This Racist Massacre Was Kept Hidden For 100 Years

Group of white wWilmington residents in front of burnt down home
Abeni Jones
November 11, 2021

“We ... hereby declare that we will ... never again be ruled by men of African origin!” 

So read the “White Declaration of Independence” presented in Wilmington, NC, the day before thousands of armed white men torched the local Black newspaper to the ground and began a vicious murdering spree. But that wasn’t even enough for them.

They forced out the local government and installed white supremacists, including leader Alfred Waddell as mayor. Black elected leaders fled or were exiled from town at gunpoint.

The new government passed anti-Black laws and arrested or killed any Black people who tried to protest or protect themselves!

The Black newspaper destroyed, white papers then lied about what happened, calling it a “race riot,” putting the blame on Black “instigators,” and framing the takeover of the government as a return to “peace” and “stability.” The legacy of that move still affects us today.

For almost 100 years, historians and governments have continued these lies, and students learned that Waddell was one of the “greatest North Carolinians.”

“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing,” said Malcolm X.

It’s essential that we commit to learning our history and telling the truth – it’s one of the greatest weapons we have against misinformation like this!

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