February 16, 2018 - Vol. 1, Issue 20
Wilmington: Lessons for Today 8
Above, a mob stands at the ruins of Alex Manly’s Daily Record office, destroyed November 10, 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina
The Wilmington Ten 9
Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
Shirlee Haizlip
In When Whites Riot: Writing Race and Violence in American and South African Cultures, Sheila Smith McKoy questions the starkly opposed nomenclatures used to describe the events of November 10, 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina: “How do these terms, massacre and riot, limn the disparity between how the different segments of the society historicize the event?” 1

Leslie Hossfeld details the Wilmington massacre in Narrative, Political Unconscious and Racial Violence in Wilmington, North Carolina. A “propaganda and race-baiting campaigns supported by the state and local newspapers” 2 led by white Democrats, resulted in a landslide victory for the Democratic Party for the November 8 elections. A few days later, tensions spilled over.

Author Shirlee Haizlip recalls this violent coup d’etat as the reason behind her paternal grandfather, William A. Taylor’s departure from Wilmington: “They were targeting educated black men, and they burned down the office of the Wilmington black newspaper The Daily Record. They were going to systematically kill them.” 3 [Shirlee Haizlip, THMDA 1.1.11].

In the backdrop of this established narrative on race relations in Wilmington, Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. found himself a little over seventy years later as part of the Wilmington Ten: “In 1898 there was a race massacre called the Wilmington massacre. There are parts of Brooklyn, New York, today that are called Little Wilmington where people migrated from Wilmington, as a result of that massacre. And every year they have something called the Wilmington Ball, a dance, where they commemorate transferring whole families. They literally had to hide in the woods first and make their way up to New York. 4 [Ben F. Chavis, Jr., THMDA 1.5.1].

The Wilmington Ten--nine African American men and one white female were sentenced to a total of 232 years in prison for arson and conspiracy in relation to the firebombing of the white-owned Mike’s Grocery. 5 Despite the conviction, the Wilmington Ten garnered mostly overwhelming support for their innocence. By 1976, Amnesty International took up the case, claiming that the Wilmington Ten were political prisoners, or “prisoners of conscience” of the United States of America. In 1980, the convictions were overturned in federal court.

John L. Godwin in Black Wilmington and the North Carolina Way: Portrait of a Community in the Era of Civil Rights Protest said of the case's impact: “The Wilmington Ten case unquestionably gave the conservative movement an added lift in North Carolina. The costs, however, were greater by far than most…Wilmington seemingly faced a destiny of becoming noted as one of those islands of shame from which the breeding of fascism, bigotry, and hate might be expected." 6

When reflecting a little over a century later on the Wilmington massacre, David S. Cecelski and Timothy B. Tyson illustrate the port city’s complex narrative role America’s ever-unfolding dialogue on race in Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy, “Historians became captives of Wilmington as well. They made Wilmington into good drama, but not good history. Wilmington will provide an example for other communities to confront the history of American racism and its hold on the present.” 7

The HistoryMakers Archive in Action
Higher Education Advisory Board
This past Monday, The HistoryMakers hosted the 3rd Annual Higher Education Advisory Board Meeting in New York City. In attendance were 36 representatives from across our subscribing institutions, including administrators, faculty, Digital Humanities experts, and even a few HistoryMakers.

Part of the day was devoted to presentations, where our participants spoke to the incorporation of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive at their respective institutions. We learned about the successes and challenges confronted by scholars; and hopes for Phase II of the archive, to be achieved in the coming years. In the afternoon, the attendees divided into three working groups, who brainstormed ways to foster use of the digital archive by faculty and students. The groups concentrated on four main criteria--goal-orientation, actionability, interdisciplinarity, and engagement--to hone the “Big Ideas” that they developed. Then, they unveiled their ideas to the larger advisory board, who voted on the proposals that were the most impressive and pragmatic.

We at The HistoryMakers are thrilled to have witnessed such an extensive turnout that featured those committed to promoting use of the digital archive at their institutions. We also look forward to delivering on both the questions and ideas raised at the meeting by the time we meet again, in 2019.

Thank you again to all of our subscribing institutions!
Please share with us your stories of how you incorporate The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in your curriculum and research! We'd love to hear from you!
"You Got to Be Involved in the Struggle"
The HistoryMakers Remembers Lerone Bennett 11

We at The HistoryMakers are incredibly saddened by the passing of Lerone Bennett, Jr earlier this week on February 14, 2018.

Bennett was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 29, 2002. Of his own legacy, Bennett stated at the end of his interview: " If people would say that, 'He tried to tell the story of black people,' I would appreciate that. And that, 'He did his best to push the process on.' I believe that it's not enough to write. It's not enough to speak. I believe all of us, especially if we have some money, are obliged to get involved in the struggle." 13 [Lerone Bennett, THMDA 1.6.6] .
This week, 23 new interviews were added to The HistoryMakers Digital Archive:
David B. Wilkins

Lawyer and law professor David B. Wilkins (1956 - ) was the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He also served as the vice dean for global initiatives on the legal profession and faculty director of the program on the legal profession and the Center on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry.
Almeta Cooper

Administrative lawyer Almeta Cooper (1950 - ) was senior vice president of health services and general counsel for The Ohio State University Medical Center.

The Honorable Michael B. Coleman

Mayor The Honorable Michael B. Coleman (1954 - ) became the first African American mayor of Columbus, Ohio in 2000, and spearheaded the redevelopment of downtown Columbus.
Shirlee Haizlip

Author Shirlee Haizlip (1937 - ) was the first African American to serve as general manager of a CBS Television affiliate. She also authored several books: The Sweeter the Juice: A Family Memoir in Black and White (1994), In The Garden of Our Dreams: Memoirs of a Marriage (1998), and Finding Grace: Two Sisters and the Search for Meaning Beyond the Color Line (2004).
Hazel Trice Edney

Journalist Hazel Trice Edney (? - ) , founder of the Trice Edney News Wire, was editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service and She was the first African American woman inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.
Audrey Edwards

Magazine editor and author Audrey Edwards (1947 - ) was the executive editor and editor of Essence magazine, and also served as executive editor and vice president of editorial operations at Black Enterprise magazine.
Jack White

Magazine editor Jack White (1946 - ) was the first African American staff writer and bureau chief at Time magazine.
William Lee

Newspaper publishing chief executive William Lee (1936 - ) co-founded the Sacramento Observer where he served as president and publisher for over fifty years.
Angela Dodson

Newspaper editor and magazine editor Angela Dodson (1951 - ) was the first African American woman appointed as style editor of The New York Times, where she later became a senior editor. She also served as executive editor of the Black Issues Book Reviews.
Jacquie Jones

Film producer Jacquie Jones (1965 - 2018 ) founded the New Media Institute and Public Media Corps and served as executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium.
Shirley Anne Massey

Civic leader Shirley Anne Massey (1942 - ) served as the First Lady of Morehouse College from 1995 to 2007.
Josie Childs

Civic leader Josie Childs (1926 - ) worked for Chicago City Hall for a number of years. She also aided former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington during his 1977 and 1983 mayoral campaigns, and later co-founded the Harold Washington Tribute Committee.
Clarence Irving, Sr.

Cultural activist Clarence Irving, Sr. (1924 - 2014 ) founded the Bison Athletic Club in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. He also created the Black American Heritage Foundation, and proposed the Black Heritage Series of U.S. postage stamps.
Joan Small

City government official Joan Small (1941 - ) served as the Director of Development for the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and as First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Michelle Gadsden-Williams

Management executive Michelle Gadsden-Williams (1969 - ) was the first African American executive director of diversity and inclusion at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
Frederick Terrell

Corporate chief executive Frederick Terrell (1954 - ) was instrumental in the development of collateralized mortgage obligations at the First Boston Corporation. He went on to serve as the CEO of the Provender Capital Group LLC.
Marianne Camille Spraggins

Investment banker and law professor Marianne Camille Spraggins (1945 - ) was the first African American female managing director on Wall Street.
Walter Royal

Chef Walter Royal (1957 - ) was among the nation's top African American chefs. He won numerous culinary awards, including the Restaurant Guild International’s Five Star Chef of the Year and the James Beard Foundation Rising Star award.

Jasmine Guy

Actress Jasmine Guy (1964 - ) is best known for her starring role as Whitley Gilbert in the popular television sitcom A Different World.

Nicole Smith

Curator Nicole Smith (1940 - 2016 ) founded the Nicole Gallery in 1973 which came to represent one of the finest collections of world renowned Haitian, African and African American artists.

Dr. Patricia Bath

Physician Dr. Patricia Bath (1942 - ) was a professor of ophthalmology at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California. She invented the laserphaco probe, a device used in cataract surgery.


Vincent Chancey

Musician Vincent Chancey (1950 - ) was a professional jazz French horn player. He played in the Sun Ra Arkestra, and later recorded albums like Welcome Mr. Chancey and Next Mode with his own band.

Lucy R. Wilson

Academic administrator Lucy R. Wilson (1930 - ) served as a dean at Albany State College, Claflin College and Old Dominion University. She was also a professor of psychology at various universities including Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville.

1.     Sheila Smith McKoy, When Whites Riot: Writing Race and Violence in American and South African Cultures. University of Wisconsin Press, 2012.
2.     Leslie Hossfeld, Narrative, Political Unconscious and Racial Violence in Wilmington, North Carolina. Routledge, February 10, 2005.
3.     Shirlee Haizlip (The HistoryMakers A2013.341), interviewed by Larry Crowe, November 16, 2013, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 1, story 11, Shirlee Haizlip talks about a race riot of Wilmington, North Carolina in the early 1900s
4.     Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. (The HistoryMakers A2004.267), interviewed by Racine Tucker Hamilton, December 20, 2004, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 5, story 1, Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. talks about the history of racial strife in Wilmington, North Carolina
5.     Wayne Grimsley, James B. Hunt: A North Carolina Progressive. MacFarland, 2003
6.     John L. Godwin, Black Wilmington and the North Carolina Way: Portrait of a Community in the Era of Civil Rights Protest. University Press of America. July 19, 2000.
7.     Editors David S. Cecelski, Timothy B. Tyson, Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy. UNC Press Books, November 9, 2000.
8.     BANNER: A mob stands at the ruins of Alex Manly’s Daily Record office, destroyed November 10, 1898. Can be found:
9.   The Wilmington Ten held a press conference at Central Prison in Raleigh to denounce Governor Jim Hunt’s decision not to pardon them. STEVE MURRAY  /  NEWS AND OBSERVER. Can be found:
10. Lerone Bennett (The HistoryMakers A2002.167), interviewed by Julieanna L. Richardson, August 29, 2002, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 6, story 6, Lerone Bennett talks about what he hopes his legacy might be
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