Butler Park Shows Slavery’s Impact On St. Cloud [VIDEO]
ST. CLOUD - On a beautiful Saturday morning Mayor Dave Kleis and many other community leaders showed up to dedicate St. Cloud's newest park to the sacrifices of the Butler family.
The freshly minted Butler Park was named to remember Mary Butler and her two sons. One son died on the move from Lebanon, Tennessee in 1857, while the other was the first African American born in St. Cloud.
Mary and her family were slaves of Rev. Thomas Calhoun.
Mayor Kleis, current and former presidents of the Central Minnesota NAACP, and many other community leaders spoke at the event.
Pastor James Albert, from Higher Ground Church of God In Christ, was one of the people who spoke at the dedication. He says slavery can be uncomfortable to talk about, but talking about it will help St. Cloud move forward.
"Here in Minnesota and St. Cloud to a greater extent, We've tried to exclude ourselves from the idea that slavery existed. We're a northern state, we didn't do slavery , slavery didn't touch us in the north. Really what this is a indication of (Butler Park) and reminder of, is that Slavery touched everybody in this country. People say why bring that up, why say anything about that at all? But until we can actually deal with it, we will never be able to heal from it."
While racism is still a problem people deal with, Pastor says moments like this make him think St. Cloud is going in the right direction.
"Because of St. Cloud dealing with it, and because of a park like this today, you know what I can tell you? We're going to be ok. "
The park is located just north of downtown St. Cloud at 300 5th Avenue North, just off of the Mississippi River.