The Lynchings in Duluth
Author Michael Fedo, Foreword by William D. Green
Minnesota Historical Society Press (February 16, 2016)
Using newspaper accounts, court records, state files, and interviews with aging and often reluctant witnesses, Michael Fedo writes of ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary moment of violence and hatred.
On the evening of June 15, 1920, in Duluth, Minnesota, three young black men, accused of the rape of a white woman, were pulled from their jail cells and lynched by a mob numbering in the thousands. Yet for years the incident was nearly forgotten. This updated, second edition of The Lynchings in Duluth includes a new preface by the author, additional research and notes, and suggestions for further reading.
“This account of racial violence in the early twentieth century is a genuinely startling and illuminating contribution to our understanding of racial justice in the United States in the twenty-first. Many Americans have found it convenient to think that episodes like this come only from the Jim Crow–era Deep South. The Lynchings in Duluth is a powerful reminder of the broader American pattern.”
James Fallows, The Atlantic
“A chilling reconstruction of a 1920 racial tragedy. . . . Combining hour-by-hour, day-by-day narrative with expert scholarship based on interviews, suppressed documents and news reports, Fedo skillfully portrays Northern prejudice and violence.”
Los Angeles Times
“This tense book punches out a story of devastating fury. . . . As pointed as a Klansman’s cap, this book conveys the horror of mob action—and the disturbing truth that it knows no region.”
Michael Fedo, a Duluth native, was a correspondent for the New York Times and a professor at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. He is the author of four other books, and his writings have appeared in numerous publications, including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and the Christian Science Monitor.
William D. Green is professor of history at Augsburg College. He is the author of A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Early Minnesota.
Reviews and news
Praise for The Lynchings in Duluth:
"A chilling reconstruction of a 1920 racial tragedy. . . . Combining hour-by-hour, day-by-day narrative with expert scholarship based on interviews, suppressed documents and news reports, Fedo skillfully portrays Northern prejudice and violence. Without preaching or condemning, he makes readers firsthand witnesses to fear and injustice."
Los Angeles Times
"This tense book punches out a story of devastating fury. . . . Fedo has put his sharpest reportorial skills to work in resurrecting a little known racial atrocity. . . . As pointed as a Klansman's cap, this book conveys the horror of mob action—and the disturbing truth that it knows no region."
"The story of the events leading up to the lynching and the various stages in the action of the mob are vividly related in this superb work. Fedo presents in masterful prose—based on excellent research—a definitive account of the Duluth lynchings. His graphic description of the mob and the context in which it operated provides evidence of the manner in which given the proper set of circumstances mass violence can occur anywhere and anytime."
The Ann Arbor News
This website facilitates access to a variety of primary source materials relating to the 1920 lynching. Search historical documents from the Minnesota Historical Society's collections, including newspaper clippings, investigative reports, trial transcripts, prison records, and photographs. Read background text, listen to oral histories, view a multimedia timeline, and use the other features designed to complement the primary source materials.
- This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
- 198 pages
- 9 B&W photos, 1 map, appendix, suggestions for further reading, index
- 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- ISBN: 9781681340135