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Charlotte Talks: 'Wilmington's Lie' Reveals 1898 'Race Riot' Was White Supremacist Coup

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New Hanover County Public Library

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020

In 1898, Wilmington was the site of a rare event, the violent overthrow of a duly elected local government. White supremacists forced black officials to resign at gunpoint. Journalist David Zucchino shares the story.

Thirty years after the Civil War African-Americans were making headway in Wilmington, North Carolina. By 1898, many participated in a multi-racial government.

But this angered a group of white supremacists. It led to a riot and to the violent overthrow of duly elected officials forced to resign at gunpoint. For years, this was depicted as a race riot in which 60 black men died. The ugly truth is that it was a bloody coup.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Zucchino lays it out in his book Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy. He shares how that story reverberates today.

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Credit Becca Fox
David Zucchino, Author of Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

Guest

David Zucchino, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, contributing writer for The New York Times, and Author of Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

Related event:

David Zucchino is in town for a community discussion of his book 'Wilmington’s Lie' at an event hosted by QCityMetro. He will be at First Baptist Church-West in Charlotte Thursday, Feb. 20th from 6:30-8:30pm. Registration requested. Details and RSVP.

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.