The City of Wilmington has named November 10th 1898 Day. It was 120 years ago that a white mob seized local government, murdered an unknown number of people, and burned down the only black-owned daily newspaper.
People can now read the seven surviving issues of the Daily Record online on the NC Digital Heritage Center. They’ve been available on that site since last year.
It was three weeks before the coup d’état that Alex Manly, the African American publisher, put out an editorial seeking to quell rumors of an impending white uprising.
Cash Michaels, a prominent black journalist, reads an excerpt:
"Those willing to shoot or kill, surely they would stop long enough to think who it is that they would thus murder. If Wilmington was the half civilized town some try to make it appear to be, there might be indeed danger, but such is not the case."
Scholars debate whether Manly wrote the editorial. But the piece was wrong. Just 21 days later, the white mob burned down the building that housed the Daily Record, drove elected officials from office, and citizens from their homes. The death toll is still unknown. A Candlelight Vigil to commemorate the coup takes place at the 1898 Monument and Memorial Park on Saturday at noon.
Editor's Note: Copies of the Daily Record have been housed at the Cape Fear Museum in an archived system in the basement since the 1980s. Officials say they have not publicized the existence of these copies, but they have been available to the public, upon request. According to the museum website, the newspaper was too large for the museum’s scanner. In 2017, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Joel Finsel, and local public school students along with UNCW students researching the coup learned that the Museum held these hard copies. It was this research project that brought the copies to the NC Digital Heritage Center at UNC where they are now available online. Cape Fear Museum is an underwriter for WHQR Public Media.