The stories in this exhibit – of terrorists, foreign agents and militant radicals who have threatened America's sense of security over the past 200 years – have fascinating counterparts in Minnesota history.
1917-1920: World War I and the First ‘Red Scare’
The U.S. entry into World War I in 1917 inflamed fears of foreigners and led some to question the loyalty of pacifists. The same year, the Communist Revolution in Russia inspired American Socialists and labor reformers and inflamed others against the threat of Communists in their midst. Minnesota was no exception.
- The Nonpartisan League, which later spawned the Farmer-Labor party
- The Minnesota Commission of Public Safety, which was perceived by many to oppress German-Americans, pacifists and radicals
- Finnish immigrant Olli Kinkkonen, who was tarred and feathered by a vigilante group, and the Finnish labor movement in northern Minnesota
- Gus Hall, longtime leader of the American Communist Party, a Finnish native of northern Minnesota who ran for president four times
Racial Violence against African Americans
Although black Americans achieved their freedom after the Civil War, by the early 20th century not much progress had been made in white attitudes. African Americans still faced discrimination, bigotry and outright violence at the hands of the majority population.
Today: Extremism and Hate
Although the civil rights movements of the 1960s - 1980s and the growing diversity of America caused many to believe that the days of outright racism and discrimination was a thing of the past, extremist and hate groups remain active nationwide and in Minnesota.