On This Day In 1898: The Wilmington Insurrection

Wilmington Race Riot 1898The Wilmington race riot of 1898 is also historically known as the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, and the Wilmington Coup d’etat of 1898. This incident is reportedly the only instance of and attempted coup d’etat in the history of the United States.

On November 10, 1898, members of the Democratic Party attempted to overthrow elected officials in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Democratic Party members were purportedly angered that the Wilmington city council included elected officials who were African American. Therefore, they sought to oust the government officials.

During the racist riot, a group of 2,000 white people attacked the African American residents of Wilmington, killing dozens. The rampaging group destroyed neighborhoods and burned down the headquarters for the Daily Record, the only black newspaper in North Carolina.

While this savage attack went on, President William McKinley refused to send aid to the victims and residents who appealed to him. His reason for his dereliction of duty was that the governor had not requested his help.

In the aftermath of the riot, Wikipedia states: “More than 2,100 blacks left the city permanently, having to abandon their businesses and properties, turning it from a black-majority to a white-majority city.”

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