When white supremacists overthrew a government

When white supremacists overthrew a government


For a long time, if you went to the library
in Wilmington, North Carolina, there was one thing you weren’t allowed to research. “We were refused. We were rejected by the librarian.” “When I asked about or inquired about 1898
they wanted to know why.” “I was told that yes they had something
but they kept it under lock and key.” The story of Wilmington in 1898 still isn’t
widely known. “What happened here — on what’s now
just this empty patch of grass would radically change racial politics in North Carolina. This is the story of an American election, but
also of something we don’t usually find in American history. The violent overthrow of a democratically
elected government. In the late 1800s, Wilmington, North Carolina
was the state’s largest city. It had a majority black population, and historians
today describe it as a rarity in the post-Civil War American South. “Wilmington prior to November, 1898, was
what the New South could be at the cusp of the 20th century.” “There was an unusual degree of black prosperity.” In Wilmington there were successful black
entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers — but also black elected officials. And for a time, that was true throughout the
State. Take a look at the politicians on this poster
of the 1889 North Carolina House of Representatives. Here at the bottom — are black Republican
representatives — some from Wilmington. North Carolina also sent four black Republicans
to the US Congress between 1875 and 1899. The Democratic and Republican parties of 1898
in many ways occupied opposite parts of the political spectrum than they do today. “Most African-Americans were voting for
the Republican Party. And the Democratic Party was white voters
almost exclusively. White supremacy was the central focus of the
platform for the Democratic Party.” Republicans in North Carolina were successful
in part because of a 3rd party called the “Populist” party, made up of mostly white
farmers fed up with the tough economic times. North Carolina Populists joined up with Republicans
to form what they called the Fusion Party. And in the elections of 1894 and 1896, the
Fusion party defeated the Democrats in sweeping victories statewide. That meant North Carolina now had a government
that shared power between black and white politicians, including a newly elected Republican
governor. Together, they moved towards reforms that
would favor black Americans and working-class whites. “This was something that the Democratic
Party folks were simply not going to accept.” A multiracial government wasn’t just a disappointment
for Democrats. It was more like a humiliation. They needed a plan to take back control of
the state in the next election. So party leaders, like Furnifold Simmons,
future US Senator; Charles Aycock, future North Carolina Governor; and this man, Alfred
Moore Wadell, came up with one: To beat the Fusion Party by luring white Populist
voters away from their alliance with Black voters. Wilmington, with a large black population
and a local Fusion government in power — would be a focus of their campaign. The state Democratic state party handbook
for 1898 laid out their goal: consolidate the white vote by stoking white anger and
resentment. It said: “this is a white man’s country
and white men must control and govern it.” Their most effective tool was the media. One of North Carolina’s biggest newspapers
was a Democratic Party mouthpiece. It ran racist political cartoons throughout
1898. “Not everybody was literate in 1898. But to see a political cartoon of the type
that  ran you may not be able to read it but you know exactly what it means.” Many of the cartoons were centered on the
threat of “Negro domination”…even though the Fusion government was mostly white. They also played up another fear. “Black men threatening white women became
a theme. White men need to do all that they can to
protect white womanhood.” This was all part of North Carolina democratic
strategy, but it echoed the national racist rhetoric of the time. In one speech that Democrats printed in a
Wilmington paper — a prominent Georgia writer named Rebecca Felton said: “If it takes lynching a black man a day
to protect white womanhood ‘I say lynch”. Her speech prompted a Wilmington black man
named Alex Manly, owner of the black-run, Daily Record newspaper, to respond with
a column. He made a simple observation, that at the
time, was shocking. “That white women who had liaisons with
black men did so voluntarily and enthusiastically.” Manly wrote “Every Negro lynched is called
a “big burly, black brute”, when in fact many were sufficiently attractive for white
girls to fall in love with them.” “Manly pretty much said in a nutshell: sometimes
white women choose to be with black men.” Manly’s editorial became another tool for
Democrats. Newspapers reprinted it, called it “A Horrid
Slander”, and ran comments about it on a daily basis. It was just a few months before the election,
and white voters were angry. “By the time the election rolls around on
November 8th black voters, Republican voters had been thoroughly intimidated here.” By all accounts, the elections of 1898 were
a sham. The Democratic party had a paramilitary group
called the Red Shirts. They attacked and blocked black residents
from voting. At a rally just before the election, Alfred
Moore Waddell provoked the crowds. He said “negro office-holding ought at once,
and forever be brought to an end. Even if we have to choke the current of the
Cape Fear River with carcasses.” The votes were counted, and the Democrats
won. “Democratic candidates won every seat they
had a candidate up for election in.” But some local Fusionist politicians remained
in power, because their seats hadn’t been up for re-election like the white Republican
mayor and the board of aldermen. And and of course the election did nothing
to undo the economic power black folks held in the city. The Democrats had won the election, but their
goal of total white supremacist control remained out of reach. “And so they engineered what was essentially
a coup d’etat.” The day after the election, at a gathering
for white men in Wilmington, the Democrats unveiled a document they called the “White
Declaration of Independence.” It contained an ultimatum. Cynthia Brown, whose descendants were in Wilmington
back in 1898, is a historian at her church, where there’s a preserved copy of the declaration
from the next day’s newspaper. “We will no longer be ruled and will never
again be ruled by men of African origin.” They would strip black men of voting rights. They would give “white men a large part
of the employment heretofore given to” black men. And as for Alex Manly… “We demand that he leave this City forever
within twenty-four hours.” The next morning, hundreds of white men marched to the offices of the Daily Record. Manly was gone — he had fled to save his
own life. They set the Daily Record building on fire. This is where it once stood. “Once the White leadership destroyed Alex
Manly’s printing press they destroyed one way in which the African-American community
in Wilmington could organize itself and keep itself informed.” At City Hall — the mayor and board of aldermen
were forced out. “There’s two hundred armed men in City Hall
at the time. They didn’t do it of their own free will and
as they resigned a new member selected by the Democratic Party was voted into office.” Waddell — who once threatened to fill the
Cape Fear River with black bodies — was the new mayor of Wilmington. Meanwhile, the mob had grown to about 2,000
men, and the violence spilled into the streets. In these photos, exes mark where the first
black residents were killed. “The stories are that they were dumped into
the river. And there are varying stories about how many
people were killed.” “To me, I see 40 to 60 clearly as fatalities
as a result of the violence. But I think it was higher.” Many black residents hid for days in the swamps,
and the wooded cemeteries in the city — including Cynthia’s great grandmother. And thousands of other residents fled Wilmington,
never to return. Shortly afterward, democrats printed booklets
celebrating a glorious victory…and in the newspapers, depicted black residents as the
instigators. “This image is a gross misrepresentation
of what actually happened. You know what you see are black men with guns
not white men with machine guns.” The city never regained its black majority
population. Jim Crow laws, like literacy tests and poll
taxes that prevented black people from voting were immediately enacted and Wilmington’s
spirit of black opportunity was crushed. Black political representation in the state
was over. It would be 90 years until North Carolina
elected its next black Congress member. “Wilmington did a really great job of covering
up a very dark past for a very long time.” “Over the years, the textbooks on North
Carolina’s state history have struggled to accurately describe what happened in 1898. This book from 1933 calls what happened “unfortunate
for both races.” And this one from 1978 doesn’t have that
much more detail. But they both praise Charles Aycock, one of
the perpetrators of the riot, as a man with ‘a kind heart’ and that in fact he was
one of ‘the best friends that the colored people had in the state.’ It’s a legacy that North Carolina has yet
to fully undo. The names of the perpetrators are on Wilmington’s
school buildings and city parks. But the legacy is also bigger than those names. Turn on the news, and the state’s long history
of political suppression echoes. “We turn to a strict new voter ID law in
North Carolina.” “Racially gerrymandering and a push for
new voting maps.” “The court says the Republican-led legislature
redrew Congressional districts along racial lines, violating the Constitution.” “There is a tremendous amount of intimidation
that is still felt by the black community.” “It doesn’t have to be mass mayhem and violence
in the streets.” “The strategy shifts towards designing state
laws in such a way that you could exclude blacks from voter participation.” “The subliminal pursuit of continuing
the White declaration of independence.” “And if you don’t see it for what it really
is, it can happen all over again.”

100 thoughts on “When white supremacists overthrew a government

  1. I'm so excited to share this series with you all! If you have an idea for a story that we should investigate for Missing Chapter, send it to us via this form! http://bit.ly/2RhjxMy

    And if you want some of our top tips for how associate producer Melissa Hirsch and I prep for field reported stories like this one, then check out our Video Lab extra coming Friday. You can sign up to join right here: http://bit.ly/vox-video-membership

    Cheers — Ranjani

  2. It is more than evident that white people are professional liars & deceivers! They're great at it. However, the tide must turn…and it will!

  3. White men with machine guns in 1898 Lol. More like rifles and shotguns. Machine guns weren't available until the 1920s and they were very expensive

  4. What a shameful and disturbing evil history , all because these despicable jealous, envious, sadistic, racist low vibrational white supremacists fear melanated (Black) people.

  5. I keep telling everybody so cool African Americans were never Democrats they were Republicans and that's why black Americans are waking up today to the fact that they once were Republicans

  6. And history repeats itself. These people are full of hate and ignorance.
    2019 and they are still doing the same thing. I really wish we would eradicate these devils.

  7. The truth eventually comes to the light ,thank you for the lesson God bless and keep the history alive for others to learned

  8. Democrats were the racists then and remain racists now . More blacks were Republicans until FDR began providing government financial benefits which began the change to blacks voting Democrat in spite of the overt racism by their fellow " white" Democrats. Present day voter ID laws aren't racist but Democrats are clever and never stop projecting hate and blame onto Republicans distorting reality for votes.

  9. They were CarpetBaggers in Wilmington,Big city organized crime from
    places like Chicago and New York came to the south after the civil
    war.Back in the day, Republicans were many of the politicians of these
    corrupt northern cities,Today the Democrats run the big corrupt
    cities.That is the flip between Democrats and Republicans.

  10. Thisnis why they still want to keep immigrants out. To keep everything white controlled or dominated. They fear being a white minority

  11. When ever white men want to instill fear,they simply use their fear of black men Taking white women,and tell them how white women are what every black man thinks about.. Lol. The painful thing is innocent black men have lost their lives over this fear the white me have..even tho most black men don't want white women,they still fear..smh

  12. Even now blacks are being persecuted and discriminated for just being black. Can't wait till everything comes to an end and we are being judge for our sins. Remembered whoever was last will be first and whoever was first will be last.

  13. It's a shame that organizations like Vox, are promoting ideas like the spirit of 'black entrepreneurship' has been crushed; I'm skeptical that they are of 'any' help to the black community, and it seems more like defeatism and an indirect assertion that they have little faith that blacks can make something of themselves by their own efforts.

  14. Democrats have turned things around on the surface, but underneath they are the same. The white Democrats don't believe backs have ID's.

  15. So they did know of the curses of our history book. Understanding what their ancestors knew abt and passed on to their generations the acknowledgement of those curses and went overboard in their lies and transgressions. There will be a great punishment handed out I cannot feel an ounce of empathy for a lowly beast of a people for In the end we will meet in a true last battle as stated and eradicate their kind once and for all for it is written.

  16. 0:42 The violent overthrow of democratically elected government isn't something we usually find in American history? Have you ever heard of the CIA or banana republics? The US has overthrown about a dozen of democratically elected governments.

  17. How about report of the massacres of the millions of the indigenous Indians by the white settlets..like the diseased infected blankets given to the Indians as "gifts" and caused the deaths of millions of Indians

  18. if you go over a lot of the black history you will see that it was more then several times black people were on the uprise and white people destroyed it… it happened hear in New York you guys should find out how Central Park became to be Central Park that was also a black community that was bombed yes bombed

  19. It can happen all over again? it's already happening, black people are prisoners of war, we just don't know it yet, a lot of them see it and just don't want to accept it. 🌞 tribe

  20. This is such an explosive point of discovery for me. What I feel as a black man has been going on for CENTURIES!! It’s been hidden in plain site for so long we can’t even see the supremacy! It’s been painted into the landscape so well! America will continue to pay for its inhumanity to its fellow man!

  21. If the parties switched in the late 1800's than they switched back again in the 1960's because it was Republicans voted for desegregation.

  22. That’s how these white leaders do. They destroy our history our heritage for their political gain. Just like the black Wall Street massacre in Tulsa

  23. ..And some Europeans wonder why its been so hard for so called Black people to get ahead smh. Everything so called Black people did post Colonialism, all the communities that flourished up until the 50's, Black Wall Street which stretched to all the major cites that are ghettos now, were distorted. They didn't let them be great, even when there was separation, these envious evil devish would STILL come into these communities and tear them down. Its very hard to hear so called White people speak on Black people like we didn't try, like we haven't been trying to shed the past and create something for ourselves that works. Now the pain and the cycle is so deep, all they see is the crime, they dont know about or calculate the past and how it affects the present. BUT as always, we shall overcome and we are, it's happening again, and this time it won't be stopped by those devils.

  24. ANOTHER lame attempt at perpetuating white guilt. Do we shame the Black folks for enslaving their own people and then selling them to white men for alcohol and guns to use against their other tribal genocide wars constantly taking place. Don't wanna discuss THAT FACT though do we. Laughable. 😆

  25. There’s a lesson within this video, if the struggling class begins to make progress the higher class will try to push back. That’s the simplest way I see it as blunt as it sounds

  26. The real question here is, When is the democratic party going to apologize for its past racism and slavery? Oh never cause liberals are perfect little angels that can do no wrong

  27. As you see, these are the lies these people have been hiding and perpetrating for so many years. This is one of the major issues the United States have with its race relations.
    What's really sick is the white population of the United States knows their history is built on lies and they're comfortable with it as long as they feel they still have power.
    These are different people. Black Americans need to leave that country, the warning signs are everywhere…

  28. The power of the people when they work together is amazing! We are in charge of the government so let's take the bull by the horns!

  29. Can you do a video on who the Bolshevik revolution. who they were, the atrocities they committed and the Holodomors? Since you're doing history.

  30. I'm just waiting on the rightwing trolls to comment on how the Democrats from the early 20th century is just like the Democrats of today 🙄😅

  31. Racist white boys wish they could do this again….historic events like this one and the murder of the citizens of the black wall st in Oklahoma need to be taught in school and discussed because if you don't know our true history these events can repeat themselves

  32. First of all ,thank you for exposing this HISTORY!!!! Mr Roland Martin is ever so Right about Voter Suppression!!! They killed and stole these people Land and Bussiness !!! Trump has to GO!!! One more thing they didn't teach me this in school!!

  33. But white folks came from Europe, lol this will never be white man's land not then not now not ever, take a look at who's nationality is most in America… Karma

  34. If this video, along with countless evidence of racism perpetrated through crimes, is not enough for reparation, this country will soon face its own demise!

  35. But even when there is no excuse in present time for black Americans to educate and learn the truth about the Democratic party agenda the black Americans continue to vote for the same devil that killed enslaved and even created a system to exterminate the negros via planned Parenthood. Why would any sane black american citizen vote Democrat is beyond comprehension.

  36. Yes history isn't pretty at times that I know and can agree on, but however when some individuals use race as a excuse to blame on for all individuals for what some individuals of the same race had done or doing that's something that I don't agree on at all. It's pretty radical to blame an entire race for what individuals do because you can't just put the blame on someone who had nothing to do with whatever happens.

  37. Meanwhile, everyone is marching and protesting in current times lol. History shows that the only way to get things done, is by the gun and the use of the media.

  38. EXCELLENT coverage. MORE real facts and documentation of the deliberate and systematic pillaging histories of every indigenous/minority genocide/ PLEASE. Reveal and teach the WORLD on how to be aware and SEE the true tactics used by racists/bigots/terrorists to deprive other human beings of their human rights.

  39. EXCELLENT coverage. MORE real facts and documentation of the deliberate and systematic pillaging histories of every indigenous/minority genocide/ PLEASE. Reveal and teach the WORLD on how to be aware and SEE the true tactics used by racists/bigots/terrorists to deprive other human beings of their human rights.

  40. The democratic is the same today only the racism I more covert. That way the democrats insure that the blacks continue voting democrat.

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