FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! SECTION H ! RALEIGH, N.C. C M Y K The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON’S RACE RIOT AND THE RISE OF WHITE SUPREMACY 1H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 90 80 70 60 50Destruction of The Daily Record of Wilmington, said to be the only black-owned daily newspaper in the United States at the time, by white supremacists. 40 COURTESY N.C. OFFICE OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY 30 n Nov. 10, 1898, armed white men marched through the black sections of Wilmington, murdering all who dared to challenge O 20 them. As violence filled the streets, others snatched control of the government. After installing themselves in power, they ban- ished at least 21 successful blacks and their white allies. Although it is one of the most significant chapters in state history, it 10 is a story many have never heard. In this special report, historian Timothy B. Tyson describes the carefully orchestrated cam- paign that spread white supremacy across North Carolina and the South. He explains how many of the region’s leading fig- ures and institutions seized power, altering the state’s history and creating a legacy that haunts us still. STORY BY TIMOTHY B. TYSON
THE NEWS & OBSERVER ! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT 3Introduction largely a hidden chapter in our state’s HOW A RAILROAD TICKET C M Y K history. It was only this year that INSPIRED JIM CROW LAWS North Carolina completed its offi- In 1892, Homer Plessy pur- cial investigation of the violence. chased a first-class railroad The report of the Wilmington Race Riot Commission concluded that the ticket — and thereby broke theEVENTS OF 1898 SHAPED OUR HISTORY tragedy “marked a new epoch in the law. Blacks were permitted to history of violent race relations in the ride only third class in his United States.” It recommended home state of Louisiana, which required separate railwayO n a chilly autumn morning 108 years ago this month, heavily armed columns of white payments to descendants of victims and advised media outlets, including accommodations for the races. men marched military-fashion into the black neighborhoods of Wilmington, then the state’s The News & Observer, to tell the Ultimately, the Supreme Court truth about 1898. heard, and rejected, Plessy’s largest city and the center of African-American political and economic success. “Under challenge, validating segrega- Even as we finally acknowledge thorough discipline and under command of officers,” one witness wrote, “capitalists and the ghosts of 1898, long shadowed tion in public facilities and by ignorance and forgetfulness, some inspiring a harsher wave of laborers marched together. The lawyer and his client were side by side. Men of large busi- ask: Why dredge this up now, when restrictive Jim Crow laws. ness interests kept step with the clerks.” we cannot change the past? But J. PEDER ZANE those who favor amnesia ignore how In the name of white supremacy, this well-ordered mob burned the offices of the local black news- the past holds our future in its grip, U.S. RACE RIOTS especially when it remains unac- 3H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006paper, murdered perhaps dozens of black residents — the precise number isn’t known — and ban- knowledged. The new world walks The march of urban racial forever in the footsteps of the old. massacres that Wilmington ledished many successful black citizens and their so-called “white nigger” allies. A new social order was was not confined to the South. The story of the Wilmington raceborn in the blood and the flames, rooted in what The News and Observer’s publisher, Josephus Daniels, riot abides at the core of North Car- In 1908, scores of blacks died olina’s past. in Springfield, Ill., in an attackheralded as “permanent good government by the party of the White Man.” And that story holds many lessons that drew force from Wilming- for us today. It reminds us that his- ton’s example. In East St. Louis, The Wilmington race riot of 1898 was a crucial turning point in the history of North Carolina. It was Ill., white mobs killed as many tory does not just happen. It does notalso an event of national historical significance. Occurring just two years after the Supreme Court had unfold naturally like the seasons or as 200 blacks and burned rise and fall like the tides. History is 6,000 out of their homes insanctioned “separate but equal” segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson, the riot signaled the embrace of an made by people, who bend and shape 1917. The Chicago race riot ofeven more virulent racism, not merely in Wilmington, but across the United States. the present to create the future. The 1919 left 15 whites and 23 history of Wilmington teaches us blacks dead; in 1919 alone, that the ugly racial conflict that similar riots in 26 other U.S. This deepening racial chasm shaped North Carolina and the na- cities from Omaha to Washing-launched an extraordinarily violent tion during much of the 20th century ton, D.C., left scores of bodies.and repressive era in this country. It was not inevitable. So long as we In Tulsa in 1921, between 150was a time when some state legisla- remember that past, we might over- and 200 blacks died in a masstures — in the North and South — come its legacy. assault.were controlled by members of the For more than a century, most his- TIMOTHY B. TYSONKu Klux Klan. It was a period when torians have obscured the triumph ofgroups of respectable white South- white domination in 1898 by callingerners gathered to burn black men FOUR-PRONGED PLAN it a “race riot,” though it was not thein public, brought their children to spontaneous outbreak of mob vio- The events in Wilmingtonwatch, and mailed their loved ones lence that the word “riot” suggests. were not just a single day ofsouvenir postcards of the smoldering In his seminal study, “We Have violence, but part of a four-corpses. It was a time when African- Taken a City” (1984), H. Leon pronged plan:Americans lost the right to vote to Prather calls it a “massacre and coup.” 1. Steal the election: Undera white South determined to con- What another scholar terms the 90 the banner of white supremacy,trol their lives and labor by any “genocidal massacre” in Wilmington the Democratic Party usedmeans necessary. North Carolina was the climax of a carefully orches- 80 threats, intimidation, anti-blackstripped the vote from black men in trated campaign to end interracial propaganda and stuffed ballot1900. By 1910, every state in the cooperation and build a one-party 70 boxes to win the statewideSouth had taken the vote from its state that would assure the power of elections on Nov. 8, 1898.black citizens, using North Carolina North Carolina’s business elite. 60 Black firefighters stand on the second floor of the destroyed Love 2. Riot. On Nov. 10, armedas one of their models. When the violence ended, a war of and Charity Hall in Wilmington. Children watch on the steps whites attacked blacks and Wilmington 1898 marked a flow- memory persisted. Our politically 50ering of the Age of Jim Crow. White below. The building housed the city’s black-owned newspaper. their property. correct public history, carved intoauthorities constructed the symbols 3. Stage a coup. As the riot COURTESY NEW HANOVER LIBRARY marble on our university buildings 40and signs of everyday life to show unfolded, white leaders forced and the statehouse lawn, exalts thepeople their place. “White” and “Col- consulted men who came to power ing that the state take the ballot from men who overthrew an elected gov- the mayor, police chief and 30ored” signs were erected at railroad by leading North Carolina’s white blacks. If whites could not disfran- ernment in the name of white su- other local leaders to resignstations, over drinking fountains and supremacy campaign. They included chise blacks legally in Georgia, Smith premacy, including Charles B. Ay- from their offices, placing 20at the doors of theaters and restau- Gov. Robert Glenn, U.S. Sens. Lee vowed, “we can handle them as they cock and Josephus Daniels. No themselves in charge.rants. Hubert Eaton, a black leader S. Overman and Furnifold Simmons did in Wilmington,” where the monument exists to the handful of vi- 4. Banish the opposition. 10in Wilmington, recalled his shock and former Gov. Charles B. Aycock. woods were left “black with their sionaries who were able to imagine After seizing power, whites re-and dismay in the 1950s to see two Overman urged white Georgians to hanging carcasses.” Right after a better future, beyond the bounds moved opposition by banishingBibles in every courtroom, clearly be prepared to use bloody violence Smith’s 1906 election, white mobs of white supremacy. Nor do we re- their most able and determinedmarked by race. and promised that disfranchisement raged in the streets of Atlanta and member those who gave their lives opponents, black and white. The Wilmington massacre in- would bring the “satisfaction which killed dozens of blacks. Soon, ex- for simple justice. Instead, we mis- J. PEDER ZANEspired bloody racist crusades across only comes of permanent peace af- actly as in North Carolina, the state take power for greatness and cele-the United States. When whites in ter deadly warfare.” of Georgia took the vote from its brate those responsible for our worstGeorgia, led by would-be governor Smith campaigned across Geor- African-American citizens. errors. The losers of 1898, thoughHoke Smith, sought to take the bal- gia, braying about the protection of Despite their importance, the flawed themselves, have far more tolot from black citizens in 1906, they “white womanhood” and demand- events in Wilmington have remained teach us than the winners.
4 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! THE NEWS & OBSERVER Chapter 19080 WILMINGTON: SYMBOL OF BLACK ACHIEVEMENT7060 A t the close of the 19th century, Wilmington was a sym- bol of black hope in post-Civil War America. The50 largest and most important city in North Carolina,40 it had a black-majority population — 11,324 African-30 Americans and 8,731 whites. The beautiful port city20 on the Cape Fear, about 30 miles upriver from the open Atlantic, boasted electric lights and streetcars when much10 of the state lumbered along in darkness. Its port did not quite Market Street between Front and Second streets, 1898. match those of Savannah or Charleston, but it shipped tons of cot- PHOTOS COURTESY N.C. OFFICE ton around the world. OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY Wilmington’s middling prosper- ity rested upon its black majority. Blacks owned 10 of the city’s 11 eat- 4H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ing houses and 20 of its 22 barber- shops. Black entrepreneur Thomas Miller was one of Wilmington’s three real estate agents. The city’s business directory listed black-owned Bell & Pickens as one of only four dealers and shippers of fish and oysters. Many of Wilmington’s most sought- after craftsmen were also black: jew- elers and watchmakers, tailors, me- chanics, furniture makers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, stone- masons, plasterers, plumbers, wheel- wrights and brick masons. Frederick Sadgwar, an African-American ar- chitect, financier and contractor, owned a stately home that still stands as a monument to his talents and industry. What’s more, the black male lit- eracy rate was higher than that of whites. The Daily Record, said to be the only black-owned daily news- paper in the United States, was edited by the dashing and pro- gressive Alexander Manly, the mixed-race descendant of Charles Manly, governor of the state from 1849-51. Black achievement, however, was always fragile. Wealthy whites might be willing to accept some black advancement, so long as whites held the reins of power. But C M Y K black economic gains also pro- voked many poor whites who com- peted with them, and wealthy whites persistently encouraged an- imosity between poor whites and blacks in a divide-and-conquer Pedens Shop was one of many black-owned businesses in Wilmington. Blacks owned 20 of the city’s 22 barbershops. strategy. In the years after Recon- One of the city’s three real estate agents was black. And black-owned Bell & Pickens was one of four shippers of fish and oysters. struction, aspiring black farmers, businessmen and professionals of- ten found themselves the victims of exclusion, harassment, discrimi- nation and a range of violence that included the horrors of lynching.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER ! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT 5Chapter 2 RUSSELL LEADS FUSION C M Y KTHE FUSION MOVEMENT: EXPERIMENT IN INTERRACIAL DEMOCRACYD espite their defeat in 1865, the feverish devotion of the former Confederates to white dominion did not burn off like mists in the midmorning sun. For many white Southerners, black citizenship remained unacceptable and justified any level of violence. Ku Klux Klan ter- rorism swept the South. As the federal government be- COURTESY UNC-CHAPEL HILLcame increasingly reluctant to protect the rights of former slaves, It would be several genera- 5H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006white terrorism and electoral fraud brought about the end of Re- tions before North Caroliniansconstruction. The Conservatives, who later changed their name to again witnessed the interracial cooperation that marked thethe Democrats, took power across the region by 1876, and worked race for governor in 1896. After a heated struggle, the Fusion-hard to limit black voting. ists nominated Daniel Russell, a broad-faced, fleshy white man The collapse of Reconstruction access to the ballot box and safety of nearly 300 pounds, for gov-left North Carolina with two dis- from white terrorism. ernor. Though many of thetinct political parties. While Repub- These “Pops” were not quite as African-American delegateslicans, favored by blacks, controlled devoted to white supremacy as had favored another candidate,many federal appointments from their conservative opponents. Russell swore his support forWashington, the Democrats ruled Still, poisonous ideas that had black advancement.the state and local governments from once served as a rationale for slav-1876 to 1894. But the coalition of ery — that God had distributed “I stand for the Negroes’wealthy, working class and rural moral, cultural and intellectual rights and liberties,” he de-whites that kept the Democrats in worth on the basis of pigmenta- clared. “I sucked at the breastpower began to unravel in the late tion — were as common among of a Negro woman. I judge from1880s as the American economy white Populists as they were the adult development the milkheaded toward depression. among Democrats. must have been nutritious and North Carolina became a hotbed As the economic depression deep- plentiful,” Russell joked, mock-of agrarian revolt as hard-pressed ened, these increasingly desperate ing his enormous girth. “Thefarmers soured on the Democrats Populists joined forces with Re- Negroes do not want control.because of policies that cottoned to publicans. Together they formed an They only demand, and theybanks and railroads. Many white dis- interracial “Fusion” coalition that ought to have it, every right asidents rallied around economic is- championed local self-government, white man has.”sues and eventually founded the Peo- free public education, modest reg- Campaign fliers from theple’s Party, also known as the ulation of monopoly capitalism and 1896 election reveal the Fu-Populists. As the ruling order dis- “one man, one vote,” which would sionist effort to appeal to black 90credited itself through its inability to give a black man the same voting voters. “To the Colored Votersmeet human needs, many of the eco- power as a white man. In the 1894 of Union County” reminded 80nomic dissidents became racial dis- and 1896 elections, the Fusion African-Americans that “twosidents, too. movement won every statewide of- years ago the Republicans and 70 Now they imagined what had been fice, swept the legislature and Populists of North Carolinaunimaginable: an alliance with elected its most prominent white united and made one grand 60blacks, who shared their economic leader, Daniel Russell, to the gov- A cartoon in The News and Observer on Oct. 26, 1898, warned struggle for liberty,” and thatgrievances but also sought secure ernorship. only this defeat of the Demo- 50 voters of the interracial Fusion coalition of Populists and In Wilmington, the Fusion tri- Republicans who championed local self-government, free public crats enabled blacks to vote umph lifted black and white Re- FUSION VICTORY again. “THE CHAINS OF SERVI- 40 education and giving a black man the same vote as a white man. publicans and white Populists to TUDE ARE BROKEN,” the inter- SOURCE: THE NEWS AND OBSERVERRepublicans and Populists power. The new Fusion legislature racial alliance reminded black 30 oined forces to defeat Demo- reformed local government to allow citizens in an appeal to racecrats in 1894. communities to pick their own lead- best. Nearly all of the white Fu- more democratic government, with pride. “NOW NEVER LICK THE 20 894 statewide election results ership, and won a majority of the sionists resisted equality for their all men eligible to vote and hold of- HAND THAT LASHED YOU.”North Carolina General Assembly Wilmington Board of Aldermen. But African-American allies. But since fice on equal terms, wealthy white Such appeals brought black 10 white Republicans and Populists they represented a vital part of Democrats vowed to regain control House Senate voters out in a gesture of auda- kept most offices to themselves; only the coalition, quite a few black of the government. cious hope that the interracial four of the 10 aldermen were North Carolinians took places on Beginning in 1897, they saw Fusion democracy born in Reconstruc- coalition African-Americans, despite the city’s county electoral tickets and won. their challenge as finding a strat- black majority. tion, but dead for 20 years, could Imperfect though it was, this Fu- egy that would move the focus of We must resist the temptation be revived. An estimated 87 sion coalition embodied a brighter disgruntled white voters away fromDemocrats to take a romantic view of the future for our state, not just in its their policies. What they needed percent of eligible black voters Fusionists and imagine that they ideals but in its practical approach was an issue that would shatter went to the polls in 1896, and 0 20 40 60 80 Russell was elected. Source: 1898 Wilmington Race represented the same vision as to coalition politics. the fragile alliance between poor Riot Commission Report the civil rights movement at its Horrified at the prospect of a whites and blacks. TIMOTHY B. TYSON
6 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! THE NEWS & OBSERVER Chapter 3 CHARLES B. AYCOCK Charles Brantley Aycock was90 born in Wayne County on Nov. 1, 1859, the youngest of 10 children.80 After graduating from the Univer- sity of North Carolina in 1880, he THE STATEWIDE WHITE SUPREMACY CAMPAIGN70 practiced law in Goldsboro and became involved in Democratic60 Party politics. As North Carolina’s C harles B. Aycock, governor of North Carolina from 1901 to 1905, has become the central governor from 1901 to 1905, he symbol of the state’s progressive traditions, first and most illustrious of our “education50 championed education and white supremacy. He died in 1912 while governors.” Politicians in North Carolina making high-minded appeals for education and40 delivering a speech on education. civility routinely invoke “the spirit of Aycock.” The contradictory truth is that Aycock earned30 his prominence by fomenting a bloody white supremacy revolution in North Carolina. This20 campaign — with Wilmington as its flash point — essentially overthrew the state gov- COURTESY UNC LIBRARY ernment by force and by fraud, ending meaningful democracy in the state for generations. How this10 happened is a lesson in the politics of racial violence and the ironies of public memory. JOSEPHUS DANIELS Josephus Daniels was born in Washington, N.C., in 1862. His fa- ther, a shipbuilder for the Confed- eracy, was killed before the child was 3. His mother soon moved the family to Wilson, where she worked 6H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 for the post office. At age 16, he entered the world of journalism; by 18 he had bought the Advance, a paper serving Wilson, Nash and Greene counties. After studying at the University of North Carolina’s law school, he was admitted to the bar in 1885, though he never practiced. In- stead he continued to publish and NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO edit newspapers, proving himself a fierce ally of the Democratic Party. He purchased The News and Observer in 1894, making it a pivotal instrument of the white supremacy campaign. President Woodrow Wilson named him secretary of the Navy in 1913. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him ambassador to Mexico in 1933. Daniels died in Raleigh on Jan. 15, 1948. FURNIFOLD SIMMONS Furnifold Simmons was born on his father’s plantation near Pol- locksville in Jones County in 1854. After graduating from Trinity College (now Duke University) in As the 1898 political season loomed, ticipation remained a smoldering Observer. He spearheaded a propa- 1873, he studied law and began the Populists and Republicans hoped ember that they could fan to full ganda effort that made white parti- practicing in New Bern. He served to make more gains through Fusion. flame. So they made the “redemp- sans angry enough to commit elec- one term in Congress (1887-89), The Democrats, desperate to over- tion” of North Carolina from “Negro toral fraud and mass murder. then lost the next two elections come their unpopularity, decided to domination” the theme of the 1898 It would not be merely a campaign for that seat. place all their chips on racial antago- campaign. Though promising to re- of heated rhetoric but also one of vi- After losing statewide elections nism. Party chairman Furnifold Sim- store something traditional, they olence and intimidation. Daniels called in 1894 and 1896, North Carolina’s mons mapped out the campaign strat- would, in fact, create a new social or- Simmons “a genius in putting every- C M Y K Democratic Party named him its egy with leaders whose names would der rooted in white supremacy and body to work — men who could write, chairman. Simmons orchestrated be immortalized in statues, on build- commercial domination. men who could speak, and men who the campaign of 1898 that would ings and street signs: Aycock, Henry A propaganda campaign slander- could ride — the last by no means the restore the party to power. Show- G. Connor, Robert B. Glenn, Claude ing African-Americans would not least important.” By “ride,” Daniels COURTESY UNC-CHAPEL HILL ing its gratitude, the legislature Kitchin, Locke Craig, Cameron Mor- come cheap. Simmons made secret employed a euphemism for vigilante appointed him in 1900 to a seat in rison, George Rountree, Francis D. deals with railroads, banks and in- terror. Black North Carolinians had to the U.S. Senate that he would hold for 30 years. Winston and Josephus Daniels. dustrialists. In exchange for dona- be kept away from the polls by any These men knew that the Demo- tions right away, the Democrats means necessary. crats’ only hope was to develop cam- pledged to slash corporate taxes af- Though it would end in bloodshed, paign issues that cut across party ter their victory. the campaign began with an ordinary lines. Southern history and practical At the center of their strategy lay enough meeting of the Democratic ex- politics had taught them that white the gifts and assets of Daniels, edi- discomfort with black political par- tor and publisher of The News and CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
THE NEWS & OBSERVER ! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT 7 Chapter 4 SUPREMACY C M Y K CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGEecutive committee on Nov. 20, 1897.At its end, Francis D. Winston ofBertie County published a call for PROPAGANDA, PASSION ACROSS THE STATEwhites to rise up and “reestablish An-glo-Saxon rule and honest govern- Tment in North Carolina.” He attacked o achieve victory in 1898, Democrats appealed to ir-Republican and Populist leaders forturning over local offices to blacks. rational passions. They used sexualized images of“Homes have been invaded, and the black men and their supposedly uncontrollable lustsanctity of woman endangered,” theDemocratic broadside claimed. “Busi- for white women. Newspaper stories and stumpness has been paralyzed and prop-erty rendered less valuable.” speeches warned of “black beasts” and “black brutes” This claim ignored the enormous who threatened the pure flower of Southern wom-commercial expansion in North Car-olina in the 1890s. Despite the pain anhood. They cast any achievement or assertion by African-of farmers pelted by the national N&O cartoonist Norman Jennett penned caricatures of blacks. 7H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006agricultural depression, textile mills American men as merely an effort to get close to white women. THE NEWS AND OBSERVERhad increased fourfold; invested cap-ital had surged to 12 times its 1890 Aware that a picture could bevalue; the number of employed work- worth a thousand votes, Josephusers in North Carolina had skyrock- Daniels engaged the services of car-eted during the decade; and the rail- toonist Norman Jennett to pen front-road interests had obtained a 99-year page caricatures of blacks. Jennett’slease on public railways. But the masterpiece was a depiction of atruth was not the point. The Demo- huge vampire bat with “Negro rule”crats clearly planned to portray inscribed on its wings, and whitethemselves as the saviors of North women beneath its claws, with theCarolina from the Fusionist regime caption “The Vampire That Hovers— and from “Negro domination.” Over North Carolina.” Other images By any rational assessment, included a large Negro foot with aAfrican-Americans could hardly be white man pinned under it. The cap-said to “dominate” North Carolina tion: “How Long Will This Last?”politics. Helen G. Edmonds, the Sensational headlines and accountsscholar from N.C. Central Univer- of supposed Negro crimes weresity, which in her day was called Daniels’ stock in trade: “Negro Con-North Carolina College for Negroes, trol in Wilmington,” “A Negro In-weighed the matter in her classic sulted the Postmistress Because He1951 work, “The Negro and Fusion Did Not Get A Letter,” “NegroesPolitics in North Carolina, 1894- Have Social Equality” and “Negro On1901.” She wrote: A Train With Big Feet Behind “An examination of ‘Negro domi- White” were typical.nation’ in North Carolina revealed The News and Observer was onethat one Negro was elected to Con- of many newspapers spreading anti-gress; ten to the state legislature; four black propaganda. “The Angloaldermen were elected in Wilmington, Saxon/A Great White Man’s Rally,” 90two in New Bern, two in Greenville, read a headline in the state’s leadingone or two in Raleigh, one county conservative paper, the Charlotte 80treasurer and one county coroner in Daily Observer. It offered readers aNew Hanover; one register of deeds stream of sensationalized and fabri- The racist assumptions that made it Arms — Blacks to Be Prevented House in Raleigh, pounding the 70in Craven; one Negro jailer in Wilm- cated stories about black crime, effective were commonplace. With- from Voting in Wilmington, N.C. — podium for white supremacy andington; and one county commissioner corruption and atrocities against out the cooperation of the news- Prepared for Race War — Prop- the protection of white womanhood. 60in Warren and one in Craven.” white women. Star reporter H.E.C. papers, though, especially The News erty-Holding Classes Determined White men have neglected poor Indeed, all three political parties “Red Buck” Bryant traveled North and Observer, the white supremacy Upon Ending Negro Domination.” and long-suffering white women, 50were controlled by whites. Two of Carolina filing triumphant dispatches campaign could not have succeeded. The white supremacy forces did he explained in his famous “guiltthem — the Populists and the Demo- about the white supremacy cam- Although he never apologized for not depend solely upon newspapers, and degradation” speech, which he 40crats — could fairly be described as paign and disparaging accounts of his central role in the campaign, but required a statewide campaign repeated across the state that fall.hostile to blacks, though the Pop- the Fusion government. Daniels later acknowledged that his of stump speakers, torchlight pa- “For them,” he said of the wives, 30ulists supported a small degree of Populist leader Marion Butler, newspaper had been harsh, unfair rades and physical intimidation. daughters and sweethearts of whiteblack office-holding in an arrange- who was elected by the Fusion leg- and irresponsible. The News and Former Gov. Thomas J. Jarvis and men, “it is everything whether 20ment based on the arithmetic of po- islature to the U.S. Senate in 1895, Observer was “cruel in its flagella- future Govs. Robert B. Glenn and Negro supremacy is to continue.”litical power. Given that North Car- anticipated the crucial role news- tions,” Daniels wrote 40 years later. Cameron Morrison struck many a Wilmington, Aycock explained 10olina’s population was 33 percent papers would play in the 1898 cam- “We were never very careful about blow for the conservative cause. later, was “the storm center of theAfrican-American, it would be far paign. The year before, he wrote, winnowing out the stories or running “The king of oratory, however, white supremacy movement.” Heremore accurate to describe the state “There is but one chance and but them down … they were played up was Charles B. Aycock,” historian was the largest city in the state,of affairs as “white domination.” one hope for the railroads to cap- in big type.” H. Leon Prather writes, “the Demo- with a black majority and a black- But to white supremacists, the fact ture the next legislature, and that is Nor was it a secret, as Election cratic Moses, who would lead North owned daily newspaper, and sev-that black votes — usually for white for the ‘nigger’ to be made the issue” Day approached, that violence was Carolina out of the chaos and dark- eral African-American office hold-candidates — could sway elections with the Raleigh and Charlotte pa- part of the Democrats’ strategy. ness of ‘Negro domination.’ ” As he ers. Wilmington represented thewas tantamount to domination. They pers “together in the same bed shout- Two weeks before the slaughter in did throughout the campaign, Ay- heart of the Fusionist threat. And sowanted blacks removed from the po- ing ‘nigger.’ ” Wilmington, The Washington Post cock mesmerized a standing-room- it became the focus of the Democ-litical equation. This propaganda fell on fertile soil. ran these headlines: “A City Under only crowd at the Metropolitan rats’ campaign.
8 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! THE NEWS & OBSERVER Chapter 5 EDITORIAL STOKED ANGER WADDELL’S POLITICS9080 THE WILMINGTON CAMPAIGN7060 E arly in the fall of 1898, Democratic Party organizers white governor, Charles Manly. For Democratic strategists, arrived in Wilmington to press their cause. Most of the50 Manly’s editorial was a timely gift. white-owned businesses in town contributed money. In public, Furnifold Simmons40 fumed that Manly had “dared George Rountree, a local conservative, and Francis openly and publicly to assail the30 virtue of our pure white woman- Winston of Bertie County, organized white supremacy hood.” In private, however, the20 clubs in the port city. Lawyers William B. McCoy, Democratic Party’s chief strategist COURTESY UNC-CHAPEL HILL was far more cheerful. Walker Tay- PHOTO COURTESY OF LOWER CAPE FEAR Iredell Meares, John Dillard Bellamy and others allowed the White lor, a white Democrat from Wilm-10 HISTORICAL SOCIETY Alexander Manly’s editorial ington, wrote: “Senator Simmons, response in The Daily Record Government Union — as the Democratic Party headquarters in who was here at the time, told us Born in Hillsborough, Alfred to a pro-lynching speech deliv- Raleigh dubbed the local clubs — to meet in their offices. that the article would make an easy Moore Waddell began practicing ered by a Georgia woman victory for us and urged us to try law in Wilmington shortly after seemed heaven-sent to Demo- and prevent any riot until after the graduating from the University cratic leaders. Though the Benjamin Keith, a white Populist triumph of wealth and bigotry: election.” of North Carolina in 1853. Rising African-American editor articu- who served on the Wilmington “The business men of the State are Sen. Ben Tillman of South Car- to the rank of lieutenant colonel lated painful truths, his adver- Board of Aldermen, claimed that largely responsible for the victory. olina, the South’s most gifted racist during the Civil War, Waddell saries used it to support their support for the White Government Not before in years have the bank demagogue, saw no reason to wait. later served four terms in Con- 8H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 Union was not altogether volun- men, the mill men, and the busi- Tillman came to North Carolina in anti-black scare tactics. gress (1871-1879). tary; the clubs demanded that every ness men in general — the back- the fall of 1898 at the invitation of “The papers are filled often After his electoral defeat, he white man in the community join. bone of the property interest of Simmons and bragged that he and with reports of rapes of white practiced law, edited the Char- “Many good people were marched the State — taken such sincere in- his fellow Red Shirts, a terrorist women, and the subsequent from their homes, some by com- terest. They worked from start to lotte Journal-Observer for two militia, had seized power in South lynching of the alleged rapist. mittees, and taken to headquarters finish, and furthermore they spent years (1881-82) and remained Carolina by force and by fraud. Till- The editors pour forth volumes and told to sign,” Keith wrote. The large bits of money in behalf of the man urged the white supremacy active in Democratic politics. A of aspersions against all Negroes threat of banishment or worse was cause.” forces in North Carolina to adopt gifted orator, he championed because of the few who may be plain, he said: “Those that did not The campaign to persuade white his “shotgun policy” and shamed white supremacy in the 1898 guilty. If the papers and speakers [sign] were notified that they must men to commit wholesale violence them for failure to use violence al- election and was installed as the of the other race would con- leave the city … as there was plenty was made easier in August 1898 ready, especially against Manly. city’s mayor during the coup demn the commission of crime of rope.” when the black-owned Daily Record “Why didn’t you kill that damn nig- that occurred during the riot. because it is crime and not try to The white supremacy campaign of Wilmington answered an inflam- ger editor who wrote that?” Till- J. PEDER ZANE make it appear that the Negroes in Wilmington made fervent ap- matory article in the Wilm- man taunted the crowd. were the only criminals, they peals for the support of poor whites. ington Messenger. As “Send him to South RED SHIRT VIGILANTES would find their strongest allies With the blessing of the Chamber of part of the conserva- Carolina and let him in the intelligent Negroes them- Commerce, it demanded that whites tive propaganda publish any such The white sheets of the Ku selves … be given the jobs now held by barrage, the Mes- offensive stuff, Klux Klan have become the “Our experience among poor blacks, especially municipal posi- senger reprinted and he will be enduring symbol of racist white people in the country tions. However, the campaign was a year-old killed.” vigilantism, but Red Shirts also teaches us that the women of not led by that symbol of Southern speech by Re- Tillman struck fear in the hearts of that race are not any more racism — the uneducated “red- becca Felton of headlined the black people. First coming to particular in the matter of clan- neck.” Georgia that largest rally of prominence in South Carolina destine meetings with colored In fact, Wilmington’s elite directed urged white the white su- in the elections of 1876 that men than are the white men the charge. “The Secret Nine,” as an Southern men premacy cam- would spell the end of Recon- with colored women. Meetings admiring local white historian called to “lynch, a thou- paign, held in struction, red shirts were of this kind go on for some time the cabal that helped hatch the vio- sand times a week, Fayetteville on donned by men eager to com- until the woman’s infatuation or lence and coup in Wilmington, in- if necessary,” to pro- Oct. 20. By early mit violence against blacks and the man’s boldness bring atten- cluded J. Alan Taylor, Hardy L. tect white women from morning, in one ac- their white allies. During Wilm- tion to them and the man is Fennell, W.A. Johnson, L.B. Sasser, black rapists. count, “vehicles filling all ington’s white supremacy lynched for rape. … Tell your William Gilchrist, P.B. Manning, In response to this fabricated the streets and thoroughfares gave campaign of 1898, Red Shirts men that it is no worse for a E.S. Lathrop, Walter L. Parsley and rape scare and call for mass mur- evidence that the white people of patrolled the city’s streets to black man to be intimate with a Hugh MacRae. It was these men, der, the Record’s editor, Alexander upper Cape Fear had left the plow, intimidate blacks. and other scions of Eastern North Manly, pointed out that not all the machine shops, the kitchen, nay, C M Y K white woman, than for a white J. PEDER ZANE man to be intimate with a col- Carolina’s aristocracy, who orga- sexual contact between black men the very neighborhood school- nized armed militias to take con- and white women was coerced. He room.” Hundreds of white men ored woman. You set yourselves trol of the streets and drew up lists also noted that white men rou- showed up in red shirts, paying down as a lot of carping hypo- of black and white Fusionists to be tinely seduced or raped black homage to Tillman’s terrorist crites in that you cry aloud for banished or killed. women. Why, Manly asked, was it achievements. A delegation from the virtue of your women while Not only in Wilmington but worse for a black man to be inti- Wilmington led the parade, fol- you seek to destroy the morality across North Carolina, the white mate with a white woman than for lowed by 300 Red Shirts in mili- of ours. Don’t think ever that supremacy campaign represented a white man to be intimate with a tary formation, trailed by a float your women will remain pure the triumph of financial and man- black woman? with 22 beautiful young white while you are debauching ours. ufacturing interests. Later, the Manly’s charge was particularly in- women dressed in white. The con- You sow the seed — the harvest Charlotte Daily Observer would cendiary because he embodied its stant boom of cannons added a vi- will come in due time.” assess the white supremacy cam- truth — the black editor was a direct olent percussion to a brass band paign and proudly celebrate the descendant of North Carolina’s from Wilmington.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER ! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT 9Chapter 6 C M Y KSILVER TONGUES AND RED SHIRTST hough Ben Tillman helped fire the boiler of white su- premacy, Wilmington had plenty of homegrown talent. The most effective advocate of violence probably was Alfred Moore Waddell. A lawyer and newspaper publisher born on Moorefield Plantation near Hillsborough, Waddell had fought as a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate cavalry.After the war, he served three terms in Congress, finally losing his seat 9H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006to Daniel Russell, the Republican who would become the Fusionist gov-ernor of North Carolina. Unemployed in 1898, Waddell set out to over-throw the Russell regime by violence and demagoguery, becoming what Red Shirts were a paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party that disrupted black church services and Republican meetings. This photo was taken in Laurinburg in Scotland County in 1898.some called “the silver tongued orator of the east.” COURTESY N.C. OFFICE OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY Waddell packed an auditorium in [in the other.]” Guthrie warned munities, and drove would-be black A “White Man’s Rally” on Nov. 2 VOTING FRAUD IN 1898Wilmington early in the fall of 1898, the Fusionists: “Resist our march voters away with gunfire. “Before featured free barbecue and torch- Intimidation, violence andwhere he shared the stage with 50 of of progress and civilization and we we allow the Negroes to control light parades of armed men. Thethe city’s most prominent citizens. will wipe you off the face of the this state as they do now,” Con- night before the election, Waddell re- ballot-stuffing were the ElectionWhite supremacy, he declared, was Earth.” gressman W.W. Kitchin declared, minded the armed throng: “You are Day tools of choice of Demo-the sole issue and traitors to the Men weren’t the only ones calling “we will kill enough of them that Anglo-Saxons. You are armed and crats in Wilmington. The mostwhite race should be held account- for violence. Rebecca Cameron, there will not be enough left to prepared, and you will do your duty. egregious cases of electionable. “I do not hesitate to say this Waddell’s cousin, wrote to him on bury them.” If you find the Negro out voting, tell fraud occurred in heavily blackpublicly,” Waddell proclaimed, “that Oct. 26 to urge him to carry out his Russell, who was from Wilming- him to leave the polls, and if he re- sections of the First Ward.if a race conflict occurs in North murderous threats. “Where are the ton, complained before the election fuses, kill him, shoot him down in his In the Fourth Precinct, Demo-Carolina, the very first men that white men and the shotguns!” she that “citizens had been fired on tracks. We shall win tomorrow if we crats dramatically suppressedought to be held to account are the exclaimed. “It is time for the oft from ambush and taken from their have to do it with guns.” the black vote. Although 337white leaders of the Negroes who quoted shotgun to play a part, and homes at night and whipped; and The following day, Nov. 8, 1898, Republicans were registered inwill be chiefly responsible for it. … an active one, in the elections.” that peaceful citizens were afraid to many African-Americans in Wilm- the precinct, the party talliedI mean the governor of this state The situation was sufficiently des- register” to vote. To quell the vio- ington avoided the polls in hope of only 97 votes.who is the engineer of all the devil- perate, she believed, that not mere lence, Russell eventually withdrew evading bloodshed. Other black cit- In the Fifth Precinct, Demo-try.” But his fiery closing, which be- threats but “bloodletting is needed the Republican ticket from New izens attempted to vote. But the crats not only suppressed thecame the tag line of his standard for the hearts of the common man Hanover County. Yet this was not armed white men posted on every black vote, they also inflatedstump speech that fall, made clear and when the depletion commences enough to satisfy his opponents. block by the White Government their own totals. Thirty Demo-that blacks would bear the brunt of l t i b t o o g Urging her men- e t e h r u h!” When Russell traveled to Wilm- Union certainly kept many away crats were registered in thethe violence. “We will never sur- folk to eliminate Gov. Russell, in ington on Election Day, Red Shirt from the ballot box. Though the in- precinct, but the party earnedrender to a ragged raffle of Negroes,” particular, Cameron quoted the terrorists swarmed his train at Ham- timidation might have sufficed, 90 456 votes. A precinct with 343Waddell thundered, “even if we have Bible in her plea for bloodshed: let and tried to lynch him. To un- given the violent atmosphere and registered voters produced ato choke the Cape Fear River with “Solomon says, ‘There is a Time derstand the condition of the demo- the withdrawal of the local Repub- 80 total of 607 votes.carcasses.” to Kill.’ ” cratic process in North Carolina lican ticket, the Democrats never- J. PEDER ZANE Waddell unfurled his next blood- The threats were not empty. that year, we are forced to con- theless stuffed ballot boxes. Dowl- 70thirsty declaration in Goldsboro, The Red Shirts, a paramilitary template the governor huddling in ing, the Red Shirt leader who also GOVERNOR ELUDES MOBwhere 8,000 white Democrats came arm of the Democratic Party, a mail-baggage car, hiding from a served as a Democratic Party elec- 60to cheer the long-haired colonel thundered across the state on lynch mob organized by his elec- tion official, explained that he and Despite a flurry of threats,and other Democratic leaders, in- horseback, disrupting African- toral opponents. others were taught “how to deposit Republican Gov. Daniel Russell 50cluding Simmons, Aycock and American church services and Re- The Red Shirt mobs ruled the Republican ballots so they could be voted without incident in hisWilliam A. Guthrie, mayor of publican meetings. In Wilming- streets of Wilmington as the 1898 replaced.” hometown of Wilmington on 40Durham. ton, the Red Shirts patrolled every election approached. Mike Dowling, Democrats won in Wilmington Nov. 8. His return trip to Raleigh Waddell set the tone and elec- street in the city in the days before a former firefighter who had lost his by 6,000 votes, a huge swing from was not so quiet. His train was 30trified the crowd with his promise the election, intimidating and at- job for “incompetency, drunkenness two years before, when the stopped twice by Red Shirts —to throw enough black bodies into tacking black citizens. and continued insubordination,” led Fusionists earned a 5,000-vote including one gang led by a 20the Cape Fear River to block its The terror went far beyond them through the streets of Wilm- advantage. Even among the disap- future governor, Cameron Morri-passage to the sea. Guthrie, flanked Wilmington; it was felt in many of ington on horseback. pointed Fusionists, there was some son. Morrison warned the gover- 10by Red Shirts, imagined a bloody the eastern counties. “The Red Wealthy Democrats provided free relief that the city had been spared nor of vigilantes up the track,race war. “The Anglo-Saxon Shirt organization caused much un- food and liquor to the white mobs in widespread violence. and persuaded Russell to hide.planted civilization on this conti- rest and alarm,” the editor of the the streets. Leaders of the white “I awoke that morning with thank- The governor huddled in anent,” Guthrie claimed, “and wher- Maxton Blade recalled, “and just supremacy campaign also spent the ful heart that the election has mail-baggage car to avoid aever this race has been in conflict before election day made nightly staggering sum of $1,200 on a new, passed,” a white woman, Jane lynch mob.with another race, it has asserted raids, shot through houses, and rapid-fire Gatling gun. They demon- Cronly, wrote, “without the shed- TIMOTHY B. TYSONits supremacy and either con- warned Negroes not to go near the strated its power in early Novem- ding of the blood of either the inno-quered or exterminated the foe. polls.” On the day of the balloting, ber, leaving no doubt of the conse- cent or the guilty.”This great race has carried the Red Shirts blocked every road lead- quences for those who openly But even her small and measuredBible in one hand and the sword ing to Maxton and many other com- resisted the campaign. optimism was unfounded.
10 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! THE NEWS & OBSERVER Chapter 79080 VIOLENCE IN THE STREETS7060 T he white supremacy campaign was so inflammatory that violence seemed unavoidable. “You cannot think or50 imagine anything to equal or compare to the policy the40 Democrats seem to have adopted to carry this section,”30 Benjamin Keith, a Fusionist alderman, wrote to Sen.20 Marion Butler in late October. “I look for a lot of in- nocent men killed here if things continue as they are now.”10 Stealing the election would not be Five to “direct the execution of the enough for the conservatives. For provisions of the resolutions.” one thing, Wilmington’s local Fu- The committee summoned 32 sionist government remained in of- prominent “colored citizens” to the fice, since many local officials — the courthouse. “There the black men mayor and the board of aldermen, for saw arrayed against them the real fi- example — had not been up for re- nancial powers of the city,” H. Leon election in 1898. And Wilmington Prather writes, “backed by weapons 10H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 remained the center of African-Amer- superior in both number and fire- ican economic and political power, as power. It was clear, too, that the well as a symbol of black pride. White voice of white supremacy did not gry blacks and whites. Red Shirts Red Shirts and other vigilantes Wilmington Light Infantry Democrats were in no mood to wait. waver; there was murder in the air.” on horseback poured into the black romped through the black sections of with rapid-fire gun, 1898. The day after the election, Hugh Waddell read them the White De- community. Sporadic gunfire quickly town to “kill every damn nigger in COURTESY N.C. OFFICE MacRae, a Massachusetts Institute claration of Independence. He firmly turned to disciplined military action sight,” as one of them put it. “What OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY of Technology-trained industrialist explained the white conservatives’ in- at the intersection of Fourth and have we done, what have we done?” and one of the Secret Nine, called a sistence that “the Negro” stop “an- Harnett streets. “Now, boys, I want one black man cried. And George INTIMIDATING FIREPOWER public meeting. “Attention White tagonizing our interests in every to tell you right now I want you all Rountree, an architect of the cam- Men,” the headline in the Wilmington way, especially by his ballot,” and to load,” T.C. James, who com- paign, found himself unable to an- Leaders of the white su- Messenger proclaimed. Court testi- that the city “give to white men a manded one group of foot soldiers, swer, since “they had done nothing.” premacy movement signaled mony later described the meeting at large part of the employment hereto- reportedly told them, “and when I Eventually, Gov. Russell was no- their deadly intentions both the courthouse as a “respectable rep- fore given to Negroes.” He de- give the command to shoot, I want tified of the violence and, from his of- before and during the riot resentative assemblage of business- manded that the Record stop publi- you to shoot to kill.” fice in Raleigh, called out the Wilm- through their machine gun men, merchants, lawyers, doctors, cation and its editor leave the city. Thomas Clawson, editor of the ington Light Infantry to restore squad. divines, and mechanics.” One local The African-American leaders struck Wilmington Messenger, was stand- order. However, the horse-drawn Weeks before the election, white man wrote to a friend in a compliant pose, as their options ing nearby with a group of news- rapid-fire Gatling gun under the com- local business interests pur- Raleigh that “businessmen are at pre- were limited. Waddell gave them a paper reporters, and wrote that “a mand of Capt. William Rand Kenan chased a gun capable of firing sent holding a big meeting to take 12-hour deadline, an empty gesture, volley tore off the top of a [black] brought more fear than peace to 420 rounds per minute. The steps to run the mayor and some since the Democrats had already man’s head and he fell dead about 20 black neighborhoods. weapon was trumpeted in the prominent Negroes out of town.” stolen the election, editor Manly had feet in front of the news-hawks.” The At the end of the day, no one knew press and its power demon- The meeting began with former already fled the city and the Record initial orderly barrages quickly fell to- how many people had died. The New strated to black leaders in an Mayor S.H. Fishblate calling Alfred had already ceased publication. ward a swirling cacophony of gunfire, York Times, then a conservative pa- exhibition Nov. 1. Waddell to the podium. Waddell The following morning at 8:15, as white men randomly chased black per, put the death toll at nine. Wad- Just two days before the riot, unfurled a “White Declaration of Waddell met a heavily armed crowd citizens through the streets and fired dell, writing in his memoirs, esti- the Naval Reserves acquired a Independence,” drawn up by the at the city’s stately white marble ar- into homes and businesses. mated about 20 black casualties. Hotchkiss gun that could fire Secret Nine. The U.S. Constitution mory. He lined up the Committee of Sometimes the white marauders Rountree, MacRae and J. Alan Tay- 80 to 100 shots per minute. On “did not anticipate the enfran- Twenty-Five at the head of the pro- targeted particular blacks. A howling lor put the number at 90. Local his- the day of the riot, both guns chisement of an ignorant popula- cession, shouldered his Winchester mob surrounded the home of Daniel torian Harry Hayden, an admirer of were wheeled through black tion of African origin,” Waddell rifle, and assumed the head of the col- Wright, a well-known black politi- the white supremacy campaign, re- cian, whom some accused of having ported that some of his white sources sections of Wilmington and read aloud. The framers of the umn, his white hair flowing in the Union “did not contemplate for light breeze. Passing up Market fired on the mob. By the time they boasted that they’d killed “over 100” aimed at crowds under orders their descendants a subjection to Street, a swelling crowd of men had managed to haul Wright out of black folks. to disperse. an inferior race.” Never again, the marched to Love and Charity Hall, his house, a large crowd had gath- Echoing the oral traditions of their J. PEDER ZANE C M Y K declaration said, would white men the black community center on Sev- ered and murder mutated into grandparents’ generation, some of New Hanover County permit enth Street between Nun and Church amusement. Someone knocked African-Americans in Wilmington black political participation. The streets, where the Record had been Wright down with a pipe. “String believe that an honest body count crowd roared and rose to its feet. published. Led by Waddell, the mob him up to a lamp post!” a member of would have exceeded 300. Since An appointed committee revised battered down the door of the two- the mob yelled. But the white men about 1,400 blacks fled Wilmington the declaration, adding calls for the story frame structure, dumped who wanted Wright to run the gant- in the wake of the massacre and resignations of the mayor, the chief kerosene on the wooden floors and let prevailed. The mob turned him coup, it will probably always remain of police, and the board of aldermen, set the building ablaze. After it was loose, chanting “Run, nigger, run!” impossible to determine the body in addition to the demand for Manly’s destroyed, some of the whites posed Wright ran for 15 yards or so until count. The only certainty in the mat- newspaper to “cease to be published” for a photograph with their guns in about 40 shots ripped him to pieces. ter of casualties is that democracy in and “its editor banished from the front of the blackened building to “He was riddled with a pint of bul- North Carolina was gravely city.” The committee selected Wad- commemorate the moment. lets, like a pigeon thrown from a wounded on the streets of Wilm- dell to head a Committee of Twenty- But soon the streets filled with an- trap,” one observer wrote. ington on Nov. 10, 1898.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER ! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT 11Chapter 8 ‘WHITE DECLARATION C M Y K OF INDEPENDENCE’ Flush with victory in the stolen election, Alfred Waddell unveiled the “White DeclarationBANISHMENT AND COUP of Independence” on Nov. 9. Given that Wilmington’s politics and economy were controlled by whites before and after the election, the declaration’s seven main points suggest the wide gap that existed between reality and rhetoric in the city that fall. Here are excerpts from the declaration: “First That the time has passed for the intelligent citi- zens of the community owning 90% of the property and paying taxes in like proportion, to be 11H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ruled by negroes. “Second That we will not tolerate the action of unscrupulous white men in affiliating with the negroes so that by means of their votes they can dominate the intelli- gent and thrifty element in the community, thus causing busi- ness to stagnate and progress Wilmington Light Infantry and Naval Reserves members escort captured blacks. Fusionist leaders were marched to the train station. to be out of the question. COURTESY N.C. OFFICE OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY “Third That the negro has demonstrated by antagonizingW hile the streets became a killing ground, the Com- the soon-to-be-exiled United States Ari Bryant, who owned a butcher our interest in every way, and Commissioner R.H. Bunting, a “po- shop, was “looked upon by the Ne- mittee of Twenty-Five launched a coup d’etat in the especially by his ballot, that he litical record of cooperating with the groes as a high and mighty leader,” Negro element.” the Wilmington Morning Star is incapable of realizing that his corridors of City Hall, forcing the mayor, the board interests are and should be Silas Wright, the white Republican mocked, by way of explaining mayor whom Waddell had deposed, Bryant’s banishment. The most pros- identical with those of the of aldermen, and the police chief to resign at gunpoint. fit the same “white niggers” category perous exile may have been Thomas community. … By 4 p.m. that day, the committee had replaced as Bunting and stood among the first C. Miller, who had been born in slav- “Fifth That we propose in names on the banishment list. George ery and yet had become a financial the future to give to white men elected Fusionist city officials, both black and white, a large part of the employment Z. French, another white Fusionist force in Wilmington, dealing in land,with its hand-picked white appointees. The new mayor, fresh from lead- stalwart and a deputy sheriff, nar- loaning money and entering mort- heretofore given to negroes … rowly escaped lynching. A raging mob gages with blacks and whites alike. “Sixth We are prepared toing the mobs in the streets, was Col. Alfred M. Waddell. In short, the placed a noose around his neck and One member of the detachment that treat the negroes with justice started to string him up from a light took Miller recalled that he was “one and consideration in all mattersparamilitary force that wealthy conservatives had built to seize power which do not involve sacrifices of pole on North Front Street. Frank Negro that we could not make keepin North Carolina now ran the city of Wilmington. Stedman, a member of the Commit- quiet and he talked and talked until the interest of the intelligent and 90 tee of Twenty-Five, saved the white Ed McKoy’s gun went ‘click click’ progressive portion of the com- For days after the coup, hundreds battle over we kin wear a crown in the law enforcement officer’s life, but the and when we told him to shut up, he munity. But are equally prepared 80of African-Americans who had fled new Je-ru-sulum.’ ” mob dragged French to the train sta- kept a little quieter.” now and immediately to enforcethe white mobs huddled in the But the work was not complete in tion and told him to “leave North Car- Like most triumphant revolution- what we know to be our rights. 70forested thickets around Wilmington. this new Jerusalem along the Lower olina and never return again upon ary governments, having silenced its “Seventh That we have been,Many had escaped too quickly to Cape Fear. Everyone seemed to un- peril of his life.” principal opponents, the new ad- in our desire for harmony and 60bother with coats or blankets, and derstand that a purge was in order. Chief of Police John Melton, a ministration declared its devotion to peace, blinded both to our bestslept on the ground in the wet No- “Immediately after Waddell became staunch white Populist, found himself public order. They fired all the black interests and our rights. A climax 50vember woods. “Bone-chilling driz- mayor,” H. Leon Prather writes, “the accosted, The News and Observer re- and Fusionist city employees, start- was reached when the negrozling rain falls sadly from a leaden Secret Nine furnished him with a ported, by a mob that would have ing with firefighters and police offi- paper of this city published an 40sky,” Charles Francis Bourke of Col- list of prominent Republicans, both lynched him but for some soldiers who cers. They declared that school com- article so vile and slanderouslier’s Weekly wrote from the scene. white and black, who must be ban- intervened. One local white Demo- mittees henceforth would be that it would in most communi- 30“Yet in the swamps and woods, in- ished from Wilmington.” crat recalled that he would “never for- composed “exclusively of white citi- ties have resulted in the lynchingnocent hundreds of terrified men, The white mob gathered at the get” how Melton looked when “one of zens,” even in black districts. The of the editor. We deprecate 20women and children wander about, city jail to watch soldiers with fixed the boys went upstairs and took a rope white terror in the streets persisted, lynching and yet there is nofearful of the vengeance of whites, bayonets march Fusionist leaders to with a noose in it and threw it at his even though Waddell notified whites punishment, provided by the 10fearful of death, without money, food, the train station. Those local citi- feet, [and Melton] turned just as white “who seem disposed to abuse the op- courts, adequate for this offense.[or] sufficient clothes.” Children zens slated for banishment fit three as a sheet.” The mob dispatched him portunity of carrying arms which re- We therefore owe it to the peo-whimpered in the cold, their parents rough categories: African-American and two other white Fusionists on a cent events afforded” that “no further ple of this community and of thisreluctant to light fires for fear that leaders who insisted on citizenship train to Washington, D.C., amid cries turbulence or disorderly conduct will city, as a protection against suchthe mobs would find them. “In the for their people or who openly op- of “white nigger.” be tolerated.” In an article he wrote license in the future, that theblackness of the pines,” Bourke ob- posed the white supremacy cam- The black men who were hustled for Collier’s Magazine two weeks af- to the train station at the point of a ter the riot, Wilmington’s new mayor paper known as the “Record”served, “I heard a child crying and a paign; black businessmen whosehoarse voice crooning softly a mourn- prosperity offended local whites; and bayonet included Salem J. Bell and explained that “there was no intim- cease to be published and thatful song, the words of which fell into white politicians who had, as the Robert B. Pickens, who operated a idation used in the establishment of its editor [Alexander Manly] bemy memory with the air: ‘When de Wilmington Morning Star wrote of successful fish and oyster business. the present city government.” banished from this community.“
12 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! THE NEWS & OBSERVER Chapter 9 ated literacy tests for voting and placed a poll tax on aspiring voters. The “grandfather clause” protected90 illiterate whites for a time; any lin- eal descendant of a man eligible80 to vote before 1867 — a white man THE AFTERMATH — need not prove his literacy.70 Even so, the suffrage amendment eventually removed voting rights60 D espite Mayor Waddell’s assertion of “no intimidation,” mar- from nearly all blacks and many whites. In 1896, 85.4 percent of tial celebrations seemed in order. On Nov. 11, a military50 North Carolina’s electorate had parade of five companies marched throughout Wilming- cast a ballot. By 1904, less than40 50 percent would vote. ton, displaying two rapid-fire guns and the Hotchkiss gun It was not only in the South that30 democratic horizons narrowed. In of the Naval Reserves. It was not merely a celebration of a 1900 editorial about the dis-20 white supremacy but an assurance that the new regime was franchisement campaign, The New York Times stated: “North- firmly in charge. The Morning Star called the parade “a formidable10 ern men no longer denounce the suppression of the Negro vote in demonstration of the resources for the maintenance of order.” the South as it used to be de- nounced in Reconstruction days. Three days later, the statewide of federal response sent the un- The necessity of it under the Democratic Party flung a huge street mistakable signal that conservative supreme law of self-preservation party in Raleigh after nightfall. More white Southerners ruled at their is candidly recognized.” than 2,000 torches illuminated the own whim and the nation would Its “necessity” seems less evident cheering throngs, and 500 barrels no longer quibble about who killed to most of us today, but the Wilm- of burning tar along the parade route whom. ington race riot of 1898 stands 12H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 filled the air with plumes of colored The following year, the bloody among the most important events smoke, creating a carnival atmos- hands that welcomed Red Shirt ter- in the history of North Carolina and phere. The victorious Democrats as- ror in 1898 moved to take the ballot is a pivotal moment in the history sembled a booklet, “North Carolina’s away from black North Carolinians of the United States. It was nothing Glorious Victory, 1898,” that trum- forever. The first order of business less than a counter-revolution peted the white supremacy campaign in 1899 was to disfranchise blacks against interracial democracy, and and highlighted its leaders. and many poor whites, making cer- it reverberated far beyond the state. On Sunday, Nov. 13, the white tain that an alliance of “low-born Its aftermath witnessed the birth Christians of Wilmington filed into scum and quondam slaves,” as a of the Jim Crow social order, the their churches and heard celebra- News and Observer editorial put it, end of black voting rights and the tions of the slaughter. The Rev. would never again threaten elite rise of a one-party political system J.W. Kramer declared that the white rule. This Democratic Party booklet trumpeted the white supremacy in the South that strangled the as- mobs in the streets had been “do- The Democrats introduced a con- campaign and highlighted its leaders. pirations of generations of blacks ing God’s service.” At First Baptist stitutional amendment that cre- COURTESY N.C. OFFICE OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY and whites. Church, congregants heard the Rev. Calvin S. Blackwell compare the victory of white supremacy to the triumph of the Lord and his heav- enly hosts over Satan and his “black robed angels.” He dismissed the killings as “a mere incident” and ob- served, without much originality, that “you cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. The primary purpose was not to kill but to educate.” In his own defense of mass mur- der, the Rev. Payton H. Hoge at First Presbyterian Church parsed a passage from Proverbs: “He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city.” The author of Proverbs plainly was endorsing self- control, as opposed to the taking of C M Y K cities, but Hoge had his own inter- pretation. “Since last we met in these walls, we have taken a city,” crowed Hoge. “To God be the praise.” The public silence of those who opposed the massacre said as much as the celebrations of those who supported it. Though besieged by visitors and telegrams begging for help for black North Carolinians, A militia unit in Wilmington. Immediately after the election of 1898, military might showed that the new regime was firmly in charge. Republican President William COURTESY N.C. OFFICE OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY McKinley said nothing. The lack
THE NEWS & OBSERVER ! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT 13 MEASURINGChapter 10 C M Y K THE EFFECTS OF WHITE SUPREMACY It is impossible to fully measure the effects of the whiteTHE IMPACT OF 1898 supremacy campaign on blacks, but these statistics begin to suggest them: Wilmington becomes a white- majority city. Wilmington population by race White Black 20,000 15,000 13H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 10,000 5,000 0 1860 1880 1900 1910 North Carolina becomes a one-party state. Republican Democrat Other Percent of votes for governor 1.4 0.1 40.8 57.8 99.9 A scene of the segregated South, taken in 1938 at the Halifax County Courthouse in northeastern North Carolina. Percent of votes for president PHOTO BY JOHN VACHON/FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION 2.6T he Wilmington race riot did not invent segregation in bed, but never his table, with a black Most white Christians came to be- 39.8 woman. Black breasts could suckle lieve that white supremacy was the 60.2 97.4 the South but instead cemented it. Right after the Civil white babies, and black hands could will of God; the Lord himself had pat out biscuit dough for white placed them above the “sons of 90 War, Southern whites had attempted to segregate pub- 1896 1900 mouths, but black heads must never Ham,” whose appointed purpose was lic life, often modeling their efforts on laws passed in try on a hat in a department store, to be hewers of white people’s wood 80 lest it be rendered unfit for sale to and drawers of white people’s water. the North in the 1840s. Newly freed black Southern- white people. Black maids washed This was the genius of white su- 70 the bodies of the aged and infirm, but premacy. Though it was a social or- African-American education ers chose to build their own worlds of community and suffers. the starched white uniforms they der imposed and maintained by 60aspiration, though they steadfastly resisted any segregation that were compelled to wear could not be force, its defenders made it seem Wilmington city school disbursements laundered in the same washing ma- not only natural but even divinely or- 50smacked of exclusion. In Fusion-era North Carolina, blacks and chines that white people used. dained. Any challenge to white su- White Blackwhites had attempted, in their halting and imperfect way, to prac- The folkways of white supremacy premacy, North Carolina’s superin- 2,000 40 made it permissible to call a favored tendent of schools told antice multiracial politics. But the white supremacy campaign slammed black man “Uncle” or “Professor,” so auditorium filled with black college 30 long as he was not actually your un- students in 1927, would represent “a 1,500the door on democracy and installed a new order. cle or a real college professor. Thus violation of God’s eternal laws as 20 the titles contained a mixture of fixed as the stars.” The new social order was fre- The racial etiquette that emerged mockery and affection. But a black This was the world shaped by the 1,000 10quently referred to as “Jim Crow,” from the white supremacist violence man must never hear the words “mis- men who had overthrown the Fusionafter a stock minstrel show charac- of 1898 was at once bizarre, arbitrary ter” or “sir” from white lips. Black government and ensured that whiteter whose antics demeaned African- and nearly inviolable, inscribed in women were “girls” until they were supremacy would reign in North Car- 500Americans. The power of white skin what W.E.B. Du Bois called “the old enough to be called “auntie.” Un- olina. In the years following the cam-in the Jim Crow South was both cake of custom.” A white man who der no circumstances should they paign, they crowed about it. “Westark and subtle. White supremacy would never shake hands with a ever hear a white person of any age have fought for this issue and againstpermeated daily life so deeply that black man might refuse to permit address them as “Mrs.” or “Miss.” that policy,” Charles Aycock told sup- 0 Nov. 1898 Nov. 1899 Jan. 1903most white people could no more anyone but a black man to shave his The eternal racial views of almighty porters before he died in 1912, “but Source: 1898 Wilmington Raceponder it than fish might consider face, cut his hair or give him a sham- God were well-known to white North everywhere and all the time we have Riot Commission Reportthe wetness of water. poo. A white man might share his Carolinians in the Age of Jim Crow. fought for white supremacy.” The News & Observer
14 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! THE NEWS & OBSERVER Chapter 119080 THE MEMORY OF 18987060 F or decades afterward, participation in the 1898 cam- paign became the irreplaceable political credential; at50 least five of the state’s next six governors were drawn40 from its ranks. As late as 1920, Cameron Morrison30 campaigned on his laurels as a Red Shirt Democrat20 in the “party of white supremacy.”10 And yet, even as white supremacy “radical agitators” persisted, it could tightened its grip on North Carolina, happen again. the memory of what that victory had Broughton was not simply a pan- entailed — murders, banishments, dering politician intent on main- stuffed ballot boxes — soon became taining law and order. He reflected murky. The central episode was the view of much of North Car- gradually cleansed from our state’s olina’s elite, who still understood history, from our textbooks and our the violence upon which their world memories. Eventually, Charles B. rested. 14H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 Aycock became known as the edu- During the war, Josephus Daniels’ cation governor. sons, Jonathan and Frank Daniels, of- However, the raw violence of ten conferred about race relations in Wilmington was not completely for- North Carolina. Jonathan worked gotten. It could, of course, be seen as an assistant to President Franklin every day, everywhere, in the Jim Roosevelt on race relations. Alarmed Crow world it had made. More than at “the rising insistence of Negroes 60 blacks were lynched in North on their rights,” Jonathan favored Carolina between 1900 and 1943. small concessions in order to main- A Rights of White People meeting at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington, 1971. ‘What we need in this Whites would often raise the specter tain white domination. “We thought town are some dead agitators. They should be shot and left in the streets …,’ a white man said. of 1898 when mounting demands we had to get a little justice [for PHOTO BY ANDY HOWELL/WILMINGTON STAR-NEWS from African-Americans for justice blacks] just to keep them in line,’’ he made it necessary to remind them of said later. aren’t going to stand for it.” If blacks And yet from the very first hints echoed in our church in 1971 when what could happen. “Sometimes,” Frank Daniels, who stayed in continued to press for “equality,” of the modern black freedom strug- an African-American woman told historian Glenda Gilmore writes, Raleigh to publish The News and Daniels insisted, “white people are gle, the memory of violence my father, the Rev. Vernon C. “murder does its best work in mem- Observer, took a harder stance. If going to rise in arms and eliminate haunted Wilmington. Hubert Tyson, ‘They say that river was ory, after the fact.” African-Americans continue to “keep them from the national picture.” In Eaton, an African-American physi- full of black bodies.’ ” During World War II, black on insisting for more privileges,” he the end, Daniels warned, continued cian who pressed for integration It is no wonder that the furious protests against racial discrimina- wrote, “a worse condition is going to civil rights activism would “mean in Wilmington for many years, re- conflict that marked the black free- tion blossomed, especially among exist in North Carolina before very that all of [the blacks] that can read calls a 1951 school board meeting dom movement in Wilmington in black men in uniform. Black soldiers long than the period from 1895 to and write are going to be eliminated in which he was rebuffed by the 1971 brought back memories of stationed at Camp Davis, 30 miles 1902, because white people just in the Hitler style.” board’s attorney, who alluded to bodies drifting in the current of the north of Wilmington, overturned Despite several riots and persistent the violence of 1898 “as an effort to Cape Fear. Wilmington’s African- buses at Grace and Second streets in black protests across the state, the intimidate — to warn that it could Americans realized that the legacy Wilmington to protest segregation bloodbath some predicted did not happen again.” of the racial massacre still haunted policies that limited black seating. occur. Newly committed to Amer- In 1971, when the upheavals over the city. And this is only a little less Mayor Bruce Cameron pleaded with ica’s image as a beacon of democ- school integration tore through true today. Far beyond North Car- Gov. J. Melville Broughton to “tell racy, the federal government, the Wilmington, a white man at a olina and 1898, the tragic events them as long as you are governor the national Democratic Party and many Rights of White People rally in that transpired in Wilmington force colored people will have to behave newspapers, including The News Hugh MacRae Park told the Wilm- us to contemplate the meaning of themselves.” and Observer, began to actively op- ington Morning Star: “What we America’s racial past and its hold on On July 11, 1943, Broughton pose white terror after the war. need in this town are some dead the living. mounted a podium beside the Cape Lynching was no longer a viable agitators. They should be shot and From our vantage point more than Fear River that Alfred Waddell had political option, though it contin- left in the streets as a reminder for a century later, we can see that the C M Y K promised to clot with black bodies. ued to happen occasionally. When a three days and then bury them. I’ve white supremacy campaigns of the In language evoking the inflamma- black man in Jackson, N.C., mirac- got my gun.” 1890s and early 1900s injected a vi- tory tirades of 1898 against blacks ulously escaped the clutches of a When Wilmington’s streets cious racial ideology into the heart preying on white women, Broughton lynch mob in 1947, Gov. R. Gregg raged with violence in early 1971, of American political culture. Our condemned “radical agitators” who Cherry attempted to prosecute one black woman recalled, her separate and unequal lives attest to he claimed were seeking “to advance members of the mob, though he schoolteachers warned her about its persistence. theories and philosophies which if failed. When the Klan committed what had happened at the turn of If 1898 has saddled us with its carried to their logical conclusion After a violent demonstration dozens of kidnappings, whippings the century. “Those old experi- legacy, it also suggests how we might would result only in a mongrel race.” by black soldiers in Wilmington and shootings in Eastern North Car- enced teachers,” she told an inter- overcome it. Its central lesson is Then he cut to the chase: “Forty- during World War II, Gov. J. olina in the early 1950s, 60 Klans- viewer, “… talked in hush-hush this: Human beings make history. five years ago, blood flowed freely in Melville Broughton made a men were indicted. During the tones about 1898.” But the ghosts The mistakes that North Carolinians the streets of this city.” It was hard speech invoking the 1898 riots. 1960s, white terrorism persisted along the river persisted in their made in 1898 can be mended if we to escape the conclusion that if the NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO but rarely won public applause. whispering, and that is what choose.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER ! FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT 15Epilogue C M Y KBUILDING FROM THE PAST 15H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 90 80 70 Modern Wilmington has risen on the banks of the Cape Fear River. PAUL STEPHEN/WILMINGTON STAR-NEWS 60A s a historian, I find it easier to friends and I were playing baseball in Hugh people had none. “The niggers keep talking terracial politics and create strong public in- 50 MacRae Park. As day dimmed toward dusk, about how Waddell said in 1898 they were stitutions — offer examples that we can learn understand what happened in we huddled in a dugout to smoke cigarettes gonna fill up the river with carcasses,” he said. from. We have made great strides since 1898, 40 the past than to draw easy and discuss the mysteries that seventh-graders “I don’t know if they did or not. But if this in- but the effort to separate people into “us” and ponder. As we chattered away in the dark, tegration and rioting business doesn’t stop, “them” continues. 30 lessons for the future. We can- we began to hear engines racing and car doors we’re going to clog that river with dead nig- A new Fusion movement, one rooted in slamming. At first, we assumed that it was only gers this time, and I mean it.” hope and generosity, and encompassing not 20 not go back and change the the stirrings of a Little League game. But What I saw that day was hatred. What I only blacks and whites but new immigrants to history and yet, as William when we peered out of the dugout, hundreds have seen too often since then is the neglect the state, could still redeem the best dreams 10 of white men and a few women had gathered of public schools and civic responsibilities. that have made us. We look to Wilmington inFaulkner observed, “The past is never on the baseball diamond, many brandishing ri- What I learned in the years that followed was 1898, then, not to wring our hands in a fruit- fles and shotguns and others waving U.S. and that the venom and the apathy were an in- less nostalgia of pain, but to redeem a demo-dead. It’s not even past.” Confederate flags. Several held a banner that heritance, passed down through the genera- cratic promise. And so we hold fast to what proclaimed the name of their organization: tions from days of slavery and the riot of 1898. Charles Chesnutt, an African-American from What I do know is that in order to change The Rights of White People. It was only much later that I learned that this North Carolina and one of our great writers,the past, we must understand and confront it. Their leader, Sgt. Leroy Gibson, walked up sad epic in our state’s and nation’s history called “the shining thread of hope,” which per-I first heard about the Wilmington race riot of to the makeshift microphone and began bel- harbors stories of hope. In their imperfect mitted him, over a century ago, to close his1898 in 1971, soon after I entered Roland- lowing about how the “niggers” and “nigger way, the losers of 1898 — the leaders of the own story of the Wilmington catastrophe:Grise Junior High School in Wilmington. Some lovers” had all the rights and white working Fusion movement who tried to practice in- “There’s time enough, but none to spare.”
16 The Ghosts of 1898 WILMINGTON RACE RIOT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 ! THE NEWS & OBSERVER The future WHAT WE TOLD THE CHILDREN: TEXTBOOKS SINCE 1907 SOURCES In the years after 1898, the state of North Carolina told the story As I wrote this account, I relied90 of the white supremacy campaign to its children in a variety of ways. heavily on the “1898 Wilmington The earliest textbooks I have found, published in 1901, 1903 and Race Riot Report,” whose princi-80 1906, ignored these events. The history text my son uses at his pal researcher and author is Chapel Hill middle school, “North Carolina: A Proud State in Our LeRae S. Umfleet. This report is RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMISSION70 Nation” by W.S. Powell, is equally silent — though other contempo- a groundbreaking compilation, rary textbooks mention the riot in detail. What follows is a sample of including a full narrative of the60 the state’s official history: In May, the 13 members of the Southside; sell properties to low- events in their historical context 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Com- income residents of those sections and informative appendices. 1907 — “Young People’s History of North Carolina” by Daniel50 mission offered recommendations to with guaranteed mortgages). In addition to a variety of Harvey Hill refers to the election of Daniel Russell, the Fusionist governor, and then notes that “in the second year of Governor Rus- “repair the wrong” done 108 years archival and newspaper40 sell’s term, the Democrats elected a majority in the Legislature and ago. Many of the recommendations EDUCATION: Educational informa- sources, I relied upon two books the State returned in part to Democratic control.” would require action by the General tion about the events of 1898 will be that should interest general30 Assembly, which returns to Raleigh made available to all ages and re- readers. H. Leon Prather’s book, 1916 — “A Child’s History of North Carolina” by W.C. Allen in January. gions using print, audio-visual media, “We Have Taken A City: The20 instructs that the Fusion legislature “put the city largely under ne- The text of the commission’s rec- and the worldwide web. Wilmington Racial Massacre gro rule. … The government of the city was badly carried on, and ommendations: 8. Maintain and update the final re- and Coup of 1898” (1984), is port of the Wilmington Race Riot10 lawlessness prevailed.” The account says that blacks fired on whites, probably our best account of and whites returned the fire, killing several. “After the riot was over EMPOWERMENT: Acknowledging that Commission with the N.C. Office of the tragedy. A short version of the incompetent negro and white officers of the city were forced to the democratic process failed in Wilm- Archives and History; distribute the Prather’s book appears in resign, one by one, and competent white men chosen in their places ington, resulting in persistent, unfa- published report to appropriate local, “Democracy Betrayed: The … a conservative board of aldermen [was] installed, negro policemen vorable treatment especially to the state and national repositories, and Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 discharged ... Thus the revolution was at an end. Since that time African American community, gov- to individuals who contributed to- and Its Legacy” (1998), an Wilmington has greatly prospered.” ernment leadership at all levels will ward the research and development anthology of articles I edited pursue actions that repair the wrong. of a more complete record. with historian David Cecelski. 1933 — “The Story of North Carolina” by Alex Mathews with Wal- 1. Acknowledge that the violence 9. Incorporate the 1898 events into I also drew upon scholarly ter Clinton Jackson teaches: “There were many Negro office-holders in of 1898 was a conspiracy of a white Department of Public Instruction cur- 16H, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2006 works, especially “The Negro the eastern part of the state, some of whom were poorly fitted for their elite that used intimidation and force riculum learning expectations; de- and Fusion Politics in North tasks. This naturally aroused ill feeling between the races.” to replace a duly elected local gov- velop appropriate grade-level cur- Carolina, 1894-1901” by Helen ernment; that people lost their lives, riculum materials; and provide teacher 1940 — “North Carolina for Boys and Girls” by Sarah William Edmonds (1951), which puts the livelihoods, and were banished from workshops for effectively integrating Ashe and Orina Kidd Garber (1940) says that under the Fusion race riot in a wide context, and their homes without due process of the materials into instruction. government “negroes could hold office. The days of the Carpetbag- “Gender and Jim Crow: Women the law, and governments at all lev- 10. Newspapers (News and Ob- gers seemed about to return. But the people of North Carolina re- els failed to protect citizens. server, The Charlotte Observer, and the Politics of White membered those terrible days too well to allow them to return.” 2. Establish a Restructuring and The Wilmington Star, The Wash- Supremacy in North Carolina, Development Authority including lo- ington Post, etc.) should acknowl- 1896-1920” by Glenda Eliza- 1958 — “North Carolina History” by Daniel Jay Whitener states: beth Gilmore (1996). “Negroes who came to the rallies saw the ‘Red Shirts’ and silently cal leadership to supervise imple- edge the role of media in the events mentation of a strategic vision funded of 1898 and work with the North “Race and Politics in North slipped away. The Negro by nature was friendly and eager to avoid Carolina, 1872-1901” by Eric trouble … the Negroes were frightened and on election day many through an endowment, supported by Carolina black press association to federal, state and local governments, prepare a summary of the commis- Anderson (1981) furnishes a stayed at home. The careful planning and leadership of Simmons good overview of the politics of as well as media and businesses, es- sion report for distribution helped the Democrats. White supremacy was the issue. … A few days the period. “Maverick Republi- pecially those which benefited from statewide. The commission calls later a bad race riot took place in Wilmington. Negroes were killed and can in the Old North State: A the consequences of 1898. upon said papers to study the effects both Negroes and white men were wounded. Many Negroes fled from 3. Support amendment of the fed- of 1898 and impact of Jim Crow on Political Biography of Daniel the town. The revolution of 1898 restored ‘white supremacy.’ ” eral Voting Rights Act to add New the state’s black press and to endow Russell” by Jeffrey J. Crow and 1978 — “Carolina Quest” by Thomas C. Parramore says: “Two Hanover County. scholarships at the state’s public Robert Durden (1977) provides days after the election a force of six hundred whites gathered at 4. Create a study commission to universities. similar context. Wilmington and ushered in the new era by wrecking and burning the examine the broader impact of slav- 11. Fund development for a docu- I frequently consulted “The printing office … In the rioting that followed, ten blacks were re- ery, Jim Crow and discrimination mentary to be aired nationally, re- History of A Southern State: ported killed and many others fled the city, including black city offi- on the lives of African Americans. gionally and locally. The documen- North Carolina” by Hugh T. cials. A number of blacks were jailed for ‘starting a riot’ and a new ECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT: Rec- tary should be suitable for inclusion Lefler and Albert R. Newsome white administration took over Wilmington’s government.” ognizing the long-term economic dis- in school curriculum materials. (1954); “White Violence and advantages created by banishment, 12. Increase support for tutoring and Black Response: From Recon- 1987 — “North Carolina: The Story of a Special Kind of Place” loss of civil service positions and in- mentoring programs in New Hanover struction to Montgomery” by by William S. Powell reports: “In Wilmington, on the night of the timidation, funding from all sources County, targeting at-risk youth. Herbert Shapiro (1988); “Black election, armed white men appeared on the street. They were deter- will be directed by the Restructuring Wilmington and the North Car- mined to end ‘Negro rule’ in the city promptly. On Nov. 9 and 10 and Development Authority to im- COMMEMORATION: Recognition of olina Way” by John L. Godwin there was a bloody riot in which ten or more blacks were killed, the prove economic development op- the documented events of 1898 will (2000) and “North Carolina office of Alex Manly’s black newspaper was burned, and many blacks portunities. be conspicuously displayed and made Through Four Centuries” by fled. Republican rule in Wilmington came to an immediate end when 5. Support judicial redress to com- available in prominent public loca- William S. Powell (1989). pensate heirs of victims who can tions. C M Y K Silas Wright, the black mayor, fled to New York. Three days later, the TIMOTHY B. TYSON Raleigh News and Observer reported: ‘Negro rule is at an end in prove loss and relationship to victims 13. Fund establishment of an 1898 North Carolina forever.’ ” via intestacy statutes. exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum OUR 1898 TEAM 6. Provide incentives for business and creation of a traveling exhibit de- 2006 — “North Carolina: the History of an American State” by development of areas impacted by signed by the museum for use Editor: J. Peder Zane, Kenneth Townsend teaches: “At no time did blacks ever enjoy repre- the Wilmington race riot of 1898 statewide. firstname.lastname@example.org sentation equal to their numbers nor did ‘Negro rule’ ever exist in (e.g., establish enterprise zone; 14. Provide additional funding for Design: Teresa Kriegsman North Carolina. Nevertheless, the Democrats used the race issue to create small business incubator with the New Hanover County Public Li- Copy Editor: Bill DuPre frighten voters and regain power. … Riding horses, wearing red shirts, tax incentives to attract minority- brary to make resources available Photo Editor: Robert Miller and carrying guns … Democratic ruffians broke up Fusionist political owned businesses). relative to 1898 and its impact. Graphics: Judson Drennan rallies, disrupted black church meetings, whipped outspoken blacks, 7. Increase minority home owner- 15. Erect plaques, markers and/or Research: Brooke Cain and drove blacks from the polls when they tried to register.” ship in impacted areas (e.g., use em- monuments to identify key partici- Project Directors: Steve Riley, inent domain to acquire vacant com- pants and locations of 1898 events News & Observer; Glenn TIMOTHY B. TYSON mercial properties in Brooklyn and statewide and in Wilmington. Burkins, Charlotte Observer