“We have taken a city” is an essay about a race violence took place in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. This riot was seen to be the capstone of the white supremacy campaign in North Carolina and signaled its victory across the nation.
In the late 19th century, Wilmington was the largest and most important city of the Old North State, where located an African-American middle class. Among them, Black people played significant and power roles in the key fields of the city, especially economy and politics, which formed relatively harmonious race relations in the city. This community also had their own newspaper, the Daily Record, edited by Alex Manly, a mixed ...view middle of the document...
From then on, those who had means within the African-American community had left town and the white conservative establishment was firmly entrenched. However, the putting an end to black political participation and crushing black economic power had not lifted up the life for the low class white working people. On the one hand, Mayor Waddell quickly established white preference for municipal jobs; but on the other hand, municipal wages were lowered also. The exclusion of black workers provided more jobs for whites but undermined the dignity and value of their labors.
To the political meanings of this event, both locally and statewide, Democratic leaders envisioned a complete and permanent elimination of blacks from the political process.
This can be seen in North Carolina politics of the late 1890s, when Republicans (not conservatives as they are now known, but mostly African-American and carpetbaggers in the party of Lincoln) joined with white yeomen farmers and workers to vote out the conservative politicians (who were Democrats at this point in history) to elect “fusion” candidates. This threatened the status quo. Fearing threatened, the conservatives played the race card in order to split the fragile alliances and bring poor whites back into the fold of the Democratic Party and under the control of the conservative establishment. Within the rhetoric of the era, Wilmington, North Carolina’s largest city at the time, and a town where blacks out-numbered whites, erupted in racial violence that left the African-American community in shambles and brought about an untold number of deaths. At the same time, the conservatives who were working behind the scenes and used the events to bring about the only armed-coup in United States history, removing from office those who had been elected and replacing them with their own people.
In the late 19th Century,...