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tv   David Zucchino Wilmingtons Lie  CSPAN  June 19, 2021 6:59pm-8:01pm EDT

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american history tv here on c-span 3 david zucchino won the 2021 pulitzer prize in general nonfiction for his book wilmington's lie the murderous coup of 1898 and the rise of white supremacy in this program recorded in 2020. he details how more than 2,000 white supremacists rioted through wilmington, north carolina on november 10th 1898 resulting in the deaths of 60 black men and the displacement of hundreds of african-american families. good evening. i welcome to quail ridge books. it is my honor to introduce to you jim jenkins who was an editor editorial writer and columnist on the editorial page of the news and observer for 31 years. he will introduce our special guest. please me welcome jim jenkins
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come on up luke. in 1973. i saw him first. across a loud profane filthy newsroom in downtown raleigh he's right out of school. i was still in school. i'd like to cross and i said to someone who's that? well, that's david zucchino. he's going to be the star here. he had long dark hair. over his shoulders thick jet black mustache it was a long time ago. david is a grad of the unc journalism school and a member now the journalism hall of fame.
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in raleigh, he became famous. very quickly in the newsroom when a new young editor came in and sent out a memo to the reporting staff. saying each reporter will submit to his editor every morning and itinerary. for his plans for the day. david even then. impossible to tame sat down at the old manual typewriter. it's a legendary story many of the people. who were there remember it. said what i will do today. by david zucchino 10 15 try to sneak in a little late. 1040 get a sun drop. 11 start talking about where to go to lunch. he's writing all this down. we went to poole's diner yesterday, but the blue plate special went over four dollars.
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so today we may go to the mecca. all written down young editor goes crazy goes into the office of claude sitting the very severe serious editor who'd been to new york times. waving the memo waving the zacchino memo we can't have this kind of insubordination. since i sit down sitting looks and got a pipe. well i gotta be honest with you. he's one of the best young reporters i've ever seen. in fact, he may be the best i've ever seen. and i did work for the new york times. so if we got to fire him. or we got to fire you. better start packing luke was in raleigh how long so five years in raleigh then it was on
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quickly up the ladder. uh, philadelphia los angeles all this is a foreign correspondent, which he's been a contract correspondent for the new york times now on kabul he has been under fire. he has been underwater. um it has been quite a career. and you know the late jimmy breslin once said of mike royko. the chicago paper when they were doing a sum of roykos columns. and they were trying to get flat fluoride quotes and everything breslin said he's the best isn't he? that's all he said. and that's what they say about david zucchino. but thank you jim for those stories. well, it's true. absolutely. all right. well thank everybody for coming out tonight. i really appreciate your
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interest in the book. i'd like to ask how many people have been watching the impeachment hearings? and i think they're still going so do i hear a motion to call this whole thing off? we'll go to a bar and turn on the tv and watch impeachment no motion. okay. all right. i usually like to start off by asking people how many of you were aware of the wilmington coup or massacre, whatever you want to call it before you came across this book. all right. so most of you i have to admit i hadn't heard about this until about 20 years ago. and i went to high school and college in, north carolina. never heard about it. never heard about it in history class from any history teacher. when i went to unc many many years ago. i was assigned to morrison dorm. maybe some of you also lived in mortensen door. i had no idea who morrison was. i knew he was a governor. that's all i knew about him and
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then years later when i'm researching this book. i find out he's one of the leading speakers on the white supremacy campaign. that's the subject of this book in 1898. when i was in school. i went to keenan stadium to watch football games. i didn't know who keenan was and really didn't care but years later. as i'm researching this book, i turns out he's a character in my book as well. he was a member of one of the machine gun crews that went through town searching out black men to kill after i left school as jim told you i went to the news and observer. whose founding publisher was josephus daniels? who was revered at the paper there were tribute to him all around the newsroom? nobody ever mentioned that he was the almost the leader of the white supremacy campaign and led the propaganda campaign during
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1898. i had no idea until i started researching this book. i found out recently that the student stores at chapel hill are named the zucchi josephus daniels student stores. i had no idea and i bring in it's one of 30 buildings. i'm told by the daily tar heel on the campus that are named after white supremacists many of them who were active in the white supremacy movement of 1898. and i bring all this up just to make the point that this book isn't really ancient history. it's it's right now. i mean it's about right now the legacy of this book is all over the state. it's all over chapel hill. some people who've managed to read the book. i asked them their impressions and they usually have two questions. first is how did i not know about this? and the second is how could this happen in the united states of america? the only thing i can tell him is that this is a forgotten chapter
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of american history not just north carolina history, but american history that was covered up or mischaracterized for more than a century. i think most of you know the basic story. i'll go through it quickly in 1898 white supremacists overthrew the multi-racial government in wilmington. they killed up to 60 black men, and they wounded dozens more. they burned down the black daily newspaper. and the evicted city leaders at gunpoint. they appointed the mob leaders as mayor police chief sheriff in city alderman. and they banished black and white political leaders. they marched them with militiamen at gunpoint to the train station. they put them on the train and said if you ever come back to wilmington, will shoot you on site. not one of them ever came back. and you can imagine during this period what it must have been like for the black families who lived in wilmington their men
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were being shot down on the street and gunmen were running through the streets terrorizing people. and hundreds of them fled into the swamps and the cemeteries outside the city trying to hide from the white gum in. and this was in november so you can imagine it was cold and this happened to be the first day they were there it was rainy. there were some reports that babies died of exposure. they were there under terrible conditions and it took them two nights and three days before they felt safe enough to return and in the days and weeks following the coup 2100 black people fled the city and never came back. and what's really hard to believe about all this is that no one was ever punished. no one was prosecuted much less convicted for the murders or for a violent coup. it's also hard to believe that they announced it all ahead of time. they said they would overthrow quote negro rule by the ballot
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or the bullet or both. they said they were going to do it and they did it as the whole country watched. because they had announced it. well beforehand this would have been in the spring and summer and fall of 1898 all the major newspapers of the day sent their white reporters down to cover it. the new york times. was there the washington post chicago tribune, philadelphia inquirer the baltimore sun the washington the evening star the papers in charlotte and atlanta and of course the news and observed that they were all there. and when these white reporters from out of town would arrive at the train station the leaders of the white supremacy movement would meet him there hand out cigars. give them liquor arranged their lodging and to use a modern term. they would embed them with the white gunman who are going around patrolling the city. this was before the coup and these reporters would go out with them never interviewed a black person as far as i can tell but they would go out and they would swallow the stories
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that these gunmen and these white supremacists were telling them that there was going to be a black riot that blacks were stockpiling weapons. that blacks were incapable of governing that they didn't have the right to vote. and this was reflected if you can believe it in these northern newspapers were reflected in the stories that they sent back so the nation got this whole story. that was basically the talking points of the white supremacists through the white press. now for a century or more this was called a quote race ride. it wasn't it was a racial massacre. it was a planned murder spree. now in our hernasen's history in the 19th and early 20th centuries there been a many many so-called race riots. and almost all of these were spontaneous alberts outbursts of white rage and in many cases it involved. real or supposed contact between a black man and a white woman.
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but wilmington was unique was completely different. it was premeditated. it was a carefully orchestrated racial revolution planned well in advance in fact, it was by far the most successful and permanent violent overthrow of an elected government in us history. there has never been anything like it. now, why was wilmington such a threat to whites i think because it was a bold experiment wilmington was really an outlier in the late 19th century. it was a rarity in the south. first of all, it was a majority black city. it was 56% black very very few big cities in the south had a black majority, but more importantly it had a multi racial government. blacks were in positions of authority 10 of the 26 police officers in the city were black three of the 10 city aldermen were black there were black magistrates black lawyers merchants doctors and lawyers and there was the daily black newspaper. in 1898 a bad, excuse me a
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baptist publication called wilmington the freest town for a negro in the country. of course, this was intolerable to white supremacists, and they were not going to let it stand. now they had a goal their first goal was to overthrow the government in wilmington, but that was just their first goal. there are a bigger goal and their major goal was to deny black people the right to vote and the right to hold public office forever. and by those standards it was an incredibly successful coup. in 1896 there were 126,000 registered black voters in north carolina 126,000 in 1906 10 years later 6100. and it went downhill from there and in fact black citizens in north carolina did not vote in significant numbers for 70 more years. until after the voting rights act of 1965 the coup also turned
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a black majority city into a white supremacist stronghold almost overnight. in 1898 as i said before wilmington was 56% black anybody have a guess as to what it might be today. just take a guess. wow, somebody's somebody knows 18% in 1898 america had one black congressman in the entire country. there was one black congressman. his name was george henry white and he was from, north carolina. and he represented a district in the southeastern part of the state that was adjacent to wellington. he was harassed he and his family were harassed and basically run out of office by white supremacists. he said in 1900. he was not going to run for reelection. he was leaving the state and his parting words were i cannot live in north carolina and be treated as a man. and after george henry white
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left office in 1900. no black citizen from north carolina served in congress until 1992 was almost a century later. now after those three black aldermen were evicted at gunpoint in 1898. no black citizens served on the wilmington city council until 1972. i wasn't that long ago. the coup also installed white supremacy and jim crow as official state policy for nearly 50 years. it inspired white supremacists across the south and let me give you just one example in georgian 1906. there was a statewide election campaign and the white supremacists there were trying to figure out a way to deny blacks the votes and steal the election. what do you think they did they consulted with the leaders of the wilmington coup to find out how to do it. now the white supremacist governor who got elected was hoke smith, and here's a direct quote from him quote. we can handle the blacks the way they handled them in wilmington
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where the woods were black with their hanging carcasses close quote now, not all whites and wilmington were white supremacists. in fact white republican officials were closely with black black officials in large part because the black vote was what helped put republicans in populace in office in office under a government that was called fusion at the time. and some whites help their black neighbors, escape the white gunman on the day of the coup. but that made them targets during the summer of 1898 white republicans who were prominent and who were seen as working too closely with black officials received some postcards in the mail and they were called quote remember the six and they had a skull and crossbones and a pistol on them and was a death threat and on the card it said these six men it was the the six leading white republicans of the town. they called him quote degenerate sons of the white race, and they said the day was coming when
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they would pay for putting blacks in office and they would be banished from the town. and as it turned out they were the mayor the white mayor the white police chief the white federal commissioner and several white lawyers were marched at gunpoint the day of the coup to the train station put on the train and said don't come back. we'll kill you and not one of them ever came back. now the main weapon or one of the main weapons for the white supremacy campaign was a fake news campaign led by none other than josephus daniels who planted phony stories in the news observer about blacks to incite whites to attack them. and for the nearly 25% of white voters who were illiterate daniels hired a cartoonist to draw race race baiting cartoons. i'd like to read a brief passage from the book propaganda campaign. more than a century before sophisticated fake news attacks targeted social media websites
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daniels manipulation of white readers through phony or misleading newspaper stories was perhaps the most daring and effective disinformation campaign of the era. the most sensational stories focused on what daniels and other democrats claimed was the black beast rapist as a native of the south daniels understood implicitly the sexual insecurities of white southern males. already emasculated by union troops who had occupied their towns. they risked further shame if black men were elevated to something approaching equality. a black man who could vote or hold public office was a man who might by their logic become a rival for the affections of white women. daniel's escalated trivial incidents into front page outrages all that was required was incidental contact between a white woman and a black man. with each cartoon and with each provocative article daniels pitted whites against blacks. the day was coming coming daniels wrote in the news and
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observer when white men quote will take the law in their own hands and by organized force make the negroes behave themselves close quote. a race war was inevitable quote a class is surely coming between the races daniels assured his readers quote and in such classes clashes. the white race is always victorious. now white supremacists had their own fake news and their and their media campaign, but they also had their own malicious militia. they were called regshirts. and they were basically an outgrowth of the klan many of the men in the red shirts were sons or relatives of confederate veterans or former klan members. and they were basically the private militia of the white supremacists. all summer. the redshirts job was to write out through the cape fear countryside at night burst into homes drag out black men and beat them and whip them and tell them they would be killed if
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they registered to vote or dared to vote on election day and on election day, which is in november of 1898. they intercepted any black man who was trying to get to the polling station and intimidated them and beat them and by doing so they crushed the black turn out that day and they stole the election. now in addition to the red shirts, there were two state militias in wilmington. the first was the wilmington light infantry and the other was the wilmington naval reserves. now these were basically the national guard of the day they were supposed to report to the governor in raleigh, but they were in fact commanded by white supremacists and reported to the coup leaders. the militiamen served that summer in the spanish-american war if you remember the war played out that summer. but the white leaders made sure that they were back in wilmington from the war for the time of the coup and they had planned the coup for two days after the election and then
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during the coup and during the riot. they unleashed them on black citizens. on the day of the coup these militiamen were still in federal service. they were federal soldiers because they wouldn't be mustered out for another week or two. so that meant that federal soldiers murdered american citizens on the protects pretext of putting down a black riot. now blacks black soldiers also served in the spanish-american war and segregated units. but white leaders made sure that they were far from wilmington on the day of the coup at a training camp in georgia hundreds of miles away. so that left the black community defenseless here you had all these young men trained soldiers trained in weapons, but they were miles away. now there were defenders of the black community and one was named alex manley. he was the black publisher of the daily record. and as a journalist, i was really drawn to manually. i thought he was a fascinating character. he was a courageous man. just an amazing character.
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he challenged whites in print and he demanded civil rights for blacks. he essentially demanded that the country live up to its promises to its black citizens. now on august of 1898 he wrote an incendiary editorial about race and sex that almost got him lynched. he had to flee the city. he wrote that many black men lynched for supposedly raping white women were in fact their consensual lovers. and he also pointed out that white men raped black women with impunity. this editorial was is excuse me was in response to a speech by a white woman in, georgia. who said the only solution to rape was the lynch rope quote a thousand times a week if necessary. i'd like to read now briefly from the editorial. it was a fairly long editorial and i'm just going to read short selection from it. quote every negro lynched is called quote a big burly black
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brute. close quote when in fact many of those who have thus been dealt with had white men for their fathers and were not only black and burly but were sufficiently attractive for white girls of culture and refinement the fall in love with them as is very well known to all let virtue be something more than an excuse for them to intimidate and torture a helpless people. tell your men that it is nowhere for a black man to be intimate with a white woman than for a white man to be intimate with a colored woman. you set yourselves down as a lot of carping hypocrites and that you cry aloud for the virtue of your women while you seek to destroy the morality of ours. now you can imagine what courage it took for a black man under these conditions in 1898 to write something like that. now people often ask me how i research this book and i'm a journalist as jim mentioned and i'm used to interviewing people about events that they've
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witnessed or that they've experienced obviously in this case. there are no witnesses left from 1898. so everything that's in this book came from documents and i've got piles and piles and piles of paper in my office from all the documents. i collected i spent a lot of time in libraries most significantly at wilson library at unc in the southern historical southern historical collection and the north carolina collection, which are amazing repositories of history. i really recommend that you go but there was a problem. the whites were proud of their accomplishments and they boasted about it and memoirs and in diaries and letters and in newspaper columns. there was a really rich and detailed white record. but blacks left behind far fewer documents as you can imagine they were running for their lives the daily record was burned all the back copies were destroyed. although some people are finding
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black back copies now. so what i was able to do, thankfully is that there were black newspapers around the country who obviously could not send black reporters to wilmington to cover these events because at the very least they would have been beaten and run out of town and probably killed but after the coup when all these black families spread around the country mostly on the eastern seaboard the black newspapers would interview them and get some very rich and detailed stories very fresh stories about what had happened. so that was a great resource for me. in addition there were black ministers and black lawyers who left very very interesting memoirs and in left letters with incredible detail and one of the great sources i had was manley's wife who wrote these just beautiful a series of letters to her sons in the 1950s that are just poignant to read and i quote for some of them in the book. so with all of this i was able
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to balance the white narrative with the black experience and what i tried to do also was to put myself in wilmington as a journalist in 1898. and i also tried to use the tools of a novelist characters and scenes and dialogue to create a narrative that's built entirely from documents. now this is not a historical fiction book. this is a nonfiction book everything in this book comes from documents. it's a work of journalism and it's not fake news to use a popular term of the day. now before closing i want to read two short passages from the book that show the scope of this tragedy first is an election eve speech given to the red shirts by colonel alfred moore waddell. he's a former congressman and newspaper editor and a former confederate colonel who led the mob and installed himself as mayor.
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and again, this is the night before the election when he gave a speech to a huge crowd of red shirts at thalian hall in wilmington. quote man. the crisis is upon us. you must do your duty this city county and state shall be rid of negro domination once and forever. you have the courage you are brave. you are the sons of noble ancestry. you are anglo-saxons. you are armed and prepared and you will do your duty. go to the polls tomorrow and if you find the negro out voting tell them to leave the polls and if he refuses kill him shoot him down in his tracks. now to show how the redshirts responded. i'd like to read another passage and this is about a black man named carter peeman who's a very fascinated character. he had spent the summer encouraging blacks to register to vote. and of course this made him a target. but on the day of the riot three white leaders of the coup
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persuaded peman to go with them door to door in a black neighborhood called brooklyn to plead with black residents not to resist the black gunmen. payment had made a great public show of urging blacks to vote but earlier in the day on november 10th, which is the the day of the coup. he concluded that further resistance would only get him killed he had gone from house to house in brooklyn accompanied by three white men pleading with black residents not to oppose the white gunman at one point a group of enraged black men seized the three white men and held him hostage. it was the sort of bold and desperate act that and might be expected of payment himself, but he's surprised everyone by pleading with the black men to release their captives. after a series of negotiations the three whites were set free. payment escorted them to a nearby gathering of white gunmen expecting around a thanks
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instead several white men in the crowd attempted to lynch him. they were intercepted by two of the freed hostages who plunged into the mob and pulled pemen free. payments daring intercession on behalf of the white hostages did not spare him from the banishment campaign just before dark the infantry detachment quote arrested payment and escorted him to the city jail a short time later the infantry infantry soldiers took him from jail and marched him at gunpoint to the train depot where he was placed aboard a parting train. payment was terrified just before the train departed two ominous developments made a situation even more dire first. he was worn by the soldiers that he would be killed on sight if he ever returned to wilmington. second a gang of wrench red shirts boarded the train just before it rolled out of the depot the infantry detachment departed leaving alone with the redshirts. a few hours later payments body riddled with bullets was discovered in the woods near
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hilton park on wilmington's northern outskirts. one account said he had jumped from the moving train and was shot by the red shirts. it is more likely that he was executed on board in his body flung from the speeding train. finally you'd think this major event in north carolina history and an american history would be mentioned in the north carolina public history books in schools. but in fact, it was barely mentioned. and it was and if it was it was portrayed as a heroic white response to a black race riot and a quote good government effort to replace corrupt quote negro rule. here's a public school textbook from 1933 quote. there were many negro office holders some of whom were poorly fitted for their tasks. this naturally aroused ill feelings between the races closed quote. here's from a textbook from 1940 quote. the mass of negroes became poor citizens to keep their vote the
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carpetbaggers and scalawags allowed them to do very much as they pleased. the worst crimes were not punished the white people of the south were no longer safe closed quote. here's from a 1949 textbook quote a number of blacks were jailed for starting a riot and a new white administration took over wilmington's government in quote. and finally, this is from a 1940 textbook about the kkk in the redshirt. remember, this is a public school textbook that children were reading quote. to put an end to this terrible condition white people joined together in a sort of club which they named the ku klux klan. members dressed as ghosts oh, sorry members dressed as ghosts and scared lawless men into acting decently on moonlit nights these men could be seen on horseback riding to bring order back into the lives of their people. such sites frighten negroes into living better lives. the names of these men negro are white who had done wrong were
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listed the next moonlit night the clan would visit these men and punish them according to the wrongs. they had done after this lawless men were not so bold and crime became less and less. again, public school textbook 1940 so you can see how the white mythology kept the false narrative of wilmington live for so long. i wrote this book to correct the historical record. i truly believe we have to confront the ugliest chapters of our history to understand the roots of racism and hate and to learn from it. today politicians are using social media to scapegoat and demonize people of color, especially with white nationalism on the rise. in fact some of the white nationalists who chanted quote jews will not replace us in charlottesville would probably have felt right at home in wilmington in 1898. now white voters today are being told by some extremists that america is a white country. and people of color are portrayed as outsiders and
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threats to the traditional american way of life. and a few politicians are using some of the same tactics as the white supremacists in 1898. i'll give you one example alex manley in addition to the many death threats. he received was told many times to quote go back to africa. just this summer three congress women of color were told to quote go back to their home countries one more example in 1898 whites were told that blacks were raping their women in stealing their jobs today. white voters are told that mexican rapists are pouring across the border to steal their jobs. so if we don't learn from tragedies like wilmington demagogues can play the race card again and again to incite the sort of hate and violence. that was so destructive 122 years ago. so if there's one thing i hope that you do take from this book. this is it, so, thank you very much. you've been very patient and thank you for listening.
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and i think we're going to open it to questions now. hi, too quick questions first. i think it went off for me. there it goes. okay. first is um, i had heard on npr that there was some difficulty in even obtaining the information that you researched going forward today and some of the libraries have kept this off the shelves. that's question. number one number two. was there any realization from the federal government politicians and other states at the time that this was going on and did they do anything? yeah, the first question i i did not have any trouble getting getting document. there's plenty of them. they're very well cataloged. i mentioned wilson library also in the public library in wilmington the cape fear museum library duke and the national archives. there was no trouble there were more documents than i could handle. i your second question was the federal government. i write in the book about how
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the mckinley administration was warned repeatedly beforehand during the summer and fall of 1898 george henry white the congressman. i mentioned met personally in the white house with mckinley and warning of warned him about what was going to happen a group of black clergyman also met with mckinley and warned him about the same thing as did the white republican congressman from north carolina the senator. sorry, they all warned him after the ride in the coup george henry white went back and and asked a president mckinley for help for intercession to send to send troops other black ministers did the same as far as i can tell in the records mckinley did not make one single public. about the situation in wilmington. you have to remember this was in the aftermath of the spanish-american war and the
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peace negotiations with the spanish were going very poorly. his administration was being accused of not taking care of the troops the troops in cuban puerto rico were dying a yellow fever they were poorly fed. it was a huge controversy and that was surprising that that mckinley reacted that way because he was an abolitionist. he had been a union officer and in fact he campaigned for the black vote and supported black suffrage, but he was also trying to bring the nation together and there is during his campaign. he met with confederate veterans and gave them each a knife that was ingrained union forever trying to heal the wounds and you have to remember in 1898. 30 years after the civil war and white of southerners and northerners are fighting together in the war. so i think in his mind he did not want to risk antagonizing southern right southern whites. he had to run for reelection. so i think for all these reasons
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he didn't he didn't intercede but in answer to your question, no, there was no intercession by the federal government. oh, i'm so strong. i'm sorry. yes, sir back with your hand up. i like to know about the reaction of governor daniel russell on the coup. and the reaction from either wales barnett. governor russell was a republican and in fact, he was put in office with the help of black votes. he was from wilmington. he was from a slave owning family was part of the of the white gentry in wilmington, but he was under threat by the white supremacists. they completely intimidated him. they threatened him with assassination. he carried a gun with him. he was so afraid they threatened
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him with impeachment. and he tried to go to wilmington on the day of the election. he managed to vote, but he barely made it home. he was almost killed on the way because he had to go through redshirt towns on the way to get back to raleigh on the train and they had to hide him in a baggage car. and at every stop drunken redshirts would board the train and try to lynch him and screaming lynch the fat son of a --. he made it to raleigh only to find that the governor's mansion here in raleigh was surrounded by a mob and he barely got inside and he and his wife had to stay there. so that was his reaction and in order for federal troops to come down and restore order or do anything about the right the governor russell would have to request them and he wasn't about because he was terrified. next yes, ma'am. wondering if the red shirts had been so successful in. suppressing the vote why they felt it was necessary to go
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ahead with the coup. because municipal offices weren't part of the election. there was a municipal election scheduled for the next march and they didn't want to wait that long and they knew once they stole the election and were empowered. they would be in a position to do whatever they wanted because obviously nobody in the city. nobody in raleigh was going to stop them because they've taken over the city government the state government so they planned the coup for two days after the election and they forcibly removed the office holders rather than waiting for the march election. let me go over here if anybody has any questions, nope. yes, sir. they wait for the mate. appreciate the fact that you are sounding the alarm ringing the bell in essence being a toxin for awareness of this issue. obviously our local newspaper has as on its masthead.
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the hope to be the toxin for misdeeds. is there any role for reparations or anything of that nature from descendants or owners of the newspapers that fomented? this riot. yeah, i was just in wilmington over the weekend gave him to talk in reparations came up as you can imagine and in 1998 when they celebrated not celebrated mark the 100th year anniversary. there was quite a debate in the city over reparation and that debate is still going on. i just wonder how you could possibly compensate all these families who had their lives ripped apart had members of their family murdered and run out of town. i think it's a it's an important issue. i think it needs to be discussed. i don't have the answer to it. but again in wilmington it is a big issue and you mentioned
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justifus's daniels. ironic quote that's runs on the editorial page every single day and if you read the words, you might burst out laughing. yes, rob. well as you mentioned in the epilogue silent sam has come down from the from the unc campus with that's a complicated story in itself. but is it perhaps time to topple this the statue of josephus and nash square? i'm not getting into that one. that's not for me to decide. i will say i did anticipate a question about silent sam many of you might know this but the speaker when when the statue was put up in 1913. the main speaker was julian shakespeare car. everybody's heard of him carrboro the tobacco company. he was a very very vocal
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supporter of the white supremacy campaign championed white supremacy. and as i say in 1913, he delivered a speech in inaugurating silence sam. let me read you a couple of quotes. i mean it was portrayed as a tribute to the students who left the university and served in the war and and it was because a lot of students died in the war. but he made it clear that it was also a tribute to white supremacy. car said the students had fought to quote save the very life of the anglo-saxon race in the south close quote and to preserve the quote purest strain of the anglo-saxon and in his speech. he also bragged about flogging a black woman when he returned to campus from serving in the civil war in 1865 quote. i horse whipped a negro wench and tell her skirts hung in shreds because upon the streets of this quiet village. she had publicly insulted and maligned a southern lady close quote. he called it quote a pleasing duty. just wanted to make that point
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again that this isn't ancient history. this is very much alive today. there's a building on campus named after car today still stands. yes, sir. oh. wilmington happened you mentioned, georgia. and then we had rosewood and we had tulsa. can you comment about the interrelationship of wilmington happening and setting a standard for subsequent? white supremacist massacres i don't know. i can only assume those those riots so-called riots would have happened regardless of wilmington, but as i pointed out before wilmington was absolutely unique in that it wasn't a spontaneous outburst of rage on behalf of whites. it was planned. it was premeditated over a period a month and that's the distinction but to say what
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effect it had because a lot of these so-called riots happened before 1898. so obviously it had no effect whether it had an effect or or somehow. contributed to the ones after that. i really can't say yes, ma'am. hi david, so i was wondering if you could talk more about the role of the north carolina democratic party in inciting the militia, of course, the democratic party is different today than it was back in 1898. but if you could talk a little bit more about that, and i guess any subsequent things to overturn it or not overturn the documentation that was spread out among the white militia, i think as most of you know, the democratic party and 1898 was the party of white supremacy, of course, and the republicans were the party of lincoln and and black suffrage now josephus daniels was on the executive committee of the democratic
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party and in fact in my mind, he was a politician who happened to own the biggest and most newspaper in the state. and he met regularly in his office with the democratic executive committee in the offices of the news and observer to plan strategy to deprive blacks of the vote and to malign blacks in this and this phony news campaign and he did it as a member of the democratic party working with a man named furnifold simmons who was the chairman of the democratic party in after the coup whites had to figure out the democratic party had to figure out how they could permanently buy legislation keep blacks from voting now there were a poll taxes and literacy tests then and those were used to keep blacks from voting, but they also affected white voters because as i said before nearly a court of the whites were illiterate, so they had to figure a way out a way to exempt
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them from the literacy test and from the poll taxes because a lot of whites were poor so they had josephus daniels go to louisiana, which the year before had passed a so-called grandfather clause, which was a brilliant piece of legislation that law in louisiana said, any person whose father or grandfather had voted before 1867 would be exempt from the poll tax in the literacy test. well 1868 was the year that blacks got the vote. so obviously that law exempted almost all black men from voting josephus daniels. thought this was wonderful the democratic part he sent him down there to do what they portrayed as a journalistic investigation on this, but in fact daniels didn't want to pay for it. he got the democratic party to pay for it and he went and wrote these amazing stories about how wonderful the grandfather klaus was and how it had a completely
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snuffed out the black vote and said, we really got to try this in north carolina in 1900. they passed an amendment. and it was passed into law and that was used up until 1915 when it several other by the way that inspired four other southern states to do the same thing 1915 the supreme court adelaide outlawed it but by that time black voting had been snuffed out in north carolina and across the south until as i said early until at least 1965. front row on the flip side. did you find in wilmington that people look at some of the heroic characters that you found like manly and even galloway? you didn't really talk as much about tonight earlier and honored. is there a period of there being honored or remembered for the role? they played in trying to create this experiment in wilmington? yeah, alex manley has a historic marker on third street in in
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wilmington, but it calls what happened in 1898 a quote race, right? there is a real movement in wilmington now to have abraham galloway get some sort of recognition a statue or something if you haven't read the book he was an amazing character and escaped slave. he was from just outside wilmington. he escaped on a ship. he stood away on a ship and got to philadelphia and it came back and was a union spy during the war and he was i believe the first or one of the very first black senators in north carolina after 1868 after a new constitution was written so he was an incredible man. and as i say there is a movement to have some sort of tribute monument to him. nobody else over here in the back. speaking a reparations is there
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any documentation of african-american property that was confiscated and the current value of it, right that has been an issue for many many years and among the black community. there was a conviction that whites. confiscated their property after they fled and took it over. there was a researcher name. i think sue ann cody at unc wilmington who did a study of all the property records at the time surprisingly and this is in the the 2006 state commission right report. she found that there was very very few examples of this. and the conclusion i came of is that the white supremacists wanted to deprive blacks of their civil rights, not of their property and i think according to this analysis what had happened is even black families left. they would leave the property
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and have it taken over by either black friends or or black relatives. so it according to this study most of the property stayed in black hands. anybody else way way in the back? not all the first things cannot hear any questions. being asked on this side. and secondly you of course notice probably but foreign affordable summons the united states senator. thereafter from this state from night. excuse me. yeah, 1901 to 1931. yes. that oh, okay. i'm just more into the boom like not working. okay, great. the the the question was about furniture fold simmons who was the head of the democratic party in one of the leaders of the white supremacy campaign. he catapulted the fame along with a lot of other people in 1898. and as you mentioned he served
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30 years as a us senator in rob christiansen rob christensen right here in the back road a terrific book includes fernandfold simmons and in politics in north carolina, i recommended highly josephus daniels rose to fame. he became a secretary the navy under woodrow wilson who was a segregationist who spent eight years as a young man in wilmington. he was also ambassador to mexico became a well known man a nationally known figure many other whether they were three speakers during the privacy campaign who became governors and and catapulted the fame as a result of their role in the in the campaign. right here. i have a couple of comments and a question you mentioned earlier something about brooklyn. i grew up in brooklyn. wow, new york oh, i thought you meant north carolina. yes.
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first of all, the story is an absolutely outrageous story. and is it possible? oh first my comment. this sounds almost like a blueprint for the holocaust. almost there are a lot of similarities small scale. yeah a lot of similarities. i'm sure it wasn't though, but my question is this is possible that mckinley didn't get involved. in the actions in wilmington because of states rights. and because he felt that there are good people on both sides. well, he may have thought that i know he never said it to my knowledge, but i think that's that's a good point. it's an entirely possible, but i really do think he did not want to antagonize white voters not only in north carolina, but across the south he was a politician he was running for reelection. i think that had a lot to do with it. oh, sorry. i have been working with some
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young people. we did a who did a pilgrimage to wilmington this past summer and i was wondering if you have heard from members of their community in wilmington the black community. particularly saint marks. they said in the past year two descendants of the redcoats came to apologize for their ancestors had done. wow, so i you might want to get in touch with saint marks. yeah, they have that's a living history there. my question for you is in your research. have you seen evidence of how the impact of 1898 played on the wilmington 10 and the 1970s? yeah. yeah. i got a ask that question when i was in wilmington last week about the the wilmington 10 question there. i'm not an expert on the wilmington 10. i'm remember it and i know that the outlines of the story. i don't know. i'm sure most people here are familiar with the wilmington 10 from 71 or 72. well, i won't go into the whole story, but you can only assume that some of the the hate and
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the racism from 1898 bled over into what whites pulled in 1971 by falsely accusing 10 people who are later exonerated. you also had the clan marching in 1971 and the rights of white people organization as i say, i don't know the details. so yeah, i see a straight line of that hate and racism going right into 1971. of the things i said to me was that when on the 10 young people they were in their 19s night of whom were black and one was a white woman. well, actually the young people wanted a place to meet and just discussed their grievances and no church would open up when i asked community about that. they said they were afraid to because of what had happened 1898. i imagine that's true and and you mentioned a black descendants. down in wilmington i tried really hard and went all over the city when i was doing the book trying to get people to talk to me very few. would i did talk to some really
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interesting descendants and put them in the book, but now when i went down there all these people were coming forward telling me these incredible stories that i wish i had for the book, but i think there's a part of that working there that people just didn't want to talk about it the black newspaper that replaced the record. i went several times there in person phone calls emails completely ignored me did not want to talk to me and i think it was the legacy of a white person coming to tell their story and i don't think they wanted that but they never talked to me. yes, ma'am way back here. and we're going for it. our students have been researching the only documented lynching in wake county george taylor for three years now and in the last two weeks our research keeps taking us back to thomas dixon justifus daniels who was in bc secretary of navy with wilson and the thomas dixon was when the leaders in the klan and then also at the time the clerk of court for raleigh and would have been the one to know
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the george taylor had been arrested in rolesville. the clan was waiting for him the woman who accused of being raped said it wasn't him. they were waiting for me then the driveway and that night he was murdered lynched with a 300 person mob and a town of about 120. how like when was the peak of this campaign? because one would think this was the peak but it just i mean, what do you think now that you've done this work? and we know that other pieces later. when does the white supremacy campaign decline? well, i mean a timeline like i mean around this room and there and i have to say i just had got called out by senior in high school and roosevelt whose african-american he said well, i'm glad white people are getting involved finally, and i you know, i thought well, here we are. but when i mean, when is it decline and you're in your well, it certainly peaked in 1898, but as you know, the klan sort of went underground after reconstruction and came back in a big way and i would think the
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1920s not only wilmington but around the state and and around the south so and today obviously, there's not the overt racism and and the violence that we had in 1898, but you have a state legislature here that just passed a recently a few years ago a voter id law. that the federal courts ruled were specific was specifically designed to depress and suppress black turnout and one judge said it targeted african-american's with surgical precision. so that's one example, obviously, this is not the same level of racism and hey, but still an attempt to to to keep black citizens from voting. time for one more question. okay. oh, it's the pressure. yes, ma'am. i might not need the microphone can everybody hear me i can hear. this is more on a personal level when i moved to raleigh about 40 years ago. i joined the jc's and the
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daniels had been a member of the jc's previously everything that i always heard when i moved from fayetteville, which was a military town to raleigh was how liberal huh? the raleigh news and observer was having here you talk about the past and the things that were done in the past. hoping the daniels family has seen some light with their generation offspring have you happen to run into any of the daniels as of late as in the younger ones and if you have hopefully they've read your book and i just want to know on a personal basis. do you see any difference in the writing in the newspaper? today is a journalist. or have you and have you run into any of the family? well the the paper when i worked there and today i worked there in the 70s and today was a very progressive and liberal paper and still is on the editorial page when i worked there. i thought it was a terrific
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paper. it was a force. and in particularly covering government state government covering and exposing fraud by republicans and democrats. it remained a democratic paper, but today's democrat and i think the editorial page over the years has huge to pretty much traditional mainstream liberal democratic. opinions and values. yes. you have a follow-up. why do you think? more conservative earlier you said? there you felt that it has changed. yes. what do you josephus daniels died in the 40s his family did take it over and there was a period when it was still conservative in the 50s, but i think once the the democratic party changed when the the segregationist wing of the semic and the state's right swing of
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the democratic party bolted for the republican party and the democratic party became now the voice of progressivism and liberals and at the same time african-american voters abandoned the republicans and came over to the democratic party and i think the news that observer had a choice to make whether to stay with the democrats and go with the republicans. they stayed with the democrats and as i say from the time i worked there until this morning the paper is is i think most people would agree editorial is mainstream liberal progressive and you asked about the daniels. i worked for frank daniels jr. who's the the grandson of josephus and he was very gracious. i met him in his office and he took all the time i needed and i talked to him and you can read about it in the book. he's mentioned in the epilogue. david zucchino. thank you. thank you very much. thank you all very very much.
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