Wilmington's Lie by David Zucchino audiobook

Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

By David Zucchino
Read by Victor Bevine

Recorded Books, Inc. 9780802128386
11.44 Hours 1
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From Pulitzer Prize-winner David Zucchino comes a searing account of the Wilmington riot and coup of 1898, an extraordinary event unknown to most Americans. By the 1890s, Wilmington was North Carolina’s largest city and a shining example of a mixed-race community. It was a bustling port city with a burgeoning African American middle class and a Fusionist government of Republicans and Populists that included Black aldermen, police officers, and magistrates. There were successful Black-owned businesses and an African American newspaper, The Record. But across the state, white supremacist Democrats were working to reverse advances made by former slaves and their progeny. In 1898, in response to a speech calling for white men to rise to the defense of Southern womanhood against the supposed threat of Black predators, Alexander Manly, editor of The Record, wrote that some relationships between Black men and white women were consensual. His editorial ignited outrage across the South, with calls to lynch Manly. But North Carolina’s white supremacist Democrats had a different strategy. They were plotting to take back the state legislature “by the ballot or bullet or both,” and then use the Manly editorial to trigger a “race riot” to overthrow Wilmington’s multiracial government. With intimidation and violence, the Democrats suppressed the Black vote and stuffed ballot boxes, or threw them out, to win control of the state legislature on November eighth. Two days later, more than 2,000 heavily armed Red Shirts swarmed through Wilmington, torching the Record office, terrorizing women and children, and killing at least sixty Black men in the streets. The rioters forced city officials to resign at gunpoint and replaced them with mob leaders. Prominent Blacks—and sympathetic whites—were banished. Hundreds of terrified Black families took refuge in surrounding swamps and forests. This brutal insurrection is a rare instance of a violent overthrow of an elected government in the United States. It halted gains made by Blacks and restored racism as official government policy, cementing white rule for another half century. It was not a “race riot,” as the events of November 1898 came to be known, but rather a racially motivated rebellion launched by white supremacists. Zucchino uses contemporary newspaper accounts, diaries, letters and official communications to create a gripping and compelling narrative that weaves together individual stories of hate and fear and brutality. This is a dramatic and definitive account of a remarkable but forgotten chapter of American history.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction

BookPage Best Book of the Year

An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick

Amazon Best Book of the Month

From Pulitzer Prize-winner David Zucchino comes a searing account of the Wilmington riot and coup of 1898, an extraordinary event unknown to most Americans.

By the 1890s, Wilmington was North Carolina’s largest city and a shining example of a mixed-race community. It was a bustling port city with a burgeoning African American middle class and a Fusionist government of Republicans and Populists that included Black aldermen, police officers, and magistrates. There were successful Black-owned businesses and an African American newspaper, The Record. But across the state, white supremacist Democrats were working to reverse advances made by former slaves and their progeny.

In 1898, in response to a speech calling for white men to rise to the defense of Southern womanhood against the supposed threat of Black predators, Alexander Manly, editor of The Record, wrote that some relationships between Black men and white women were consensual. His editorial ignited outrage across the South, with calls to lynch Manly.

But North Carolina’s white supremacist Democrats had a different strategy. They were plotting to take back the state legislature “by the ballot or bullet or both,” and then use the Manly editorial to trigger a “race riot” to overthrow Wilmington’s multiracial government.

With intimidation and violence, the Democrats suppressed the Black vote and stuffed ballot boxes, or threw them out, to win control of the state legislature on November eighth. Two days later, more than 2,000 heavily armed Red Shirts swarmed through Wilmington, torching the Record office, terrorizing women and children, and killing at least sixty Black men in the streets. The rioters forced city officials to resign at gunpoint and replaced them with mob leaders. Prominent Blacks—and sympathetic whites—were banished. Hundreds of terrified Black families took refuge in surrounding swamps and forests.

This brutal insurrection is a rare instance of a violent overthrow of an elected government in the United States. It halted gains made by Blacks and restored racism as official government policy, cementing white rule for another half century. It was not a “race riot,” as the events of November 1898 came to be known, but rather a racially motivated rebellion launched by white supremacists.

Zucchino uses contemporary newspaper accounts, diaries, letters and official communications to create a gripping and compelling narrative that weaves together individual stories of hate and fear and brutality. This is a dramatic and definitive account of a remarkable but forgotten chapter of American history.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A judicious and riveting new history.” New Yorker
“With economy and a cinematic touch, Zucchino recounts the brutal assault on black Wilmington.” New York Times
“He does a lot to explain our own interesting times.” The Guardian (London)
“A gripping account of one of the most disturbing, though virtually unknown, political events in American history…Thanks to Mr. Zucchino’s unflinching account, we now have the full, appalling story.” Wall Street Journal
“Through this act of documenting, he brings truth to the lie.” Southern Review of Books
“A masterful account.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: David Zucchino

Author Bio: David Zucchino

David Zucchino, a contributing writer for the New York Times, is the author of Thunder Run, Myth of the Welfare Queen, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wilmington’s Lie. He has covered wars and civil conflicts in more than three dozen countries. He was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his dispatches from apartheid South Africa and is a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for his reporting from Iraq, Lebanon, Africa, and inner-city Philadelphia.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 11.44
Audience: Adult
Language: English