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Two new items from the Hennepin History Museum help to document and tell the story of the African American experience in Minnesota. The first item is a letter written to the Reverend Marion D. Shutter, the minister at the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Minneapolis from Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). The second document is a bill of sale for a slave named London. These items were digitized with the intention that they would be discoverable through the Umbra Search African American History resource. Umbra Search makes African American history more broadly accessible through a freely available widget and search tool. Umbra Search brings together more than 500,000 digitized materials from over 1,000 different libraries and archives across the country. 

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The Minnesota Digital Library is pleased to announce the addition of two new items to Minnesota Reflections via the Hennepin History Museum. These two items help to document and tell the story of the African American experience in Minnesota. The first item is a letter written to the Reverend Marion D. Shutter, the minister at the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Minneapolis. The author of the letter is Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). Booker T. Washington was a renowned American educator, author, orator, and leader in the African-American community. In the letter Washington refers to a previous visit to Reverend Shutter's church in Minneapolis. Today this document serves as a reminder of how important letter-writing was in the early years of the 20th century; and also that social and political connections could take place in church. 

The second document contributed by the Hennepin History Museum is a bill of sale for a slave named London. London was sold by Tabatha Wheeten to Nathaniel Willmarth in 1722 in the County of Bristol, Massachusetts Bay in New England. Nathaniel Willmarth was the great grandfather of an uncle by marriage to Elisha Slye, the only survivor of  the family. Elisha Slye arrived in Minneapolis in 1856 and brought this bill of sale with him. Today this document serves as a reminder of an important chapter in American history. 

Together these two documents help to document the African American story. They were digitized with the intention that they would be discoverable through Umbra Search African American History resource. Umbra Search makes African American history more broadly accessible through a freely available widget and search tool. Umbra Search brings together more than 500,000 digitized materials from over 1,000 different libraries and archives across the country. 

Visit Hennepin History Museum collection in Minnesota Reflections. 

Visit Umbra Search African American History

Written by

Greta Bahnemann
Metadata Librarian, Minnesota Digital Library
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