Legacy Overview

Charles B. Aycock summed it up in his 1901 inaugural address. Democrats had staged the Wilmington 1898 massacre and coup to retake control of the reins of politics in North Carolina. But the terror did not end in 1898. This section of “Politics of a Massacre” explores the long-term effects of the 1898 massacre and coup. Democrats had secured such a firm hold that they easily passed constitutional amendments and laws that enforced disfranchisement and segregation, and created an environment that tacitly approved lynching. Here, archival documents demonstrate the sound and fury of Democrats who instigated such practices. The documents also demonstrate the outrage of African Americans and whites across the state and nation to the outcome of the 1898 massacre. Equally compelling are the events of the recent past. Archival evidence here also demonstrates the efforts of North Carolinians of the last four decades to make amends for the violence of 1898.