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The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial in Duluth: Remembering 100 Years Ago

Memorial Location E 1st St & N 2nd Ave E in Duluth

Kim Green is a board co-chair at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial in Duluth. She talked with us this morning about the story of the black men wrongly accused and lynched in Duluth in 1920.

On the evening of June 15, 1920, three black men, wrongly accused of raping a white woman, were abducted from the Duluth, MN, City Jail. A mob numbering between five and ten thousand people savagely beat and tortured these three young men, then hung them from a lamppost in the middle of Duluth's downtown. The grim spectacle of the mob posing with the lynched men was then captured by a photographer, and then circulated as a postcard. At a time in America when the lynching of black men was all too common, it was widely agreed to be the most heinous lynching of 1920. Until recently, this event has been largely forgotten. The names of the three men, Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Issac McGhie were almost forgotten as well.

The nonprofit Clayton Jackson Memorial has a mission to foster racial justice and promote healing and reconciliation in community. 

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.