History is timeless, but technology is not. Fourteen years after introducing the artful instructional website “Politics of a Massacre: Discovering Wilmington, 1898,” the technology that powered it became obsolete. In those fourteen years, events have transpired to require an updated resource. Since 2007, North Carolina, as a state and people, has grown more conscious of the events in Wilmington and the 1898 white supremacy campaign. In 2008, the city of Wilmington installed the 1898 Monument at Memorial Park. Director Chris Everett produced a film, “Wilmington on Fire,” about the massacre and coup in 2015. In 2017, the state erected a historical marker commemorating the attack and describing it as a “coup.” Journalist Dan Zucchino chronicled the events of Wilmington in a popular historical account titled, Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy. Major news organizations have featured the history of the coup, including The Atlantic, NPR, and the BBC. In 2021, North Carolinians are demanding secondary education on the coup upon the release of the new North Carolina Standards for American History (2021). The new standards require that teachers address black history and the history of racial discrimination. Perhaps the most salient reason for an update to the site involves world reaction and many news articles that have drawn connections to the January 6, 2021 coup at the U.S. Capitol and the 1898 campaign. In light of these developments and others, our team has upgraded the site in keeping with teachers’ instructional needs and the recommendations made by the Journal of American History reviewer in 2010. My deepest appreciation goes to the tireless work of Laurie Godwin, Director of the ECU Multimedia Center, on this timeless project.

Karin L. Zipf
Greenville, NC
February 25, 2021



Many years ago my professor Paul D. Escott at Wake Forest University introduced me to the politics and controversy that surrounded the 1898 Wilmington massacre and coup d’etat. His initial guidance on such an important but then overlooked topic hooked me, an eastern North Carolinian, to a career studying the history of the U.S. South. I thank him for his mentorship then and since.

Now I teach this same topic to my own students. Technology has changed and I have had the advantage of teaching with primary sources that were difficult to access when I was in college. This project has allowed me to introduce the history of the coup d’etat to my classes. The website is a digital archive that unfolded over several years of hard work with the East Carolina University Multimedia Center. The staff and students in this office possess not only superb design skills but also a commitment and devotion to history and historical sources. I am greatly indebted to the patience and skill of Laurie Godwin, David Jones, Eleazar Herrera, Mitch Pruitt and Tanner Jones. Sarah Hegler, an animation and interactive design student, has given the site a professional flair. But I reserve the greatest thanks to Ryyan Michelle Joye, a graphic design major with a budding artistic talent, keen technical acumen, and a historical understanding that reflects her own intelligence and well-grounded liberal arts background.

LeRae Umfleet, Chief Researcher of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Report, the document produced by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources for the North Carolina General Assembly, has contributed heavily with her advice and keen eye. Professor Melton McLaurin provided generous feedback, constructive advice and critical resources to the project. We have also benefited from the advice and talent of Wilmington historians including Kenneth Davis, Beverly Tetteron of the New Hanover County Public Library, Janet Davidson and Sue Miller of the Cape Fear Museum, and Beverly Ayscue of the Bellamy Mansion. Other historians, including Darlene Perry of the North Carolina Maritime Museum and Connie Mason of the North Carolina Department of Commerce all contributed to this effort.

The History Department at East Carolina University contributed in historical expertise and funding. Key advisors to this project include Professors David Dennard, Anoush Terjanian, Christopher Oakley, Michael Palmer and Gerald Prokopowicz. The East Carolina University Faculty Senate provided a teaching grant. Graduate student Katie Shackelford offered time and help for a portion of this project. Dean Alan White and Joyce Newman at the Harriott College of Arts and Sciences provided significant support and advice, as well.

The Geography Department at East Carolina University offered specialists in cartography. Graduate student Jennifer Mann provided her special skills to the interactive map. It would not look nearly this professional without her help. Professors Derek Alderman and Karen Mulcahy offered advice, as well.

Further assistance came from Earl Ijames at the North Carolina State Archives, Matt Reynolds at the Joyner Library North Carolina Collection at East Carolina University, Aidan J. Smith and Matthew Turi at the UNC-CH Manuscripts Department, and the staff at the East Carolina Special Collections Department at Joyner Library.

This website has benefited from all this help, and any errors or omissions are my own. We hope to make frequent additions and corrections to this project on a regular basis. If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to the project director, Karin L. Zipf, Associate Professor of History at East Carolina University,

Karin L. Zipf
Greenville, NC
December 11, 2007