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Sun, 04.30.1944

Archie Givens Jr., Businessman, Historian born

Archie Givens Jr.

*Archie Givens Jr. was born on this date in 1944. He was a Black philanthropist, humanitarian, collector of literature, and businessman.

From the southside of Minneapolis, MN., Givens' father was a businessman who, with his wife, Phebe O'Shields Givens, built a successful real estate development business and became the state's first black millionaire family. In the 1950s, they created "the nation's first federally supported commercial housing facility open to all races," according to a 2017 citation from the Minneapolis City Council designating those homes historic.

Givens graduated from Minneapolis Central high school in 1963 and from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. and C.L.A. in Public Health. He was an avid collector of African and African American Literature. In 1985, he purchased New York private collector Richard Lee Hoffman's collection.  He named it the Givens Collection of African American Literature after his father. It is in the Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota.

Givens was also president of Legacy Management & Development Corp., which in the early 2000s, teamed up with McCormack Baron Salazar to build 900 homes on a 123-acre site on Minneapolis' North Side. The Heritage Park development project converted public housing into a thriving community. Givens' company also built the Rondo Community Library in St. Paul and senior housing projects in Edina and elsewhere. In addition to his success in business, he championed arts, culture, and literacy by giving his time and treasure to theaters, libraries, history projects, and a raft of other civic causes.

He also served on boards for the University of Minnesota and Penumbra Theatre. "Archie is part of the broader Minnesota tradition of enlightened philanthropic support that sees both public policy and arts and culture as a central part of ensuring the health of our democracy," said retired University of Minnesota professor John Wright, a student with Givens at the University. Archie Givens Jr. died on April 19, 2023. He had had Alzheimer's disease for several years. 

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