors, Children, Event, Native American — Alison Aten @ 8:46 am

Photo from Powwow Summer by Marcie Rendon with photos by Cheryl Walsh Bellville

Enjoy free admission on Saturday September 28 from 12 noon to 4:00 pm at the Minnesota History Center during Circles of Tradition Dakota/Ojibwe Family Day featuring speakers and artists from the Dakota and Ojibwe communities who will share traditions of their rich and vibrant history. Visitors can enjoy music, dancing, demonstrations, displays, language exchange, games and art activities.

Powwow Summer authors Marcie Rendon and Cheryl Walsh Bellville will share their book, see details, below.

This program is offered in conjunction with the Smithsonian Museums Day Live! -an annual free admission event.

Schedule of Events:

Levels 1 & 4
Ojibwe and Dakota artifacts from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections

Level 2
Beadwork demo with Cheryl Minnema (Waabaanakwadookwe), a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe  (Her work is featured in the Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Kit!)

Play “Splat” and learn Dakota words and place names with Dakota Wicohan (Noon, 1:00, 2:00 pm)

Decorate a fabric shoulder bag inspired by the designs and symbols of traditional Ojibwe bandolier bags

Level 3
Traditional Dakota songs, dancing, and drumming with Cansa’yapi Oyate (Redwood People) featuring the Lucio Family Dance Troupe (12:30 & 3:00 pm)

Birchbark demo with artist Pat Kruse, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe

In Focus: Photography display created by the History Center’s American Indian Teen Portrait Project

Beadwork demo with Walter LaBatte, an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Play “Name that Otunwe” (city or place) with Jewell Arcoren (Sisseton/Sicangu) an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe

Inside the Then Now Wow Exhibit, Level 3
Dogsled adventures on the North Shore with History Player John Beargrease, an Ojibwe mail carrier (Noon, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 pm on the Paul Bunyan stage)

Ask the Curator!
Learn about the Society’s collection of Dakota and Ojibwe artifacts with independent curator, Marcia Anderson. (1:00-3:00 pm)

Powwow Summer authors Marcie Rendon and Cheryl Walsh Bellville share photos and stories from their book (1:30 &2:30 pm on the Paul Bunyan stage)

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September 19, 2013

Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Authors and Illustrators

Filed under: Children, Event — Alison Aten @ 8:44 am

Minnesota Bug Hunt One Frozen Lake Minnesota\'s Hidden Alphabet

On Saturday, September 21, from 12:00 to 5 p.m., the Anderson Center, along with the Red Wing Public Library and Mackin Educational Resources of Burnsville, will host the 14th Annual Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Authors and Illustrators, the state’s premier children’s book festival and one that has received national acclaim for its efforts to promote literacy among young people.

This year’s lineup includes MHS Press authors Bruce Giebink and Bill Johnson (Minnesota Bug Hunt), David LaRochelle (Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabet), and Deborah Jo Larson (One Frozen Lake), who will present with MHS Press managing editor Shannon Pennefeather.

As in past years, the event will offer book sales by Mackin Educational Resources, book signings and readings by authors, slide presentations and talks by illustrators, and bookmaking workshops for both children and parents. The Kerlan Collection, one of the finest children’s literature research libraries in the nation, will offer displays of rare manuscripts and illustrations.

This exceptional event is free of charge and open to the public. The Anderson Center is located at the intersection of Highways 19 and 61. Details in link, above.

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August 29, 2013

Roasted Corn and Potato Salad from Sweet Corn Spectacular

Filed under: Cooking — Alison Aten @ 11:26 am

Roasted Corn and Potato Salad by Marie Porter

Marie Porter, author of Sweet Corn Spectacular was on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Larry Meiller Show today.

Here’s Marie’s on her Roasted Corn and Potato Salad recipe:

When I created this recipe, I intended it to be a roasted take on a traditional—cold!—potato salad. But as soon as the dressing was tossed on the hot potato salad, we couldn’t help ourselves: we were picking at it long before it had a chance to cool. Oh, it was amazing—I think I actually preferred it hot to its later, chilled incarnation. Serves 4–6

1 pound bacon, chopped

3 pounds red potatoes, cut into X- to 1-inch chunks

salt and pepper

3–4 ears grilled fresh sweet corn

4 ribs celery, sliced (about 2 cups)

1 medium red onion, chopped

1–2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions

1/2  cup olive oil

1/3  cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon until crispy; use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from pan and set it aside. Toss potato chunks with bacon drippings. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.

While potatoes are roasting, use a sharp knife to carefully cut kernels off the ears of corn. In a large bowl, toss kernels, celery, red onion, green onions, and cooked bacon. Set aside. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, and ½ teaspoon pepper until emulsified. Season with salt to taste.

When potatoes are ready, mix them into the large bowl of vegetables. Pour vinaigrette over top, tossing to coat. Serve immediately, allow to cool slightly and serve warm, or chill for later service.

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July 18, 2013

Sneak Peek at our Fall 2013 books

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alison Aten @ 2:23 pm

Minnesota Historical Society Press  Fall 2013 Titles

Sweet Corn Spectacular Making Marriage Powwow Summer Leaving Rollingstone Secret Partners On Stage with Kevin Kling
Soda Shop Salvation Minnesota in the \'70s The Creator\'s Game Original Local Big Little Mother

Sweet Corn Spectacular (out now!)
Marie Porter

Making Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country (August 2013)
Catherine J. Denial

Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life (September 2013)
Marcie R. Rendon with photographs by Cheryl Walsh Bellville
Children’s Book Ages 8-12

Leaving Rollingstone: A Memoir (September 2013)
Kevin Fenton

Secret Partners: Big Tom Brown and the Barker Gang (September 2013)
Tim Mahoney

Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition (October 2013)
Rae Katherine Eighmey

Minnesota in the ’70s (October 2013)
Dave Kenney and Thomas Saylor

The Creator’s Game: A Story of Baaga’adowe/Lacrosse (November 2013)
Art Coulson with illustrations by Robert DesJarlait
Children’s Book Ages 8-12

Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest (November 2013)
Heid E. Erdrich

Big Little Mother (November 2013)
Kevin Kling with illustrations by Chris Monroe
Children’s Book Ages 3-7

On Stage with Kevin Kling (November 2013)

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June 28, 2013

Gettysburg/Vicksburg Anniversary Commemorations

Filed under: Authors, Event, History — Alison Aten @ 1:56 pm

Last Full MeasureOne Drop in a Sea of Blue

In the summer of 1863, nearly simultaneous Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Their forces never regained enough strength to seriously threaten the North.

For information on programs and events commemorating the 150th anniversaries of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, please visit the Minnesota Historical Society’s Minnesota and the Civil War Programs and Resources page.

Two MHS Press authors will share their Civil War research next week at the Minnesota History Center and James J. Hill House:

Monday July 1, 7:00 p.m.
Minnesota History Center
Last Full Measure: Remembering the First Minnesota at Gettysburg
A special lecture in honor of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg with author and historian Richard Moe.
Richard Moe is the author of Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of  the First Minnesota Volunteers and the new short e-book excerpted from Last Full Measure, The First Minnesota Volunteers at Gettysburg: The 150th Anniversary ($1.99).
$12 ($10 MHS members) Tickets here.

WATCH the live stream video

Wednesday July 3, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
James J. Hill House
Surviving the Civil War
Enjoy Civil War Scholarship, fashion, music and presentations by John Lundstrom, author of One Drop in a Sea of Blue: The Liberators of the Ninth Minnesota.
$12 ($10 MHS members) Tickets here.

Below is a list of our other Civil War related titles:

Minnesota and the Civil War: The War That Touched Us All e-book short by Annette Atkins. ($1.99)

Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie Edited by Hamton Smith

Go If You Think It Your Duty: A Minnesota Couple’s Civil War Letters Edited by Andrea R. Foroughi

Brackett’s Battalion: Minnesota Cavalry in the Civil War and Dakota War By Kurt D. Bergemann

Minnesota in the Civil War: An Illustrated History By Kenneth Carley

Pale Horse at Plum Run: The First Minnesota at Gettysburg By Brian Leehan

This Business of War: Recollections of a Civil War Quartermaster By William G. Le Duc, Foreword by Adam E. Scher

No More Gallant a Deed: A Civil War Memoir of the First Minnesota Volunteers By James A. Wright, edited by Steven J. Keillor

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June 27, 2013

Living Here, Loving Minnesota with Marie Porter

Filed under: Authors, Food, Interview — Alison Aten @ 9:32 am

Living Here, Loving MinnesotaAn occasional series highlighting local authors and their favorite ways to spend a Minnesota weekend.

Marie Porter is the author of the newest title in our Northern Plate series, Sweet Corn Spectacular.

Win a copy of Sweet Corn Spectacular by entering Marie’s Corn Haiku Contest!

Marie Porter

Sweet Corn Spectacular

What is a typical weekend for you?

Oh, man, I’m not sure we have anything resembling typicality in our LIVES, never mind weekends!  I guess the closest thing to typical we’ve had lately is that weekends usually involve a lot of work on the house.  We had our house smashed badly in the 2011 tornado, were under-insured by $60k+, and have been picking away at DIY-ing a lot of it.

What are some of your favorite local Friday night activities?

When the weather is nice and cool, I like getting out for scenic walks or drives.  When the weather is too hot, we become about as local as possible—holed up in our house, watching movies.

What/where do you eat on weekends? What’s a typical Sunday breakfast at your house?

Well, aside from renovation stuff, I like to use weekends to hash out recipe ideas I have, whether for my blog or for upcoming cookbooks.  What we eat varies wildly depending on what I’m working on at the time, and it isn’t necessarily seasonally “appropriate” at all times, either.  Due to the nature of publication schedules, we may eat a full Christmas dinner in early summer!

Lately, I’ve taken to making a batch of muffins almost every Sunday. It’s a great weekend breakfast and works for easy to-go breakfasts for my husband for the week.

What’s your weekend reading like?

When I have time to read, it’s usually catching up on blog entries and/or reading up on DIY techniques. (Like teaching myself to demolish and tile our bathroom!)

What is your top Minnesota getaway?

Duluth!  I’ve lived here for seven years and only recently made it up to Duluth.  We’re looking at maybe making it a monthly thing—sitting on a rock by the shore does a world of good for me, reminds me of home.  It’s great for de-stressing!

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