The North Carolina Democratic Party passed a resolution Saturday, calling on state lawmakers to award reparations to the descendants of victims of the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898, which was initiated by segregationist Democrats.
Also described as the Wilmington Massacre, the event is said to have ushered in the the severe racial segregation of the Jim Crow era, that blemished the deep South for decades.
“What happened in Wilmington became an affirmation of white supremacy, not just in that one city, but in the South and in the nation as a whole,” wrote Laura Edwards in Democracy Betrayed.
“This was a dark time in North Carolina’s and our Party’s history, and one that the NCDP felt needed to be acknowledged,” Chairman Randy Voller told local CBS affiliate WBTV Channel 3 News. “Though we understand that no amount of compensation can ever rectify this atrocity, we believe that opening the dialogue will assist in the healing of the African-American community that was so harshly affected.”
The resolution reads:
The legacy of this holocaust still haunts the economic and political life of Wilmington, as many white-owned businesses and political careers were financed with the spoils of the devastating attack, and African Americans in New Hanover county today own less than 1% of local businesses and have only two black elected officials.
Here’s a brief description of the events of 116 years ago, according to NPR:
A mob of white supremacists armed with rifles and pistols marched on City Hall in Wilmington, N.C., on Nov. 10 and overthrew the elected local government, forcing both black and white officials to resign and running many out of town. The coup was the culmination of a race riot in which whites torched the offices of a black newspaper and killed a number of black residents. No one is sure how many African-Americans died that day, but some estimates say as many as 90 were killed.
The only problem is, the coup wasn’t an act perpetrated by local, county, or state government — it was an act committed by the Democratic Party. NPR reported:
Southern Democrats lost their grip on power in North Carolina in 1894 and plotted to wrest control from the biracial Republican Party in 1898 elections. They campaigned on a platform of white supremacy and protecting their women from black men.
These are the same racist Southern Democrats who were the predecessors to such segregationists as Bull Connor, George Wallace, KKK member Robert Byrd, and my all-time favorite, Al Gore, Sr., father to Chicken Little-like Al Gore, Jr. — Democrats all.
The question is, even if reparations are appropriate for a century-old event, why does the Democratic Party petition the state to pony up? They should dig into their own coffers.
Watch the news cast via WBTV.