Race Relations In Wilmington

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In the 1890s, Wilmington was a thriving port city in North Carolina. Wilmington had a significant black population that made up about two thirds of the city’s total population, with a number of blacks owner properity and even working city jobs and owning stores. The racial relations in the city were relatively good, but a major factor in this was who was in power over the citizens. When whites were in power, race relations were good and the city functioned healthily. The status of the race relations in Wilmington was unusual in the United States at this time, as most cities and towns were functioning under Jim Crow laws, treating blacks as greatly inferior to whites. Because of the stronger race relations between blacks and whites in Wilmington,…show more content…
It was a time when blacks were always regarded as inferior to whites and there were strict guidlines for black etiquette when interacting with whites. One example of the racial inferiority enforced by law during Jim Crow is that when driving, whites always had the right of way over blacks. When approaching an intersection with drivers of both races, blacks always had to yield to the white drivers, no matter how many there were. During the Jim Crow Era, lynchings of black men were fairly common around the United States, a common reasoning being that the man who had been killed had raped a white woman. In reality, many of the lynchings were in response to consensual, but illegal relationships between white women and black men. Rebecca Latimer Felton, a feminist of Georgia once said, “If it requires lynching to protect woman’s dearest possession from ravening, drunken human beasts, then I say lynch a thousand a week… if it is necessary,” even people who were in some ways considered allies of blacks believed that sometimes lynching was a necessity at times, showing the extremity of the Jim Crow Era. In Wilmington it was far less common to hear of lynchings and murders of blacks than it was in the rest of the country. So, when over one hundred black men were killed while trying to vote in the city election, it was rather significant and played a large role in…show more content…
There was a third, smaller party, the Populists, who had formed from the Farmer’s Alliance in the late 1880s. The Populists, also sometimes known as the People’s Party, hoped to represent the common people of the United States, and had some overlapping beliefs with the Republicans of the time. In the early 1980s, the Populist party began to gain recognition and the similarities the party shared with the Republicans became more relavent. Members of the two parties began to merge in North Carolina, creating the Fusionist party, a mix of the two run by Populist, Marion Butler, and Republican, Daniel Russell. With the two parties banded together, more was able to be accomplished for the supporters of the two parties in North Carolina. While the party did appear on a somewhat national level, it was most influential in Wilmington, in most other places the parties unified, but did not have as much influence on the goverment and did not completely
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