Today is the 100th anniversary of one of the darkest days in Minnesota history. An angry mob lynched three black men in Duluth. A huge crowd of white people turned out to watch, and even sent postcards of the lynching.
A somber centennial commemorative event was planned long ago, and was expected to draw thousands to Duluth on Monday, to hear an address by Bryan Stevenson, the author of "Just Mercy" and the founder of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama. It's sometimes called "The Lynching Memorial."
The Bryan Stevenson address isn't happening in Duluth because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he was in Minnesota in November 2014 to speak at the Westminster Town Hall Forum.
He said “we’ve created a society that has been corrupted by the politics of fear and anger.”
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Stevenson called for truth and reconciliation. “We’ve never confronted the history of racism in this country … and we need to acknowledge our mistakes.”
We need to think differently about race, poverty and justice, Stevenson said.
But he added, “I’m persuaded that hopelessness is the enemy of justice … we have to be individually and collectively hopeful. ... It’s never too late to be fair, to be just.”
He urged people in the audience to work to create a more just society…. to stand up and to speak up, when they see injustice… and choose to do “necessary, but uncomfortable, things.”
The Westminster Town Hall Forum on November 25, 2014 was moderated by pastor Timothy Hart-Andersen.