Duluth to vote on new status for lynching memorial

Minnesota Historical Society.
If there’s anything that can be called a slam-dunk decision, next week’s vote by the Duluth City Council to declare a monument in the city a “local landmark” is it.

It’s the only monument in the country that memorializes a lynching. This one.

In 1920, a crowd of white Duluthians busted Isaac McGhie out the jail where he was being held on suspicion of rape, took him up the hill to the Duluth Shrine Temple, and lynched him from a lampost. Then they did the same to Elmer Jackson and Elias Clayton.

Eleven years ago, Duluth, much to its credit, recognized its racist past when a memorial to the three men was created.

On Monday, the Duluth News Tribune reports today, the City Council will vote whether to designated it a “local landmark.”

“It’s unique, not only in this country, but in the world. That alone is sufficient enough to warrant it becoming a national monument,” Rogier Grégoire, an African-American who moved to Duluth, says.

If the memorial is declared a local landmark, a preservation plan will be developed for it. Broadwell said she hopes to incorporate some rules for visitors into that plan. Drawing on guidelines developed for the 9/11 memorial in New York, Broadwell said visitors would be asked to refrain from disrespectful behavior, including smoking, drinking or using drugs on the site.

June 15 is the 94th anniversary of the lynching.