Days of Rondo
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Days of Rondo

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Evelyn Fairbanks grew up in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s along Rondo Avenue -- the heart of St. Paul's largest black neighborhood. Her book tells the warm and human stories she recalls from those years in the then-vibrant community that was doomed to disappear with the coming of the freeways in the 1960s.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 15th 1990 by Minnesota Historical Society Press
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Born in 1928, Evelyn Fairbanks did not have an easy time growing up. She was raised by parents who were not her birth parents and lost both of them at a young age. She was then raised by the sister of her “mother.” She grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in a neighborhood known as Rondo. Rondo was a black neighborhood in the primarily white city.

Her memoir is, essentially, a look back at her youth in Rondo. More than anything, Evelyn’s story is a story about family. It is not a tale of growing up...more
Michelle Lopez
What an adorable read. Fairbanks recounts her childhood in a clear, concise voice and with such a warmth that I found myself longing for my own childhood as I read along. St. Paul's historic Rondo neighborhood of the 1930s and '40s is fleshed out in full detail - there are some pictures, along with plenty of references to street names, schools, churches, community centers and shops in the area. She barely touches on the I-94 construction that destroyed the thriving black neighborhood, so if you'...more
Emily Barnes
I picked this book up because I'm currently planning a 5th/6th grade interdisciplinary teaching unit that will include a study of the Great Depression. Our theme for the unit is "Hard Times," and one of our guiding "essential" questions asks how did/do communities and individuals get through hard times. Our central fictional text will probably be "Out of the Dust," by Karen Hesse, but we are also looking for supplementary texts that will shed light on both the historical era and our essential qu...more
Claire S
Capturing of the thriving black community which once existed and remains a celebrated memory today. Every June or so there is a 'Remember Rondo' party in a park that is well-attended and serves to carry that thread forward.

Rondo was destroyed by one of our main freeways, 94W, in the early 60's. It is commonly known that the route for the freeway was shaped by the relative power held by the various neighborhoods, Rondo was destroyed because its residents didn't matter enough. (to put it bluntly)...more
Ms. Fairbanks recalls her early years in the mostly black Rondo community of St. Paul, which was bulldozed in the sixties to make way for Interstate 94. While her memoir is lovingly nostalgic - as are most reminiscing about "vibrant" communities since destroyed - her stories illuminate the complexities of daily life in the neighborhood: everything from orphan picnics, the Sanctified church on Sunday, house rent parties, dancing at the Hallie Q. to ruminations on being black in Minnesota, "the so...more
A good read - and the first library book I borrowed for my Kobo eReader. Rondo Avenue ran through the middle of St. Paul and was the heart of the old African American community, until it was displaced by I-94. A very interesting, different look of growing up in the Twin Cities during the depression and WWII eras, from the perspective of a young black girl. Knowing the areas she describes today makes it all the more interesting to visualize how it appeared back then.
This was a very warm narrative about growing up in Rondo when it still existed fully. Reading about places I am so familiar with made me very happy. I definitely want to recommend this to everyone, but especially all of us from St Paul to keep prolonging the memory of this neighborhood.

The sense of community Fairbanks writes about seems near impossible to recreate at present.

I enjoyed the book very much and would be very willing to let anyone borrow it.
A charming, little historical read about Saint Paul and its thriving communities during the 30s and 40s. This is a simple and straightforward memoir and is a pleasant account of one young black woman's history and story. But there's nothing too deep here; no real digging under the surface or insightful discussion. 3.5 stars.
Mary S
easy to pick up. Ms Fairbanks does a great job of describing life in St Paul MNs black community in the 1930s & 1940s. Well written and balanced.
Jolie Masterson
Pretty good book but probably only interesting because I lived there a while
Caroline Hooper
A good read for those interested in local history--especially of St.Paul.
A homey account of growing up in the black community of Rondo in St. Paul.
Clint Kuipers
Definitely some beautiful writing in this book.
good. i do not remember much.
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