St. Kate's Student with a North Side Mission
It’s a troubling era for race relations in the United States, and Rebecca Rabb ’16 is bent on easing the tensions with her camera lens. The St. Kate’s business administration major, mother of five and wife is attempting to stop the adverse effects on citizens of color, particularly her neighbors in North Minneapolis, with positive pictures of men and their children.
Rabb first picked up a camera back in high school, but her interest really sparked when she took a photography class at the University last fall. She focused on black barbershops in the North Side for her final project. “There is a rich history in them,” she says, “and I started to see the relationships between the fathers and the sons.”
She began photographing the families, capturing their haircuts and close kinship. Then in November 2015, an unarmed black man named Jamar Clark was killed in a police shooting in her neighborhood. “The images coming out from the media were not an accurate reflection of the solidarity and community that exists on the North Side,” Rabb says. That made her more determined to share her perspective of her beloved community.
She met fathers who knew other fathers, “and they got in touch with other men who were very interested in the project,” she says. Soon, her work grew into a series that honors fatherhood. Within each photo is a smiling man with his equally happy daughter, son or children.
Although her class is long over, Rabb’s dedication to her cause continues. She wants to create a coffee-table book in which each person shares “what being a father means to him,” she explains. The proceeds will go back to the community she calls home.
— Writer Katherine “Katie” Molnau is a senior majoring in communication studies.