Aycock Birthplace Historic Site Hosts Online Screening of 'Wilmington on Fire' Nov. 17-22


As a part of the Division of North Carolina Historic Sites and Properties’ True Inclusion initiative, the Governor Charles B. Aycock Birthplace is hosting an online screening and discussion of the award-winning documentary “Wilmington On Fire.” The film will be available for viewing Nov. 17-22, with an online discussion to be held Nov. 19, 6-7:30 p.m. To register for this program, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wilmington-on-fire-roundtable-and-film-access-featuring-the-director-tickets-126822897701 

This free program is sponsored by the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace Advisory Committee. 

The film, directed by Christopher Everett, describes the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 — the only successful coup d’état in the U.S. — and its long-lasting effects on the port city’s African American population. “Wilmington On Fire” features interviews with descendants of Alexander Manly, whose newspaper office was destroyed; Thomas Miller, who was a prominent businessman and property owner in Wilmington and was forced to leave the city; and Isham Quick, who was a coal and wood dealer and was also a board member of the Metropolitan Trust Company in Wilmington. 

Thursday, Nov. 19 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., an online conversation about the film will be moderated by Michelle Lanier, director, North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites and Properties. The panelists will be Christopher Everett, director of “Wilmington On Fire” and LeRae Umfleet, author of the book “A Day of Blood: The 1898 Wilmington Race Riot.” 

Often referred to as the Wilmington Race Riot, the Wilmington Massacre, or the Wilmington Insurrection, the events of Nov. 10, 1898 were a turning point in North Carolina history. Following the election of 1898, a white mob overthrew Wilmington, N.C.’s legitimately elected government, destroyed the local Black-owned newspaper office and terrorized the African American community. The mob chased Black officials and community leaders out of the city and killed many African Americans in widespread attacks. Because of this incident, more than 2,000 Black residents left the city permanently, turning it from a Black-majority to a white-majority city. 

The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 was a turning point; it set a precedent for race relations throughout the state. The events of November 10,1898 opened the door for one-party rule in the South and African American disfranchisement and de jure segregation in North Carolina. This system of racial oppression and discrimination continued until the middle of the twentieth century. 

For more information on this program call 919-242-5581 or email aycock@ncdcr.gov