Resistance to post-Civil War reconstruction efforts, hotly contested elections, political corruption, and open racism all led to a climate of unrest and white supremacist violence in late 19th-century Wilmington, North Carolina.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I thought you were leasing occurred today is an absolutely cigar and one that lets you LISA car right from your phone. So when we look at our own world- and it was so easy- you figured why not catch football, YAP gotta go it's worth down and I'm debating between us the honour hats. Looking to the future car leasing on the road where you can choose from hundreds of cars right in your area. We did you crystal clear praising even drive your car off right, your house, it's easy! It's clear! Its roto will continue to be missed in history from support stock and welcomes the by Catch Tracy Molly. For today, we talking about something- are actually going to talk about it for the next two episodes and it is sometimes called the will
ten race riot of eighteen? Ninety eight, but we ve mentioned on the show before that the term race riot tends to be pretty misleading race riot really suggests incident in which people of two or more races are equal, aggressors and some kind of mass violence. But that is not usually what happened in the United States, the incidents that are described as race right usually involve violence against racial or ethnic minority carried out by a white mob. The incident we're talking about today in a two part or follows that pattern. It is an appalling example of violence against Wilmington North Carolina Black Community, and it was carried out by a mob of armed white men. In addition to, it was a coup, it was the only known. Successful. TAT in the United States history, this white MOB over
the duly elected government of willing tenor replaced it with one of their own choosing? The whole incident is directly tied to the end of reconstruction and how that affected North Carolina electoral politics there we're gonna start with a little bit of seem set, related. All of that, then, we are going to talk about an immediate and pretty dramatic precursor to the whole crew. and riot next time. We will talk about the two itself and its aftermath and as a heads up, the last section of today's episode includes a discussion of a wait. Silver background: after the: U S: civil war, the federal government, community leaders, religious organizations and activists all took steps to try to rebuild the. vision and correct the social, economic and political problems that grown out of the institution of slavery. These efforts came to be known as well
structure and the included things like amendments to the constitution, civil rights legislation and the establishment of the? U S euro of refugees, Friedmann and abandoned lands, also known as the Friedman Bureau as part of reconstruction. The nation had to figure out how the states that heads Aid from the union could be readmitted into it, and until that could happen, the former Confederate states were. Under martial law. The idea was, the troops would occupy each state until it established a quote: loyal republican government. The occupying troops are meant to protect the progress of reconstruction, as well as protecting the freed p in their how eyes. The federal government went through a lengthy back and forth interrupted by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln about eggs. Finally, what the requirements for re admission into the union would be and how to carry those out. in the end, the states in question had to ratify the Fourteenth amendment to the: U S: constitution
as well as hold a new constitutional convention at the state level. The new state constitutions had to include voting rights for black men of states were re. It into the union. They were generally at least temporarily under the control of the Republican Party, and for a time the Republican Party was also highly focused on civil rights and equality for both the freed people and poor white Citys. and black voters overwhelmingly voted for Republicans and Republicans proposed sweeping changes but they believed, would reshape the nation into one in which all men really were created equal if that man on purpose here, because Although there were activists for women suffrage, the focus was really on men, but this had started to shift by the eighteen. Seventy These southern Democrats vehemently objected to what the Republicans were doing many
democratic party leaders were former confederates am slaveowners and they pushed back against both new economic policies and the idea that black people should be equal citizens. The coup Klux Clam was established in eighteen, sixty six and worked both within and outside the democratic party. to undermine reconstruction era policies and terrorized the black community as well. structure went on democratic started, alleging that the republican government were corrupts, and while there are certainly were incidence of corruption that almost goes without saying from This criticism really boil down to the republican government spending money things. The Democrats didn't agree with, along with a sort of chicken and egg assumption, which was also raised, Any government that allowed the full participation of black people was automatically corrupt. Many, Republican party also started to pull back for making really sweeping civil rights changes and instead sorted
the more moderate incremental steps by the mid. seen seventies. Radical republican power was waning and state governments in the south were returning to democratic parties control by eighteen. Seventy six, the only southern Sudan still governed by the Republican Party or South Carolina floor a Louisiana. This brings us to the presidential election of eighteen. Seventy six. This was a highly disputed and deeply divisive election between Republican Rutherford be Haze and Democrat Samuel. Held in on election day till then had a lead of two hundred and sixty thousand of the popular vote, but he was one vote shy of an electoral college victory so far. Listeners by the. U S, who may not be familiar with this? Every state has a number of electors, that's based on its population and technically people are voting for those electors who then vote for president.
Meanwhile, the electoral votes for South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana were all in dispute due to allegations fraud and voter intimidation and vote counts that did not match up. One we're gonna Lecter, was also in dispute Hayes Clearly one the state of origin, but the Democrats governor had tried to replace one republican elector with a Democrat on the grounds that the Republican was postmaster therefore not eligible to serve after weeks of bitter in fighting and increasing fears that the country was headed for a second civil war Congress created an electoral commission to try to sort this whole thing out after still more secret negotiations and political manoeuvring on March. Second, the commission voted seven to eight to award the disputed electoral votes to haze. The commission's final vote- With strictly along party lines
pricing Lee a lot of people, especially Democrats, didn't see haze as the legitimate president. After all of this, but at the same time all that political manoeuvring, which came to be known as the compromise of eighteen. Seventy seven had included several appeasement for Democrats in this house. One of these was that of Democrats. Accepted haze as president of the federal government would stop using federal troops to bolster reconstruction effort. In the south. So this is really the thinnest of overviews. Reconstruction was a really turbulent time. There the lot going on in a lot of it was happening simultaneously were really does try a general sense of what the nation had gone through by the late eighteen. Seventy it was even more chaotic and violent than we can really do justice to in one episode, even if that one, so it was only about reconstruction and nothing else
late has been doing an academy on reconstruction and they literally have an episode, zero that is essentially a basic timeline of stuff that happened. That was important during reconstruction, which gives you a sense of theirs important things, but not so much of like how, but the flavour of the time. As reconstruction ended in former confederate leaders once again rose to power in many southern states in return to white supremacy that white supremacists framed, as quote redemption discriminatory legislation known as Jim Crow laws followed in something does this shift, which had really been going on before the end of reconstruction seem both immediate and uninterrupted, but what happened, with Carolina shows how it was really a continual linear progression from reconstruction to Jim Crow, which is how is often imagined or framed so historians mark a number of different spot of the end.
Construction and the compromise of eighteen. Seventy seven as one of them. We will talk about how that we're playing out in North Carolina after a quick sponsor break this episode of stuff you missed in history class is brought to you by W W, formerly wait. Watchers they have launched a new might be to be programme as their most groundbreaking and customize programme. Ever I joined Debbie W because I was really looking for something that was going to help encourage me to make healthier eating choices. They have really done that when you joined them W W program, you will take a personal assessment. It asked questions about your eating habits and your behaviour is not scientifically matches you up with which plan is going
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enough to help them in the rocky economy and instead, railroads banks and big businesses were getting lost. The perks, while small farmers got nothing at first. The Democrats tried to adjust their platform to address these concerns, but nothing really got done so people started abandoning the Democrats for a third party, the populists at first the populists tried to work with Democrats to advance economic agenda. When this failed, they turn to another ally. The republican Party, the populists, also known as the people's party formed, listen with Republicans and what came to be known as fusion politics on their own. The populists and the Republicans didn't have enough power to unseat the Democrats, Not only did the Democrats have solid control of the state legislature. There also using a number of tactics to stay in power throughout the state. These tactics think
a very meandering and laws that allowed the state government and rally to appoint people at the local level, regardless of what the local vote or voters actually wanted so dead matter for exam. Only the local population was overwhelmingly republican legislators and rally would still appoint Democrats to those positions. But together Republicans and populists did have enough support to challenge the Democrats although raise had long been used as a political wedge in the South white populist, set aside their racial differences with the Republican Party to try to advance the issues that both parties agreed on. These issues included education, jobs and voting rights. Republicans and populists still maintain their own platforms on issues that
disagreed on such as the gold standard. So I should point out that Greece has been used as a political wedge everywhere. It was just most explicitly used as a wedge in the south, which is one of the things are going to talk about later idea of political parties working together to achieve a common goal with not unique to North Carolina. Wasn't you need to these particular parties, but the way the fusion movement played out in North Carolina was unique: a dramatic effect on the political landscape of the state in eighteen. Ninety four roughly said, ten years after the end of reconstruction. The people's party and the Republican Party in North Carolina agreed on a slate of candidates that included members of both parties. They endorsed these common candidates rather than running against one another. This strategy was extremely successful.
Fusion alliance of populists and Republicans one raises all over the state. They took control of the state legislature and several statewide offices and several fusion politicians were elected. The Congo This new fusion garment started making changes as soon as they were sworn in. They repealed the county government ACT of eighteen, seventy seven, which was well the laws that had allowed state lawmakers to appoint people to a local offices rather than leaving those offices in control of the local voters that using coal increased funding for schools, prisons and charitable institutions by raising taxes, and they required that political parties use standard colours and symbols so that people, Who were not literate could still exercise their right to vote in future elections, so
the fusion government's efforts, also targeted the economic issues that had led white voters to leave the democratic party. In the first place, they cut back on the privileges offered to railroads, which had been seen as favouring big business, overworking people. They sat a cap on interest rates which angered banks and their investors thanks in part to this increased access to voting the fuse. An alliance had an even greater success. Two years later in eighteen. Ninety six fusing candidates, one s we state wide election in a completely supplanted the Democrats after this election, the State House included thirty nine populists. Fifty four Republicans and twenty four Democrats, the state set it included twenty five populists. Europe, eighteen Republicans and seven Democrats, so this gave Democrats who previously had had total control of the entire state government about twenty percent.
the state house and less than fifteen percent of a state Senate Republican, Daniel L Russell became North Carolina governor following this Let him North Carolina black population, also had more representation in the government in more than one thousand black citizens held elected and appointed offices across the state. This still wasn't even close proportional to have any black citizens lived in a state, but it was a lot more than it had been. Using color with an amused to elections also had a huge impact on the city of Wilmington. Specifically, Wilmington is on the coast of Carolina along the Cape Beer, river and separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the by a chain of barrier islands. It was also an important port during the civil war. The union's Wilmington in eighteen, sixty five. It had become home to an increasing number of black refugees by eighteen. Seventy the city majority black. That meant that, after the end of reconstruction
A government had to pull a lot of tricks to keep white Democrats in power and Wilmington in defiance of this he's majority: black republican voters. In addition, the gerrymandering and the county government act that we talked about before there was so a lot of voter intimidation and a habit of just not holding elections once a Democrat was in office. In addition, to the other reforms that we already discussed. The fusion government revise the Wilmington City Charter to require a municipal elections every two years, so that people could actually vote candidates out of office if they wanted new city charter also allowed the governor to appoint five people to the Wilmington Board of Aldermen, with Wilmington voters, electing one aldermen per ward to fill the rest of the positions. In this case,
using government was doing something similar to what Democrats had been doing before they were trying to limit black voters power in the Wilmington government. The fusion coalitions justification for this was a fee that, if Wilmington elected a majority blackboard of aldermen, the Democrats within use that as fuel for their campaigns- and while I mean is this- might have been a justified fear- was definitely justified. Based on what happened. Next, that rationale, swift still discriminatory, and it did nothing to prevent violence like the there. Their rationale for doing this did not prevent the violence. They said they were trying to prevent governor rustles, five appointments to the Wilmington Board of aldermen, we're all Republicans for white, had one black man there and on March, twenty fifth, the eighteen. Ninety seven, the city of Wilmington, held its first municipal elections in for years, the result the Majority Republican Board of aldermen that included three black men this new
Lord of aldermen, been elected, Silas, p right, a White Republic in as mayor. The incumbent Democrats didn't take this well at all. They refused to vacate their seats on the board of all and the three Democrats, who were newly elected to the board of aldermen, also teamed up with the Democrats, who had been defeated and together they claimed that the new election rules were unconstitutional and that they have been elected under the old rules, meaning that they were. Therefore, they the real board of aldermen. So for a time, Wilmington had three competing boards of aldermen each claiming to be the legitimate one. This sounds a bit like you, know, european royalty disputes over who actually is running any given country at any time. This dispute went all the way to the States Supreme Court months later the courtroom,
in favour of the fusion board of aldermen that had been appointed and elected under the revised Wilmington city charter. The democratic party was outraged at the success of the fusing, colourless both in North Carolina in General and in Wilmington, specifically, not only had Democrat essentially lost all political power in North Carolina. We talked about before a lot Well in the party were white supremacist. They objected to the very idea of black people holding office at all. In fury, by their losses in North Carolina and Wilmington Democrats embarked on a campaign to take back political power of the state and we're gonna talk about how they did that after we first pause for a little sponsor. Bread this episode of stuff, you missed in history, glasses, brought to you by Norton three sixty with lifelong. What they, your shot, online with your smartphone. Its super feels like ear. Personal information is just right there in your hand, but that's not always the case, because, as soon as you hit submit your personal information could
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After the widespread success of the republican and populist fusing cooperation and North Carolina Statewide election eighteen, ninety six Democrats and North Carolina started preparing for a bitter election in eighteen. Ninety eight democratic party leader Daniel Snack FED quote it will be the meanest violinist dirtiest campaign, since eighteen, seventy six, that was in reference to the presidential election. We talked about in part one of them episode as part of this campaign, Democrats started accusing the fusion government of corruption and mismanagement, but ass had been the case during reconstruction. Many of these charges of corruption boil down to the fact that the fusion is government was spending tax money on things the Democratic Party didn't want it to be spent on, like school imprison, funding that we mentioned before the break, as was the case with some of the criticisms,
of republican government stirring reconstruction Democrats, also made the racist assertion that black, both were inherently untrustworthy, so a government that had the participation and support of black people must be inherently corrupt, but these of corruption and overspending were really a small part of the democratic strategy to undermine the fusion of government and to take back political power. A much bigger piece of the strategy was an explicit state, wide white supremacy campaign, Democrats actively stoked racism and racial resentment, hyping up terrors of the so called negro rule and framing black citizens and leaders of an active threat to white virtue and the white way of life. They spread horror stories of Britain city at the hands of black police officers and painted black civic leaders as threat, the white womanhood and they condemn white man who our wide with black republicans as race traders and unscrupulous devils again,
and again, white Democrats brought up the idea of home protection against the widespread quote: threat of black people and the need to return to the safety and security that had supposedly existed under white democratic rule. Although alive, our focus in these two episodes on black man. Black women were targets of this as well. They were portrayed in the white media and in propaganda as shrieking disrespectful heritage, It will elude and promiscuous. For example, there was a group of black women who started a campaign to get the same, courteous treatment that white women received on public transportation like the street car driver, offering them a hand as they got on and off the car Democrats propaganda portrayed this
as a belligerent, tantrum end quote, trying to rise above their station. North Carolina Democrats got some fuel for their white supremacy campaign from outside the state, thanks in part to a speech given by Rebecca Lattimer Felton of Georgia, felt in had played a big part in the political career of her husband, William, hero felt in She was such an influence on his work that an editorial about them ran under the headline quote, which felt is the congressmen and which the wife. she also had a political life of her own as a suffragist, prohibitionist and reformer, and she would eventually become the first female. U S senator she was appointed following the death of Senator Thomas E Watson, fever whacked through you that tunnel in Hartfield Jackson, International airport. With this section on Atlanta history, there is a picture of Rebecca.
Item or felt in August of eighteen. Ninety seven she gave a speech called woman on the farm before the Georgia, agricultural society, which was later reprinted and the Wilmington Morningstar speech she had given in various forms before outlining the issues that were facing arm wives. She argued that the biggest threat to a white farmers, wife, was the risk of Raped by a black man, while her husband was away in the fields she criticized white men for failing to protect their women and she explicitly advocated lynching black men in order to prevent rape. In this speech, she said quote: if it needs trying to protect women's dearest possession from the ravening human beasts. Then I say Lynch a thousand times a week, if necessary for some context on this statement. lynching was one of the primary ways that white supremacist tried to incite terror and submission among the black community following the end of slavery.
Victims of lynching, were frequently accused of having raped, groped or otherwise assaulted. A white woman. These kinds of Negations could also lead to mass violence, which is what happened in tolls, Oklahoma in nineteen twenty one and in Rome Florida in nineteen twenty three. Those are two massacres that we have talked about on previous episodes, that numbers are really hard to pinpoint, but today it is estimated that only two percent to ten percent of rape allegations in the United States are false, but during the period that we are talking, here. The rape allegations that were used to justify lynchings and massacres were overwhelmingly false. the idea of a threat to white women, particularly women's virtue, was basically being used as an excuse to torture and murder black men, the murders themselves, author, tended to be horrifying, gruesome and carried out in public with the victims bodies, desecrated, after their deaths.
On top of that, the idea that black men were rapists, who were in act an ongoing threat to white women was widespread, it was act we used by white supremacist as part of their efforts to retain control of the government. So a week after Felton Address Wilmington Black Newspaper, the Wilmington Daily record, which may actually have been the old daily Black Run a newspaper in the United States at the time published a response that response was most likely written by its ETA, cool owner Alex Manly, whose editorial framed Rape allegations as starting with consensual relationships between black men and white women, and they compare these relationships to there is between white men and black women, the editorial went on to say, meetings of this, and go on for some time until the woman's infatuation or the man's boldness, bring attention to
and the man is lynched for rape. Every negro lynched is called a big burly black brute, when in fact many of those who have thus been dealt with had white men for their fathers and we're not only not black and burly, but we're sufficiently attractive for white guy, of culture and refinement to fall in love with them, as is very well known to all this peace reckoning. The white community could teach your men purity. Then it concluded use that fell down as a lot of carping hypocrites. In fact, You cry aloud for the virtue of your women. While you seek to destroy the morality of ours, don't ever think that you're and will remain pure. While you are debating hours view so the seed the harvest will come in due time. There is a lot to unpack with this editorial, in white society. Relationships between white men and black women were sort of an open secret, Alex mainly himself was descended from
we're North Carolina Governor Charles, mainly and a woman who was in slaved in the governors household, but it's not accurate to suggest that relations between white men and black women were all consensual, especially those that have taken place during slavery and Warburton between a free, a white man and an enslaved black woman, either After the end of slavery, there were still substantial in a power differences to consider, especially between white men and black women, to regard lists of all that this, at a torrent, spread well beyond the daily records. Readership suggested a white woman would have a consensual relationship with a black man sparked outrage. Among the white community, the newspaper was evicted from its downtown willing. offices and had to relocate to the black owned love and Charity Hall democratic newspapers across the street. including the rally news and observer and the Wilmington messenger reported
The daily records at a Torreon under headlines that focused on the pieces, purported slander and defamation of white women. The coverage also suggested that mainly himself must have been involved with some poor white man's wife and was writing from his own Sperience daily record editorial then became a huge part of the Democratic Party line on quote home protection according to propaganda here in print was evidence of just how do pray, and dangerous, black men were and how great a threat to white woman head as they focus their campaign. Efforts on the urgent need to return North Carolina to a state of white supremacy democratic started using the daily record editorial as a talking point in their political pamphlets and speeches, they made explicit efforts to encourage racist violence, The words of Alfred more what L, who would be a major part of the two we're talking about next time, quote. We will not live
under these intolerable conditions, we will never surrender to a ragged raffle of negroes, even if we have to choke the current of the Kate fear with carcasses and with that threat we are going to part of the story and leave the rest of it. For next time, do you have some, their mail. That is not full of so many yucky things to say, but it is full of correction my embarrassing error. This is from Joe about our unearthed in twenty seventeen part, one Joseph I am a whale listener and loved the podcast. You made a mistake in the recent unearthed twenty seventeen part one about the Sphinx head, found buried on the old movies that in California, you got the wrong film, the wrong decade that you were about three hundred miles
you have the right director though it is, these will be the mills original file, a version of the ten commandments from nineteen twenty three, not the nineteen. Fifty six Charlton Heston Epic and its varied on the beach in the coastal town of Guadeloupe in Central California, which is nowhere near the desert, thanks show from California. Thank you, Joe. Not only is this my mistake, I mean I could not speak for why the articles that I was reading described that is having been buried in the desert. Maybe they said sand and I I do feel desert. This is the second time in recent memory when something was wrong in my notes and then when I was needed, reading through my notes, to make sure everything was correct. I went is that right
and then, when I looked it up, I confused myself and made the thing that had correctly said, nineteen twenty three instead say: nineteen, fifty six, sorry about that We all make mistakes and that women, particularly embarrassing, especially since I had so many layers well to be fair me, you know those episodes were ones that we were working on that who were writing right, as we were, trying to put a bunch of work into the can We would have a backlog because we were not gonna, be recording for several weeks in a row over the holidays, and then some travel pretty soon all when I had together so like that's part of their system, you issue going on right, and it's very I'm here you when you have researched of seventy casually, indifferent things and if
look at our show notes for those episodes. There are more than a hundred sources lake that still high success rate. If you go by percentages in my book, so I wouldn't get fret too much over it. I still apologize for the area, especially since I introduced it myself. If you would like to write to us about this or any other party for a history, pot, gas that house networks, dot com or also on sulphur media all over as Mr History, that is only one facebook, Twitter, Pinterest Instagram. All of that speaking of on earth, I need to start new unearthed and twenty eighty board on Pinterest, because I haven't done that yet so look forward to that on our countries soon, probably already done by the time. This episode comes out. You can also come to our website.
Miss than history dot com, where you will find the comprehensive archive of every episode we have ever done, and you will find a shared out. The absurd the holly and I have done together. We will have the servants for this episode, which include both the printer MRS on this whole incident, you can do that and a whole lot more utter website which is missed in history, dot com. You can subscribe to our show wherever you cast on and thousands of other town, let us have more. Hey listeners, I wanted to tell you about a new podcast from my heart radio called the women hosted by read, it is fascinating and deep dive interview show where rose, talks, to change makers and disruptors, and she finds out what really drives them. So she will ask
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