1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission

A mob stands at the ruins of Alex Manly's Daily Record office, destroyed November 10, 1898.

The events of November 10, 1898, in Wilmington were a turning point in North Carolina history. By force, a white mob seized the reins of government in the port city and, in so doing, destroyed the local black-owned newspaper office and terrorized the African American community.

In the months thereafter, political upheaval resulted across the state and legal restrictions were placed on the right of blacks to vote. The era of "Jim Crow," one of legal segregation not to end until the 1960s, had begun.

Understanding the Impact

In 2000, the General Assembly established the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission to develop a historical record of the event and to assess the economic impact of the riot on African Americans locally and across the region and state. Building on earlier scholarly, the commission held public hearings and conducted detailed analyses of the written record, both primary and secondary sources, to create a thorough, 500-page report that sought to achieve the aims outlined above.

Read the Commission's Final Report

In 2009, commission research LeRae Umfleet released on book on the 1898 riot and it's impact that may be more accessible for the general reader.

Order the Book Online from North Carolina Historical Publications

History of the Commission

Wilmington legislators Senator Luther H. Jordan and Representative Thomas E. Wright sponsored Senate Bill 787, which auhtorized the commission. In advocating for the bill, Wright said:

The events of November 10, 1898, were an important part of North Carolina's and America's history. The significance of this time period needs to be accurately and historically documented. The charge to the commission by the North Carolina General Assembly will accomplish this goal and allow for vital dialogue.

The commission released a draft report in December 2005, and published its final report in May 2006 afte receiving public comment.

The full commission included 13 members appointed by the legislature, the governor, mayor and city council of Wilmington, and New Hanover County Commission, and it operated under the auscpices of our agency.

Members of the Commission

Senator Julia Boseman
Co-Chairman

Representative Thomas E. Wright
Co-Chairman

Prof. Irving Joyner
Vice-Chair

Mr. Alfred Thomas
Ms. Helyn R. Lofton Mr. Kenneth Davis
Ms. Lottie Clinton Mr. Leo Shepard
Ms. Ruth Haas Mr. Chuck Stone
Dr. John H. Haley Ms. Kever Clark
Mr. Harper Peterson