Author Archives: larse608

Seward…a proud and close neighborhood that can’t be touched!

When many think about the Twin Cities, I think many of us see the bright lights, busy roads, and fast paced lives. Although a lot of that is true, we are missing such an important part of the city, such as its urban neighborhoods, that although they may be considered part of the city, actually are a night and day difference from one another. The Seward neighborhood is no exception to that, defining the very meaning of the quite but upbeat neighborhood in the cities.

“Live MSP” describes Seward as a, “diverse, vibrant neighborhood… [with a] mix of residential, commercial, and industrial areas [giving] the neighborhood the feel of an urban village within a large metropolitan area.”

In a newspaper article, published by the Star Tribune, they describe Seward as, “[A] home to educators, students, medical professionals and even government officials. It’s also a place where lots of low-income people live: More than a third of the housing units are federally subsidized, and only about one-third of the houses are owner-occupied.” They attribute the close community and support of their neighbors to this struggle, bringing them even closer.

The title of this article, Spotlight on seward neighborhood // it’s been called a suburb of minneapolis’ west bank area, says so much with saying so little. Most people believe the suburbs to be full of families with great jobs and quite living. Saying that Seward is like a suburb of Minneapolis leads me to believe that many of the Minneapolis people see this neighborhood much differently than other neighborhoods in the city. This must also mean that they believe it to be a nice area, which is exactly how the neighborhood wants to be portrayed.

Other stories presented to the media included the shooting and murders in the local market and also deaths of some of the more well known residents. I understand that the murders would make the news, but a particular article caught my eye. With the title, Seward won’t let shootings steal corner, says to me that although something very tragic happened, they would not allow this to bring the close community down. I was also very surprised to see articles written about “ordinary” deaths. Much like a small town, a death of a community member is important enough to be presented to all in the area through this large media source.

When I simply “Googled” the words, “Seward Neighborhood Minneapolis,” I was pleasantly surprised by the vast amount of information that was presented to me. This instantly made me think that this little neighborhood in the cities has much more to offer than I had thought.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Seward Neighborhood Group, obvious to its name, a neighborhood group that provides information to the public about its history and events, forms communication with its neighbors and provides them with information, and much more. This fabulous website is able to provide both of those with and without knowledge about Seward the ins and outs of the entire neighborhood.

With the formation of leaders to each committee, neighborhood safety, events and activities, and maintenance has been something that has allowed the community to thrive and keep their history alive.

As I already stated, they are very proud of their community and this committee proves this. I also got that feeling when I was search their website.

When questioning the type of people who are living in Seward and how they feel about their community, I came about this quote while visiting Live MSP, “If Seward were to secede from its surrounding neighborhoods, we would not only survive – without question – we would thrive. Seward has everything it needs to allow for all residents to fulfill every wish and every essential need – and will continue to develop in this direction!”– Annie [unknown]

This quote really spoke to me because it really shares the deep love and respect that many on the community members share for the neighborhood in which they call home. While living in the suburb of Woodbury, I have begun to question how many people can say this about the area that they live in.

It is this neighborhood and its people that allow a community to continue to thrive and grow, while its history remains with integrity untouched.

 

 

 

 

 

Live msp: Seward. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.livemsp.org/neighborhoods/minneapolis-neighborhoods/111-seward/206-seward

Seward neighborhood group. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sng.org/

Buchta, J. (1995, 02 11). Spotlight on seward neighborhood // it’s been called a suburb of minneapolis’ west bank area. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/newsstand/docview/418620984/1370B035EFD33861210/1?accountid=14586

Tevlin, J. (2010, 01 10). Seward won’t let shootings steal corner. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/newsstand/docview/458883054/1370B035EFD33861210/6?accountid=14586

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Reading Response…

Oh boy, get ready to talk about a difficult, but interesting topic!

First, I would like you to think about your family history and stories you may have. I believe that all of us have those silly stories that we share with our family that make those connections special and unique from any other. We pass on these stories from generation to generation, keeping that history alive.

But could you imagine someone telling you that your family history is not as important as others may be? Who is so special enough to determine that? Well, what a great question!

In our class, we screened the documentary, “Precious Knowledge,” which told a story about “Chicanos” in a high school in Arizona. This school was at the time providing Ethnic Awareness classes, for what they described as a celebration of their culture and allowed the students to learn more about their history.

In these classes, they were provided readings and videos about the history of their culture and took part in discussions to keep them engaged. I found it particularly interesting that so many of the students were actively taking part in the class without hesitation.

At the beginning of the video, they brought up the argument that segregation was becoming part of our school systems once again and something needed to be done about the problem. Almost 50% of Chicano students were dropping out of high school because of their detachment from the school system. They believed that all materials being taught to them were only that of American history, mainly on the side of the White.

It is so interesting to me that once these classes began to be offered, that the graduation rate shot up into the 90%. This is a strong example as to the power behind our history and its effects that it has on all of us.

But although this may not seem like such a big deal to many of us, a problem was sparked and ignited what seemed to be something so simple and harmless and turned it into a possible rebellion against other ethnicity.

Some members of the government believed that this was their way of creating somewhat of an uprising and intention to segregate themselves.

The idea of who decides who shares what history is very much present in this situation. The American government was trying to protect the history of the White Americans, while the Chicanos were trying to preserve their history while also integrating it into the school system along side of the White history.

Ultimately, the government won their case, preventing the school system from having classes with this material in it.

To answer the question I posed earlier, I personally have taken away the thought that those with the most amount of power will have the ability to pass the history on, but this does not seclude those with a different type of power. People who have such a love for their culture will always carry that history in their heart, which no one can take away.

This is such a difficult topic and many different opinions can be formed. I am very much interested in your opinions, so please tell me how you see this topic. “What determines whose histories and stories get told?”

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Seward Neighborhood…

Being from Iowa, I am not very familiar with the Twin Cities, let alone the communities within the metro. When I was assigned the community of Seward, a small neighborhood in Minneapolis (about.com states that it is also part of the LongFellow Community), to be honest, I was a little intimidated about going into a neighborhood that I never visited and have no previous information about. Who wouldn’t be a little scared to go into an unfamiliar area and speak to people whom they have never met?  

For this blog, I am writing about the history of Seward before actually going to the neighborhood. I find that this may be an interesting way to complete this because you will be able to see what I have to say before going, making my own assumptions and learning information from the internet and after visiting, learning other information from those who actually live there.  

After simply typing “Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis” into Google, I came across the group, Seward Neighborhood Group, whose slogan is “Making Seward a better place to live, work, and play”, provide information to an outsider about how some of their community members see their neighborhood and what they might have to offer others.  

According to this group, “The Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) is one of the oldest neighborhood organizations in Minneapolis. SNG was established in 1960 to make Seward a better place to live, work, and play and is recognized by the City of Minneapolis as the official citizen participation organization within the boundaries of the Seward neighborhood.” This group has elected group leaders and is run solely by volunteers. Current committees include; Committee Development, Crime and Safety, Environment, History, and Restorative Justice.

Seward is somewhat enclosed and private because of its surrounding boundaries. It is directly next to both the Mississippi and the Soo Line Railroad, adding character and beautiful scenery to this small community.  About.com says that, “Most of the neighborhood is residential, with an industrial area along Hiawatha Avenue and 27th Street in the southwestern part of the neighborhood.”  

They seem to pride themselves on the safety of their neighbors, forming what they call “block clubs.” This is intended to connect the community members together to allow one another to protect each other and form better communication within the group. They also describe their neighborhood as a small town surrounded by a big city. This makes me think that they do take great pride in their community by considering this area an actually town. When I make my trip there, this is something I would like to ask a resident about; their feelings about the block clubs.  

But before Seward became what it is today, we must look at how it first came about. According to SNG, “A major influence on the early growth of the neighborhood was the construction, in 1870, of the Iowa and Minnesota Division of the Milwaukee railroad, which runs parallel to Hiawatha Avenue on Seward’s western border. With the introduction of the railroad, the western part of Seward began to develop into a small but dense residential area for the immigrant and working-class families who worked in Franklin Avenue’s railroad shops and in nearby Minneapolis.”  

As the years followed, the community began to build itself up from commercialization and agriculture, pushing its boundaries further and further outwards.  In the past couple of years, Seward has begun to focus on building business that will better meet the needs of its community members.

As for Seward’s future, SNG says that, “What changes does the future have in store for Seward? Only time will tell. The beginning of the new century has already seen a new influx of immigrants who have brought their energy, imagination, and diversity to the neighborhood, and the next several years will see the introduction of a light-rail line that will run along the neighborhood’s west side. Whatever happens, Seward is sure to remain a unique place for people to live, work, and play.” I couldn’t have said it any better than that.  

After researching this history, I have begun to for somewhat of a picture of what to expect for my visit. I believe that I will see a variety of businesses run by locals only and possibly different cultures as for the residents. I may be right, I may be wrong. Only this visit will tell.

James, C. (n.d.). The seward neighborhood. Retrieved from http://minneapolis.about.com/od/minneapolisneighborhoods/p/seward.htm

Seward neighborhood group. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sng.org/

 

 

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Culture- First Reflection Paper

Cultural Spaces

I believe my understanding of cultural space to be much like many others, such as a certain part of a state or town. As we discussed in our first class, it is difficult to truly define where a culture starts and stops, so this post is mainly my personal opinions and take on what I believe to be a culture after discussing in class and reading about the topic.

My Opinion

A culture to me is when you share strong similarities with a group of people close to you. Of course by this, I do not mean that they share every similarity with that group of people.

This culture is formed with a special kind of bond because of the similar actions and beliefs but may be presented in different context.  I mean that we may share a culture with one another, but it does not mean that those people are always going to be “close.”

Example of Situations of Culture

When put into an awkward situation, I believe that even if two strangers are part of the same culture, they will connect with each other because of those similarities before they would become close with another person of another culture. An example of this is when a woman enters a room full of men and one other woman; she most likely will sit next to the woman because they are part of a similar culture.

Our reading about the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood provided a great example about how culture groups together.  This area is mainly inhabited by the Muslim nationality who have gathered together in a particular neighborhood, creating a culture.

What I find particularly interesting is that when one hears of this community, they instantly jump to their conclusions over what the community consists of. Knowing that many Muslims live there, they immediately direct their thoughts to the belief that this neighborhood is simply filled with one culture, even if others of different faith and belief also live there. If most of the community is of one nationality, do we not group them as a culture?

The answer is most likely, YES!

My Culture

As for my culture, I must tell you my background first to better understand what I believe to be my culture. I invite you to make conclusions about what you believe to be my culture, as I believe to be very much a cookie cutter American.

I am a white 22 year old female from Iowa with my nationality being both Danish and Irish. My family is Christian, with whom a couple are strongly religious and the others not as much. My dad is actually atheist, which changes some of the dynamics of our family as a whole.

I am in a committed serious relationship with a great guy. We have been dating for 2 years and have been living together for 1 year. We recently rescued a puppy from a shelter in the area and we are looking to buy a home together.

I believe my culture to be defined by my gender, ethnicity, and area of my home. My culture enjoys time with family, works hard and plays hard, and would help any person in need. I am proud of the people of Iowa for these reasons. I strongly believe that this is quite unique to my culture and not in others around the area.

In all, not everyone will see or describe culture as the same thing, it is just one of those things that is too complex to put a label on.

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