Posts tagged ‘duluth’

Ways of Knowing

As I’ve been working on my dissertation, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we learn from objects. How does looking at a sculpture change what we know or who we are?

Detail of Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial, 2003 by Carla Stetson and Anthony Peyton Porter, Duluth, Minnesota.

People often use the word “aesthetics” to indicate an appreciation of the visual aspects of a work of art. Many people also consider this appreciation as merely a superficial survey of the outward properties. Yet, aesthetics is more than that. It’s a way of knowing based on sensory input instead of rational thought.  I think that this form of knowledge is crucial. To understand works of art, we need to discuss the sensory data of works in relation to historical, social, and cultural contexts.

The Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial, 2003 in Duluth, Minnesota is one of the objects in my study of lynching memorials. I’m now thinking about how the memorial affects individuals and society. It’s easy to argue that the memorial alters the politics of memorial landscape. It’s a large structure commemorating a racially motivated lynching in a region that rarely participated in this form of collective violence. But how does the materiality of the object affect us? Do the inscribed concrete walls tell us something? Does the texture of the bronze figures elicit a particular sensation in viewers?

When I visited Duluth this summer, I took many photographs of the memorial. Several of the shots were close-ups of the walls and figural elements. I also spent a lot of time watching how people used the space. I’m hoping this research will help me uncover alternate ways of knowing.

October 4, 2012 at 2:22 am 5 comments

June 15th- Anniversary of the Duluth Lynchings & 2010 Remembrance Events

This weekend Duluth, Minnesota concludes the 2010 remembrance events to honor the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.

This multicultural commemoration focuses on the 1920 lynchings and highlights other local struggles against racial injustice.

June 12-  Film screening of Older Than America with discussion.   The film is about how the Indian boarding schools. For information on the film, see

June 14- Memorial service at grave sites of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie at Park Hill Cemetery.

June 15- Community gathers at Duluth jail and marches to the memorial.

June 15- Observance ceremony with speaker Susana Pelayo- Woodward, UMD Office of Cultural Diversity at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, 1st Street & 2nd Ave East.

Day of Remembrance observance with keynote speaker.
Events close with a candlelight vigil.

See the events section on Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial website for detailed information,

PHOTOS ANYONE?: I need high resolution images of the memorial wall (especially the quotes) and the various ceremonies.  The photos will be used for the blog, flickr memorial group, PowerPoint presentations, and other educational outreach purposes.  If you attend the event and have photographs to share, please let me know by sending a comment or upload images to the group: American Lynching Memorials on flickr,
I appreciate your assistance in helping to raise awareness of lynching memorials in the U.S.

June 11, 2010 at 12:12 am 2 comments

UW-Superior Symposium on Duluth Lynchings

This weekend, April 30, 2010 – May 1, 2010 University of Wisconsin-Superior will be addressing the 1920 Duluth, Minnesota lynchings in a symposium: “Ninety Years After the Lynchings in Duluth: Past, Present and Future Importance.”

For more information, see

Symposium Schedule

Session One: Introduction: 11 to 11:40 a.m.

“Forgiving the Unforgiveable”
Warren Read, author of “The Lyncher Within Me.”

Lunch Break: 11:40 to Noon

Session Two: Keynote Address: Noon to 12:50 p.m.

“A Life Informed by a Lynching”
Michael Fedo, author of “The Lynchings in Duluth”

Session Three: The Social Framing of the Lynchings: 1 to 2 p.m.

“The Lynchings in Duluth” Video Introduction
F. Barry Schreiber, Professor of Criminal Justice, St. Cloud State University

“Ethnicity, Class and the Lynchings in Duluth”
Dick Hudelson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Superior

“Lynching in Duluth and Elsewhere”
Joel Sipress, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Session Four: Forgetting and Remembering: 2 to 3 p.m.

“Culture in Curriculum: Finding Every Child Special”
Joli Shamblott, the Organizing Committee

Questions and Answers on “The Klan in Minnesota”
Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle, co-author (Nancy M. Vaillancourt) of “The Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s”

“Moving Forward: The Past Does Not Have to Equal the Future”
Scott Nelson, University of Wisconsin-Superior and the Organizing Committee

“Constructing the Past to Prepare the Future”
Marshall Johnson, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Superior

April 30, 2010 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment


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