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Official 1898 Report Released

By Catherine M. Welch

Wilmington, NC – The Wilmington Race Riot Commission released its official report in Raleigh.

Described as an indictment of North Carolina government, the nearly 500-page report chronicles the violent overthrow of Wilmington's elected black government on November 10th 1898.

The report came with more than a dozen recommendations including one to teach 1898 in North Carolina schools.

New Hanover County democrat Representative Thomas Wright chairs the commission. He says he doesn't think the general assembly will move on that recommendation until the next session.

Because you want to give people time to review it, digest it, ask questions and then maybe some members themselves may decide to come up with more creative ideas how we can address this issue. So I look forward to next session

Other recommendations include producing a documentary and erecting monuments and markers in key locations around Wilmington.

Compensation Recommended

The report dispels a myth that black landowners lost their property following the coup d'etat, but confirms that irreparable damage was not only done to Wilmington's black community but black residents across the state.

Irving Joyner is Vice Chair of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission. He calls the recommendation to compensate heirs of victims a token for the blood, sweat and tears of a black community that never recovered.

We're looking for specific efforts generated by the general assembly that can help to repair some of the wounds. And some of the people would call that reparations, I would call that affirmative action.

Joyner says it's up to others to decide what the compensation would be and who would pay it.

The report and recommendations will be given to lawmakers who will decide whether to take up the recommendations in the next session.

You can find Librarian Beverly Tetterton talking about discovering the photo on the report's cover at our public arts page.