Wednesday, December 27, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 27

December 27, 1909 – A racial controversy with the attack directed against a minister of the gospel is gripping the attention of the residents in a section of the Lake Harriet district in much the same way that a similar affair affected residents in Prospect Park a short time ago.

The minister is Rev. W. S. Malone of a Methodist Episcopal church at 107 Washington Ave. N., who has an office at 112 Washington Ave. N. where he is said to publish a religious paper. The trouble has arisen over his buying a residence in the district and announcing an intention to occupy it as a home.

Washington Ave. North1

An indignation meeting was held this evening at the home of Oscar V. Carlson, Zenith Ave. S., almost directly across the street from property that the Negro minister had purchased.

Over 100 of the residents of the neighborhood, many of them owners of property and some coming from blocks away, gathered at the meeting place in a surprisingly short time after word was sent out that there was to be concerted action against the Negro’s settling in the neighborhood.

Through advice from another Negro, who asserted that the Rev. Malone had moved into other cities to secure exorbitant sums for property he had bought in highly respectable neighborhoods, Carlson secured Attorney Morris, a colored attorney, who has offices in the Metropolitan building, to advise the other residents how to best get rid of the man of the lawyer’s own race. Morris was a conspicuous figure at the indignation meeting.

Lake Harriet Parkway1

Morris declared that if the property owners would restrain their feelings in the matter, he was confident he could take their case and persuade Rev. Malone not to move into his new house. He said further that he was sure that if Malone did take possession of the property before this could be accomplished, he could persuade him to leave without trouble.

The keys have already been delivered to Rev. Malone and yesterday he made a visit to his prospective home. He was met by several of the men living near the house and informed that members of his race were not wanted. He said he was surprised as he had been given to understand that Negroes were welcomed by the other residents.

It is understood that the minister intends to move his household goods into his new home tomorrow morning.

According to the universal expression of those at Carson’s home, this present controversy and the problem they now find before them of getting rid of the Negro is the outcome of a number of troubles that have risen in the neighborhood during several weeks; specifically revenge. Their story is as follows:

Mrs. Marie A Canfield, who formerly occupied the house, sold it to the minister. Several weeks ago she brought suit against a local furniture concern for damages on account of a defective gas stove. She maintained that the stove leaked gas and that she would have been asphyxiated but or a pet cat’s stroking her face and waking her from her stupor.

During the trial a large number of her neighbors were subpoenaed to appear as witnesses. In all cases they testified that Mrs. Canfield was a habitual user of opiates.

A short time later she advertised her property for sale, to Negroes only. The purchase of the house by the minister and plans to make his home in the neighborhood resulted.

Unlike the Prospect Park situation, there have not yet been any proposals for the residents to pool their money to buy out the Negro. It was said this evening that this would not be done, but that the colored man would not be tolerated, nevertheless.

It was stated that the property was probably worth about $1,600 and that the Rev. Malone says he paid $2,600 for it. It was also stated by one that the minister has said he would sell the house and lot for $2,900.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Negro Minister Is Under Exclusion Ban. Lake Harriet Now Has a Problem Like That in Prospect Park. Rev. W. S. Malone Starts Racial Conflicts by Securing Home There. Colored Lawyer Called In to Advise Protestants at Meeting.”; Dec. 28, 1909; p. 1.

1Photos taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Dec. 28, 2016, as long as acknowledgement included.

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