A vacant lot on Concordia Avenue – formerly Rondo Avenue — will be the site of a groundbreaking ceremony for Rondo Commemorative Plaza. The event takes place on October 14 at 1:30 pm. at 820 Concordia Avenue (at Fisk Street) in St. Paul. The lot looks out upon I-94, the freeway that destroyed the thriving Rondo Neighborhood, which for many years was the home to nearly 80 percent of the African Americans in the city. The Plaza will engage visitors with a multi-media presentation that includes audio-video remembrances of the social, political and cultural life of the “Golden Age” of Rondo.
“The destruction of Rondo was a wound that has never quite healed,” said Marvin Anderson, project coordinator and co-founder of Rondo Avenue Inc. “This plaza is an attempt to move forward into an era of reconciliation, and a future that welcomes a growing diversity of immigrant communities to the neighborhood.”
The keynote speaker will be a son of Rondo, David V. Taylor, Ph.D., a historian and former dean of the General College of the University of Minnesota will deliver remarks: Hallowed Ground: Sites of African American Memories. Emcee for the program will be T. Mychael Rambo.
Funds for the purchase of the land and the construction of the plaza came from a $250,000 Community Block Development Grant from the City of St. Paul, and financial support from the F. G. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation, Saint Paul Foundation, Knight Family Foundation, 3M African-American Employee Network and the Price Family Foundation.
The ceremony will be open to the public. There will be a reception from 4:00-6:00 PM at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 N. Kent Street, St. Paul, MN. The public will be able to review and purchase naming opportunities to etch their names in various locations at the plaza