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Grace Carlson

Minister Disproves Duluth
“No Discrimination” Story

(5 January 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 1, 5 January 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

While I was visiting in St. Paul at Christmas time, my attention was attracted by a small item in the Pioneer Press about racial discrimination in Duluth. It appears that this northern Minnesota resort city had invited the United Nations Organization to establish its world headquarters there.

Knowing that the delegates from India have forced the UNO to turn down the bids of the South’s Jim Crow cities, the Duluth Chamber of Commerce had listed as a prime attraction that “racial discrimination is unknown in Duluth.” The newspaper story reported that this statement had been challenged by the St. Paul Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Truth

I called Reverend Clarence Nelson, the President of the St. Paul Branch, to get “the news behind the news.” He told me that he had had some personal experiences with Duluth’s claimed hospitality to colored visitors. The telegram, which he sent to the Duluth Chamber of Commerce on December 22 tells the story:

“Surprised at your statement in cable to the UNO that ‘racial discrimination unknown in Duluth.’ Discrimination prevalent in large hotels there. Mrs. Nelson and I had our vacation ruined by being discriminated against in a hotel there in October. Reservations were cancelled at another hotel when management was informed that we were Negroes. Suggest that you find out the facts about discrimination in Duluth.”

All that remains to be said is that the Duluth trip was to have been a “second honeymoon” for the Nelsons.

And the hotel which denied them their rights was – the LINCOLN HOTEL!

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