On Friday June 12 at 9:00 am CDT, the Minnesota Board of Pardons will hear the application for a posthumous pardon of Max Mason, brought by the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Committee and the Minneapolis law firm of Blackwell Burke P.A. No posthumous pardon has previously been granted in Minnesota.

What: Posthumous Pardon Hearing Livestream

Where: The Board of Pardons hearing will be open to the public via live streaming on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MNDOC/live/

When: Friday, June 12, 2019, 9:00am

Why: Monday, June 15, will mark the 100th anniversary of the public lynching of three African- American circus workers inDuluth,Minnesota. In addition to the three men lynched by the mob— Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie—other circus workers had been arrested and charged with rape, all based on bogus allegations from a young woman and her boyfriend who had stayed out too late. One of these men, Max Mason, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was paroled in less than five years, however, on the condition that he leave Minnesota and never return. There has been a remarkable support for the granting of the pardon, as evidenced by letters of support from nearly every living past member of the Pardon Board – Democrats and Republicans alike—as well as all the federal judges, the current County Prosecutor, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Mayor of Duluth, the Chief Public Defender, and others.

(This gruesome event, attended by an estimated 10,000 people (20% of Duluth’s 1920 population) was captured in a chilling photograph later made into a souvenir postcard)


About Blackwell Burke (www.blackwellburke.com) Our firm was founded in 2006 by current chairman Jerry W. Blackwell and prominent Minneapolis trial attorney Martin “Skip” Burke. Mr. Burke passed away in January 2016. A powerful, efficient and diverse trial firm with a national practice and winning record. Our litigators and trial lawyers are true players in the Fortune 500 legal market. We handle high-stakes complex litigation, class actions, and trials. Our attorneys and firm cases appear in major news outlets such as CNN, The Economist, and Law360. We represent clients in the most challenging litigation, often involving novel legal or scientific issues.

About Clayton Jackson McGhie (claytonjacksonmcghie.org) The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, Inc. was formed in June 2000. It was a culmination of years of individual people keeping the stories of what happened to Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson and Elias Clayton alive in their way. There was Michael Fedo, who wrote The Lynchings in Duluth (originally titled They Were Just Niggers, after a statement made by a Duluthian after the lynching). There was Craig Grau, who worked with the First Lutheran Church to get the gravesites marked in the early 1990s. There was Harlin Quist, who attempted to get Fedo’s book published a second time, also in the early 1990s. There was Sheldon Aubut, who told tourists and history buffs the tales of Old Downtown on his top-hatted tours. There were teachers at local high schools, the local NAACP, university students, and local journalists. Perhaps hundreds of people, over the years, who repeatedly brought attention to this blot on Duluth’s history.