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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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Alliances and Adversity

Alliances and Adversity

(p.105) Chapter 4 Alliances and Adversity
The Wilmington Ten

Kenneth Robert Janken

University of North Carolina Press

Following the guilty verdict in the trial of the Wilmington Ten, a broad based movement developed in North Carolina, the larger United States, and the world to overturn the convictions on appeal and set them free. The movement to free the Wilmington Ten in all its phases developed along multiple independent but intersecting paths. How interested parties along these paths, like the United Church of Christ, the Commission for Racial Justice, the National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression organized themselves and cooperated and competed tells us much about the African American political landscape in the 1970s. From community-, school-, and church-based associations to political parties built on leftist and nationalist lines to the quickening of a stratum of black elected officials, the manners in which the campaigns to free the Wilmington Ten unfolded reveal the ways power was accrued and spent and lost. This chapter discloses the efforts of many organizations in the movement to bring the Wilmington Ten before an international audience to pressure the United States government to free the Ten. The chapter also discusses the Wilmington Ten’s continuing legal appeal, which continued to bring to light evidence of prosecutorial and government misconduct.

Keywords:   United Church of Christ, Commission for Racial Justice, National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression, Wilmington Ten, prosecutorial misconduct, government misconduct

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