Duluth to receive historical marker from Equal Justice Initiative

The unveiling will be available for streaming on the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial's Facebook page.

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The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial is on the corner of Second Avenue East and East First Street in downtown Duluth. Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie were lynched in Duluth on June 15, 1920. (2020 file /

The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial will show off its historical marker from the Equal Justice Initiative during an event that will be available for viewing online in mid-October.

The installation unveiling is at 1 p.m. Oct. 10 and there will be a livestream on the CJMM Facebook page.

The marker is part of the Equal Justice Initiative's Community Remembrance Project, which works with communities that have a problematic history with racial justice. Duluth's once-secret, now high-profile case is the lynching of Black circus workers Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie , who were falsely accused of raping a West Duluth woman in 1920.

The unveiling of the marker falls on the anniversary of the inauguration of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, a mixed media installation by artist Carla Stetson and writer Anthony Peyton Porter. The 54-by-70-foot curved wall has bronze sculptures of the lynched men and quotes from artists and activists. It was installed in 2003 on the corner of First Street and Second Avenue East, near to where the men were killed in front of a mob of 10,000.

A group from Duluth, nicknamed the Alabama 35, traveled by bus to Montgomery, Alabama, in 2018 to the site of the Equal Justice Initiative's National Memorial for Peace and Justice. It is the first national memorial of its kind, "dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence," according to its website.


The additional memorial in Duluth has gotten chatter since that trip and there had been hope among the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial committee that it would have been here in time for the 100th anniversary of the lynchings, an event that was postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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