North Star – Duluth Lynchings: Presence of the Past


For those of you who are familiar with the songs of Bob Dylan, he immortalized this ugly event in his opening lyrics of Desolation Row:

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row


The Twin Ports is a predominantly white community (89%). In a recent report by the Knight Foundation entitled Soul of the Community, the results of a three-year study reports: The [Duluth area] community significantly under-performs against the comparison group overall in four of the seven individual openness measures. […] Fewer residents than in other comparable communities say it is a good place for racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, young adults without children, and talented college graduates looking for work.

People of color experience incidents of racism every day, and they have long asked “when will white people in our community stand up and speak out about racism?” This campaign is part of a response to that question. Racial justice will never be achieved until we as white people address white privilege and work to change it.


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