Before Atlanta, before Tulsa (black Wall Street), before Rosewood (Florida), there was Wilmington, NC.
The more progressive NC became, the more the old post civil war Democrats lost power. It was then that the mostly white supremacist democrats began to plan and plot their overthrow. Led by none other than Wayne County's very own Charles B. Aycock, and the News & Observers Josephus Daniel's, they embarked on a statewide campaign of hatred, holding rallies and publishing paper after paper commanding white men to restore power to whites and protect their white women. Because for whatever reason equality for all automatically meant white women were up for grabs.
As the 1898 election grew near, Charles B. Aycock's organized militia of white supremacists known as the 'Red Shirts' began intimidating black men from voting and forcing white men to vote democratic. Armed with rifles, pistols and threatening to destroy entire cities, the 1898 election restored power back to the Democrats.
And on November 10, 1898 led by Col. Alfred Moore Waddell who had previously promised to 'choke the Cape Fear river with black bodies', the 'Red Shirt' militia stormed into Wilmington, NC forcing black people from their businesses and homes by force and killing as many as 90. Black doctors, carpenters, attorneys, newspaper owners forced out, banished and killed. The mayor along with the police chief, forced out. White progressives chased out and banished from the city. A real life coup d'etat.
A few days later Col. Weddell was sworn in as mayor. Two years later Charles B. Aycock becomes governor.
And then came the grandfather clause and poll tax initiatives, successfully disenfranchising black voters until the 1960s.
As I reflect upon the past year's political conundrums, I can't help but reflect upon Wilmington being so eerily familiar.
#neverforget #fcharlesbaycockandhisbirthplace #bhm #theystilltakingfieldtrips #ornah