The Rondo Plaza

From 1900 until the late 50’s-early 60’s, the African-American men and women of St. Paul built churches, established business, educated their children, formed social clubs and other institutions that led the fight against the persistent racism and oppression they often encountered on their jobs and throughout the greater Saint Paul environs. Despite the social, political and economic odds stacked against them, the community that became known as Rondo survived and thrived until it became one of the 1600 black neighborhoods across America destroyed by the twin demons of urban renewal and freeway construction.

In 2013, the last two-story member of the original Rondo neighborhood family of buildings succumbed to the wrecking ball after 97 years of community service. It was preceded in destruction by more than 80 siblings throughout Rondo. As keeper of Rondo’s legacies, Rondo Avenue Inc. (RAI) organized a gathering to celebrate the history of 822 Rondo. A large turnout convinced RAI to develop a plan that would re-purpose the vacant lot as a commemorative plaza to preserve the memory of Rondo and to provide an attractive and meaningful small park.

To capture the memory of the Rondo neighborhood and to provide the community with a quiet place to reflect and heal, RAI proposed the design and construction of the The Rondo Plaza - a space for education, contemplation, inspiration, and community building. The Rondo Plaza helps all Minnesotans remember. By remembering, we create a space that stimulates dialogue around reconciliation and healing. Ultimately, the Rondo Plaza is a place of meaning, of memory, of reflection, of laughter, and of hope. It is a beacon that reminds us of what we were, what challenges we still face, and points us towards what we can become.

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We want everyone to experience the Rondo Commemorative Plaza. We offer several ways for you to engage with us to develop the Plaza. Whether you are a student, an educator, or a business person who loves and cares about the local history, we have opportunities for you to get involved. Support the Rondo Plaza today!

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