A week ago, George Floyd was murdered. To the Floyd family, we express our heartfelt condolences. We share the deep hurt that our friends, family, and community are feeling in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death.
We know that these are historic times. But sadly, Minnesota’s history is marked by other incidences of racial violence. We know the names of Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, and now George Floyd, by heart. We should also know the names of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie. Two weeks from today, June 15, marks 100 years since a white mob in Duluth lynched these three black men who had been falsely accused of a crime.
Understanding history matters more than ever in times like these. It is a lens through which we view the experiences of others and empathize with their struggles and triumphs. It is a way that we build a deeper understanding of the events that brought us to the crossroads we find ourselves in today. It challenges us to demand better from our community, from our civic and cultural institutions and perhaps, most importantly, from ourselves.
History can be a bridge that lets us cross the divides that separates us. At the Minnesota Historical Society, we commit to using the power of history to help Minnesota become a more reflective, inclusive and empathetic community.
Kent Whitworth, MNHS Director and CEO