Press Release

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2011

Commissioner Lindsey Honors the Legacy of Kwame McDonald

Commissioner of Human Rights Kevin Lindsey has offered his condolences to the family of Kwame McDonald, a lifelong civil rights activist who passed away last week following a two-year battle with cancer.

Although remembered by many for his prominent role as an advocate for minority progress in athletics and as a teacher and youth mentor, McDonald's many contributions to the community included serving as Executive Director of the Minnesota State Commission Against Discrimination in the 1960s. The Commission was succeeded by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in 1967.

Commissioner Lindsey saluted McDonald's legacy as a champion for human rights, and recalled meeting with McDonald earlier this year, shortly after Lindsey was appointed to head the Department of Human Rights. "Kwame sat down with me and shared his experience in leading what would become the Department of Human Rights, and offered me his advice," Lindsey recalled. "I appreciated him taking the time to share his wisdom."

During McDonald's tenure at the State Commission Against Discrimination, the Commission struggled with the fact that Minnesota Twins' players faced segregated housing during spring training in Florida. McDonald led the effort to ensure that the discriminatory practice ended. Commissioner Lindsey also expressed his appreciation for McDonald's prominent role in encouraging and mentoring young people through athletics. McDonald put Lindsey to work in a variety of youth activities, including serving as a part-time youth coach in the "Give 'N Go" league.

"Kwame asked me to do it, and I had to say yes," Lindsey remembered. "McDonald believed that children are our greatest asset, and that we need to understand that every kid is important," Lindsey said.

During his 80 years, McDonald had also made his mark as a journalist, reporting on sports for Insight News and the Spokesman-Recorder, and serving as a community columnist for the Pioneer Press.

###

For more information contact Jeff Holman, 651.539.1090, jeff.holman@state.mn.us

Press Releases