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Duluth Lynchings Online Resource
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  3. Oral Histories
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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

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

Photo of William Maupins
William Maupins