When Black Lives Surely Didn’t Matter – Consortiumnews

clip_image0022.jpg_(JPEG_Image2016-08-13_21-02-37.jpgWhen Black Lives Surely Didn’t Matter – Consortiumnews – “This is where the mob broke in,” says Michael Fedo, who wrote a book about the 1920 lynchings. “I think this was a Sears store or a hardware store. The mob came into this store – which is now the casino – and the proprietor gave them rope for the hangings and said it was on the house.” Standing in the heart of downtown Duluth, Fedo points across Superior St. to a handsome, three-story brownstone building full of offices. The word “POLICE” is still carved in the stone over the door. Fedo says when the mob closed in on the police station, the city’s public safety commissioner ordered the 12 officers inside to holster their guns. He didn’t want anyone in the crowd to get hurt. A few officers came out onto the street, and tried to fight the mob back with their bare hands and a fire hose. But the crowd surged past them into the jail, with a roar that could be heard a mile away. “Most of the cells were on the second floor, so they went in and broke into several of the cells.” While members of the mob sawed and smashed on the bars, some of the men inside the cells pleaded their innocence. Others prayed. “The people in the mob believed that six had attacked the girl, so they tried to get six – they only managed to get into three of the cells. There were several people in the cells with the prisoners, asking questions, trying to find out in their minds who the six were among the more than a dozen who were in the cells,” says Fedo. “The people who were outside were saying, ‘Just give us somebody,’ and that first somebody was a young man named Isaac McGhie, who was just thrown from the cell to the hands of the mob who took him out front, brought him up the hill here one block, where he was the first one hanged,” Fedo recalls. Isaac McGhie was beaten and bloody when he got to this corner, right next to the Duluth Shrine Temple, which is still here.

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