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The Wilmington TenViolence, Injustice, and the Rise of Black Politics in the 1970s$
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Kenneth Robert Janken

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469624839

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469624839.001.0001

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They’re Taking Our Boys Away to Prison

They’re Taking Our Boys Away to Prison

(p.69) Chapter 3 They’re Taking Our Boys Away to Prison
The Wilmington Ten

Kenneth Robert Janken

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines North Carolina’s and the federal government’s harassment and disruption of the Black Freedom Struggle in Wilmington culminating in the frame-up and trial of the Wilmington Ten. The particulars of the authorities’ harassment of Ben Chavis, such as ensnaring him in serial and baseless arrests and legal proceedings; the actions of the prosecution in soliciting perjured testimony and illegally excluding blacks from the jury; and the active assistance of the North Carolina judiciary in all aspects of the legal charade are discussed and placed in the context of COINTELPRO and the strategy of repression through the legal system. Despite the outstanding lawyering of Wilmington Ten attorney James Ferguson II, who exposed the lies under oath told by the main prosecution witness Allen Hall, the Wilmington Ten were convicted and sentenced to a total of 282 years in prison.

Keywords:   Ben Chavis, Wilmington Ten, Perjured testimony, COINTELPRO, Black Freedom Struggle, Frame-up, Allen Hall, James Ferguson II

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