The Rondo Brothers of Moorhead are a group of Black MSUM alumni from the Rondo area of St. Paul, Minn.,— once an economically active and Black self-supporting neighborhood. The neighborhood was demolished between 1956 and 1968 to make way for the construction of Interstate 94. As a result, at least 650 families were displaced from the neighborhood as well as many businesses.
The Rondo Brothers—Russel T. Balenger, Readus W. Fletcher, Carl Griffin and Lewis Scott—all from the Rondo neighborhood, will speak at MSUM Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts Gaede Stage. They all attended Moorhead State University (now MSUM) during the late ’60s and early ’70s and went on to enjoy successful careers.
The Rondo Brothers will participate in a panel discussion exploring:
- The historical significance of the Rondo neighborhood and the impact of the I-94 construction on families and the community,
- Personal experiences at Moorhead State and the Fargo-Moorhead community
- Career, service and activism after Moorhead
A retired journalist, Carl Griffin works for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and racial equality. He launched the Rondo Brothers of Moorhead project to tell their stories through oral histories and interviews.
When Griffin transferred to Moorhead State in 1967, he was one of only seven Black students. He co-founded the Afro-American Friendship Organization and was an editor and reporter for the school paper. He worked with MSUM President John Neumeier and Dr. James Condell to find ways of recruiting more African American students. When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Griffin gave an emotional speech at the college’s memorial service calling on the community to do something in support of the Civil Rights Movement. For that purpose, MSUM initiated Project E-Quality. Griffin was named to the steering committee and established a Cultural Exchange Center for the new students.
Lewis Henry Scott, Jr.
Lewis Henry Scott served his communities as an educator, speech pathologist, elementary school principal, and district office administrator. Because of his exemplary work as a school administrator, Lewis was recognized as Outstanding Principal, St. Paul Public Schools by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association. He continues to advocate for public schooling.
Russel Balenger is the co-founder and executive director of The Circle of Peace Movement (TCOPM), with a reach far beyond the Twin Cities to “end violence and promote racial healing” in countries around the world. In addition to his experience and before founding TCOPM, Balenger provided over 30 years of leadership in working with adults and youth of color, seeking liberation from systems that perpetuate social, economic, cultural, and criminal justice oppression. He currently serves on the St. Paul City Council.
Readus Fletcher retired from public service in 2017 after serving the City of St. Paul for more than 30 years. December 15, 2016, is recognized by City Council Resolution as Readus Fletcher Day. Fletcher worked on economic development, grant management, program implementation, and international trade promotion and was instrumental in providing work and economic opportunities for thousands of residents and business owners.
Tickets are free for students and employees but reservations are required at mnstate.edu/tickets. General public tickets are $5.