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Graveside service to honor Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie

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DULUTH, MN. -- Monday marks the 100th anniversary of a dark day in Duluth's History.

Sunday, a group of community members came together to remember the lives of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie, three black men who were lynched in Downtown Duluth.

Sunday's memorial is one of many events that will be held this week to remember the men.

COVID-19 has put a dent in the celebration to honor Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie, but the pandemic did not stop community members from gathering at their gravesite Sunday afternoon.

"In our very own city. In a place we like to refer to Minnesota as "Minnesota Nice", and for these men there was nothing nice about that," said a community member at the service Sunday.

Nearly 100 years ago the three men were lynched in downtown Duluth after being wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

"The memory of these men will continue to advocate for why it is important to continue to fight and demand justice," said a community member at the service Sunday.

Thousands were expected to commemorate the lives of these three innocent men, but with a pandemic going on that was not made possible. Despite this organizers say the memory of these three men must never be forgotten.

"And we continue to remember them as we face the injustices of today, and as we face the creation of a better space and better environment," said a community member at the service Sunday.

At the end of the day, Co-Chair of the Memorial Stephan Witherspoon adds a lot of work still needs to be done when it comes to mending these scars from the past.

"We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work to do, and we need our allies to step up," Witherspoon said.

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Ryan Compeau

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