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First Black Owned Distillery in US Lands Distribution Deal With Delta Airlines

Minnesota’ based Du Nord Social Spirits is the first Black owned distillery in the country. They recently landed a deal with Delta Airlines to sell their Foundation Vodka on domestic flights. By 2022, Delta plans to sell other Du Nord products onboard and make the distillery’s spirits available on international flights.

black owned distillery

When Delta approached Du Nord last summer, the company was feeling the economic impact of the pandemic. During the civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd, their warehouse building was set on fire and flooded by its sprinkler system.

It took more than a year to work out the details of the deal, and for Du Nord to scale up its production to meet Delta’s needs.

“When this opportunity came about, we realized there was no way, with our equipment and capacity, that we would be able to do all of this on our own,” said Du Nord co-founder, Chris Montana. “We’ve had to get creative about some ways that we do things.”

The distillery, which recently changed its name from Du Nord Craft Spirits to Du Nord Social Spirits, was inspired by the 12,000 people who donated $1 million to their Go Fund Me after their buildings were damaged.

During that time Du Nord switched from making spirits to making hand sanitizer. They also turned their brick-and-mortar location into a food and supplies donation and distribution center.

Chris and his wife, Shanelle decided to use the money to start the Du Nord Foundation to support other businesses that had been impacted, many of which did not have insurance.

Du Nord Social Spirits says they will give a portion of sales from their vodka on Delta flight to their Du Nord Foundation, which helps give grants to local businesses and entrepreneurs who were impacted by the unrest following the death of Floyd.

Tony O. Lawson

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Teen Who Documented George Floyd’s Murder, to be Honored with Courage Award

Darnella Frazier, 17, the woman who filmed the murder of George Floyd, is this year’s recipient of the Benenson Courage Award from PEN America, a leading literary and human rights organization, the Star-Tribune reported Wednesday.

“With nothing more than a cellphone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, speaking a bold movement demanding an end to systemic anti-black racism and violence at the hands of police,” PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.

“With remarkable steadiness, Darnella carried out the expressive act of bearing witness, and allowing hundreds of millions around the world to see what she saw,” the statement said. “Without Darnella’s presence of mind and readiness to risk her own safety and well-being, we may never have known the truth about George Floyd’s murder.”

Floyd’s police-custody death on May 25 sparked global protests against police brutality and racial justice.

Frazier came upon the scene and started shooting video with her mobile phone, with the footage showing Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressing his knee on the back of a handcuffed Floyd’s neck as he lay on the ground.

Chauvin, who was fired following the incident, pinned Floyd down for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”

“The world needed to see what I was seeing,” Frazier said in an interview a day after the incident. “Stuff like this happens in silence too many times.”

The teen has not spoken publicly about her video since, but said through a family representative this week that she was “humbled” and “very grateful” for the award, the outlet reported.

The New York-based PEN awards were founded in 1963, with past recipients including Anita Hill, who testified against the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, and a group of student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following a massacre there.

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Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota That Need Your Support

Damn. As if COVID related shutdowns weren’t enough, Black owned businesses in Minnesota are now bearing the brunt of protests taking place due to the senseless and preventable murder of George Floyd.

In response, we’re creating a list of Black owned businesses in Minnesota that need your support now, post Rona, post protest, and going forward.

I’m torn because I know why the legitimate protests are happening, but my heart also goes out to the entrepreneurs whose livelihood is being affected right now.

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota

Please note that while some of these businesses are closed temporarily for a few obvious reasons, others are still operating online and offer delivery services.

This is a working list so let me know which ones we’ve missed.

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota


Afro Deli

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota
Afro Deli

Breaking Bread Cafe

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota
Breaking Bread

Dragon Wok 

Dragon Wok

Daughters and Sons Bakery

Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Black Owned Businesses in Minnesota
Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Smoke in the Pit 

Smoke In The Pit

Thigh Times Birdhouse 

Ted Cook’s 19th Hole BBQ

Soul Bowl

Soul Bowl

Trio Plant-Based

The Red Sea Restaurant & Bar 

Tommie’s Pizza

Tommie’s Pizza

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen

PJ Murphy’s Bakery


Online Bookstore

Strive Publishing

Co-Working Space

New Rules 

Performing Arts

Penumbra Theater 

New Dawn Theatre

New Dawn Theatre


Queen Anna House of Fashion

Queen Anna House of Fashion

Angie’s Hats 


Omari Brow Studio

Chef Flo-K Foods 


One Fermentary & Taproom

ONE Fermentary & Taproom

Du Nord Craft Spirits

Du Nord Craft Spirits


-Tony O. Lawson

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First Ever Minnesota African American Heritage Museum launches, thanks to two visionary women

A reproduction of a 19th-century purple dress with white lace collar is positioned on a stand, as if waiting for its owner to slide it on. A copy of the Green-Book, an historic guide that helped steer travelers toward black-welcoming businesses, is gently perched under a glass case. Large panels explaining the history of African-Americans in Minnesota stand in front of floor-to-ceiling windows.

Minnesota African American Heritage Museum
Co-founders Tina Burnside and Coventry Cowens

This isn’t a scene from the Minnesota History Center or even the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It is the new Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery in north Minneapolis.

Co-founded by civil rights attorney Tina Burnside and writer/education administrator Coventry Cowens, the museum addresses a long-standing gap in the Twin Cities. “Minnesota is one of the few states that does not have a museum dedicated to the African-American people in the state,” said Burnside.

For 30 years there have been repeated attempts to remedy that. Why has it taken so long? “I couldn’t tell you why,” she said. “Perhaps it’s a question for the people of Minnesota.”

The museum is entirely volunteer-run. At its soft opening Sept. 8, more than 200 people packed into the spacious fourth-floor gallery it shares with Copeland Art and Training Center in the new Thor Construction headquarters at Penn and Plymouth avenues N.


Like a mini-history center, it is similar to places like the Hennepin History Museum or the Somali Museum of Minnesota. Parking and admission are free.


This Black Owned Credit Union is opening soon

The dream of a Black owned credit union in north Minneapolis is close to becoming a reality. The Association of Black Economic Power is behind the movement that has city leaders pledging money to help.

Black Owned Credit Union

The community development financial cooperative is called Village Financial Cooperative – to build trust within the community. Village is already helping those who have pledged to be part of the cooperative.

The small space on Colfax Avenue in north Minneapolis is poised to bring about big change to a community looking for economic empowerment.

“This work actually came out of a community voice in a meeting we had on the north side right off Broadway a week after Philando Castile was killed,” Me’Lea Connelly said.

The anger and frustration of a community was put into action. Connelly, director of the Association of Black Economic Power, says it was the community that decided a black-led financial institution was the best way to address racial disparities.

“We’ve been unapologetic about making sure that the folks that have been carrying the burden of racially-charged oppression in the financial sector are in the position of making decisions and leading in this institution,” Connelly said.

black owned credit union “This isn’t a parachute model of someone coming in from the outside of the community and dictating what solutions need to be made.”

Among the supporters of the new venture is Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. In his first budget address in August, Frey earmarked $500,000 of the city budget for the Village Financial Cooperative, though those designated funds must be confirmed by the Minneapolis City Council at its December meeting in order to become a reality.

North side residents are doing their part as well. At the end of 2017, 1,100 people pledged their support.

So far, Village has $3.4 million in pledge deposits.

“Owning a home, purchasing a car, going to school, taking out personal loans to achieve whatever goal it might be — we want to partner with folks, especially those on the north side and black community, to make sure they have someone on their side,” Connelly said.

black owned credit union

Village is waiting for the credit union’s charter and insurance to be approved, but it’s already helping the community.

“We’ve developed an alternative to payday lending called the new day loan,” Connelly said.

Village is also doing affordable check cashing until it officially opens in 2019.

Connelly says the foundation of services is all about relationships and being with the members on their financial journey.


Source: Minnesota CBS