Around the turn of the last century, many white people in the United States were eager to draw a thick, bold line separating the races. Sometimes they drew the line in blood. The Tuskegee Institute recorded nearly 5,000 lynchings of black people between 1880 and 1930. Historians say there were thousands more.
Most lynchings happened in Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama - in the Deep South. So it was a shock when the headline, "Duluth Mob Lynches Three Negroes," ran in papers from the Duluth News-Tribune to the New York Times. But the story quickly faded from the news, and most people in Duluth were happy to forget the murders. Two generations of Minnesotans grew up knowing little or nothing about the lynching in Duluth.
June 15 is the anniversary of the lynching. A few years ago, a citizens group began a campaign to build a memorial to the lynching victims in downtown Duluth. That memorial is now in place, and is the focus of ceremonies in downtown Duluth to remember the event on this anniversary. Duluth has regained its memory.