Skip to main content

Samantha Wagner '21

Strange Fruite on the Iron Range: Myth and Memory of a Northern Lynching (CW: Racial Violence)

On June 15, 1920, three young, Black men were lynched by a white mob of ten thousand in Duluth, Minnesota. My thesis seeks to place the lynchings and the process of forgetting and remembering them over the course of a hundred years in its historical context. From the white supremacist memories that made the lynchings into a spectacle, to the erasure and silences that dominated the next six decades, to the slow and imperfect memory work of the past fourty years, my thesis explores how changing ideologies about race and racism have impacted how Duluthians remember their history of lynching. Tracing the memories of the lynchings from 1920 to 2020, I interogate the myth that racial violence does not happen in places like Duluth, Minnesota and the challenges of memory work at the site of a northern lynching.