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Wilmington Race Riot of 1898
December 19, 2005 12:06 PM   Subscribe

The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 (some call it the Wilmington Massacre), occurred on November 10, 1898, when a white "mob forcibly expelled from the city black and white leaders opposed to Conservative Democratic rule and white supremacy. It used the threat of paramilitary forces -- in the only recorded coup d'etat to occur on American soil -- to remove from office at gunpoint a duly elected city government, which included three black aldermen." North Carolina just released an extensively researched and documented report on the riot and its effects. The riot helped ensure years of Jim Crow laws and a white supremacist government. [MI]
posted by marxchivist (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
It is interesting to note the differences in the contemporary headlines. The Wilmington Star: “White Men Forced to Take up Arms for the Preservation of Law and Order.” and The New York Herald: “By Revolutionary Methods White Citizens of North Carolina Overturn Existing City Government and at Once Establish Their Own.”

More here and here.
posted by marxchivist at 12:08 PM on December 19, 2005


We need more coups d'etat around here. A few state governments really suck. Also I love saying things with French pluralization.
posted by delmoi at 12:08 PM on December 19, 2005


Excellent post. Also, here is a recent NPR story on the riot and the release of the North Carolina report.
posted by LarryC at 12:18 PM on December 19, 2005


The coup d'etat aspect of this is simply amazing. It made my jaw drop open when I first heard about it.
posted by OmieWise at 12:18 PM on December 19, 2005


delmoi - Today, the swat team would have foiled their attempt and the regular cops would have brutalized them for kicks afterward. Coups d'etat in this manner are now all but impossible. Get one big enough and carefully selected national guard troops will come stomp holes in you. In this particular case, it probably would have been a good thing.
posted by IronLizard at 12:21 PM on December 19, 2005


Heh, way to go, hometown! (Seriously though, thanks for the post.)
posted by trip and a half at 12:37 PM on December 19, 2005


Thanks for the NPR link, LarryC.

Great post.
posted by meh at 12:41 PM on December 19, 2005


Oh, you beat me to the punch, LarryC. That was a very good NPR piece.
posted by JeffK at 12:49 PM on December 19, 2005


We need more coups d'etat around here.

wilmington 1898 was just a old fashioned lynching. it has affected race relations in that city for a century.

both of these are in the bibilography of the report, but they bear calling out:

democracy betrayed

first hand accounts
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:02 PM on December 19, 2005


When I was in highschool our history teacher was almost fired for teaching us about the Wilmington Massacre.

Good post.
posted by tkchrist at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2005


Good posting!! I like it.
posted by kiha1972 at 1:10 PM on December 19, 2005


When I was in highschool our history teacher was almost fired for teaching us about the Wilmington Massacre.

tkchrist, where was this and how long ago? was it in nc?
posted by 3.2.3 at 2:35 PM on December 19, 2005


Wasn't the only coup in American history. In my home state of Arkansas, during Reconstruction, there was a disputed gubernatorial election, attempted coup and mini civil war known as the Brooks-Baxter War
posted by pandaharma at 2:40 PM on December 19, 2005


As a result of that war, Arkansas' constitution forbids a state budget deficit. How has that worked out?
posted by parallax7d at 4:17 PM on December 19, 2005


As far as I know, its worked out well though since the state is poor, it probably limits the amount of social services available.

And, I suppose, a case could be made that since Clinton was the governor for 12 years, the state gave him excellent experience in being fiscally responsible, which he carried with him into the White House.
posted by pandaharma at 6:12 PM on December 19, 2005


Mentioned in this report, and well worth reading, is "Cape Fear Rising," by Philip Gerard. It places fictional characters in the midst of a pretty factual history of the uprising, and it definitely holds your interest.
posted by lexalexander at 9:05 AM on December 20, 2005


Great post. I'm sorry I missed it at the time, but at least it's still open so that I can add Brent Staples' scathing editorial column from last Sunday's NY Times.
posted by languagehat at 1:47 PM on January 13, 2006


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