Revolutions in Wilmington
[1898 and after]
In 1898, White Supremacists seized power in the beautiful port of Wilmington North Carolina. They
burned the town's Black newspaper -believed to be the only Black daily in the South-after it challenged the justice of lynch-law for Black "rapists." The plotters exiled the mayor and many officials, killed a number of African Americans and drove thousands out of town in the only coup d’etat in U.S. history.
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While the U.S. government looked away, southern states limited voting to white men. Black and White novelists wrote of heroism and tragedy; and a curtain of silence came down. Seventy-three years later Wilmingtonians were haunted by several weeks racial of violence, but it took a century for them to look back at what they'd become in the state of Jesse Helms.
Democracy’s Denial uses oral histories and documented eyewitness accounts to explore Wilmington's story in economic, political and sexual context, including the memoirs of at least four participants in the events of 1898, read by their direct descendants. It looks at the town's struggle to repair its battered sense of community through public forums and partnerships, and raise questions about what happened, why and how it affects us today.
Production was supported by the Southern Humanities Media Fund, the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
WE RECOMMEND THESE SEGMENTS FOR TOPICAL DISCUSSIONS ON:
- Politics, power and propaganda: 2,3,4
- Social and sexual relations and race:3,4,8
- Democracy in action: 5,6,7,9
- The uses of history: remembrance and reconciliation 8,12,13
- Media: 2,3,4,8
- Law and government: 1,9
See FORUMS for more discussion-prompts and two actual discussions facilitated by Listening Between the Lines and public/community radio station WHQR.