Institutional history

Institutional history


Institutional History


Presented by the Ramsey County Anti-Racism Leadership Team

February 2008

Ramsey County Community Human Services - 2013

Table of Contents

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Mission Statement of the Anti-Racism Leadership Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

The Vision Statement of the Anti-Racism Leadership Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

History Document Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

The Homework Assignment: Exploring Institutional History Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Exploring Institutional History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Original Purpose of the Institution’s Mission, Worldview and Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Organizational Structure, Boundaries, Authority, Accountability and Power . . . . . . . . .


Building the Institutional Walls of Racial Exclusion / Segregation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Communication Over the Walls of Exclusion (into the 1960’s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Institutional Changes (1970 to present) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Ramsey County: How It Was Formed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Turn Of The Century Social Conditions and Political Realities In America . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Snapshot of American History for People of Color: The Progressive Era. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

American Indians: Discrimination 1895 to 1920 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Health and Mortality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

African Americans: Discrimination from 1895 to 1920 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Health and Mortality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Injustices of Law Enforcement / Justice System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Mexican Americans: Discrimination 1895 to 1920 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Racial Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Injustices of Law Enforcement / Justice System. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Chinese Americans: Discrimination 1895 to 1920 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Racial Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Injustices of Law Enforcement / Justice System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Introduction: A Limited Chronological Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Chronological Review of the Social Conditions, Legislative Impact, and

Changes in Ramsey County Community Human Service Development through 2006 . . . . 20

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Ramsey County Community Human Services - 2013


This report is the work of the Ramsey County Anti Racism Leadership Team:

2005/06 members: Hassan Ali, (Susan Ault ’07), (Gayle Carter ’08), Sue Cha, (Marisol Chiclana-Ayala

‘06), (Nancy Cincotta ‘06), Richard Coleman, Deb Flies, Carol Fogarty, (Tammy Funk ‘07), Katherine

Harp (unable to participate – slot left vacant ‘06), (Ophelia Herrera ’07), (Thom Johnson ’07), Jules Laing,

Monty Martin, (Jen McConnell ’06),

Roz McDonald, (Tiffinie Miller ’07), (Carrie (Morris) Owens ’06), (Frank Sanchez ‘06), Toua Thao, (My-

Tien Ton ’07), Stephanie Upchurch, Darryl Walker, Angela (Weaver) Conrath, Youa Yang, Angela


2006/07 new members: PaDer Vang, Jonna Shelomith, Kim Gale, Jim Anderson, Nancy Houlton, (Gail

Mollner ’07), Roy Adams, and Cam Counters.

2007/08 new members: Stephani Gunter, Steve Hildebrandt, Jackie Meyer, Mary Nelson, Saba Teshome,

Caroline Wulf and Stephanie Xiong (unable to participate – slot left vacant ‘08).

We want to express our thanks to James Addington, Carmen Valenzuela, and Jeff Agaton-Howes of the

Minnesota Collaborative Anti-Racism Initiative (MCARI) for the excellent training, guidance and vision needed to move our work forward.

We are also grateful for the support and endorsement of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners and

Ramsey County Manager, Dave Twa.

And finally, we could not have done this work without the sacrifices, commitment, growth and outstanding research completed by the 2005-2006 Anti-Racism Leadership Team Members. Thank you.

We are aware of how much is not included in this report and apologize for any errors or omissions of historical fact. We believe that we have included the key learnings about the shaping of Ramsey County

Human Services with respect to race and racism.

February 2008


Names indicated in parentheses, are those whose terms with ARLT have expired (year indicated) or members have left for other reasons.



In 1999, Paul Kirkwold, County Manager for Ramsey County met with County staff and shared his vision of The

Ramsey County Model Employer Initiative. As Mr. Kirkwold was preparing to move into retirement, he made an insightful and profound observation regarding the changing demographics of Ramsey County. He indicated that

Ramsey County was becoming increasingly diverse and more and more of it’s citizens no longer resembled him, a

“white male”. Mr. Kirkwold believed that if we, as a public government agency wished to continue to deliver meaningful and effective services for the changing population that we would have to plan for and change how we attracted and maintained a diverse workforce and provided culturally competent services to our constituents.

RCCHS began to take a critical look at service outcomes for clients we served and the retention rates for employees of color. Upon further analysis, a clear pattern of disparate outcomes began to unfold. Clientele of color in a variety of service areas were either overrepresented or underrepresented, and frequently experienced less positive outcomes than their white counterparts. A similar pattern was true for employees of color. While on one hand there was a significant increase in the hiring of persons of color over the past few years, the retention rates for employees of color raised questions that need to be explored. Employees of color were exiting agency employment at rate 17% greater than their white colleagues.

In 2002, RCCHS senior management formed five Action Teams. These were the 1) Contracting, 2) Leadership, 3)

Training, 4) Recruitment and Retention, and 5) Hiring Action Teams. The purpose of these teams was to research issues and causes of concerns, and to recommend corrective actions in these areas to improve the disparate outcomes for clients and staff.

In 2004, RCCHS began working with the Minnesota Collaborative Anti-Racism Initiative (MCARI). After department-wide training aimed at increasing the understanding of racism, twenty-five staff from across all work levels of the Human Services Department were interviewed and selected to begin leading this endeavor. In May

2005, the newly formed team experienced a number of intensive training experiences to learn common language and gain necessary skills to do this work as the Ramsey County Anti-Racism Leadership Team (ARLT). The purpose of this team is to coordinate and direct the agency’s efforts in becoming an anti-racist, multicultural organization. The team is also charged with the development of a 20-25 year strategic plan to dismantle institutional racism within our agency and the community we serve. The following historical audit is the result of extensive research by the Team and helps us understand how Ramsey County Human Services came to be the organization that it is.

To effectively dismantle institutional racism, it is imperative to understand the history, social forces, conditions, and factors that underlie the development of the agency.


The Mission Statement of the Anti-Racism Leadership Team:

“Recognize racism in our institution and implement a transformational strategy for change”

The Vision Statement of the Anti-Racism Leadership Team:

“Ramsey County Human Services will be an anti-racist, multicultural organization”


History Document Introduction

So, why was this Institutional History and limited chronology written?

The Anti-Racism Leadership Team (ARLT) had to do some homework to understand, and to be able to explain, how the Ramsey County Welfare Department (known today as Ramsey County Community Human Services

Department) came to be. Who decided it was needed and why, and who was it designed to serve?

It seems like a simple and obvious answer doesn’t it? But when you begin to look back and really begin to understand how and why “welfare” came to be, the simple and obvious answer takes on a tone and systematic intention that is very sobering and is less than honorable.

A colleague on the ARLT observed, “The welfare system has really created a way to keep poor people poor. A way to control and have power over the people that society fears.”

Given what we have learned doing this homework assignment, the researching and exploring our own agencies

“construction”, maybe this statement is not really too far off base.

While this history is not an exhaustive documentation, the ARLT believes that sufficient research and man-hours have been invested to provide a glimpse into the social welfare mechanism that has been constructed so that we can begin to make some individual choices:

You can ignore this information and “keep-on keepin’-on”;


You can join in making intentional changes within our agency.


The Homework Assignment:

Exploring Institutional History Introduction

At the conclusion of the Antiracism Leadership Teams initial 3-day training with the Department’s consultants,

MCARI, in May 2005 the group was charged with a homework assignment.

The following pages provide the reader with the homework questions and the groups’ answers. Our answers were found as we explored the Department’s genesis and documented those finding in the History given in following pages. Even with that information, these answers did not come easily – the team spent many meetings discussing, digesting, and coming to terms with the magnitude of the questions.

The process took us places you never thought you would visit with your co-workers.

We argued, we discussed, we cried, we laughed and we became a stronger, more committed team, as we began to see each other as distinct individuals who’s skin color was a mere introduction to the person within. That’s why it took until February 2007 to pull this document together – we pulled ourselves apart and put us back together, and began to understand.


Exploring Institutional History

Original Purpose, Structure and Constituency

Based on the research presented earlier, the original constituencies were white immigrant groups living in Ramsey

County. These immigrants were predominantly French Canadians, Germans, Swedish and Norwegian. Racial, ethnic and cultural identity was explicitly indicated. Census information and how the population in the state and counties were identified and counted evidence this. For example, only “civilized Indians, black males, and mixed blood over twenty one could vote.” Statements like these were coupled with voting rights restrictions for communities of color until 1868. There was minimal information regarding the enforcement or protection of voting rights for communities of color at the turn of the century. Also census information from 1930 indicated that

“whites” constituted 98.3% of the county population. As of the year 2000, whites made up 77.4% of the county population.

Original Purpose of The Institution’s Mission, Worldview and Culture

The research indicated that counties were subsidiaries of the state. Counties governed its citizens, public administration, taxation, infrastructure, law enforcement and the administration of public aid and welfare.

The institution’s mission, worldview and culture appeared to resonate Anglo Saxon domination coupled with nativism and Social Darwinism. This worldview influenced the counties’ social and political thinking. This was evidenced by legislative attitudes that expressed “fear” regarding the mass migrations to the area after the Civil War. In addition, this mindset contributed to the general belief that the poor were undesirable, which resulted in mistreatment of the poor and the discouragement of pauperism in early county life.

Organizational Structure, Boundaries, Authority, Accountability and Power

The structure of the county was a hierarchal governing board made up of all white constituents. There was clear expression of identity and purpose throughout the County structure. County authority was granted and legitimized by the State of Minnesota. Access into power positions was limited. County officials were appointed or elected by the county constituency or local government. County officials were accountable to the County Board, and the State and Federal governments via the Federal Social Security


Building the Institutional Walls of Racial Exclusion / Segregation

From the inception of Ramsey County as a political entity in 1849 people of color were intentionally excluded. No evidence was discovered which suggests their inclusion in the design, structure or constituency of the County. In fact, until the 1930’s, voting restrictions continued to be imposed on people of color (i.e. “civilized Indians, black males, and mixed blood over twenty one could vote”). The combination of voting restrictions and such a small number of people of color (1.7%) in the population, suggests the exclusion of people of color due in part to limited numbers living in the region. Additional exclusion of people of color came in 1896, which was the year of the

Supreme Court decision of Plessey vs. Ferguson. This court decision established the basis for “separate but equal” as the law of the land for whites and communities of color.

Social welfare systems were not designed to provide services to communities of color. For example, in 1853, New

York state and federal legislation was designed to create a juvenile justice system, also known as the orphan trains, only for Italian, Irish and East European immigrant children. These children were to be raised in rural Protestant


homes away from the bad influences of the inner city. Juvenile courts routinely placed white children out of homes for neglect and parental unfitness. No such options existed for children of color. Housing discrimination, job discrimination, lack of access to medical services, and poverty conditions resulted in lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rates for communities of color. Many communities of color were left to their own resources.

Boarding schools, reservations, immigration exclusion acts, substandard segregated schools and facilities, poor law enforcement, redlining, high rates of incarceration were all institutionalized, deliberately creating separation between the races.

Communication Over the Walls of Exclusion (into the 1960’s)

By 1960, the Civil Rights Movement was well under way. The year 1965 marked the National Voting Rights and

Affirmative Action Acts. In spite of national efforts that sought equality for people of color, county welfare practices still excluded people of color. In the 1960’s, national and local political philosophy on welfare focused on reducing dependency on welfare. Individuals living on public assistance represented a gross waste of human resources. Social welfare caseworkers had a challenge as they sought to release their clients from their dependency on welfare. Actual quotes from Ramsey County Welfare staff reflected the intolerance for the poor. For example, one staff stated that the “reason for staff turnover was because welfare recipients were not well mannered, well behaved and were downright unpleasant and uncouth.” Ironically, the percentage of persons of color receiving assistance was increasing at that time while less than 6% of the County’s workforce were people of color before the early 1970’s. This made for problematic relationships.

Policies that stated that any household with an “able bodied man” in the home was not entitled to public welfare systematically forced males from their home so their families could receive benefits. Caseworkers routinely visited and searched residences for the signs of men living in the home. Actions such as this likely did not improve working relationships with communities of color. The results of these decisions and activities, in an indirect and direct way, continued to support the original race-based purpose and structure of the County welfare system. The system was not originally designed for people of color. Policies and practices discouraged people of color from accessing services because the outcomes proved more punitive to families than the limited benefits received were worth. The family structures and living conditions of people of color were pathologized.

Institutional Changes (1970 to present)

The role of Ramsey County in the Civil Rights, American Indian Movement, and Farm Worker’s Movement of the

1960’s is unclear. As a government agency, the County is bound to follow state, local, and federal legislation.

Therefore, it is suspected that to the extent that these movements resulted in state and federal changes in the law,

Ramsey County would have had to abide.

Affirmative action laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunities Act of

1972, did not appear to have a dramatic impact on the hiring practices of Ramsey County. In 1975, the Southeast

Asian communities started to settle in the Ramsey County/St. Paul area. By 1976 only 6% of staff were persons of color. The first culturally sensitive social worker positions were not developed until 1980. In 1984, Ramsey

County hired its first American Indian social worker to provide family-based services for Indian clients.

In the 1990s, an influx of East African immigrants came to this area as well. A demographic trend study suggests continued growth in communities of color for the county.

In 1990, more culturally appropriate resources for clients were developed to serve growing communities of color in

Ramsey. More minority staff were hired. A diversity audit was completed in 1998. In 2002, three persons of color were hired into senior management positions: two managers and one division director.

At the larger County level, in 1995, a Latino man was elected to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners and in 2005, the first African American female was elected to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners.


Ramsey County: How It Was Formed

The original inhabitants of what is now Minnesota were the Dakota and Ojibwa Indians. In the early 1800’s

European immigrants began arriving. French-Canadians, German, Swedish and Norwegian immigrants were the dominant population groups. In 1849, the U.S. Congress created the Minnesota Territory, which attracted more settlers.

On April 2, 1849 President Zachary Taylor appointed Alexander Ramsey the first Governor of the Minnesota

Territory. In a bill naming the county, the first reading listed it as St. Paul County; the second reading had it as

Ramsey County. So, on October 27 th

, 1849, Ramsey County was incorporated as a county.

The original boundaries of Ramsey County included all of the present day counties of Ramsey, Anoka, Isanti,

Kanabec and parts of Washington, Pine, Carlton, Aitkin, Mille Lacs and Hennepin Counties. The county population for Ramsey was 2,197 residents with a total of 834 dwellings. The growth of the railroad system made Ramsey

County, and St. Paul in particular the transportation center of the Upper Midwest.

Poverty was fairly widespread throughout the 1800’s. In 1861 a set of “Special Poor Laws” gave county administrators authority to “take charge of the poor.” These “Poor Laws” had roots in, and were derived from, the

English Poor Laws of 1601. These laws were the first systematic codification of English ideas about the responsibility of the State to provide for the welfare of its citizens. They provided for taxation to fund relief activities (welfare), set standards and distinguished between the deserving and undeserving poor. The relief was local and community controlled. The poor in Minnesota and elsewhere were viewed as “highly undesirable characters” and treated accordingly. In 1817, The New York Society for the Prevention of Pauperism was one of the government’s first attempts to organize welfare programs and introduced the “friendly visitor” concept of social workers.

Relief was classified into two categories; indoor and outdoor relief. Local community governing bodies administered indoor relief, that is, through the establishment of “indoor” institutions such as almshouses for the infirm, dependent persons; and workhouses for the able-bodied poor. To “discourage dependency” seeking and receiving indoor relief was made as unpleasant as possible. This often included loss of personal property, the right to vote, the right to move and some recipients had to wear the letter P on their clothing.

Outdoor relief came from local governments and was designed to provide assistance to persons in their own homes.

When sickness, disability, old age, or death of a spouse rendered persons dependent, they could petition for assistance knowing that if they could still manage a household, their basic needs would be supplied in kind with grants of food, fuel, clothing or with modest cash grants. Popular opinion at that time was that “outdoor relief made things too easy on the poor who should be discouraged from the habit of poverty in every way possible.”

In 1850, the Ramsey County Board of Control opened a “poor farm” (almshouse) for “vagrants” who worked for board and keep. Relief was given in the form of coal, groceries, wood, meals and lodging.

In 1862, the Social Security Administration started the Civil War Pension Program to benefit those veterans who were disabled by war, as well as their widows and orphans. Other veterans at that time were not eligible for those benefits.

In 1872, Ramsey County built a almshouse at a cost of $30,000 on the site of the present day Minnesota

Fairgrounds. The Ramsey County Poor Farm was built in 1885 on the site of the current Ramsey County Nursing

Home for the indenturing of children and orphans.


In 1883, The Ramsey County Board of Control was officially established to supervise all the programs and welfare aid in the county under the name “United Charities”, though private charities and philanthropic organizations ran most of the programs.

Census information during those times with regard to people of color in Ramsey County indicated:


Ojibwa & Dakota Indians



African American/Black


1870 1880 1885 1890 1899 1910

1 26 33 12 204 --

70 198 491 -- -- -- 3,154

No official records found before 1930; recorded population at that time was 630.

The dashes (--) indicate no information available.

The manner in which early census data was gathered does not prove helpful when researching this type of information. In the early years the U.S. Census counted people as being either white or “other”.

It is also important to remember that the Civil War ended in 1865 and the aftermath of relief efforts had a huge impact on the federal governments and local municipalities as well. After the abolishment of slavery in 1865, many state and local legislators feared that the large influx of Black people from the South would cause competition for the jobs customarily held by unskilled whites, or worse, that they would become paupers and wards of the subdivision (county). In addition, blacks were barred from voting. Voting rights discrimination persisted in

Minnesota until 1868 (two years prior to the adoption of the 15 th

Amendment), when the Minnesota legislature amended the state constitution by granting permission to black males, “civilized” Indians, and “mixed bloods” over the age of twenty-one. The legislature also abolished segregation in the Minnesota public school system; interestingly this practice had been adopted ten years earlier, in 1858 by the City of St. Paul.


Turn Of The Century Social Conditions

And Political Realities In America

The 1800’s were an era of sweeping change for the nation. The growing immigrant population and reconstruction following the Civil War period played a significant role as eastern cities were becoming flooded with new immigrants.

This era was also known for transition as federal and state government began regulating social welfare.

Subsequently, legislation was introduced which was designed to “save poor white children of immigrants from unfitness and poverty.” Juvenile Courts would routinely commit these children to institutions or foster homes for dependency, poverty or neglect.

In response to the growing population and concern with bearing the addition burden of caring for more impoverished people, in 1853 the New York Children’s Aid Society began a practice called “placing out”. They gathered children who had been relegated to institutions and foster homes, most of whom were poor children from

Irish, Italian and Eastern European families, and began transporting them by train (hence the term “orphan train”), sending them further west to be raised in rural Protestant homes away from the bad influences of their families and inner city neighborhood. The planners and participants of placing out paid no attention to the ways that the practice altered families and the majority of those placed out were not true orphans; children with living parents, as well as brothers and sisters, were the norm, not the exception, in placing out. When the orphan trains stopped in a town, the children were paraded from the depot into a local playhouse, opera house or church where they were put up on stage, “the look resembled slave auctions.“ People came along and prodded them, and looked, and felt, and saw how many teeth they had. Between 1853 and 1929 the orphan trains transported at least 200,000 children to western states and away from their families.

Prior to WWI, European immigration was not regulated. This changed after the war began. Numerous immigrant groups (Germans, Scotch-Irish, Swedes, Dutch, French, Spanish Portuguese and Jews) contributed to the emergence of an American identity, although the Anglo-Saxon element was predominant in determining U.S. political, legal and social development. The Anglo-Saxon legacy shaped political thoughts during the 1880s and took the form of

“nativism”- the view that native born Whites of “old stock (Nordic and Aryan ancestry) were superior to all other groups.” Darwinism and racist imperialism reflected the adherence to Anglo-Saxon supremacy in literature and science in the late 1800’s and early 1900s.

In 1900, people of color made up twelve percent of the U.S. population. African Americans totaled 11% of the population, while American Indians, Japanese and Chinese represented less than 1%. Mexicans were counted separately during this period. Interestingly enough, the disparate outcomes for people of color (African American in this instance) were evident then and persist similarly today.

People of color did not fare as well as whites during the Progressive Era (1890 – 1913). Infant mortality rates were twice that of whites. Mothers of color were almost twice as likely to die during childbirth as white mothers.

Furthermore, the life expectancy in 1900 for a white person was 48 years, whereas persons of color could expect 33 years. For example, in 1914, 260 people of color per 100,000 died from influenza and tuberculosis while 169 whites per 100,000 died from the same causes. These figures are indicative of the social conditions surrounding populations of color.

The belief was that most people of color represented a separate class of people and this belief was reflected in the social sciences of the day. Physiological and psychological studies were evoked to prove the innate inferiority of racial minorities. In 1916, one psychologist stated that, according to test results, the low intelligence of Spanish-

Indian, Mexican and African American children was confirmed and concluded, “their dullness seems to be racial.”

Subsequent Army testing results plotted ethnic and racial groups along an intelligence continuum that placed Nordic at the highest end, Alpines and Mediterranean’s in the middle, with African Americans at the lowest end.


Snapshot of American History for People of Color:

The Progressive Era

The urbanization of U.S. society was accompanied by significant population growth. In the 1880’s, U.S. population was 50.1 million with 28% living in urban areas. By 1920 the population had swelled to 105 million with 51.0 % living in urban areas.

The years from 1890 to 1913 were known as the Progressive Era. It was so named because of the economic, social and political changes taking place during the time. Increased immigration, mass migration, WWI and its aftermath, a burgeoning industrialization and increased urbanization dramatically changed the texture of U.S. society and created rampant social problems.

While progressives and social reformers labored on behalf of workers, children and widows during this time, the

Progressive Era was anything but “progressive” to the four major communities of color living in this country. The following descriptions of these populations are intended to help set a clear tone, context and power analysis of the socio-cultural, historical and political realities for these communities. We believe these subsequent realities both directly and indirectly influenced the shaping of the original constituency, purpose and structure of Ramsey County

Human Services.

The American Indians: Discrimination 1895 to 1920

Since the economic development of the United States could not have progressed without the displacement of and neutralization of the Native population, the policies of extermination, isolation and assimilation that have competed for ascendancy all required the definition of Natives as savage, being inferior and less than human, and with an inferior culture that was deservedly doomed to extinction. The American Indians presented a unique conundrum.

They were significant because of the lands they held. As a group, unlike other populations of color, they were not needed for cheap labor and they sought to maintain their separateness rather that strive for assimilation and integration into US society. The American Indians rebelled against the White encroachment of their lands, fought fiercely for their land and way of life and boldly rejected White domination. Their eventual subordination included provisions for separating the tribes from their land, so the White reformers could concentrate on reforming the

American Indian.

White Protestant and Missionary societies became active in the education of the American Indians. They believed that properly educating the American Indian children would cause them to move away from tribal communal values and learn the meaning of individualism and raise them to the standards of Christian civilization. These “Friends of the Indians”, as they were called, saw education as the proper vehicle through which American Indians could cast their lot with other Americans. In 1819, Congress began to allocate modest sums of money for the employment of

“capable persons of good moral character” to instruct the American Indians in the mode of agriculture suited to their situation and for teaching their children reading, writing, and arithmetic. These funds were distributed to the various

White missionary societies who were to develop schools on the reservations.

In the minds of the reformers, the day schools on the reservations were viewed as inadequate for raising American

Indian children to the standards of Christian civilization.

Many missionaries and reformers were so committed to their particular beliefs that they failed to learn about the customs and beliefs that they were trying to erase. Manual labor and industrial instruction became a cornerstone in the Indian education program. It was believed that manual training would lead tribes to sufficiency and reduce dependency on the government dole. Attempts to implement “civilizing programs” on the reservations were not succeeding. Reformers began to push for off-reservation boarding schools. The plains tribes, at the time, were dependent on government support for the necessities of life. In many instances, food and materials supplied were


inadequate, insufficient and inappropriate. The conversion process from a hunting culture, to an agricultural one was taking longer than the government and the reformers anticipated. Hagen (1979), however, attributed some of the problems to blundering or outright fraud by White Christian reformers who profited from government contracts by supplying reservations with shoddy goods or none at all. The poverty condition on the reservations did little to encourage the tribes to embrace Christianity and/or the American way. The reservations thus, became “a poisonous environment from which the children needed to be rescued”. The missionaries and reformers with persistent zeal believed that the resolution of the “Indian problem” was to help the tribal children “shed the blanket” so they could become a part of the American melting pot. American Indian boarding schools symbolized the new direction in national policy. Thus, the off-reservation boarding schools grew in importance to reformers and American Indian children, by the thousands, were taken from their parents and shipped to boarding schools across the county to be


Children as young as six years of age were enrolled in schools that held hundreds and sometimes thousands of students in an institutional setting. The consequences were far-reaching for these children and their families.

Children were given English names and were directed to only respond to these names. Children were dressed and groomed in a manner consistent with White American children. Indian boys received haircuts upon arrival despite the fact that their hair had much symbolic value of their culture. Runaways were common and they were harshly punished when apprehended. Large numbers of children died at these schools. Cemeteries adjacent to the schools were filled with hundreds of grave markers. Student attendance ceased being voluntary and American Indian parents who refused to give up their children would not receive supplies or would be incarcerated. Hundreds of children returned to reservations after their education experience only to find that they were no longer able to communicate with their families. Furthermore, the skills that they acquired were often useless on the reservation.

Despite all of these measures, the perception and treatment of the American Indians remained substandard.

Health and Mortality

At the turn of the 19 th

century, the American Indians population was 250,000. The population size was at its lowest than at any other previous time. Tuberculosis was a serious problem and morbidity and mortality rates among

American Indians far exceeded those among Whites and African Americans.

Injustices of Law Enforcement /Justice System

The Dawes Act of 1887, stipulated that the President of the United States could allocate reservation land to

American Indians with the title kept in trust for 25 years by the United States. The Dawes Act sought to redistribute

American Indian land and to remove the tribe as the core of American Indian power. Disbanding tribes and reservations would undermine solidarity and the cohesiveness of the American Indians.

Under that act, tribal lands were divided into tracts ranging from 40 to 160 acres. Family heads received the largest allotments and individuals received smaller parcels. After the allotments were dispersed the remaining “surplus lands” would be sold. Under this act, American Indians would become voting citizens if they lived away from the tribe and became farmers. Since this stipulation went against tribal values, many American Indians lost their land because they would not comply. Between 1887 and 1934 American Indians were separated from an estimated

86,000,000 acres of the total 138,000,000 acres they once called home. Most of the remaining land was desert or semi-desert and useless to the white population.

Contracts and legal processes afforded little or no fairness for American Indians as treaties were routinely broken and Congressional acts favored White Americans. Violence against tribal groups was sanctioned and unpunished with similar acts by American Indians resulting in vigilante justice or indiscriminate punishment of American

Indians, “guilty or not.” Consequently, American Indians had little protection under the law and no trust for the

American legal system.


The African Americans: Discrimination from 1895 to 1920

During this era, African Americans were subjected to harsh, widespread discrimination, dire health and mortality rates; unbridled racial violence, injustices of law enforcement and the justice system, and biased analyses and interpretation of their condition. African Americans were treated as though they represented a different class of people and their growing presence in places where they had previously been invisible heightened racial problems.

Even though they saw themselves being as American as White Americans, they were confronted with a different reality. Larger society had its own set of definitions for African Americans and attempted to impose these definitions in its contact with the group. To many whites in the northern cities, African Americans were even more undesirable and “foreign” than were the “new” immigrants. African American migration started shortly after the end of the Civil War as free Blacks headed north in search of a better life that included economic security and freedom from oppression. They found the same conditions experienced by “new immigrants”, but only more so. In the 1870’s through the 1880’s, about 100,000 Blacks migrated from Southern states to the North. From 1890 through 1910, approximately 200,000 more African Americans migrated. The peak of migration was during the years 1916 to 1917 as about 700,000 African Americans moved north. And during 1910 and 1920, approximately

800,000 to 1 million had made the journey north.

Gordon (1964), a prominent historian of the 1900’s observed and wrote, “Of all the major American immigrant communities of whatever ethnic background or race, none faced the kind of systematic and restrictive measures upon its urban adaptation as did the American Black.” In 1905, issues of The Charities Review, a social service journal, described the housing problem facing the African American migrants as “Difficulty in obtaining a suitable place meets the Negro who comes to a large northern city. In many neighborhoods, he cannot rent a house or an apartment no matter how well able he may be to pay the price for it, and in places in which he is permitted to live, his accommodations are frequently worse than the same money would buy for any other race.” Sophonisba

Breckenridge, an advocate of services for African Americans, provided a more detailed description in 1913 of the housing situation in Chicago; “While half of the people in the Bohemian, Polish and Lithuanian districts were paying less than $8.50 for their four bedroom apartments; the steel mill employees less than $9.50 and Jewish in the

Ghetto less than $10.50. The Negro, in the midst of extreme dilapidation and crowded into territory adjoining the segregated vice district, pays $12.00 to $12.50.” Breckenridge also observed that housing problems for African

Americans were different from that of other immigrants. While only poor Polish and Jewish or Italian immigrants had to endure poor housing conditions, African Americans of all income levels, suffered the direst housing problems.

Education was again seen as the answer for African Americans. While white philanthropists provided significant funding for education, many were only willing to support industrial education for African Americans. In 1905,

Gordon wrote, “The strain of commercial competition as well as the added stress of race prejudice has had a tendency to limit opportunities of the Negro in securing work… It would seem then that manual training in a school for the Negro child is even more essential and helpful than it is in a school for whites.”

Many whites feared that too much of the wrong kind of education would make African Americans more difficult to control. Interestingly enough, sympathetic southern whites who generally opposed education for African

Americans, supported mechanical, industrial and agricultural training for this group. School attendance did not have the same meaning for African Americans as it did for whites. In both the North and the South, prejudice often prevented African Americans from working in the mills, factories and other industries, so they went to school instead. Reformers who advocated compulsory education were ambivalent about the implications for African

Americans. Since school attendance was already high among African Americans in the early to mid-1900’s, compulsory education would put even more African American students in the classroom, which posed a potential risk for white Americans. Widely debated was the potential threat of the “educated Negro” to white superiority.

With the increase in African Americans in school there was a parallel increase in segregation. All black schools became commonplace and typically the deteriorating buildings with fewest supplies were used by the African


Americans. Other reform efforts were retarded by fears that reform would be extended to African Americans. For example, in Georgia the age of consent was 10 years old and remained there until 1918 when it was raised to 14.

The delay in the increase in age of consent was attributed to the belief that legislators did not want to extend legal protection to African American girls. Opponents of women’s right to vote, particularly in the South, feared that extending the right to vote to women would lead to African American women voting. Thus, racism intentionally reduced the rights and privileges of African Americans, and it also served to clearly state the opportunities of whites.

Pervasive racism against African Americans by persons outside this group affected the relations among members inside the group. For example, the “near White” (lighter skinned) African Americans often saw themselves as different than the darker-skinned African Americans. Color became a status symbol that was associated with economic success. Because “whiteness” was more desirable than “darkness”, African Americans adopted standards that favored the lighter-hued individuals of their race. Whites often extended preferential treatment to those African

Americans who did not have stereotypical “Negroid features.”

Health and Mortality

In 1899, The Charities Review noted, “The Negroes die twice as fast as the whites; whites have greater comforts and many advantages as regards to skilled medical attention.” In 1897, The Charities Review attributed the high infant mortality rates to “the fact that negro mothers are obliged as a rule to work outside the home, thus leaving their homes and children, which is not only the cause of infant mortality, but also of neglected child life.”

While infectious diseases coupled with infant and maternal mortality decimated the African American population, a study at the close of the Progressive Era revealed that African American males were also more likely than Whites to be victims of homicides.

Black on black homicides has been a part of the history of numerous African American communities. Violence of this nature has been linked to the concentration of drugs and alcohol in these communities as well as the personal and social upheaval that accompanied African American migration and urbanization. The internalization of white attitudes [IRO (Internalized Racial Oppression)] that devalue African American life has also been contemplated as an explanatory factor.

Racial violence escalated during the turn of the century. A total of 3,000 known lynchings of African American men and women stained American history from 1885 to 1915. Mob violence and race riots were prevalent in those days. Racial hostility and hatred directed towards African American were more pervasive and lethal than that directed towards any of the “new immigrants groups.” Mob violence erupted in East St. Louis in 1917 and about

25 other cities, including Chicago and Washington, as mobs of “Whites “ burned African American ghettos and lynched, shot, and beat the inhabitants. During the “Red Summer” of 1919, Chicago, Omaha and other northern and southern cities were the sites of brutal mob violence against African Americans that claimed numerous lives and left thousands homeless. The East St. Louis case is a vivid example of the magnitude and intensity of the of racial mob violence against African Americans. The NAACP sent investigators to collect data on the incident, and the results were published in September 1917 issue of The Crisis. According to this report “On that day July 2, 1917, a mob of white men, women and children… drove Negroes out of their homes by shooting, burning and hanging between one and two hundred human beings who were black.”

Injustices of Law Enforcement / Justice system

The courts were not particularly sympathetic to African American rights and their status as citizens. In 1896, the

Supreme Court handed down the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision that made separate and equal treatment of African

American the law of the land. In this decision the Court declared that “legislation is powerless to eradicate racial


instincts or to abolish distinctions based upon physical differences.” The 1896 decision paved the way for widespread court sanctioned discrimination against African Americans. The ruling seemed to reaffirm the separation of the races as an innate or natural tendency that should not be challenged by law. Other discriminatory laws were passed that limited African Americans access to public education, housing and jobs. These laws were typically referred to as “Jim Crow Laws”, derived from nineteenth century song and dance that stereotyped African

Americans in an offensive way.

African Americans belief in the power of the federal government to protect them from discrimination was further dampened by the actions of President Theodore Roosevelt when he unfairly discharged without honor African

American soldiers stationed near Brownsville, Texas in 1906 as a result of an incident that took place in which a white person was killed and the soldiers refused to name who was responsible. A subsequent military investigation indicated the evidence against the black soldiers was questionable at best.

The President acted without the benefit of evidence in this matter and he refused to seat African American delegates from the South at the 1912 political convention. President Roosevelt, fearful of losing black support, invited

Booker T. Washington, noted African American Founder of Tuskegee Institute to the White House for lunch. In the aftermath of white protest, Roosevelt viewed the lunch as a mistake.

Because organized law enforcement agencies were often perceived as agents for social control of African

Americans, these agencies afforded little protection or security for countless members of this group. In almost every case, the police refused to enforce the law and even led mobs attacking African Americans. Poor to no law enforcement contributed to violence against African American. A precarious relationship has historically existed between law enforcement agencies and the African American communities. A study of homicides in 1921 indicated that the majority of interracial homicides in the cities surveyed involved African American males who were shot by the police for “resisting arrest”.

In looking at arrests in St. Louis from 1876 to 1901, Brandt (1903) noted that a large part of the police force was

Irish, which resulted in “intolerances toward the offences of foreign born individuals, as well as, an abnormal vigilance over the Negros.” In addition, the penal system has often been described as a replacement for the slavery system as a means of continued control of African Americans. For example, the State of New York legislated the emancipation of slaves and the creation of the first state prison on the same day.

Mexican Americans Discrimination 1895 to 1920

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Mexican Americans in the U.S. were at a turning point in their history. In the middle of the late 1880’s the vast amount of land they owned was coveted and eventually seized by white settlers through both legal and extra legal means. The seized land was mined, farmed and developed. Cheap labor was essential for production and profit. The indigenous people of Mexican descent in the Southwest and the immigrants from Mexico were significant to the nation because they filled this labor need. From the end of the

Mexican War in 1848 to the beginning of unprecedented immigration from Mexico in 1910, the history of the

Mexican people in the United States has been virtually unrecognized.

The history of Mexican Americans in the United States is tied closely to those events that occurred in Texas and the

Southwest Territory. White settlers moved into Texas in the early 1880’s when it was still a part of the state of

Coahuila in the Republic of Mexico. Mexico welcomed these new settlers as long as they embraced Catholicism and pledged allegiance to Mexico. Once in Texas, however the new settlers often forgot the oath and continued to practice Protestantism.

Hostility toward the Mexican government escalated and open rebellion ensued. The source of the hostility and antagonism can be traced to several issues. Many White settlers saw Mexican laws interfering with their way of life while others believed Mexicans to be inferior in intelligence and refused to submit to a government that was seen as


inferior. At the time of the Texas War, the 5,000 Mexican inhabitants refused to join the white settlers in the revolt against the Mexican government.

During the Texas revolution, the battles in San Antonio (at mission, Alamo) Goliad and San Jacinto were fought.

The end of the revolution ended with the defeat of the Mexican Army. With this defeat, the Mexican Texas died a violent death and the Republic of Texas was born. As a result of this war, Mexicans were pictured as cruel, treacherous, tyrannical and as an enemy who could not be trusted. The Texas War left a legacy of hate and determined the status of Mexicans left behind as that of a conquered people. The Mexican American War in the next decade recalled the hostilities between White Americans and Mexicans. The war coincided with the belief in

Manifest Destiny while social Darwinism and nativism was embraced by the white settlers. However, the

Southwest territory was already inhabited by 75,000 Mexicans, most of whom were mestizos-descendents of the original Spanish conquistadors who created families with American Indians in the area. In the aftermath of the

Mexican American War and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, thousands of Mexicans became Mexican American citizens of the United States. The Southwest Territory was sold for $15 million dollars and included present-day California, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Colorado, Arizona, and Wyoming.

However, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo served to open the door to one of the “greatest land grabs in American history since the dispossession of American Indian tribes.” The treaty protected the rights of the Mexican landholders. However, white landowners used the U.S. court system to challenge land ownership. Congress passed the Land Act of 1851 to help clear up the confusion about land titles. The act legally paved the way for whites to legally challenge Mexican property rights. In some areas of the Southwest, up to 80 percent of the claims were ruled in favor of the challenger or white plaintiffs. The Court became the means by which many Mexicans were stripped of their land.

People of Mexican ancestry residing in Texas and the Southwest suffered overt economic, political and social subordination as white Americans descended upon the territory. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided

Mexicans with “the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States according to the principles of the

Constitution; and in the meantime shall be maintained and protected in the enjoyment of their liberty and property and secured in the free exercise of religion without restriction.”Unfortunately, enforcement of this treaty was lacking; resulting in the trampling of the rights of the indigenous people by the white settlers. Nor did the treaty address the mindsets of the white settlers reinforced by the Texas revolution that viewed Mexicans as treacherous and inferior to whites.

Mexicans were not familiar with “American” ways of political and economic life and little to no means was provided for them to be educated in these areas. Compounding the issues, many Mexicans were poor and only spoke Spanish. They often worked for the ricos (rich) who typically owned vast acreage. In 1902, Texas adopted a poll tax that deterred Mexican Americans from voting. In addition to losing political power, Mexican Americans were discriminated against in educational and economic opportunities. A master-slave cast system developed. The

Mexican Americans of Texas and the Southwest were regulated to the worst working and living conditions and became a cheap labor source for white farmers.

The social conditions of the Mexican Americans were exacerbated by the arrival of thousands of Mexican immigrants after 1900. The Mexican population born in the U.S. grew from 8% in 1900 to 25% by 1910. At the turn of the century, Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants made up 80% of the agricultural work force, 90% of western railroad workers and 60% percent of the mineworkers. Others migrated to the northern urban centers or became migrant farm workers in other parts of the country. In a 1912 article on the experiences of Mexican immigrants in the United States, Bryan noted that in 1908 and 1909, about 86% of the Mexican immigrants worked as railroad laborers and earned less than $1.25 a day while Greeks, Italians and Japanese railroad workers made more than $1.50 per day. In addition Mexican immigrants lived in poor housing conditions that fostered diseases and criminal activities.

Anti-Mexican hostility had a tremendous effect on the Mexican American population especially for those who looked American Indian. In Texas, the tejanos (Mexican-American Texans) sought to distinguish themselves from


Mexican immigrants. Consequently, the term “Mexican” began to take on a negative tone among whites and tejanos. The Mexican-American population was not a homogeneous group but rather consisted of several different groups identified by their ancestry and physical appearances that ranged from the fairness (lightness) of the Spanish to the darkness of American Indians. This gradation in skin color was often associated with class and the designation of Spanish American symbolized Spanish blood, aristocracy, and wealth whereas Mexican descendents reflected American Indian and peasant stock.

Racial Violence

Injustices of Law Enforcement / Justice System

Law enforcement agencies provided little to no protection from the vigilantes who terrorized Mexicans in Texas and throughout the Southwest. A situation in Sonora, California provides an example of how racial violence, coupled with legislation, robbed Mexicans of their land and livelihood. Mexicans settled in this area and were successful in mining productive claims - tracts of land that were staked out for mining. They fought off white attempts to drive them from the lands for their lucrative claims. As a result, Mexican miners became the victims numerous raids and killings, as the whites’ quest for land knew no boundaries. In 1850, the California State legislature imposed a tax on all foreign miners aimed primarily at Mexicans. Using guns to enforce the legislation, whites forced 2,000

Mexicans to leave Sonora. The tax was so high that other miners, including white miners, were forced out of the mines. While this tax was repealed a year later it proved to be too late for former Mexican miners.

In Texas, the Texas Rangers developed a reputation for shooting first and asking questions later in their dealings with Mexican Americans. The Texas Rangers were often depicted as keepers of justices who valiantly defended the borders of Texas and protected the settlers from the dangerous savage intruders. A Mexican accused of a crime was often found guilty and punished on the spot. Thus, Mexicans in Texas and in the Southwest experienced the same type of racial violence experienced by African Americans in the South and later in the North. Many of the white settlers who moved to Texas and to the Southwest merely transferred their racial animosity towards African

Americans to Mexicans. According to Moquin (1971), the number of killings of Mexicans in the Southwest from

1850 to 1930 surpassed the number of African American lynchings for the same period.

Not surprisingly, Mexican immigrants were overrepresented in the jails and prisons of Texas and the Southwest during the early 1900’s. As their percentage of the population increased, the incarceration rate also increased. In

Arizona and California, the chief offenses among Mexicans were gambling and drinking. As the institutions in U.

S. society accepted the mainstream interpretations of the past, the image of Mexican Americans suffered greatly.

Over time the distinctions between Spanish Americans, Mexican Americans and Mexicans clouded and simply melted into one. Heritage and ancestry could not protect the first Spanish pioneers from being categorized as alien or foreign to U.S. society. As in the case of African Americans, nativity by birth and history could not shield

Mexican Americans from differential treatment accorded to “outsiders.”

Chinese Americans/ Discrimination 1895 to 1920

Between 1855 and 1877 it was estimated that 191,118 Chinese entered the United States. In 1860 one-tenth of the

California population (63,199) was Chinese according to census figures. The overwhelming majority of this number lived on the West Coast.

Although immigrants from other countries were permitted unrestricted entry into the United States, Chinese immigration was limited. Two years prior to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Chinese constituted 2% of the population or 105,456 of the 50,155,783 people in the United States. Following the enactment of the Chinese

Exclusion Act, the number of Chinese immigrants dropped significantly. Approximately 102,991 British immigrants and 250,630 German immigrants came to the United States while only 39,579 Chinese immigrated.


In the mid 1800’s, peasant uprisings, economic conditions and political upheaval drove thousands of Chinese to flee

China in search of prosperity in other countries. The California Gold Rush attracted hundreds of Chinese and the first arrivals were able to secure employment as cooks and servants. The Gold Rush period attracted some 35,000

Chinese, in comparison to 2.5 million European immigrants. Many of the Chinese relied on family assistance to help defray the cost of the journey. Contract systems were entered into with U.S. companies to pay the travel cost for workers while later deducting these expenses from the worker’s future wages. Railroad companies used this system to meet the labor demands of railroad construction. In addition, large farming interests in the South recruited Chinese workers to fill the void left by freed slaves.

In 1850, the Chinese were not perceived as a threat. Initially, the early arrivals worked in the service areas such as restaurants and hotels. Many were merchants and skilled craftsmen. When their numbers started to increase significantly the racism and discrimination became more blatant and more hostile. Many were lured to work in the mines and later recruited to work the trans-continental railroad.

In the 1860’s Chinese workers were concentrated in the West in railroad and mining. The railroad industry employed about 50% of the Chinese workforce with somewhat smaller numbers working in the mines. After the last railroad spike was driven in 1869, about 25,000 Chinese railroad workers were out of work. By 1873, riches from the mines could no longer be extracted with an ax and pan. More sophisticated procedures were needed by the mining companies. As a result, the Chinese took jobs wherever they could such as in factories, farms and in domestic service. They often took low paying jobs that the whites would not take. The labor market became flooded and the depression of the 1870’s cast a negative, hostile shadow on the Chinese.

“Chinatowns” emerged that consisted of primarily male inhabitants. For example, of the 100,686 Chinese in the

United States in 1880, only about 4,779 were female. More than half of the males had wives and families in China with plans to return to China. In addition, many planned to return to China take a bride and return to the United

States, intending to become U.S. citizens. The development of Chinatowns and the migration of the Chinese to other parts of the country were attempts to escape racism, discrimination and the brutality of the West. The emergent Chinatowns provided culturally based goods and shops, resulting in a Chinese merchant class that catered exclusively to the Chinese community.

The Chinese were discriminated against from their arrival. In addition to being non-white and non-Christian they were considered an inferior race that was clannish, deceitful and guilty of lowering the wage standards for whites.

There was also a strong sense among whites that the Chinese could not be assimilated into U.S. society and that their loyalty would always be to China. In the eyes of the American people, the Chinese were contracted laborers who were only passing through the country to steal employment and other resources from the more deserving white workers. Residential segregation also helped lead to the development of Chinatowns. The anti-Chinese sentiment grew so strong that societies developed to attack the Chinese problem and lobby for anti-Chinese legislation.

Racial Violence

Injustices of Law Enforcement /Justice System

The first documented violence against Chinese people occurred in 1849 in Tuolumne County (California) when 60

Chinese workers were chased out of their camps by White miners. In San Francisco, one of the largest riots was sparked when the wage demands of White workers were rejected and cheaper Chinese workers were hired. In 1871,

21 Chinese were slain and 15 were lynched in an anti-Chinese riot. Raging racism fueled by a stagnant economy made the Chinese perfect scapegoats for White frustration. In 1879, Wells (1897) noted, “No county, no government, I undertake to say, has permitted the indignities to be cast upon a race of people, that the government and municipality of San Francisco and California have permitted upon this class.” Violence was not limited to

California. It appeared to increase as the number of Chinese in any area did. For example, during the Denver riot of 1880 every Chinese business and home in the city was destroyed.


In California, numerous state and local anti-Chinese laws and regulations were passed that taxed “foreigners”, forced Chinese children to attend segregated schools, targeted Chinese businesses for “special license”, restricted

Chinese fishing, denied Chinese admission to certain hospitals and prohibited the hiring of Chinese workers for municipal jobs. The anti–Chinese sentiment was so strong, a Democratic Party sponsored anti–Chinese rally in

1876 had about 25,000 people in attendance. The growing sentiment prompted Congress to pass the Chinese

Exclusion Act of 1882. This Act barred the entry of skilled and unskilled Chinese laborers into the United States for

10 years. It also denied Chinese naturalization and prohibited Chinese laborers’ spouses from entering the country.

In 1881, the Scott Act was passed and this Act prevented the return of some 20,000 Chinese laborers who had temporarily returned to China to visit friends and family. Consequently, they lost businesses, homes and possessions that they left behind in the United States. The Exclusion Act was not repealed until 1943. According to

Sung (1971), “The Chinese people were the only people specifically named in legislation to be excluded from the

United States.” It was an affront that still rankles in the hearts of many Chinese. The racist nature of the exclusion acts and their legal perpetuation amplify the distinct history of this group in America.


Introduction: A Limited Chronological Review

The examples given in the previous pages are but a glimpse back into a history of how racism becomes converted into national policy. It is with this limited but significant national, historical background that we return to developments in Ramsey County’s history.

While neither space, nor time permitted us to include all of the events, political actions and policymaking decisions that intentionally or unintentionally resulted in unequal and unjust representation of whole communities of color, we have tried to include items that have had enduring and had significant impact on those communities and it’s peoples.

We invite you to add to this chronology if we have omitted some event, person, political action or decision that you feel is important.

Chronological Review of the Social Conditions, Legislation Impact, and Changes in Ramsey County

Community Human Services Development through 2006

1849: Congress created the Minnesota Territory – attracting settlers. On October 27, 1849 nine counties were created, Ramsey being one of them with 2,197 residents and 834 dwellings.

1849: On April 2 nd

President Zachary Taylor appointed Alexander Ramsey the first Governor of the Minnesota


1860 - 1865 The Civil War; black soldiers constituted a significant number of troops. However, “…The

Confederate Congress did not authorize Colored Units in the Confederate Army until 1865…”)

1861: Poor Law gives county commissioners authority “to take charge of the poor.”

1862: Social Security Administration started the Civil War Pension Program to benefit those veterans who were disabled by war, as well as their widows and orphans. Other veterans at that time were not eligible for benefits.

1880: German, Swedish and Norwegian immigrants dominated the (Ramsey County) population.

1906: Old age had become sufficient for Social Security benefits to Civil War veterans & survivors. However, many Civil War veterans did not qualify: Confederate Soldiers were barred from Civil War pensions.

1910: In the Northern states the military pension per capita was $3.63, compared to Southern states military pension per capita of 50 cents (So. Carolina averaged 17 cents).

1911: The first State laws for "mothers' aid" (forerunner of aid to dependent children) were enacted in Missouri and


1914 -1918: World War I

1929 to 1934: Dr. Gustav Lundquist, Executive Secretary


1929: MN Legislature created the Board of Public Welfare (formerly Board of Control: 1883) of the City of St.

Paul and the County of Ramsey (7/1/1929)

“…board shall have under its jurisdiction and control any hospital or almshouse now owned jointly… and shall provide for the relief of the poor…”

Board members serve without pay.

5 county citizens: 2 appointed by the Mayor and 3 appointed by the County Board.

Make rules and regulations for the conduct of its affairs.

Appoint an Executive Secretary at a salary not to exceed $4,000.00/year.

Appoint a physician and surgeon as superintendent and chief surgeon… annual salary of $5,000.00.

Appoint a Superintendent of Almshouse to be provided a salary of $2,500.00 per year.

Quarterly reports to the County Board and City council.

County shall pay 2/3 rd

and the city 1/3 rd

of the cost of relief of the poor and of the maintenance and support of such almshouse and hospital.

1930: The Great Depression led to many changes for welfare: caseloads, organization, and thinking.

• Welfare cheating, fraud investigations and prosecution were the focus.

• The county welfare staff consisted of a supervisor, two visitor staff, and four clerical staff who were responsible for “Outdoor relief” (relief in people’s homes). The usual grant was a $5.00 grocery order and a ton of coal a month. Other needs such as rent, utilities, milk or clothing were met by private family agencies, if at all.

1933: Outdoor Relief of Ramsey County and United Charities merged and were renamed the Family Welfare

Dept. of the Board of Public Welfare

1935 to 1940: Frank Rarig, Director, Executive Secretary

1936 to 1943: WPA (Work Progress Administration) “…an initial congressional appropriation of

$4,880,000,000, it offered work to the unemployed on an unprecedented scale by spending money on a wide variety of programs, including highways and building construction, slum clearance, reforestation, and rural rehabilitation.”

1933 to 1938: The “New Deal” (Roosevelt) “…with the goal of giving relief, reform and recovery to the people and economy of the United States during the Great Depression.”.

Historians distinguish between the "First New Deal" of 1933, which had aimed at short term recovery programs for all groups in society; “The main federal cultural programs of the '30s were based on concern for a labor market: professional artists and others engaged in cultural work. The skyrocketing popularity of media like the phonograph, radio and movies had recently supplanted many thousands of live performers…” and the "Second New Deal"

(1935–36), which aimed at a more radical redistribution of power away from business and toward workers, farmers and consumers.

August 14, 1935: The Social Security Act (H.R. 7260, Public Law No. 271, 74th Congress) became law with the

President's signature at approximately 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.


The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260]


An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a

Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes.

1935: Welfare staff grew significantly with 6 district offices scattered around Ramsey County.

MN Legislature: Board of County Commissioners Established

1937: MN Legislature created the (Board of Public Welfare shall be continued as the)

County Welfare Board consisting of five members, to be chosen as follows:

Board shall appoint an Executive Secretary and such assistants and clerical help… be chosen upon the basis of his experience, training and general qualifications for the work. Salary… Board of

County Commissioners… and the City Council…

The board shall receive compensation.

County Welfare Board shall assume responsibilities… County Child Welfare Board for the

• protection of defective, illegitimate, dependent, neglected and delinquent children.

County Welfare Board shall be charged with… administration of all forms of public assistance and public welfare… children and adults… aid to dependent children, old age assistance, veterans aid, aid to the blind and other public assistance or public welfare purposes.

…comply with the requirements of the Federal Social Security Act and to obtain grants-in-aid available under said act.

…shall be charged with the duties of administration… within the purview of the Federal Social

Security Act …

The cost of all such relief, including maintenance of any almshouse, sanitariums or hospital… by county and city… 72½% county and 27½% city.

1937– 1945: World War II

1939: The First Food Stamp Program (FSP) - May 16, 1939-Spring 1943 “…with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other. We set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm.” The (Food Stamp) program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 worth of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could be used only to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus. The program ended when the conditions that brought the program into being (unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment) no longer existed.

1939: Legislature: State Board of Control duties and responsibilities… transferred to… the Director of Social


The director of social welfare is hereby constituted the “state agency” (now the Minnesota Department of Human Services) as defined by the Social Security Act…

1939: Legislature: Welfare Board and its executive secretary and… its employees… bond with corporate sureties… not less than $1,000.00 per person.

Issuance of bonds (to borrow funds) for relief of the poor… with the vote of the people.


1940 to 1952: Ruth Bowman, Director, Dept. of Welfare

1940: Ramsey County Welfare Department divided into: Administration, Relief and Service, Old Age Assistance,

Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and Child Welfare (foster care).

1941: Legislature: The director of social welfare shall have the authority to adopt and enforce regulations concerning the use and publication of lists of public assistance recipients… in such form as necessary to comply with the requirements of the federal social security board.

The County Welfare Board in Ramsey County is now giving cash relief. It was felt… that the law

• permitted the County Welfare Boards to give relief in cash…

Amendments: Issuance of bonds (to borrow funds) for relief of the poor… without the vote of the people.

…This authority to require methods of administration… establishment and maintenance of personnel standards on a merit basis as concerns all employees of county welfare boards except those employed in an institution, sanatorium or hospital; provided, however, that the director of social welfare shall exercise no authority with respect to the selection, tenure of office, and compensation of any individual employed in accordance with such methods.

1943: Food Stamp Act repealed.

1945: Legislature: Estimated expenditures of the County Welfare Board to the Board of Commissioners on the first day of July of each year.

• County welfare board is given the power to employ and discharge all necessary employees… and to fix and determine their compensation.

• Established semi-monthly payment of wages.

1947: Legislature: County employees and county welfare board employees are divided into the unclassified and classified civil service.

1952 to 1957: Spencer Brader, Director, Dept. of Welfare

1957 to 1968: Ruth Bowman, Director, Dept. of Welfare

1960: Civil Rights Movement

1963: Dept of Welfare Reorganization:

Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Chronically Dependent Welfare Recipients (5/1963)

Ruth Bowman, Director of RC Welfare Department

James Edmunds, Director, Admin. Services

Robert Boyer, Director, Casework Services

Donald Henry, Director, Work & Training Project

“…Local and national developments focusing… of dependency… Individual living on public assistance represented not only a gross waste of human resources… a challenge to the professional… who sought to aid them in their release from dependency.”

Department of Welfare reorganization patterned after Family Centered Project of St. Paul.


“Reason for staff turnover… we find that welfare recipients are not the most cultured, well mannered, well-behaved persons in our society. In fact, on occasion they may be downright uncouth and unpleasant… we find that our counselors are serving a rather unpleasant group and receiving very little encouragement and support for it from their colleagues and friends.”

“… Voc Rehab should broaden its concept of disability to include chronically dependent persons.”

Table 5 (in the Appendix):

Primary Disability = Chronic Dependency

Secondary Disabilities = Mental or emotional illness, mental retardation, back disorder, speech or hearing disorder.

1962: Social Security Act Amendment(s) – local welfare departments to reduce dependency on welfare.

1964: Food Stamp Act of 1964. Among the official purposes of the Food Stamp Act of 1964 were strengthening the agricultural economy and providing improved levels of nutrition among low-income households; however, the practical purpose was to bring the pilot FSP under Congressional control and to enact the regulations into law.

First time anti-discrimination language is included in the Act: “Prohibitions against discrimination on bases ofrace, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs.”

1965: Affirmative Action

1968 to 1982: Jim Edmunds, Director, Dept. of Welfare

1970: President Johnson “Great Society” Programs.

1971: Department of Public Welfare: Social Services and Financial Services split and become two separate divisions.

1971: A 7-member County Board of Commissioners replaces the Ramsey County Welfare Board.

1972: Ramsey Medical Center – no longer primary hospital for MA patients.

1972: Food Stamp Act reinstated – see eligibility criteria - compare to 1939-43.

P.L. 91-671 established uniform national standards of eligibility and work requirements; required that allotments be equivalent to the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet; limited households' purchase requirements to 30 percent of their income.”

1973: Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 93-86, Aug. 10, 1973) required States to expand the program to every political jurisdiction before July 1, 1974; expanded the program to drug addicts and alcoholics in treatment and rehabilitation centers; established semi-annual allotment adjustments, SSI cash-out, and bi-monthly issuance; introduced statutory complexity in the income definition (by including in-kind payments and providing an accompanying exception); and required the Department to establish temporary eligibility standards for disasters.

1974: City/County relationship is “undone” in favor of more uniform statewide relief.

1975: Southeast Asians start resettling in Minnesota. By 1990 (per Census figures – which may be an underestimation) the following resettled in Ramsey County: Hmong (18,000), Vietnamese (6,000), Cambodian

(4,000), and Laotians (500).


1977: Food Stamp Act Reform Both the outgoing Republican Administration and the new Democratic

Administration offered Congress proposed legislation to reform the FSP in 1977. The Republican bill stressed targeting benefits to the neediest, simplifying administration, and tightening controls on the program; the

Democratic bill focused on increasing access to those most in need and simplifying and streamlining a complicated and cumbersome process that delayed benefit delivery as well as reducing errors, and curbing abuse. The bill that became the law (S. 275) did eliminate the purchase requirement. It also:

• eliminated categorical eligibiliity;

• established statutory income eligibility guidelines at the poverty line;

• established 10 categories of excluded income;

• reduced the number of deductions used to calculate net income and established a standard deduction to take the place of eliminated deductions;

• raised the general resource limit to $1,750;

• established the fair market value test for evaluating vehicles as resources;

• penalized households whose heads voluntarily quit jobs;

• restricted eligibility for students and aliens;

• eliminated thre requirement that households must have cooking facilities;

• replaced store due bills with cash change up to 99 cents;

• established the principle that stores must sell a substantial amoung of staple foods if they are to be authorized;

• established the ground rules for Indian Tribal Organization adminstration of the Food Stamp Program on reservations; and

• introduced demonstration project authority.

In addition… the Act included several access provisions:

• using mail, telephone, or home visits for certification;

• requirements for outreach, bilingual personnel and materials, and nutrition education materials;

• recipients’ right to submit applications the first day they attempt to do so;

• 30-day processing standard and inception of the concept of expedited service;

• SSI joint processing and coordination withAFCD;

• Notice, recertification and retroactive benefit protections; and

• A requirement for States to develop a disaster plan.

The integrity provisions of the new program included fraud disqualifications, enhanced Federal funding for States’ anti-fraud activities, and financial incentives for low error rates.

1979: December: Participation in the Food Stamp Program surpassed 20 million.

1980: Language and cultural sensitive employment announcements and exams started. The first

announcement was for a Social Worker.

1980 to 2001: Tom Fashingbauer, Director, Dept. of Welfare

1980: President Reagan cutback in programs. The large and expansive food stamp program provided to be a favorite subject of close scrutiny from both the Executive Branch and Congress in the early 1980s. Major legislation in ’81 and ’82 enacted cutbacks including:

• Addition of a gross income eligibility test in addition to the net income test for most households;

• Temporary freeze on adjustments of the shelter deduction cap and the standard decusion and constratins on future adjustments;

• Annual adjustments in food stamp allotments rather than semi-annual;


• Consideration of non-elderly parents who live with their children and non-elderly siblings who live together as one household;

• Required periodic reporting and retrospective budgeting;

• Prohibition against using Federal funds for outreach;

• Replacing the Food Stamp Program in Puerto Rico with a block grant for nutition assistance;

• Counting retirement accounts as resources;

• State option to require job search of applicants as well as participants; and

• Increased disqualification periods for voluntary quitters.

Recognition of the severe domestic hunger problem in the latter half of the 1980s led to incremental improvements in the Food Stamp Program such as elimination of sales tax on food stamp purchases, reinstitution of categorical eligibility, increased resource limit for most households ($2,000), eligibility for the homeless, and expanded nutrition education.

The 1988 and 1990 legislation accomplished the following:

• Increasing benefits by applying a multiplication factor to Thrifty Food Plan costs;

• Making outreach an optional activity for States;

• Excluding advance earned income tax credits as income;

• Simplifying procedures for calculating medical deductions;

• Instituting periodic adjustments of the minimum benefit;

• Authorizing nutrition education grants;

• Establishing severe penalties for violations by individuals or participating firms; and

• Establishing EBT as an issuance alternative.

1986: St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center became independent of Ramsey County, operating as private hospital under

Group Health, Inc. (HealthPartners).

Legislature: In all cases child support is withheld from father’s paychecks.

1990s: East Africans start arriving in Minnesota. By 2004 (per Ramsey County East African Task Force Report) the following resided in Ramsey County: Somalis (3,500), Ethiopians – non-Oromo (750), Oromo (750), Eritreans

(800), and Sudanese (200).

1994: March: Participation in the Food Stamp Program hits a new high of 28 million.

1995: Rafael Ortega sworn in as Ramsey County Commissioner. He is believed to be the first County Board member of color in Minnesota.

The mid-1990s was a period of welfare reform. Many states had waivers of the rules for the cash welfare program,

Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) before major welfare reform legislation was enacted in 1996.

1996: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (The Welfare Reform Act) approved by Congress, signed by President Clinton removed the entitlement of recipients to AFDC and replaced that with a new block grant to states called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The Act directed states to “change welfare as we know it.” It added work incentives, penalties for non-work, and required a 60-month time limit. In addition, the Food Stamp Program was reauthorized in the 1996 Farm Bill, major changes to the program were enacted through the Welfare Reform Act. Among them were:

• Eliminating eligibility of most legal immigrants to food stamps;

• Placing a time limit on food stamp receipt of three out of 36 months for able-bodied adults without dependents who are not working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a work program;

• Reduction in maximum allotments by setting them at 100 percent of the change in the Thristy Food

Plan from 103 percent of the change in the TFP;


• Freezing the standard deduction, the vehicle limit and the manimum benefit;

• Setting the shelter cap at graduated specified levels up to $300 by fiscal year 2001, and permitting

States to make use of the standard utility allowance mandatory;

• Revising provisions for disqualification, including comparable disqualification with other means-tested programs; and

• Requiring States to implement EBT before October 1, 2002.

1997: The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) as the main source of public family financial support replaced Aide to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) statewide. The program was implemented after a pilot program showed positive anti-poverty and work incentive results.

1997/1998: The Balanced Budget Act (1997) and the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Act (1998) made some changes to these provisions, most significantly:

• additional Employment and Training (E&T) funds targeted toward providing work program opportunities for able-bodied adults without dependents;

• allowing States to exempt up to 15 percent of the estimated number of able-bodied adults without dependents who would otherwise be ineligible;

• restoring eligibility for certain elderly, disabled and child immigrants who resided in the United States when The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act was enacted; and

• cutting administrative funding for States to account for certain administrative costs that previously had been allocated to the AFDC program and now were required to be allocated to the Food Stamp


2000: Community Human Services “Redesign” begins.

2001: County Manager, Paul Kirkwold held retreat with selected department heads focusing on diversity.

2001: Children’s Services Division begins “Ending Racial Disparities” efforts in Child Protection and out-of-home placement.

The fiscal year 2001 Agriculture Appropriations Bill included two significant changes to the Food Stamp Program.

Increased the excess shelter cap to $340 in fiscal year 2001; and indexed the cap to changes in the Consumer Price Index for all consumers each year beginning in fiscal year 2002.

The legislation also allowed States to use the vehicle limit they use in a TANF assistance program, if it would result in a lower attribution of resources for the household.

Food stamp participation began to increase in fiscal year 2001 and has continued to rise through the beginning of fiscal year 2003.

2002 to present: Monty Martin, Director, Community Human Services Department.

2002: Reorganization of CHS Divisions:

Administrative Services

Financial Assistance Services

Adult Services

Family & Children’s Services

Common Access Front End (CAFÉ) developed and implemented to tie service delivery systems together to reduce redundancy in collecting and improve sharing of client information to improve service provision.


2002: RCCHS Mission statement:

“Making a Difference: Helping people survive and thrive.”

Ensuring Safety

Meeting Basic Needs

Promoting Stability

Providing Effective Treatment

Supporting Independent Living

Encouraging Community Involvement

RCCHS Values:

• Client Dignity,

• Positive Leadership

• Recognition.

• Staff Respect,

• Service Focus, and

2002: The Food Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 was enacted, including reauthorization of the Food

Stamp Program. Major changes to food stamps included:

• restoration of eligibility for food stamps to qualified aliens who have been in the United States at least five years;

• restoration of eligibility for immigrants receiving certain disability payments and for children, regardless of how long they have been the country;

• adjusting the standard deduction to vary by household size and indexed each year for inflation;

• reforming the quality control (QC) system by basing financial sanctions on consecutive years of high error rate;

• replacing enhanced funding for States with low error rates with a performance bonus system based on several different measures of performance;

• providing States with several options to simplify the program, including aligning the definition of income and/or resources to that used in TANF or Medicaid, adopting a simplified reporting system, and providing transitional benefits for clients leaving TANF;

• cutting E&T funding while eliminating the requirements of targeting those funds toward ablebodied adults without dependents; and

• eliminating the cost neutrality requirement for EBT systems.

2001: MayKao Hang appointed as first Division Director of color in RCCHS.

2002: Richard Coleman and Clyde Turner appointed as the first Managers of color in RCCHS.

2002: Indian Child Welfare Act Unit in the Child Protection Program is established and first ICWA Intake assessment worker is hired.

2002: RCCHS Directors & Managers begin discussions about diversity efforts regarding employee recruitment, retention and promotion, and client service impact.

2005: Anti Racism Leadership Team is formed.

April 4, 2005, Toni Carter sworn in as County Commissioner. She is believed to be first African-American

County Board member in Minnesota.

2005: Continue work of implementing structures, policies and practices with inclusive decision-making and other forms of power sharing on all levels of the institution’s work… with little or no money!


2005: Children’s Services Ending Racial Disparities work is recognized by Casey Family Programs as a national model and we are asked to proto-type for other child welfare agencies nationally.

History Document Conclusion

So, why was this Institutional History written?

The Anti-Racism Leadership Team (ARLT) had to do some homework to understand, and to be able to explain, how the Ramsey County Welfare Department (known today as Ramsey County Community Human Services

Department) came to be. Who decided it was needed and why, and who was it designed to serve?

It seems like a simple and obvious answer doesn’t it? But when you begin to look back and really begin to understand how and why “welfare” came to be, the simple and obvious answer takes on a tone and systematic intention that is very sobering and is less than honorable.

A colleague on the ARLT observed, “The welfare system has really created a way to keep poor people poor. A way to control and have power over the people that society fears.”

Given what we have learned doing this homework assignment, the researching and exploring our own agencies

“construction”, maybe this statement is not really too far off base.

While this history is not an exhaustive documentation, the ARLT believes that sufficient research and man-hours have been invested to provide a glimpse into the social welfare mechanism that has been constructed so that we can begin to make some individual choices:

 You can ignore this information and “keep-on keepin’-on”


 You can join in making intentional changes within our agency.

ARLT Mission Statement:

“Recognize racism in our institution and implement a transformational strategy for change.”

ARLT Vision Statement:

“Ramsey County Human Services will be an anti-racist, multicultural organization.”



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Ramsey County Census date from 1870 though 2000

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