INVASION OF THE COLORED PEOPLE Bob Reiss, from the Re-Echo, Winter 2003
The first black family moved to St. Louis Park in 1952.
Woodfin Lewis, the head of the family, was the first black
nuclear physicist in the country. The Lewis family
rented a house on Jersey Avenue in September 1952 after both
Lewis and the landlady checked with the neighbors to ensure
that they would accepted. It was not until the family
moved in that one or more vocal opponents complained to the
landlady. Those complaints prompted her to serve the
Lewis family with an eviction notice.
The eviction notice outraged many people, from the mayor to
the City's church membership. A group of seven young
ministers issued a statement in support of the family, and
spread their message to many local civic groups.
Finally, the Minneapolis Urban League acted as mediator and
convinced the landlady to rescind the eviction.
The Lewis family did not stay long in St. Louis Park for
long. After six months they moved to Minneapolis.
Woodfin Lewis passed away before the decade was out, most
likely from the amounts of radiation he was exposed to at
his job at a Honeywell research center in Hopkins.
Daughter Ellen Lewis is now a writer in New York, and has
written a play about her family's experience that she has
named "Invasion of the Colored People." It is written
in a 1950s Sci-Fi movie genre with many humorous touches.
It was given its first reading in New York in January of
2002 and two enthusiastic St. Louis Parkites were in the
audience. It is being reviewed by New York producers.
One day, we may see the story on Broadway or even the big
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