Isiah Dennis

Title

Isiah Dennis

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Interviewee

Isiah Dennis

Interviewer

Cole Steinberg

Transcriber

Landmark Associates

Generation

Millennial Generation/Gen Y (1981-1996)

Neighborhood

Summit-University (Old Rondo)

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview

8-2-2023

Keywords

Summit-University (Old Rondo), Saint Paul, 1990

Disciplines

Oral History | Psychology

Abstract

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Isiah Dennis is a Black male born on June 20, 1990. He lived with his grandparents and his mother in the Rondo neighborhood during his upbringing. His mother worked at Cub Foods. Isiah's religious affiliation is Methodist. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Dennis recounts his upbringing in the Rondo neighborhood. He talks about the bond he shared with his grandparents and mother. Dennis shares warm memories that revolve around family gatherings, barbecues hosted by his late grandpa, and the vibrant atmosphere filled with much music and laughter. Dennis reflects on the impact of his family's economic circumstances during his upbringing. He acknowledges that they were low-income. He stresses that despite their limited income, he never felt impoverished or lacking anything essential. Dennis goes on to reflect on how his family's financial circumstances have influenced his present spending habits. Dennis discusses his Methodist upbringing and attending United Methodist Church, highlighting its integral role in his life. He acknowledges the impact of his faith on his identity as an openly queer black man and talks about the transformative power of his relationship with God in accepting his authentic self. Dennis reflects on his upbringing in the Rondo neighborhood. He recalls the values of authenticity, mutual care, and loving one's neighbor that were instilled by his family and neighbors. He expresses a commitment to preserving the neighborhood's history and values in the face of changes and gentrification. Next Dennis reminisces about his leisure activities during his upbringing, including spending time at Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, parks, and hanging out with friends in the neighborhood. Dennis discusses his educational journey from elementary school to higher education. He talks about his positive experiences in elementary school, some challenges he faced in middle school, and the empowerment and belonging he felt from engaging in extracurriculars in high school. He also discusses the higher education paths he pursued. Lastly, Dennis discusses significant issues during his upbringing in his neighborhood. He mentions gun violence, gang activity, and drug problems, along with the need for comprehensive sex education. He talks about messages of treating everyone with love and looking beyond differences were instilled. He goes into his concerns about gentrification, historical preservation, and community well-being.

Isiah Dennis
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Cover Image Rights

"Twin Cities 7 Metro map" by Davumaya is licensed under CC BY 3.0