This is the fifth in a series about the continuing disappearance of whites from American cities (see our earlier entries for Birmingham, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago). Many people still pretend that The Great Replacement is a myth or a conspiracy theory, but the graphs that accompany each article in this series prove them wrong. Every city has a different story but all have seen a dramatic replacement of whites by minorities.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, was almost entirely white until 1980. However, in the last few decades, large numbers of non-whites came to the city, especially immigrants from Somalia. Now, the idyllic city created by settlers and pioneers is a center for black crime and Islamic terrorist recruitment.
The city’s story began when the United States Army built Fort Snelling after the War of 1812 to guard American settlers. The most famous non-white inhabitant of Fort Snelling was Dred Scott, whose efforts to escape slavery led to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that blacks were not citizens and “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the world ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.”
After more settlers came, several local settlements combined. Adolf Hoeffler, a German who visited the area in 1852, predicted it would eventually become “an extensive manufacturing town, and depot of all the future productions of the extreme Upper Mississippi.” Minneapolis was ideally placed for milling flour, not just manufacturing. Its name means “water city.” From 1870 to 1890, Minneapolis grew from 13,000 people to almost 165,000. Almost everyone was white.
Many city leaders wanted to keep it that way. “Restrictive covenants” to keep neighborhoods white were used from 1910 until 1950. The fascist Silver Legion or “Silver Shirts” had a presence in the city in the 1930s. Blacks were simply not a significant presence in the city for most of its history, so ethnic tension was between Jews and gentiles, not blacks and whites. Some help-wanted ads even said, “Gentile preferred.” Minneapolis was a critical battleground for the Progressive movement. The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party didn’t unite with the Democrats until 1944, and the quasi-socialist MFLP was able to elect candidates such as Minneapolis mayor Thomas Latimer. Class and ideology — not race — dominated city politics.
Non-whites started coming to the city in large numbers in the 1970s and 1980s. By 1990, the city was more than 20 percent non-white. Some migrants may have been tempted by Minnesota’s generous welfare programs. However, there was also a deliberate effort by churches and refugee settlement organizations to bring them. Corporations also wanted cheap labor, such as the meat packers who hired Somalis.
Organizations such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and World Relief Minnesota have worked with the State Department to settle foreign “refugees.” Many such organizations are essentially funded by the federal government, and have a clear financial interest to importing migrants. Without government, there would not be nearly so much resettlement.
In 2004, Minnesota was the number-one destination for foreign refugees on a per-capita basis. The Hmong began arriving in large numbers after the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. Their numbers are a good example of how military intervention brings foreigners. Beginning with 60 “refugees” in 1976, the Twin Cities region (Minneapolis and St. Paul) eventually “attracted the largest Hmong population in the country.” There are now more than 66,000, which means the area is the largest urban Hmong population in the world. Minneapolis now has Hmong gangs, which occasionally re-enact their tribal conflicts on American streets.
Hispanics have also come. The percentage of Hispanics almost quintupled from 1990 to 2010, rising from 2.14 percent to 10.47 percent.
There is a huge Somali population in Minneapolis: over 125,000. One area is called “Little Mogadishu” and is plagued by gangs. An estimated 23 men from the Twin Cities have joined the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabab since 2007. NPR did a series on “The Somali-Minneapolis Terrorist Axis” in 2009, chronicling many cases of Somali “teens” joining militant groups through an underground recruiting network.
The city accommodates Muslims. Somali businesses are permitted to stay open after regular closing hours during Ramadan. During the current pandemic, the Islamic call-to-prayer sounds in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
Violent crime is overwhelmingly black, but it sometimes spills out of black areas. In 2019, pipe-wielding Somali “youths” attacked people waiting for public transportation. That same year, black mobs attacked citizens, stealing cell phones and valuables. The police claimed that “race has nothing to do with it.”
The pandemic has not stopped the shootings. Someone killed a black “aspiring musician” outside his home on April 9. Less than two weeks later, someone killed Kevin Beasley, the grandson of “veteran peace and civil rights activist Spike Moss.” Mr. Moss called the deaths of young black men “our epidemic before the epidemic.” Beasley had a criminal record and was shot at a “house party,” though Minnesota has been under a “stay-at-home” order since March 25. Earlier this month, someone shot a city councilman’s car full of holes. Last Monday, there was a “rolling gun battle” between people in two cars, resulting in “grave” injuries for a young woman.
Still, majority white Minneapolis is considered a great city – a “miracle,” according to one Atlantic article in 2015. Success has not spread to non-whites. In a remarkable response to the “miracle” article, “Minneapolis’s White Lie,” The Atlantic’s Jessica Nickrand painstakingly listed the racial disparities in Minneapolis. Rates of poverty and educational failure are so high, she compared Minneapolis to Detroit.
Most of the article sounds like something I would write: She cites Minneapolis’s affordable living cost, robust job market, and good schools, calling it “the American Dream.” Of course, she adds, “60 years ago, so was Detroit.” The Twin Cities’ decline may “just come later” because it’s on the same course.
Her conclusion lost me. “For Minneapolis to remain successful,” she wrote, “the progressive policies of the 1960s and 1970s must evolve to reflect the changing population, prioritizing affordable housing, neighborhood integration, and investment in public education and health services.” That, she says, would be the real “miracle.”
Jessica Nickrand rejects the obvious explanation that Detroit collapsed because whites fled. The same is happening to Minneapolis. The programs Miss Nickrand wants haven’t fixed racial disparities in the past and won’t now. “Little Mogadishu” will just get bigger. The miracle we need is whites recognizing what is happening. If that happens, we can stop subsidizing our dispossession.
[Editor’s Note: Here is an AmRen photo essay depicting Minneapolis’ decline.]