A Fresh Take on Duluth’s “Other” Lynching

The cover of Clyde Annala‘s Slackers & Sammy Backers: The Twin Ports in the Great War. (X-presso Books, 2023)

This past spring X-Presso Book, a subsidiary of Zenith City Press, was honored to help Clyde Annala self-publish a book he had been researching for years: Slackers & Sammy Backers: The Twin Ports in the Great War.

Born and raised in Duluth, Annala has spent his life protecting America and Americans, first as a highly decorated paratrooper and combat medic during the Vietnam War, and afterwards as a police officer in Hibbing and Duluth for twenty-six years. He later taught law enforcement skills at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and, as an instructor for the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, helped rebuild the Kosovo Police Department. Now retired, Annala lives in Superior, Wisconsin.

The back cover describes the book:

The Twin Ports faced tumultuous times just prior to Prohibition: A devastating forest fire, a flu epidemic, and labor unrest, all while working to support the Allied war effort and, beginning in 1917, sending their sons, brothers and husbands off to battle in Europe. But patriotism gave way to war hysteria and anti-immigrant sentiment, leading to the tar-and-feathering and lynching of Finnish immigrant pacifist Olli Kiukkonen, accused of being a “slacker” because he did not wish to fight in a war.

Inside, author C. A. Annala walks readers through Duluth and Superior during 1917 and 1918—the years America was actively involved in fighting the first world war—telling stories of how Duluthians, Superiorites, and even those on Minnesota’s Iron Range navigated life during wartime.

One of those stories shines new light on the 1918 lynching of Finnish immigrant Olli Kuikkonen (often misspelled “Kinkkonen”) in Duluth by the so-called Knights of Liberty, who deemed Kuikonnen a “slacker,” someone unwilling to fight for the U.S. Read the story here.

You can purchase the book at the Bong Memorial Museum in Superior or contact the author at dpd231@outlook.com.

If you are interested in self-publishing, contact X-Presso Books the same way you‘d contact Zenith X=City Press: Send us an email at info@zenitcity.com.