Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial events move online

Events commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the Duluth lynchings have shifted online.

The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial in Duluth. Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie were lynched in Duluth on June 15, 1920. (Clint Austin /

Although COVID-19 has affected the 2020 Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Day of Remembrance, there are several virtual events planned to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Duluth lynchings.

On June 15, 1920, in response to a rape allegation that was never found to have merit, a mob of Duluthians broke into the police station and ultimately lynched three black circus workers: Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie.

Originally, the CJM Memorial board had planned to gather 10,000 people into the streets of Duluth on the 100th anniversary; however, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed this main event to be postponed until 2021.

“It is not feasible for the health, safety, and recovery of our community,” a news release said. “With the recent murder of George Floyd and all that has transpired around the world in response, it is important to create safe spaces for our community.”

The organization is working with DanSan Creatives to create and release a documentary crafted in collaboration with black, indigenous and people of color community voices. There will be a Facebook watch of the documentary Monday, June 15.


In the meantime, CJM will commemorate the lives of the three men with several events. All online events will be held on the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Facebook page .

Monday, June 8

Community mural and documentary filming

3-8 p.m., Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial

Community members are invited to participate in the creation of a mural of George Floyd, which will be displayed near the memorial at the corner of First Street and Second Avenue East in Duluth. There will also be opportunities for people to give voice in response to the issue of police brutality. COVID-19 precautions are crucial.

Saturday, June 13

“Just Mercy” Facebook watch party and panel discussion

5-9 p.m., online

A Facebook watch party of the film “Just Mercy” will be followed by a public discussion on critical issues affecting justice in the community. “Just Mercy” addresses inequality, injustice and the systemic breakdown of the criminal justice system. Warner Brothers Studio has made the film free to watch through June. It’s available for free at YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play. Following the showing, a panel discussion will be held on the CJM Facebook page.

Sunday, June 14

Virtual gathering at Park Hill Cemetery


5 p.m., online

Join a virtual gathering at the grave sites of Clayton, Jackson and McGhie to pay respects and join in a prayer.

Monday, June 15

Community barbecue fellowship

Noon, CJM Memorial

Join the Young African Heritage Men for a public event with food supported by the Duluth Grill. COVID-19 precautions are essential. More information to come.

Launch of documentary “I Can’t Breathe: A CJM memorial”

5-7 p.m., online

Join the virtual 2020 annual Day of Remembrance to honor the victims of the 1920 Duluth lynchings. This day comes 100 years after a mob of 10,000 community members lined the streets to participate in the lynching of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie.


Discussion panel following documentary
7:10-9 p.m., online

This event is a time to reflect on the documentary “I Can’t Breathe: A CJM memorial” on the CJM Facebook page with a panel discussion and live questions.

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