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When white supremacists overthrew a government


For a long time, if you went to the library
in Wilmington, North Carolina, there was one thing you weren’t allowed to research. “We were refused. We were rejected by the librarian.” “When I asked about or inquired about 1898
they wanted to know why.” “I was told that yes they had something
but they kept it under lock and key.” The story of Wilmington in 1898 still isn’t
widely known. “What happened here — on what’s now
just this empty patch of grass would radically change racial politics in North Carolina. This is the story of an American election, but
also of something we don’t usually find in American history. The violent overthrow of a democratically
elected government. In the late 1800s, Wilmington, North Carolina
was the state’s largest city. It had a majority black population, and historians
today describe it as a rarity in the post-Civil War American South. “Wilmington prior to November, 1898, was
what the New South could be at the cusp of the 20th century.” “There was an unusual degree of black prosperity.” In Wilmington there were successful black
entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers — but also black elected officials. And for a time, that was true throughout the
State. Take a look at the politicians on this poster
of the 1889 North Carolina House of Representatives. Here at the bottom — are black Republican
representatives — some from Wilmington. North Carolina also sent four black Republicans
to the US Congress between 1875 and 1899. The Democratic and Republican parties of 1898
in many ways occupied opposite parts of the political spectrum than they do today. “Most African-Americans were voting for
the Republican Party. And the Democratic Party was white voters
almost exclusively. White supremacy was the central focus of the
platform for the Democratic Party.” Republicans in North Carolina were successful
in part because of a 3rd party called the “Populist” party, made up of mostly white
farmers fed up with the tough economic times. North Carolina Populists joined up with Republicans
to form what they called the Fusion Party. And in the elections of 1894 and 1896, the
Fusion party defeated the Democrats in sweeping victories statewide. That meant North Carolina now had a government
that shared power between black and white politicians, including a newly elected Republican
governor. Together, they moved towards reforms that
would favor black Americans and working-class whites. “This was something that the Democratic
Party folks were simply not going to accept.” A multiracial government wasn’t just a disappointment
for Democrats. It was more like a humiliation. They needed a plan to take back control of
the state in the next election. So party leaders, like Furnifold Simmons,
future US Senator; Charles Aycock, future North Carolina Governor; and this man, Alfred
Moore Wadell, came up with one: To beat the Fusion Party by luring white Populist
voters away from their alliance with Black voters. Wilmington, with a large black population
and a local Fusion government in power — would be a focus of their campaign. The state Democratic state party handbook
for 1898 laid out their goal: consolidate the white vote by stoking white anger and
resentment. It said: “this is a white man’s country
and white men must control and govern it.” Their most effective tool was the media. One of North Carolina’s biggest newspapers
was a Democratic Party mouthpiece. It ran racist political cartoons throughout
1898. “Not everybody was literate in 1898. But to see a political cartoon of the type
that  ran you may not be able to read it but you know exactly what it means.” Many of the cartoons were centered on the
threat of “Negro domination”…even though the Fusion government was mostly white. They also played up another fear. “Black men threatening white women became
a theme. White men need to do all that they can to
protect white womanhood.” This was all part of North Carolina democratic
strategy, but it echoed the national racist rhetoric of the time. In one speech that Democrats printed in a
Wilmington paper — a prominent Georgia writer named Rebecca Felton said: “If it takes lynching a black man a day
to protect white womanhood ‘I say lynch”. Her speech prompted a Wilmington black man
named Alex Manly, owner of the black-run, Daily Record newspaper, to respond with
a column. He made a simple observation, that at the
time, was shocking. “That white women who had liaisons with
black men did so voluntarily and enthusiastically.” Manly wrote “Every Negro lynched is called
a “big burly, black brute”, when in fact many were sufficiently attractive for white
girls to fall in love with them.” “Manly pretty much said in a nutshell: sometimes
white women choose to be with black men.” Manly’s editorial became another tool for
Democrats. Newspapers reprinted it, called it “A Horrid
Slander”, and ran comments about it on a daily basis. It was just a few months before the election,
and white voters were angry. “By the time the election rolls around on
November 8th black voters, Republican voters had been thoroughly intimidated here.” By all accounts, the elections of 1898 were
a sham. The Democratic party had a paramilitary group
called the Red Shirts. They attacked and blocked black residents
from voting. At a rally just before the election, Alfred
Moore Waddell provoked the crowds. He said “negro office-holding ought at once,
and forever be brought to an end. Even if we have to choke the current of the
Cape Fear River with carcasses.” The votes were counted, and the Democrats
won. “Democratic candidates won every seat they
had a candidate up for election in.” But some local Fusionist politicians remained
in power, because their seats hadn’t been up for re-election like the white Republican
mayor and the board of aldermen. And and of course the election did nothing
to undo the economic power black folks held in the city. The Democrats had won the election, but their
goal of total white supremacist control remained out of reach. “And so they engineered what was essentially
a coup d’etat.” The day after the election, at a gathering
for white men in Wilmington, the Democrats unveiled a document they called the “White
Declaration of Independence.” It contained an ultimatum. Cynthia Brown, whose descendants were in Wilmington
back in 1898, is a historian at her church, where there’s a preserved copy of the declaration
from the next day’s newspaper. “We will no longer be ruled and will never
again be ruled by men of African origin.” They would strip black men of voting rights. They would give “white men a large part
of the employment heretofore given to” black men. And as for Alex Manly… “We demand that he leave this City forever
within twenty-four hours.” The next morning, hundreds of white men marched to the offices of the Daily Record. Manly was gone — he had fled to save his
own life. They set the Daily Record building on fire. This is where it once stood. “Once the White leadership destroyed Alex
Manly’s printing press they destroyed one way in which the African-American community
in Wilmington could organize itself and keep itself informed.” At City Hall — the mayor and board of aldermen
were forced out. “There’s two hundred armed men in City Hall
at the time. They didn’t do it of their own free will and
as they resigned a new member selected by the Democratic Party was voted into office.” Waddell — who once threatened to fill the
Cape Fear River with black bodies — was the new mayor of Wilmington. Meanwhile, the mob had grown to about 2,000
men, and the violence spilled into the streets. In these photos, exes mark where the first
black residents were killed. “The stories are that they were dumped into
the river. And there are varying stories about how many
people were killed.” “To me, I see 40 to 60 clearly as fatalities
as a result of the violence. But I think it was higher.” Many black residents hid for days in the swamps,
and the wooded cemeteries in the city — including Cynthia’s great grandmother. And thousands of other residents fled Wilmington,
never to return. Shortly afterward, democrats printed booklets
celebrating a glorious victory…and in the newspapers, depicted black residents as the
instigators. “This image is a gross misrepresentation
of what actually happened. You know what you see are black men with guns
not white men with machine guns.” The city never regained its black majority
population. Jim Crow laws, like literacy tests and poll
taxes that prevented black people from voting were immediately enacted and Wilmington’s
spirit of black opportunity was crushed. Black political representation in the state
was over. It would be 90 years until North Carolina
elected its next black Congress member. “Wilmington did a really great job of covering
up a very dark past for a very long time.” “Over the years, the textbooks on North
Carolina’s state history have struggled to accurately describe what happened in 1898. This book from 1933 calls what happened “unfortunate
for both races.” And this one from 1978 doesn’t have that
much more detail. But they both praise Charles Aycock, one of
the perpetrators of the riot, as a man with ‘a kind heart’ and that in fact he was
one of ‘the best friends that the colored people had in the state.’ It’s a legacy that North Carolina has yet
to fully undo. The names of the perpetrators are on Wilmington’s
school buildings and city parks. But the legacy is also bigger than those names. Turn on the news, and the state’s long history
of political suppression echoes. “We turn to a strict new voter ID law in
North Carolina.” “Racially gerrymandering and a push for
new voting maps.” “The court says the Republican-led legislature
redrew Congressional districts along racial lines, violating the Constitution.” “There is a tremendous amount of intimidation
that is still felt by the black community.” “It doesn’t have to be mass mayhem and violence
in the streets.” “The strategy shifts towards designing state
laws in such a way that you could exclude blacks from voter participation.” “The subliminal pursuit of continuing
the White declaration of independence.” “And if you don’t see it for what it really
is, it can happen all over again.”

Stephen Childs

100 Comments

  1. I'm so excited to share this series with you all! If you have an idea for a story that we should investigate for Missing Chapter, send it to us via this form! http://bit.ly/2RhjxMy

    And if you want some of our top tips for how associate producer Melissa Hirsch and I prep for field reported stories like this one, then check out our Video Lab extra coming Friday. You can sign up to join right here: http://bit.ly/vox-video-membership

    Cheers — Ranjani

  2. ‘When White Suprematists Overthrew the Government and Never Let It Go’
    That should be the name of this story.

  3. Every prosperous community and businesses we had….whitey destroyed because of hate and jealousy

  4. The more I learn the more I understand why African Americans are still so angry at a country that has never compensated or even acknowledge all the damage it inflicted and continues to inflict on African Americans. Sad how nothing changes.

  5. The Amerikkkan indoctrination system (aka the education system) won’t teach this 💯

  6. So the way the black man is treated today is women's fault I knew it 😒🇺🇸✊😠

  7. i would say white supremacy has been the aim since the first time whites got off the boat in beautiful black america.

  8. Very informal an too the point now it's time too put the truth on how it was still is an in a way want too go back too.. It's time too see who the real enemy is…. The "Lie". Then it's people who tell them.

  9. “…something we don’t usually find in American history, the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government.”

    Overthrowing democratically elected governments is commonplace throughout American history.

  10. Maybe the white must be cloned and genetically modified to resist problems…
    Its a good question how a lot of different race can get along.

  11. The White Declaration of Independence the White Declaration of Independence and White racist people complaining about people are speaking out about injustices to Black people

  12. I hate that they teach us in school that we're just descendants of slaves. Before my ancestors were bought to the horrible, disgusting country, they were in the mother land, had their own tribes, spoke their own language, and had their own beliefs of who the creator was. But they'll never teach you that in school. Why? Because they know we would begin to love our African roots and would want to go back to the Motherland.

  13. only, we werent called african american back then.. they hadnt decided that the dark skinned natives needed to be from africa yet

  14. all this means is that there are enough white people who know the true history of this country and yet continue to perpetuate that systemic racism

  15. They act like "white supremacy" didn't exist before this…this whole country was born from white supremacy ….thats why almost all native Americans where wiped out

  16. Boy let me go to a public library and they tell me I can't look at a book. I'm going to tear that place down.

  17. I absolutely think it's hilarious the fact that in the 1800s Republicans were Democrats and Democrats Republicans

  18. It never ceases to amaze me the level of depravity large groups of white people will collectively exercise to achieve a demonic agenda.

  19. My white ancestors in NC have participated in systemic racism, to deny it would make me complicit of its down-play and cover-up.

  20. black people from america are just that.. this has always been their lands and they have always been educated of the land there of for thousands of years. no such thing as indians.. only step kids of whitey..

  21. only foreigners think blacks are black cause they come from africa.. you dont know where the negroe race came from.. not even noah knows that..

  22. Can't believe blacks remained loyal to the party of hate, death and destruction. And they stayed asleep until Trump got into office and now a significant portion are awakening and leaving the plantation.

  23. Histories like this are the reason other countries don't want the AmeriKKKans meddling in their affairs. AND RIGHTLY SO!

  24. Be mindful that these same acts occurred in 30 other cities across the country between 1718-2014 by the same individuals and their offspring…

    Timeline: Race Riots-Massacres

    1718-1788- 60,000 criminals arrived from Great Britain and less then 100 years later, we had the British Colonies, hence why these people had no problem with killing the aborigines of the land.
    1906 Atlanta, Georgia
    1917 E. St. Louis
    1919. (Red Summer)Washington D.C.-Knoxville, Tennessee-Longview, Texas-Omaha, Nebraska..
    1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma
    1943 Detroit, Michigan
    1965 Watts, California
    1967 Newark, New Jersey
    1978 MOVE Philadelphia
    1991 Crown Heights, Brooklyn
    2014 Ferguson, Missouri

    A short list of events in which a totally different approach would have been taking if the victims of these communities were Europeans…

  25. When I lived in NC we used to go to the Charles B. Aycott farm every year…they never taught this part of his life.

  26. The WASPs in the North did the same to Irish Catholics. They even put the same kind of pictures in the newspapers

  27. Thank God for Social Media! Its a blessing to be alive in the information age.

  28. If they could have defended themselves whites all over amerikkka wouldn't have been able to do what they did

  29. There is little or no proof of what we are saying from that time period.
    But trust Us, we know the real story now…..
    Better than the people who actually lived at that time.

  30. As America becomes minority white by mid – century, most remaining whites will relocate to Europe, Australia or NZ by late century. I think this will be a good thing as many racial tensions and grievances will be eased.
    The number of Americans moving to Australia is currently quite high, and they are overwhelmingly white. This can only be a good thing for America, Australia and Europe.

  31. I grew up in Wilmington NC, and knew nothing about this until seeing this video. It saddens me that it took me becoming a man and doing my own research to start uncovering the truth about black history. I'm still uncovering more and more about my heritage to this day. This country just refuses to be honest about what happened to black people, learn from it and move forward. We're all the human race, let's act like it.

  32. Oh how things have changed now its republicans who are racist and supressing black votes.

  33. They would rather see the planet destroyed than to see us be a successful part of society. Still at it they always been "in control " out of hate and pure greed. Not news you can't tell us the history it's our every day story.

  34. Black folkz do not study their past history and still vote for fkn democrats.

  35. LETS REMEMBER BACK THEN THE MEANING OF DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN WERE SWITCHED WITH EACHOTHERER

  36. This story is one that should be added to our children's curriculum in history and also in government. If we don't remember, we're doomed to repeat this embarrassing history of a country that has the potential to be so much greater.

    Imagine if we were so united that everyone received help from our tax dollars instead of those who are already rich. We wouldn't be on the verge of losing our position as a world power or losing respect from our allies or fear from our enemies.

  37. Excuse me do you have any idea or why the white man is so angry why does he hate the black man so much perhaps all they are doing and have done it is no competition for what the black man has done to the white man do you want understand they were created this way they were made this way and now that the black man has created all the problems on the Earth we want to cry about slavery slavery is a joke Joker compared to what the black man has done to the whole Earth please do research yakub the big headed scientist which is my Assessor I am trying to correct this problem the only could be fixed who DNA tempering and manipulation up on the ley-lines thank you choke

  38. So bvb if a lynch modd form, don't pray to jesus, don't fear death, don't depend on government to assist you. Let this be a fair warning. Or you can look at what the justice system and police are doing today.

  39. This obviously was horrible, but voter I.D. laws now-a-days can't be compared to what happened back then. They are needed now.

  40. Vox:
    "This is the story of an American election, but also of something we don't usually find in American History, the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government."

    Democratically elected governments that have been overthrown by American throughout it's history:
    "…"

  41. They do what they do to try to stop Black Americans. Take for example gentrification. People continue to put sellout politicians in office who fear to bring up the fact that whole traditional Black communities are collapsing, due to the greed of those who are coming to this nation to worship the almighty dollar. Thank you for this video. The greedy success of some is callously stomping on the dreams of others who have been here for generations. The increase of the crowd is the increase in the competition for financial resources. Those of you who read the Bible should read 1 Kings 21. Thank you for this video. Again, may God bless ALL those who trust in Him and are peace-loving persons in search of, and willing to speak truth to power. Unless Black Americans have a gig of their own or are hired by White-owned businesses, do immigrants really have any desire to look out for Black America making a living? Youtube has so many documentaries on lions brawling with hyenas over the even less fortunate. Another thing comes to mind, due largely to abortions, Black Americans are the ONLY minority in America whose birth rate is actually falling. So, if the numbers of other minorities are rising, and Black America has a birth rate that is falling, you do the long term math. What happens next?

  42. Hold on….everything those so called "racists" said would happen, is happening. The animals are now the zoo keepers.

  43. I'm sure it was much worse than what is being described. This maddness is still happening to this day. Just not as much killing.

  44. Sometimes i try to think about how different things would be here ( Florida ) if the civil war never happened and there never was any slavary. I have trouble even imagining what exactly that would be like.

  45. Hyenas of this world. The erosive elements of the earth. And that's putting it mildly.

  46. Now that we know the truth, will there be any excuse? What do we do now? This same game has been played so long. While Russia takes over the Republican party. The game is now International.

  47. If they can't profit from our black bodies, they'd rather destroy us. Painting themselves as the victim is ALWAYS the move. Great video, thanks for the education we were never supposed to be taught.

  48. What a stirring sight of American democratic values, freedom of speech, and upstanding social norms. The third world has much to learn and a long way to go to meet the standard set by the "leaders of the Free world". This is exactly the freedom we former colonies should aspire to.

  49. Keep telling people the racist folks that were Democrats left the party and moved over to the Republican party. That's why the Republican party is over 90% majority white European Americans.

  50. I grew up in North Carolina, This paints things as Much darker than I realized. I went on field trips to the Charles B. Aycock historic site many times, and The News and Observer is the States major news paper still.
    We definitely weren't taught the dark histories of these things.

  51. In spite of all thoses story peoples like Ben Shapiro keep on saying America is not racist antisémite yes but not racist

  52. Can you please make a video about how you research for a topic and then make a video essay?

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