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MinnPost Picks: How automakers shaped our cities for cars; ranchers vs. beavers; and the story of Booker Wright

Our roundup of recommended reading, listening or viewing by MinnPost’s staff and contributing journalists.

I-35 traffic

“How automakers insidiously shaped our cities for cars;” Fast Company

In “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” Judge Doom, played by Christopher Lloyd, buys the trolley system with plans to dismantle it and then seeks to destroy Toontown to build a super freeway. Fiction, sure, because humans and toons have never been able to live in peace and harmony together. But this Fast Company article by Elissaveta Brandon details how the auto industry did play a roll in designing cities to be car dependent. — Peter Callaghan, state government reporter

“It Was War. Then, a Rancher’s Truce With Some Pesky Beavers Paid Off,” New York Times

I confess some heightened interest in beavers following the St. Paul beaver incident. They’re very weird and very cool animals, but because of their tendencies to cut down trees and build dams, they are not beloved by all. For This piece from the New York Times outlines new efforts to work with beavers — not against them, to retain habitat. —Greta Kaul, associate editor

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“Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story”

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

That’s the definition of courage as described by Merriam-Webster. If you ask me for a sub-definition, I offer just two words … Booker Wright.

In segregated Greenwood, Mississippi, a waiter at an all-white establishment and restaurateur himself for his Black community, Booker lived the double life many Blacks were forced to live throughout the so-called “United” States. But in 1966 (not that long ago) a documentary filmmaker asked Wright to talk about life in Greenwood and he told something that got him killed … the truth.

“Booker’s Place” is the 2012 revisiting of Booker Wright’s story, told through the lens of the original filmmaker’s son, Raymond De Felitta.

“Booker’s Place” is streaming for free on several platforms including Vimeo, Amazon Prime, Pluto TV and Tubi. — Harry Colbert, Jr., managing editor