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Duluth Lynchings Online Resource
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  2. Timeline
  3. Oral Histories
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  5. Glossary
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Afterwards

Many blacks leave Duluth. Minnesota’s black community establishes the Duluth Branch of the NAACP and campaigns for anti-lynching legislation. Years later, the three victims are finally properly laid to rest.

Blacks Leave

Enraged and horrified by the lynchings, many blacks left Duluth. From 1920 to 1930, as Duluth grew overall by 2,000 persons, the city’s black population dropped 16 percent.¹ Some moved to the Twin Cities, or places more distant, such as California.

Photo of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois
Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois

NAACP Branch Formed

Blacks who stayed in Duluth began a local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Established in September of 1920, the Duluth Branch began with a membership of sixty-nine people.² Their first speaker was Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois – famous author, scholar, and spokesman for civil rights. Dr. Du Bois addressed a large Duluth audience on March 21, 1921.³

Photo of Nellie Francis
Nellie Francis

Campaign for Anti-Lynching Legislation

The shock of the lynchings spurred Minnesota’s black community to press for a state anti-lynching bill. Nellie Francis, a prominent black activist from St. Paul, led the campaign.

Signed into law on April 21, 1921, the bill provided for the removal of police officers negligent in protecting persons in their custody from lynch mobs. The bill also stipulated that damages be paid to the dependents of the person lynched.

Anti-lynching bills existed in several other states. Despite many efforts, a national anti-lynching bill was never passed.

Honoring the Victims

For years the burial locations of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie were unknown. In 1991, it was learned their bodies lay in unmarked graves at Duluth’s Park Hill Cemetery. In a ceremony on October 26 of that year, the graves were marked with granite headstones bearing their names and the inscription “Deterred but not defeated.”

In recent years there have been efforts to remember the tragic events of June 15, 1920 and to honor its victims. For more information about these ongoing activities contact the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial Committee.

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

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