On November 10, 1898, an angry white mob, led by prominent Wilmingtonians like Alfred Moore Waddell, Hugh MacRae, George Rountree, and J. Allen Taylor, are believed to have murdered anywhere from a dozen to 300 people. These white supremacists forcefully removed black politicians from power, and countless numbers of black business owners and residents fled.
At the time, Wilmington, North Carolina’s population was majority black and a mecca for African American advancement during post Reconstruction. Some three out of 10 members of the Board of Alderman were black, John C. Dancy was the collector of customs at Wilmington’s port, blacks owned 91% of the City’s restaurants and were over 30% of the area’s skilled craftsmen. Alex and Frank Manly owned one of the only black newspapers in America.
This is WHQR’s resource and video page for the only documented coup d’état in American history. The 1898 coup is physically commemorated through a 2008 memorial on North 3rd Street in Downtown Wilmington. However one could argue the significance of the event has not reached the collective consciousness of most Americans. Through our page, “Understanding 1898: America’s only Coup d’état”, we hope to advance the conversation about this seminal American tragedy.
Below are comments from Wilmingtonian's on the topic of the events of 1898, and what it means in the 21st century.
Community Activist Hollis Briggs, Jr. discusses the shadow of 1898 over the Wilmington of today. He's standing at the former site of the Daily Record newspaper, which was burned to the ground in 1898. Are we still living under that shadow?
UNCW Professor Philip Gerard, the author of "Cape Fear Rising" discusses Wilmington's Cotton Exchange, and its role, during 1898.
Community Activist, writer and poet Delthea Simmons is asked if she finds Wilmington a racist city, and how one might work to get past that.
Hollis Briggs, Jr. talks about the election of 1898, and what it meant for the city.
Local business owner and historian Gwenyfar Rohler stands at the site of the Daily Record newspaper, and points out that the Wilmington Journal is 100 feet down the street.
Philip Gerard in Thalian Hall explains the role Alfred Moore Waddell played in 1898. Waddell gave a speech in Thalian Hall, just days before the coup.
Philip Gerard continues his description of Waddell's speech at Thalian Hall in 1898.
Delthea Simmons talks about race and education, and getting over the fear.
Hollis Briggs, Jr. offers his comments on what Wilmington, and the Cape Fear Region, can do for the economy and the underserved population of the area.
ADDITIONAL WHQR 1898 STORIES AND INTERVIEWS: