ST. PAUL, Minn. (April 29, 2015) — A forum on “The Past and Present of Immigration and Labor on Payne Avenue” will be held Saturday, May 2, 10:00 a.m., starting out in front of Yarusso’s restaurant at 635 Payne Avenue, St. Paul. Snacks and water will be provided. No RSVP is required and the event is free and open to the public.
The event will explore why immigrants have come to St. Paul’s East Side for 150 years and what evidence remaining along Payne Avenue to tell the story of those who came to Saint Paul from around the world. The talk will include information on what these earlier immigrants experienced, how they changed the city, and where the experiences of 21st century immigrants compare or do not with those of the Swedes, Norwegians, Irish, and Germans that came in the European wave of the late 19th to mid 20th Century.
The group will then explore this neighborhood, from Swede Hollow and Little Italy to Arlington Hills and the East Side Freedom Library in a living history talk.
The walk leader will be Peter Rachleff, who has researched and taught labor and immigration history for 35 years. Recently, he left his position at Macalester College to initiate a community-based non-profit project, the East Side Freedom Library. Housed in an historic Carnegie Library, the ESFL is collecting resources (books, visual art, recorded music, material objects) to support programming which brings forward the histories of immigrant working people, on the East Side of Saint Paul in particular, placed within a national context.
Rachleff is the co-executive director of the ESFL, and he is teaching courses through Metropolitan State University, the Roseville Adult Learning Center, and the Saint Paul Public Schools Adult and Community Programs.