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Remembrance events scheduled

In 2013, about 100 people attended the annual Clayton Jackson McGhie remembrance ceremony at the memorial at First Street and Second Avenue East. (Forum File Photo)

The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Committee is holding remembrance events to mark the 94th anniversary of the lynching of three African-American men — Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie — in downtown Duluth on June 15, 1920.

At 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 15, community members will gather at Park Hill Cemetery, 2500 Vermilion Rd.

On Monday, June 16, CJMM 2014 Scholarship recipient Taneasha Muonio will speak at a noon program on the site of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial at the corner of East First Street and Second Avenue. A reception

is planned that same day 1-3 p.m. at the Building for Women, 32 E. First St.

On Monday evening, June 16, author Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle will discuss her book, “The Ku Klux Klan in Minnesota,” 6:30-8 p.m. at Fitger’s Spirit of the North Theater, 600 E. Superior St. A book-signing will follow at The Bookstore at Fitger’s.

The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial bears testimony to a shameful chapter in Duluth’s history: the June 15, 1920, lynching of three African-Americans later found to have been wrongly accused of raping a white woman. As word of the alleged crime spread, an angry crowd gathered to exact revenge.

Elias Clayton, 19, Elmer Jackson, 22, and Isaac McGhie, 20, were beaten savagely then hanged from a lamp post in downtown Duluth. A growing throng of onlookers, estimated between 5,000 and 10,000 people, gawked at the gruesome scene.

Less than a year later, while news of the killing in Duluth was still fresh, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to pass an anti-lynching law.

While Duluth was far from the only site of an urban lynching, the city was unique in its belated response.

In 2003, Duluth erected the Clayton Jackson McGhie memorial on the site of a former used car lot at First Street and Second Avenue East, with community members investing nearly $270,000 to erect the monument.

Come Monday, the Duluth City Council will decide whether to declare the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial a local landmark.

While the monument is just 11 years old, CJMM board member Jodi Broadwell considers the memorial nothing less than historic.

The Duluth News Tribune contributed to this story

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