Placeography:Featured place/2015-02

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Arthur and Edith Lee House, 4600 Columbus Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Arthur and Edith Lee bought the corner house in 1931, the lone black couple in an all-white neighborhood. Mobs that sometimes swelled to thousands of people surrounded the home to intimidate and force out the couple and their young daughter, who was 6 at the time. But the Lees dug in. Arthur Lee’s fellow World War I veterans and postal workers turned out in force to protect the couple, and police protected the house for more than a year. The Lees endured the hostility for about two years, before moving a mile north to the historically black Central neighborhood. Then the clash faded into history. The story remained only as lore among south Minneapolis black families until the 2001 publication of research by law Prof. Ann Juergens. Her work focused on a longtime local NAACP leader who represented the Lees during those tense times. Once the Lees’ story resurfaced, it touched off a decade long effort to preserve the story and the house. In 2014 the house was added to the National Register of Historic places. February is Black history month. Add a place related to African-American history to Placeography!

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