Duluth Lynchings

Background and historical documents relating to the tragic events of June 15, 1920

Duluth Lynchings Online Resource. Background and historical documents relating to the tragic 
events of June 15, 1920

Incarcerations

Three white men are imprisoned for rioting. One black, Max Mason, is imprisoned for rape.

Three White Mob Members

Minnesota State Reformatory for Men, St. Cloud.

Minnesota State Reformatory
for Men, St. Cloud.

Three men were imprisoned for rioting in connection with the lynchings: Louis Dondino, Carl Hammerberg, and Gilbert Henry Stephenson.

  • Louis Dondino: Convicted of riot, he was sentenced to serve up to five years in jail. Dondino arrived at Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater in February 1921. He was released on parole in March 1922, and discharged from parole in March 1923.
  • Gilbert Henry Stephenson: Convicted of riot, he was sentenced to serve up to five years in jail. Stephenson arrived at Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater in February 1921, was released on parole March 1922, and was discharged from parole in March 1923.
  • Carl John Alfred Hammerberg: Convicted of instigating a riot, he was sentenced to serve up to five years in jail. Hammerberg arrived at the Minnesota State Reformatory for Men, St. Cloud in January 1921, was released on parole March 1922, and was discharged from parole in March 1923.

No one was ever convicted for the murder of Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson, and Elias Clayton.

One Black Circus Laborer

Interior of cellhouse, Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater.

Interior of cellhouse,
Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater.

Max Mason, one of the black circus workers, was convicted of rape. Despite scant evidence of his guilt and questionable counsel during his trial, Mason’s appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court was denied.

Sentenced to serve seven to thirty years, Max Mason arrived at Minnesota State Prison, Stillwater in August 1921. In 1925 the Minnesota Parole Board discharged Mason from prison with the condition that he leave the state.

Next Section: "Afterwards"