Thursday, February 4, 2010

Duluth Memorial

An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak and impossible to remain silent.

These words surround a memorial dedicated to three victims of a lynching which occurred in Duluth, MN in 1920. A crowd of thousands lynched three innocent black men for a rape allegation, which was later found to be untrue. Until my daughter brought my husband and me to this corner memorial in downtown Duluth, I didn’t know anything about this horrifying incident. It is sobering and thought provoking.

019 The text on the side of the three bronze statues reads:

On June 15, 1920, following the alleged rape of a young woman, Duluth Police locked up a number of men who worked for a raveling circus. That evening, thousands of Duluthians gathered outside the city jail. The police were under orders not to shoot and they obeyed.

With timbers and rails as battering rams, the mob broke down the doors of the jail and staged a trial of six of the men. They convicted Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie, who had been held as a witness. The crowd dragged the young men about a block, beat them viciously as you may imagine, and hanged them from a light pole that stood diagonally across the street from where you are now. Some brave people spoke out in protest but they were few against thousands. On man took a photograph that was later distributed as postcards, this memorial is dedicated to the memories of the murdered here and everywhere.


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