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Fri, 10.10.2003

Lynching Monument Opens in Duluth, Minnesota

Photo (Yvonne Butler)

On this date in 2003, a monument dedicated to three lynched Black men was unveiled in Duluth, MN.

On June 15, 1920, Black circus workers Elmer Jackson, Elias Clayton, and Issac McGhie were hanged in Duluth while a white mob of 10,000 looked on.

The memorial dedication drew thousands of people from all over the area. During the unveiling, there was an emotional speech by Warren Read, an elementary teacher from Kingston, WA. While researching his family history, he learned that his great-grandfather helped lead the mob that broke into the Duluth jail and took the three Black men from their cells to death. His voice choking with emotion, he apologized to the victims and their families.

The monument also underscores an American journey that began in the 1990s, when researchers and museums started looking at lynching and the racial terror that ended Reconstruction and lasted until the 1930s.

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