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People, Locations, Episodes

Thu, 09.08.1966

‘The Way’ Community Center, (Minneapolis) Opens

*The Way Opportunities Unlimited was incorporated on this date in 1966. This was a non-profit Minneapolis northside community center.

It was established following the racial and economic urban north Minneapolis riots of 1966. Black city leaders came together to create a space in the neighborhood devoted to cultivating racial stability among Black youths. Syl Davis was The Way’s first director.  Mahmoud El-Kati was the education director and Verlena Matey Keke was the education secretary. After additional unrest in 1967, one of the Way’s organizers Dan Pothier created the “Soul Patrol” to allow Blacks to guard the neighborhood streets.

Music was a focus, and the center sported practice spaces that attracted local musicians, PrinceJimmy Jam Harris, and others. The Way’s third and last director was Spike Moss. After being managed by the United Way the agency closed in 1984. Its original building is the site of the Fourth Precinct headquarters of the Minneapolis Police Department. This irony was in the words of El­‐Kati, “that’s more than something symbolic, that’s erasure.” The precinct was the site of Black Lives Matter protests over the 2015 police killing of Jamar Clark, a Black man.


Image: Minnesota Historical Society

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