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Publication Title

Minnesota History

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2015


In 1903 an African American man came to Montevideo, Minnesota from out of state and was accused of physically assaulting a European American woman. The townspeople formed a posse and searched for the alleged assailant in southern Minnesota. At the time the African American population was in the single digits. None of the African American residents knew the alleged attacker or were related to him. Nevertheless, the victim's family approached those residents and told them to leave town, and their subsequent departure left Montevideo without African Americans for well over half a century. The local press covered the alleged attack as a consequence of African American migration from the South to the North and bemoaned the impending arrival of the ethnic tensions that had plagued the South for generations. The removal of African Americans from Montevideo predated the lynching in Duluth by seventeen years, showing that the tension had seeped into life in Minnesota. This article looks at violent vigilantism in southern Minnesota during one of the most violent periods that African Americans faced in American history.


This article was published in the fall 2015 issue of Minnesota History, a magazine published by the Minnesota Historical Society. The article was originally published at



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