Identity is important for becoming a community. Identity decides what the community is like. When we come to explore a community, identity is the first thing we need to observe. A community is shaped in some certain identities by people living there and culture influencing there. It is not easy to find some identities in the Phillips Community since it is full of different cultures. A culturally rich community is always with a lot of different features. When you walk in the community, you even find you are walking through nations and nations. However, the Phillips Community has been a big community for nearly a hundred years. That means it has developed its own identity in the long period. Although composed by various cultures, the Phillips Community also has some identities.
Identities come from history. History shows how the community develops. It takes a long time to shape the identities of a community. Many factors can have an impact on the identities of a community, such as immigrants and new culture. Context is an important factor, too. Like a foundation of a building, context of a community is the basis of its identities. History, context and identities are closely related. They affect each other indeed.
The Phillips Community starts at the end of 19th century. So there are many historical sites left there. For example, the American Swedish Institute was built 100 years ago. It shows what the everyday life was like 100 years ago. Nowadays, the influence of that period still exists. The architectural style is very similar with the old buildings in old part of the Phillips Community. Phillips is also home to the Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery—the oldest in the city with graves dating back to the 1850s. With so many historical sites in the community, historical charm is an important of identities of the Phillips Community.
Another identity we find important is the cultural diversity. As well known, residents in the Phillips Community are of many nationalities. At present, white counts for about a quarter, black counts for a quarter, Hispanic counts for a quarter, and other races including American Indian and Asian are of the rest. The mix of different culture makes the Phillips Community very unique. There is something you can not see very often from elsewhere: different decorations with their cultural features; churches of different religions; restaurants of a world-wide range flavors; plenty of different languages. It’s like going through the world when exploring the Phillips Community.
I asked Molly what she thinks is the most special characteristic of the Phillips Community. She said that was peace. I don’t understand what she means by “peace” since I think peace is the opposite of war. She told me that before they moved to this community, they experienced too much bad things. She said:” The Phillips Neighborhood is not a place filled with rich people. The rent here is not high. You don’t feel too much pressure when you live here. You can restart your business here. Neighbors here are enthusiastic. I experienced many interesting things I had never experienced when I was young.” Finally, I get to know, peace is a combination of happiness, friendship and love. I don’t know if this is an identity of the Phillips Community because I know the crime rate here is high, but at least for Molly, it is.
The Phillips Community is quite different from other communities in Minneapolis. It has the largest American Indian population. It is the only community with only one neighborhood in tradition.
The Phillips community only contained one neighborhood, also called Phillips. The geographical area of the community is understandably much smaller than other communities. Most Minneapolis communities contain several neighborhoods, so this situation was fairly strange. Only in the past couple years has Phillips been subdivided into smaller neighborhoods, although most Phillips residents don’t acknowledge these new neighborhood designations, as these are recent changes.
The Phillips Community contributes a lot to the identity of Minneapolis. The cultural integration energizes Minneapolis. It brings Minneapolis a diversified development.
The identities of the Phillips Community are not just as listed before. There are more which I did not find out. It is a place worth multi-time visiting and exploring.
Official Site of the City of Minneapolis: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/
Phillips Neighborhood Network: http://www.pnn.org/