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HQB Photograph Collection

Identifier: HQBCA-006


This collection includes photographs of the various staff, clubs, regular program activities and visitors associated with Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. While a large portion of photographs were taken at the Center, this collection also includes photographs of associates of Hallie Q. Brown Community Center located at places such as parks, at lakes, or on farms. This collection is in progress.


  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 2000
  • 1900 - 2022

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions regarding physical access to materials in this collection are in place due to COVID precautions.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain all necessary permissions and determining the nature of any liabilities prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Founded in 1929, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc. was named for the venerable educator, elocutionist, and leader Hallie Quinn Brown; and has long been recognized as one of the foremost social service agencies in the state of Minnesota. HQB is a private, nonprofit social service agency serving the Summit University area of Saint Paul, Minnesota and the administrative agency of the Saint Paul Martin Luther King Multi-Service Center.

The organization was born as the result of the vision, commitment and tireless efforts of several community leaders in the 1920s. It was during this decade that the St. Paul Urban League was formed in an attempt to address the growing social problems facing African Americans in the capital city. Under the direction of Executive Secretary Elmer A. Carter, the St. Paul Urban League provided dynamic leadership at a time when it was greatly needed. Carter initiated the first formal step in addressing the needs of St. Paul’s Black community by conducting a survey of possible facilities where critical programs and services could be implemented.

In January 1929, an advisory committee met to formulate new plans for a community center to be housed at the former Central Avenue Branch of the Y.W.C.A. On April 1, 1929, Miss I. Myrtle Carden, the center’s first Executive Director, met with the Board of the St. Paul Urban League to discuss a name for the center. It was determined that the name for the community center should be chosen through an essay contest in which essayists profiled the life of an outstanding leader. Herbert Howell, a student at Hamline University, won the contest with his essay about the African American educator, elocutionist, women’s suffrage leader and author, Hallie Quinn Brown. Thus, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc. was born.

The Historic Rondo Community, where Hallie Q. Brown was first located, was a cornerstone of the largest Black neighborhood in St.Paul. Sadly, like many African American communities across the United States, Rondo was devastated by highway construction which cut the community in half. The original Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, located at the Masonic Hall at Aurora and Mackubin, was also forced to relocate in the 1970s. That division, combined with red lining and other racially unjust practices, forced dispersal of a vibrant Black community.

Fortunately, the re-established Hallie Q. Brown Community Center has maintained its trust and status in the community through its forced relocation to the Martin Luther King Center at 270 North Kent Street. Thus, elders and descendents of community members have trusted a unique set of historical artifacts and have participated in oral history projects to preserve and expand the reach of stories centering the African-American experience in Minnesota.

Although Hallie Q. Brown began as a settlement house for African Americans who were denied services from other agencies; the Center has long since welcomed all people to use its services in the Summit-University community. Hallie Q. Brown Community Center is a multi-service center which houses the nationally recognized Penumbra Theatre Company, an Early Learning Center, After School Program, Summer Day Camp, Food Shelf, Clothing Closet and Community Archives.


7 Linear Feet ((9 containers) All containing photographs.)

Language of Materials



This collection currently consists of the following series:

Series I: At Hallie Q. Brown Community House

Series II: At Hallie Q. Brown Community Center

Series III: Outside of HQB


Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. "Collection Overview: HQB Photograph Collection." Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives.

Physical Description

Condition of materials is varied.

HQB Photograph Collection
In Progress
Created and described by Kayla T. Jackson, 2022-2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
This finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives Repository

270 N. Kent Street
Saint Paul MN 55102 USA