Reader's View: Appointment of Pearson proper, prudent

Pearson, an accomplished attorney, becomes the first Black judge in Duluth and surrounding communities and one of the few jurists of color outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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Diversity and inclusion have been hallmarks of Gov. Tim Walz and his administration in appointing personnel. Those laudable characteristics were exemplified right before Memorial Day weekend when Shawn Pearson was named to fill a vacancy on the St. Louis County District Court, headquartered in Duluth ( “Governor taps Pearson to replace Judge Floerke on the bench,” May 28).

Pearson, an accomplished attorney, becomes the first Black judge in Duluth and surrounding communities and one of the few jurists of color outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The appointment could not have involved a better individual or occured at a better time, coming shortly before the COVID-19-delayed commemoration of the horrific, century-old lynching of three Black men in downtown Duluth, a few short blocks from where the new judge will preside.

A stark reminder of that stain of racism will take place soon upon the 101st anniversary of the vigilante lynching of the three Black carnival workers — Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson, and Elias Clayton — near the site of the memorial to them at the intersection of First Street and Second Avenue East.

A retrospective of the lawless lynching legacy will be provided by the Minnesota State Bar Association in a two-day series of events on June 13-14, featuring outstanding guest speakers from academia, politics, and the real world. It’s a follow-up to the installation last fall of a marker to their memory.


Originally scheduled last year to mark the centenary of the calumny, it was postponed due to COVID-19. Now that it’s reinstated, it’s worth attending or watching via livestream, especially by younger people and students who can help ensure they and ensuing generations never forget and seek to eradicate the scourge of racism that strikes everywhere, even among Duluthians.

The elevation of Pearson to the judiciary is a proper, prudent, and timely stride to overcome that taint.

Marshall H. Tanick


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