Minnesota does not easily come to mind for historic Black Towns. But there were African American neighborhoods or portions of towns with black enclaves. One such town was St. Anthony. Otherwise, we have found no actual towns or settlements established by African American people.

That said, African American contributions are clearly documented as in the following example of the Bonga family.

In the late 1700s, a British officer brought the family to Minnesota where they eventually acquired their freedom. While still enslaved, the oldest son Pierre, became a skilled fur trapper and worked for the Canadian North West Company. He was proficient in the Chippewa language and for several years was the primary negotiator for the company.

His younger brother, George became a legendary frontiersman and fur trapper as well as a recognized negotiator and diplomat. Because of his ability to speak English, French and several Native American languages, he was hired to negotiate treaties between the United States government and the Indian nations of the Lake Superior region.


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