Chapter one narrates and contextualizes the Wilmington school boycott and subsequent uprising. The students’ dissatisfaction with the formally desegregated school system in New Hanover County presents an apparent conundrum that the chapter seeks to resolve: why black students in a southern city toward the end of the civil rights movement, whose principal aim was inclusion, protested the integration of the school system. And it explores whether the boycott and attending advocacy of Black Power and self-defense broke faith with the past history of civil rights activity. The chapter concludes that the contradiction is more apparent than real. Contrary to national lore, whose stamina in the face of decades of mounting research is stunning, there was no clean separation between advocates of nonviolence and advocates of armed self-defense. Rather, there was substantial interchange between proponents of both approaches.
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