Wilmington and the 1898 Mentality
The introduction situates the Wilmington Ten events in the long history of racial violence and subordination in North Carolina. The 1898 Wilmington Race Riot was engineered by the state’s white elites and led to the slaughter of hundreds of blacks, the overthrow of the city’s legally-elected, black-led government, and the disfranchisement of blacks in the state. A long-term consequence of the riot was the development of a defeatism that stifled blacks’ political expression: the “1898 mentality.” Fear of violent retaliation was the bedrock on which North Carolina’s progressive mystique of “polite” racial paternalism and “civilities” was built. The boycott and uprising of 1971 snapped the political somnolence and fear that saturated African Americans in Wilmington.
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