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Sat, 01.26.1878

S. Edward Hall, Businessman, and Activist born

S. Ed Hall

*Stephen Edward. Hall was born on this date in 1878. He was a Black businessman and activist.

One of five children (two brothers and two sisters), he was born in Elgin, Illinois, to John and Julia Hall. He came to St. Paul in 1900, married his wife Hattie in 1906, and opened his barbershop with his brother Orrie the same year.  He and his wife raised two daughters Dorothy Hall McFarland and her younger sister, Ermine Hall Allen.

His business was located on 6th street near downtown, and many of his customers were prominent white entrepreneurs in the early years of the Minnesota milling industry, the McMillian's, Pillsbury’s, James J. Hill, and others.  For 75 years, he was also an activist for American Civil Rights and social change in the Black St. Paul community. In 1923 he helped found the St. Paul Urban League, and in 1929 he assisted in founding the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. Hall was instrumental in putting together the St. Paul NAACP Chapter too.

In 1947, Hall moved his shop to a building at the southwest corner of Selby and Victoria Avenues in the Rondo community.  Through his efforts and interest, many Minnesota Blacks were able to secure employment, housing, and other assistance in Minnesota. S. Edward Hall died in 1975.  His home was placed on the National Historic Register in 1991.


Minnesota Historical Society
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1906

Dorothy Hall McFarland, Ermine Hall Allen

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