1898  Overview

Eighteen ninety-eight was an election year, and white supremacy was the issue that dominated all politics. The Fusion movement weakened as Republicans and Populists argued about political differences. Democrats cunningly stepped into the void. News and Observer editor Josephus Daniels and State Democratic Party chairman Furnifold Simmons crafted a three-prong attack. To win the elections, they recruited men who could write, men who could speak and men who could ride. This section of “Politics of a Massacre” offers archival evidence on all three fronts: newspapers that created that propaganda, speeches of men sent to inflame white voters, and descriptions of and transcripts by men sent to terrorize black voters and press whites to vote for Democrats. Readers will also find numerous accounts of the massacre in this section. To see our interpretation of the events of November 10, 1898, please consult our carefully reconstructed map. Details from this map are drawn from the April 1898 Sanborn Maps and the North Carolina State 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Report.