The Lynching Postcard, Duluth, Minnesota

by Ray Gonzalez
Gonzalez. Beautiful Wall. The Lynching Postcard. Duluth, Minnesota
There is a postcard in an antique shop in Duluth with a photograph of the infamous lynching of a black man carried out in the town in the 1930s. The owner was turned down by eBay when he wanted to sell it there. Tourists walk into his shop and stare at the lone card in the glass case. The owner says it is better to sell it than donate it to a museum where it would be locked away in a drawer. Some people want it removed. Others snicker and stare, shake their heads and accept the fact this is "only Minnesota." Each morning, the shop owner glances at the case to make sure the postcard is there. Thousands have bowed over the glass. At night, when the shop is closed, the postcard lies in the case, the body hanging in the cold moonlight from Lake Superior, the shadow from the swinging body forming a shape that rises through the glass to darken the shop. Over a dozen people have come across it. They don't know the act of bending over the glass to study the dead body on the pole is forming an invisible arc of light over time, a shadow where those who bow to look imitate the shape of a hanging tree.