the wilmington race riots 1898 by shy liddell melisa hanks l.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
The Wilmington Race Riots 1898 by Shy Liddell Melisa Hanks PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
The Wilmington Race Riots 1898 by Shy Liddell Melisa Hanks

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 29

The Wilmington Race Riots 1898 by Shy Liddell Melisa Hanks - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

The Wilmington Race Riots 1898 by Shy Liddell Melisa Hanks. The Wilmington Race Riot was the result of the 1898 white supremacy campaign instituted by the Democratic Party. Democrats fueled racial hatred and promised violence to win the election. Facts about Post Reconstruction North Carolina.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'The Wilmington Race Riots 1898 by Shy Liddell Melisa Hanks' - paul

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
the wilmington race riots 1898 by shy liddell melisa hanks

The Wilmington Race Riots 1898by Shy LiddellMelisa Hanks

The Wilmington Race Riot was the result of the 1898 white supremacy campaign instituted by the Democratic Party. Democrats fueled racial hatred and promised violence to win the election.

facts about post reconstruction north carolina
Facts about Post Reconstruction North Carolina
  • Reconstruction lasted in North Carolina from 1865-1870.
  • The Freedman’s Bureau continued operations until 1876.
  • Over 50% of the population in Eastern North Carolina was Black,

uneducated and non-property owners.

  • Whites dominated the state both economically and politically.


By the 1870s and 1880s the Black vote was becoming increasing important and many Black Republicans were elected to offices including the State Legislature and Congress.


Wilmington by the 1890s

  • Wilmington was the largest city in North Carolina with a population in 1898 of 20,055.
  • 11324=Black
  • 8731=White

Wilmington and surrounding counties

  • The city was racially integrated in residential areas, but there was still inequality socially, economically, and educationally.
wilmington by the 1890s
Wilmington by the 1890s

...was a prosperous port despite the fact that the economic center had began shifting from the coast toward the Piedmont Region.

Ferry at Water Street

Across fromtown at foot of Mulberry

South side Market

between Front and Second

the black mecca progress for freedmen
The “Black Mecca”Progress for Freedmen

Wilmington was regarded as a "Black Mecca" by some--a fact that some white working men resented and white business leaders saw as dangerous.

Black literacy in North Carolina rose dramatically from virtual total illiteracy to 2/3 that of whites. Black literacy in Wilmington was the highest in the state.

African Americans worked as skilled craftsmen along the river front, owned businesses, and held positions in local government.

However, many African Americans were unemployed or worked only in low-wage, seasonal labor, and black businesses were primarily service operations, which were not integrated into the white financial and business structure.

wilmington s african american community
Wilmington's African–American Community

Religion played an important part in education and charitable


Gregory Normal Institute

St. Luke's AME Zion Church

African Americans from a wide range of backgrounds were able to manage their own businesses and buy homes throughout the city such as these Skilled cotton compress workers pictured here in 1897.

1890s political leaders the fusionists
1890s Political LeadersThe Fusionists

Politics of the 1890s revolved around attempts by Republicans and Populists to “fuse” their voters to defeat Democrats.

John Campbell Dancy


George P. White

Mayor Silas P. Wright

“Fusion” was successful and by 1898 the alliance, composed of the largely black Republican party and the white Populist party swept North Carolina politics by storm.

fusion success in the 1890s
Fusion Success in the 1890s
  • 1894 Fusionists achieved victory in the state elections.
  • 1896 won control both of the legislature and the governorship

appointing Wilmington native, Daniel Russell to the seat.

  • Made amendments to the North Carolina state constitution:

more democratic government

expansion of voter registration

elect a municipal government

The new municipal government included:

four blacks among the city's ten aldermen

thirteen officers among the city's thirty policemen

and blacks in other city offices as well.

  • 1897 the NC Supreme Court decided in favor of the Fusionists

during a legally contested election and Republican Silas P.

Wright became mayor.

1890s political leaders the democrats
1890s Political LeadersThe Democrats

The 1898 election was viewed by Democrats as pivotal to regaining control of state legislature; a key part of a gradual process to reclaim control of the state and reverse laws created by Fusionists to make government more equitable.

Col. Walker Taylor

Hugh MacRae

Col. Alfred Waddell

The 1898 campaign was the most organized Democratic Party election campaign up until that time.

white supremacists campaign
White Supremacists Campaign

The Democratic Party machine use printed media, speechmaking and intimidation to achieve victory at all costs.

1892 Cartoon urges

White voters to fear

Black voters.

August 1898

Raleigh News and Observer

October 1898

Raleigh News and Observer

intimidation white government unions
IntimidationWhite Government Unions

"the Secret Nine"- Hugh MacRae and eight other Democrats formed this group to organize a seizure of the city government by violent means after the state elections in the fall. This group maintained close contact with the statewide Democrat white supremacist campaign.

"the Group of Six" - This group was formed by Col. Walker Taylor. These men secretly organized to deliver victory to the Democrats in the fall county and state elections.

intimidation red shirts
IntimidationRed Shirts

The first Red Shirts, a paramilitary group, appeared in North Carolina in the fall of 1898 and, by Election Day, the organization boasted membership in several eastern counties, including a strong contingent in New Hanover.

Red Shirts, such as these men from Laurinburg, held day-long rallies in which they rode through African American communities with their guns in plain sight.

fuel for the fire alex manly
Fuel for the FireAlex Manly

In August, 1898, Manly printed an editorial in response to a speech given by Mrs. Rebecca Felton, the wife of a Georgia congressman and a leading women's rights advocate in the South.

Manly addressed her remarks and the editorial was reprinted within days in every white newspaper in the state, and in many newspapers throughout the South calling it

“an attack on White Christian Womanhood.”

The illegitimate grandson of Charles Manly, NC governor (1849-51), Alex was the mulatto editor of the Wilmington Record – the city’s only African American newspaper.

final politics
Final Politics

The day before the election, Democrats held a rally at Thalian Hall in which Alfred Moore Waddell gave a speech that demonstrated his party’s determination:

  • You are White Americans.
  • You are armed and prepared, and you will do your duty. Be ready at a moment’s notice.
  • Go to the polls tomorrow, and if you find the Negro out voting, tell him to leave the polls and if he refuses kill, shoot him down in his tracks.
  • We shall win tomorrow if we have to do it with guns”
  • Alfred Moore Waddell November 7, 1898
election day
Election Day
  • Democrats won most of their contests across the state with large majorities.
  • Victory was the result of low Republican and Populist turnout and higher than normal Democratic voting.
  • The day was peaceful with only a few incidents of unrest.
  • In Wilmington, ballot counting was undisturbed in most city precincts but one polling place in the African American community was “stormed” by whites who stuffed the ballot boxes when lights were extinguished.
november 9 1898 preamble to the white declaration of independence
November 9, 1898Preamble to the White Declaration of Independence

Rejuvenated by victory, whites met at the courthouse the day after the election to place a series of demands on the African American community.

“We, the undersigned citizens of the City of Wilmington and County of New Hanover, do hereby declare that we will no longer be ruled, and will never again be ruled by men of African origin.”


Four hundred and fifty four men signed

"The White Declaration of Independence"

Declaring that they represented the sentiment of the white people of the county, they proclaimed that Alexander Manly had to leave the city and the Record cease to be published, and that the Fusionist municipal government led by Mayor Wright and Chief of Police John Melton had to resign.

The Wilmington Messenger, November 14, 1898, with the "Declaration" and 454 signatories to it.

committee of colored citizens
Committee of Colored Citizens

On the evening of November 9, 1898...

The declaration and ultimatum was delivered to the Colored Committee, made up of twenty five black leaders, who were given until 8:30 the next morning to reply.

The black leadership agreed to these demands, but the message was not delivered back to Col. Waddell's home in time the next day.

wilmington light infantry
Wilmington Light Infantry

Waddell had scheduled a meeting with whites at the Wilmington Light Infantry Armory the next morning. At the meeting it was anticipated that he would receive the response by 8:30 from the Committee of Colored Citizens. However, their response had not arrived by 9:30 and Waddell made use of the crowd’s furor -- leading a procession of men to Manly’s press building.

destruction of manly s press
Destruction of Manly’s Press

After the press was destroyed, a group of men paused for a news photographer in front of the building. Most of the men then returned to the Armory but some returned to their neighborhood across town by trolley.

hell broke loose
“Hell Broke Loose”

According to one native Wilmington historian, “Hell Broke Loose” around 11:00 am near the intersection of Fourth and Harnett Streets in the predominantly African American Brooklyn community. After the first shots were fired at this intersection, several black men lay dead or wounded.

After the first shots were fired, a “running firefight” erupted in the streets with armed men of both races rushing to the scene.

manhattan park
Manhattan Park

Before the Wilmington Light Infantry could contain all of the violence, shots rang out around Manhattan Park deep in the African American community. At least two African American men died as a result of the action around Manhattan Park.

A fence had surrounded Manhattan Park but was “mowed down” by rifle fire. The day after the riot, one white participant wrote his future wife that he wanted to take her to see the “battle-scarred” trees and buildings in Brooklyn when she returned to the city.

coup d etat
Coup d’etat
  • Even as gunshots echoed through the city, Waddell and other leaders sought the resignations of Wilmington’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen at 4:00 in the afternoon.
  • Waddell was then “elected” mayor by a new Board of Aldermen who had been hand-picked by leading Democrats to run the city.
  • Not long after Waddell assumed power, all black employees or appointed officers were fired or replaced.
banishment campaign
Banishment Campaign
  • Another aspect of the riot was that prominent African Americans – economic, religious and political leaders – were arrested, jailed overnight and banished from the city.
  • These men were promised that returning to their homes, families and businesses would result in physical harm and/or death.
  • This photo shows the banishment of African American leaders being marched to the train station on November 11.
aftermath jim crow alive and well
Aftermath – Jim Crow Alive and Well
  • Burial of the Dead
    • Actual numbers of dead and wounded have never been tallied and, due to inconclusive evidence, a definitive figure may never be determined.
  • Exodus
    • During the riot and immediately afterward, scores of African Americans left the city to find less hostile homes for their families and businesses.
  • Changes in workforce
    • African Americans who remained or moved to Wilmington faced harsh racism and a reduction in pay as they accepted lower paying jobs.
  • Suffrage Amendment (1900)
    • Democrats won the Governor’s office in 1900 using election campaign tactics similar to those of 1898. In 1900 Democrats were able to pass a Suffrage Amendment to the state Constitution that virtually eliminated African American voting rights and perpetuated segregation that lasted until the Civil Rights movements of the 1950’s and 60’s.
  • Wilmington "riot" offered a very different kind of model to the South.
  • The Wilmington riot and coup, precisely because it was carried out as the overthrow of what was perceived as the "black" government, marked the beginning of the Era of Segregation in North Carolina.
  • The decision of President McKinley to avoid confrontation and of the Wilmington insurrection have yet to be fully appreciated. Just as the Supreme Court decision in the Plessey case of 1896 contributed, as a legal precedent, to the spread of "separate but equal" Jim Crow laws throughout the South, so the Wilmington Revolution of 1898 and its acceptance by the federal government contributed, as a political precedent, to the spread of violence to end black civil and political rights throughout the South.
as an aside
As an Aside...

There is an oral tradition that while they were fleeing, the Manly's were stopped at a checkpoint, assumed to be white, given a rifle, and told to "be on the lookout for that “n”(word) editor Manly."

Wouldn’t that be funny if that

Were really true?

Alex and Frank Manly prepare to flee