University of Baltimore School of Law Prof. John Bessler will be part of an online panel June 14 discussing racial violence in the United States, with a particular look at the 1920 lynchings of three young Black men in Duluth, Minn.
The free virtual event, organized by the Minnesota Humanities Center, commemorates one of the most horrific moments of racial violence in Minnesota history—the June 15, 1920 lynchings of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie in Duluth—and explores the history of racially motivated violence and our nation’s efforts toward truth, justice, accountability and racial reconciliation.
The event also will feature Bryan Stevenson, renowned civil rights lawyer, founder and executive director of Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), and author of Just Mercy. He will be interviewed by Jerry Blackwell, CEO of Blackwell Burke and one of the lead prosecuting attorneys in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Bessler and Prof. Duchess Harris, of Macalester College, will provide historical context about the legacy of lynching — defined as the extra-judicial killing of human beings suspected of committing crime — and racial violence in America, including a discussion of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which occurred 100 years ago this month.
Adding to the discussion will be U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel, whose book Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodward and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring, reveals the heroic origins of the legal crusade to destroy Jim Crow and the entrenchment of racism through the tradition of states’ rights.