Duluth Lynchings Online Resource
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Oral Histories
     
 

Between 1970 and 1975, the Minnesota Black History Project interviewed thirty-two black Minnesotans. They covered a range of topics, among them family, social activities, political organizations, and community involvement. Five of those interviewed discussed the Duluth lynchings and its effects on themselves and on their communities. Audio excerpts from those interviews are now available to users of this site.

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Photo of Ed Nichols
Edward Nichols
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Edward Nichols (1900-1987)

Born 1900 in Tower, Minnesota, Nichols came to Duluth in 1916, worked in the steel plant and later operated a valet service and catering business for thirty-eight years. His parents, John Nichols and Nora O’Brian were pioneers who arrived in the area in 1884. At the time of the lynchings he was in Duluth visiting his brother. He relates his personal account of the tragic event and the tense days following.

Date of interview: July 17, 1974

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Photo of Ethel Ray Nance
Ethel Ray Nance
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Ethel Ray Nance (1899-1992)

Ethel Ray Nance was born April 13, 1899 in Duluth, Minnesota. She was the assistant head resident of the Phyllis Wheatley House, the first black policewoman in Minneapolis, the first black stenographer in the Minnesota legislature, a member of the Minnesota Negro Council and an associate editor of the Timely Digest. At the time of the lynchings Ms. Nance was living in Moose Lake, Minnesota. Here she discusses her reaction to the news of the lynchings and those of other residents of Moose Lake, as well as the establishment of an NAACP branch in Duluth.

Date of interview: May 24, 1974

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Photo of William Maupins
William Maupins
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William Maupins (1922-1992)

William Maupins was a laboratory supervisor in the chemistry department of the University of Minnesota - Duluth, president of the Duluth Branch of the NAACP and a member of the Minnesota state board of the American Civil Liberties Union. He comments here on the lynchings.

Date of interview: July 31, 1975

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Photo of Fred Bell
Fred Bell
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Fred Bell (1902-1994)

Mr. and Mrs. Bell moved from Texas to Duluth in 1923. Mr. Bell was an employee of the United States Steel Corporation for forty years. Both discuss the mood of the black community in Duluth following the lynchings.

Date of interview: July 9, 1975

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Photo of Lillian Bell
Lillian Bell
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Lillian Bell (1901- 1989)

Mr. and Mrs. Bell moved from Texas to Duluth in 1923. Mr. Bell was an employee of the United States Steel Corporation for forty years. Both discuss the mood of the black community in Duluth following the lynchings.

Date of interview: July 9, 1975

   
 

 

 

 
  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Timeline
  3. Oral Histories
  4. People
  5. Glossary
  6. Additional Resources

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