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Rites of Passage 

The Beginning

When Linda Keene got an idea in 1998, she had a young son making his way into adulthood.  A couple of friends of hers celebrated this milestone with their sons by finding mentors to help the young men put together a picture of what a man should be. The relationship between the young men and the mentors culminated with an Afrocentric ceremony. Keene and her husband, Bob, grabbed on to the idea for their son and used resources such as the National Rites of Passage Institute manual to gather additional information. They approached friends in the Minneapolis Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. and encouraged them to turn this into an event to celebrate young African American men. With the support of Jack and Jill members such as Stephanie Crosby and her husband, Henry Crosby, the event moved from an intimate family gathering to an annual landmark Twin Cities event.  The families wanted one thing, to create a unique, culturally based experience that would help their sons transition into manhood with new understanding, new insight and support from their community.  Twenty-five years later, Rites of Passage has provided passage to over 330 young men.   Men who have gone on to have impressive college careers with many earning advanced degrees.  The lions share of past Initiates are productive citizens, leading and serving their communities, many with families of their own.   

The vision to create the next wave of leaders of African descent is being realized every year as a result of the sustained impact of Rites of Passage and the support of Jack and Jill of America, Inc, Minneapolis Chapter.  The circle of life is alive and real in Rites of Passage. 

Watch ROP Founding Elder Henry Crosby and Elder TJ Ticey reflect on Rites of Passage history.

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