Duluth Lynchings

From Wikipedia:

On June 14, 1920, the James Robinson Circus arrived in Duluth for a performance. Two local teenagers, Irene Tusken and James Sullivan, met at the circus and ended up behind the Big Top, watching the black workers dismantle the menagerie tent, load wagons and generally get the circus ready to move on. What actual events that transpired between Tusken, Sullivan and the workers are unknown; however, later that night Sullivan claimed that he and Tusken were assaulted, and Tusken was raped by five or six black circus workers. Sullivan’s father reported the story to the Duluth Police who immediately stopped the train on its way out of town, lined up all 150 or so roustabouts, food service workers and props-men on the side of the tracks, and asked Sullivan and Tusken to identify their attackers. The police arrested six black men in connection with the rape. One of them, Isaac McGhie, was held as a material witness.

The authenticity of James Sullivan’s rape claim is subject to skepticism. When Irene Tusken was examined by her physician, Dr. David Graham, on the morning of June 15, he found no physical evidence of rape or assault.[1]

Newspapers printed articles on the alleged rape, while rumors spread throughout the town that Tusken had died as a result of the assault. Through the course of the day, a mob estimated between 5,000 and 10,000 people[1] formed outside the Duluth city jail. The Duluth Police, ordered not to use their guns, offered little or no resistance to the mob. The mob seized Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie and found them guilty of Irene Tusken’s rape in a mock trial. The three men were taken to 1st Street and 2nd Avenue East,[1] where they were lynched by the mob.