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1 "Africa" in Minnesota The Cultural Wellness Center (CWC)waslocated on the major commercial strip of the Powderhorn neighborhood, a keycrossroads in the Twin Cities' changing demographic landscape.1 At one time, this busy intersection was a major commercial corridor in midtown Minneapolis. The corridor declined significantlyover the past five years as major businesses, for example , a large Sears department store, left the area. No longer called "midtown" Minneapolis in the media, to the chagrin of local activistswho emphasized the neighborhood's notable cultural and socioeconomic assets , the area waspopularly referred to as the "inner city." In the media, the area was,unfortunately, known for its growing violent crime rate and drug trade, although many economic development projects were under wayto revitalize it. Local merchants organized with nonprofits to create a business association that promoted the area's development. There were plans to redevelop the Sears site, several major business and health care facilities anchored the neighborhood's economy, and there were a growing number of small businesses, including several that were Asian, Chicano, Latino, or African immigrant owned. Across the street from the CWC wasthe Lagos International Market and an African music shop. Farther down the block wasa Somali recording studio that also sold Somali music and was becoming a community meeting place. Several shops down wasan African bookstore owned by a Kenyanimmigrant . In an office across from the CWCon the second floor of a drug store wasthe Association for Hmong Women,which used the CWC'sspace for community meetings, youth gatherings, and folk dance classes. There was a Mexican restaurant and an Indian curry house on the same block. About a half block from the CWC'soffices wasIngebretsen's, awell-known store established in the neighborhood for about eighty years, specializing in Scandinavian foods and handicrafts.2 A couple of blocks up from this store on the same boulevard were various specialty shops patronized by an international clientele including Latino Catholics, African people of various backgrounds (immigrantsfrom different countries aswell as Americanborn ) , as well as an interethnic group of White American Wiccans, that is, 16 Reimagining North America's African Diaspora witches, many of whom identified themselves as feminists reconnecting with the lost healing traditions of pre-Christian Europe. When I first started working in Powderhorn, this daily comingling of aromas —curry, tortillas, and lutefisk—with the sounds of West African high life and Tejano gave this corner of Minneapolis a disorienting, out-of-place, surreal flavor not found in the region until very recently. This is the story of a translocal nonprofit's effort to create a sense of place—a sense of home—for the many different peoples living in the Twin Cities and its African diaspora. The CWC wasactuallylocated in a bank building owned and operated by a nonprofit housing developer. There were no outdoor signs identifying the center. In fact, the only outdoor signs were those of the bank. Unless you were observant enough to notice the distinctive colorful curtains and large picture windows, one might not even know the CWC was inside. As you walked into the bank building, you entered double doors into a hallway. On one side there was the bank—a rather small neighborhood branch—distinguished by verylarge and colorful papier-mache maskssuspended from the bank ceiling and made by a local community arts group just a block away from the CWC.3 Asyou proceeded down the corridor, you would sometimes notice the aroma of sage or jasmine incense burning from the offices of the CWC,an unusual combination of smells for a bank building. Off the corridor there wasan 8/£" by 11" sign marking the CWC's entrance. The smell of incense intensified once you opened the CWC'sdoors. On a typical day, there was an intoxicating blend of smells that one does not usually experience when visiting nonprofit offices and certainly not bank offices. Sage, jasmine, or other incense intermingled with the aromas of red beans and rice and cornbread cooking in a very homey kitchen at the back of the CWCbetween the formal conference room and the Invisible College where many classes and other large meetings were held.4 The reception area wasadorned with African sculpture and textiles (see photographs in Appendix B), on loan from an African art gallery owned by an Ethiopian woman who wasan active CWC supporter, and a shrine to European women killed during the witch burnings in medieval Europe. The reception desk had a glassless storefront window design with a ledge from...


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