Trump keeps warning of a coup. But the only one in American history was a bloody, racist uprising.Breaking News
tags: political history, North Carolina, coups, Trump
The small clapboard house near the banks of the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, N.C., went up in flames, and a black resident alleged to have wounded a white man fled for his life.
As he pleaded that he had five small children to support, a white member of the mob that had assembled struck him on the head with a gas pipe. A leader of a vigilante patrol unit told him to run for his freedom, but he made it just 50 yards before 40 guns were turned on him, sending bullets into his shoulders and back.
Daniel Wright, a well-known politician serving on the county’s Republican executive committee, was one of at least 60 — but possibly as many as 300 — black Americans massacred in Wilmington on Nov. 10, 1898, as bands of white supremacists used racial terrorism to destabilize the Southern port city and overthrow its multiracial government.
By the end of the day, the neo-Confederates had executed the only successful coup in United States history. The exact death toll is not known. Nor did the extent of the bloodshed matter to white business leaders, clergy and professionals who applauded when the man who would become Wilmington’s mayor, Alfred Moore Waddell, said he was prepared to “choke the current of the Cape Fear with carcasses” if it meant bringing white Democrats to power.
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