In the memorial, a metal slab hangs for each county in the country was the site of a lynching.
St. Louis County hangs there, representing the lynching of three young men in Duluth after a mob dragged them from jail and hung them from a light pole. At the scene that night, a photograph was taken that was turned into a postcard.
The group from Duluth includes Portia Johnson, who has long worked on civil rights in the Duluth area, and has been involved in the national memorial.
Last year, she told Tom Weber that the memorial is important. "It is uncomfortable a lot of times because there's a very small population of African-Americans here. People are still saying, 'Well, why are you bringing this up?'"
She recently had surgery and thought she might have to travel in a wheelchair, but she said she is determined to make this trip. Turns out, she's on her own two feet.
Duluth police chief Mike Tusken has a personal connection to the lynching. When plans for the the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial were announced, his mother told him that it was his great aunt who had made the accusation of rape that lead to the lynchings. “It really took me years to come to terms with it,” he said. “Initially I felt shame, so much so that I didn’t know how to act.”
He said he wrestled with accounting for the sins of past. “Now that I know, should I go be overtly and outwardly trying to make amends? Or do I act like it never happened, like it worked for the previous generation?”
For him, he said his career in the police department has given him the opportunity to make changes, create community outreach and try to mend distrust. Tusken couldn’t make the bus trip, but he is flying down to meet the other Minnesotans in Montgomery.
Tom Weber and Evan Frost from MPR News will also be with the group and you can follow along with them here. The bus left Duluth at 6 pm Tuesday, and will arrive in Alabama Wednesday night. Thursday the group will attend the memorial opening, Friday they will attend workshops and talks and head home Friday night.