In Memoriam (Archie Givens, Jr.)

Archie Givens, Jr., 78, was president of Legacy Management & Development Corp., which in the early 2000s teamed up with McCormack Baron Salazar to build 900 homes on a 123-acre site on Minneapolis’ North Side. That project, the Heritage Park development, converted public housing into a thriving community. Givens’ company also built the Rondo Community Library in St. Paul and senior housing projects in Edina and elsewhere.

In addition to his success in business, Givens, like other members of his family, championed arts, culture and literacy by giving his time and treasure to theaters, libraries, history projects and a raft of other civic causes. He also served on boards, including for the University of Minnesota and Penumbra Theatre, and contributed generously. Fifty-two years ago, his parents, Archie Givens, Sr. and Phebe Mae Givens, established The Archie and Phebe Mae Givens Foundation that provided scholarships to Black Twin Cities High School youth to attend college. In 2001, The Givens Foundation for African American was created and dedicated its mission in advancing and celebrating Black literature and writers. Archie, Phebe, and Roxanne organized twelve Twin Cities community families in partnership with the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Libraries to purchase a 3,000-volume collection of African American Literature from a collector in New York. The collection, named the Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature, located in the Elmer L. Andersen Library, is a preeminent collection of its kind in the United States. The Collection created a nation-wide tour featuring literary works and cultural ephemera from repository entitled “A Stronger Soul Within a Finer Frame: Portraying Afro-Americans in the Black Renaissance.”