In 2003, the Clayton Jackson McGhie (CJM) Memorial was unveiled on First Street and Second Avenue East in Duluth, Minnesota. This is across the intersection from where Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie were lynched by mob in 1920.
For years members of the community had gathered at the street corner to pay their respects to the murdered men. It was at one such gathering in the year 2000 that a grassroots committee formed to facilitate the placement of a memorial plaque at the site. In 2001, the vision grew beyond plaque placement into the Memorial Plaza. This made Duluth the first city in the nation to erect a memorial to lynching victims beyond a historical plaque.
In September 2017, a ceremony was held between representatives from the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Inc., elders of the Duluth African-American community, and the Equal Justice Initiative out of Alabama to gather soil from the memorial’s grounds. This soil is now a part of the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, which opened earlier in April 2018.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opened on the same day as the Legacy Museum, includes multiple pillars to represent different racial terror lynchings across the United States. There are duplicates of all pillars surrounding the memorial, which can be brought back to the cities they represent. Due to the historical significance of Duluth’s memorial, the Clayton Jackson Memorial Board hopes to be the first to bring our community’s pillar home.
In April 2018, thirty-five Duluth community members attended the opening of the National Memorial and the Legacy Museum, visiting sites where racial terror had occurred along the way. Among them were several members of the Duluth NAACP, who have agreed to share their experiences on this journey.
Duluth to Montgomery Reflections produced by Ivy Vainio, Becky Nelson, Abby Dillon, and Nat Harvie. Our theme music was composed by Jake Vainio. Photo of Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial by Hebron Girma & the Lynching Memorial by Evan Frost of MPR.