Friday, June 02, 2006

1898 Wilmington Race Riots

The final report of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission was released at a press conference on Wednesday. The nearly 500-page document includes newly discovered pictures not in the December 2005 draft report. To view the entire report, go to:

The November 10,1898 attack in Wilmington, the Commission reported, was not a riot, but was a planned effort by white supremacists to overthrow government officials in New Hanover County at gunpoint — making it the only recorded government overthrow in U.S. history. Most notable among these images is a view of the mob in front of the black-owned newspaper office, which had been destroyed by fire.

The report also examined the economic impact of the riot on Wilmington’s African-American community. It reveals blacks lost positions in government, in professional arenas and as skilled artisans. Black businesses and workers suffered economic decline, though no evidence of widespread seizure of black-owned property was found.

The Commission concluded that North Carolina should provide economic and social compensation to the victims. Recommendations also include that the parties responsible for the violence atone for their own involvement and that the true story of the incident be taught in North Carolina schools.

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