Cultural Corridor: Little Africa

by: Gene Gelgelu, African Economic Development Solutions
March 5, 2014

This post is the third in an occasional series “Cultural Corridor”.  In this series, we will highlight distinct cultural districts along the Green Line participating in the Central Corridor as a Cultural Corridor program. 

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) and community partners launched Little Africa – a transit oriented Cultural and Business District in St. Paul in November 2013 at Snelling Café located at 638 Snelling Avenue. Supreme Court Justice Wilhemina Wright was the chief guest at the event and offered a message that has become the rallying theme of Little Africa – Lift Up as You Climb. Snelling Cafe is also the home of the Little Africa Free Library where the community can borrow books by various African authors.

Through the project we hope to lift up the assets of African immigrants and build the capacity of community organizations and the larger community. The area around Snelling, Hamline and University Avenues is becoming an emerging focal point for African immigrant businesses and cultural institutions. There is also a vibrant African immigrant presence in the neighborhood around this nodal point reflected in residents of Skyline Towers. The larger vision will create three nodal points in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Brooklyn Boulevard around the primary transit corridors – the Blue Line, Green Line and Bottineau Corridor.

We offer visitors and residents of Twin Cities a destination point to enjoy the rich and diverse cultural assets of African immigrants in Minnesota. Currently AEDS is engaged with community partners in developing a business plan, strategy and governance structures to realize this vision.