Minnesota Historical Society M-Flame Logo
Duluth Lynchings Online Resource
  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Timeline
  3. Oral Histories
  4. People
  5. Glossary
  6. Additional Resources
Go to Duluth Lynchings Home  
Go to Help Go to Sitemap
Search Documents


Go to Advanced Search

Chronology of Events

Go to Background
Go to The Lynchings
Go to Legal Proceedings
Go to Incarcerations
Go to Afterwards
photo of Edward H. Barber

Barber, Edward H.

Police Lieutenant Edward H. Barber and Police Sergeant Oscar Olson were left in charge at the mob scene. Their superior officers, Chief John Murphy and Captain Anthony Fiskett, were busy following the circus to Virginia, Minnesota to arrest more black suspects.

After battling the mob outside, Barber retreated inside the jail and pleaded with the mob to stop the assault and let the accused stand trial. He then organized several officers and unsuccessfully tried to retake the jail cells by force.

No Photo

Barnett, Ferdinand L. Jr.

Ferdinand L. Barnett Jr. was one of the three black lawyers hired by the NAACP for the Duluth case. Working with R. C. McCullough and Charles Scrutchin, Ferdinand Barnett defended the seven blacks indicted for the alleged rape of Irene Tusken. Barnett was from Chicago and had worked there for fifteen years as an assistant state attorney. He was the most prominent lawyer on the defense team. Much of his work in Duluth focused on the Max Mason case.

Barnett’s family had a history of fighting for civil rights. His father, Ferdinand Barnett was the editor of the Conservator, a black newspaper in Chicago. His stepmother was Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a famous anti-lynching activist.

photo of Dr. George Brewer

Brewer, Dr. George (ca. 1879 - February 3, 1939)

Dr. George Brewer, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Duluth, was an active voice against the lynchings. He deplored mob violence and called for the swift and harsh punishment of the lynchers.

Serving at First Presbyterian beginning in 1915, he left in 1920 to be a pastor at Grosse Point Presbyterian in Detroit, Michigan.

photo of Governor J. A. A. Burnquist

Burnquist, Joseph A. A. (July 21, 1879 - January 12, 1961)

Governor Joseph A. A. Burnquist, a Republican, was governor of Minnesota from 1915-1921. While governor, he also served as President of the St. Paul Branch of the NAACP.

After the lynchings, Burnquist granted approval to use the Minnesota National Guard to secure Duluth from further mob violence. He then commissioned Adjutant General W.F. Rhinow to investigate the inefficient response by the Duluth Police.

Despite repeated requests from the NAACP, Burnquist did not commission an independent investigation of the lynchings. The NAACP hired the Employer’s Detective Service, a private firm, to conduct an investigation.

photo of William A. Cant