North Minneapolis Community Center Featured in Film

The Way

The film Mr Nelson on the North Side features the community centre The Way. Below is a history of The Way.

“Minneapolis can look back with pride at the accomplishments of The Way. Hundreds of North Side residents were able to seek out help for their problems and, at the same time, to be part of their own problem-solving process… The people of Minneapolis will never know of the untold situations involving hundreds of persons in which The Way brought their problems to a successful end. Likewise, we will never know of the dozens of explosive situations brought to a quiet conclusion through the efforts of The Way’s staff.”

“The Way Has Record Of Accomplishments,” Minneapolis Tribune, 11 October 1970.

“Today, the legacy of The Way and the Near Northside neighborhood lives on in Minneapolis’s music culture. As an incubator for the new generation of talent that no one saw coming, The Way played a significant role in the creation of a music style specific to Minnesota, what Andrea Swensson (in her groundbreaking Got To Be Something Here: The Rise of Minneapolis Sound) calls the “Minneapolis Sound”—a distinct mix of jazz, soul, R&B, funk, disco, early punk, new wave, dance, and rock ‘n’ roll. 140 African Americans, restricted in where they could practice and perform, turned to The Way as one of a handful of places that welcomed black musicians and ambitious black youth with a passion for music. Geographic limitations on where blacks could practice and perform ultimately fostered greater collaboration and experimentation among local black musicians. The Way urged its musicians to create a distinct blend of genres out of necessity, to stand out among nationally successful black artists and gain appeal in the white-dominated downtown Minneapolis nightclub scene. The “Minneapolis Sound” is also a cultural product of the Near Northside.”

-Paulsen, S. J.(2018). Black Power And Neighborhood Organizing In Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Way Community Center, 1966-1971. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/4793