A Day of Blood: The 1898 Wilmington Race Riot
by LeRae Sikes Umfleet
“A Day of Blood” proclaimed Raleigh’s News and Observer about the events of 10 November 1898. On that date, white rioters in Wilmington murdered blacks in broad daylight and overthrew a legitimately elected Republican government without opposition by the public or intervention by the authorities.
Over the next quarter of a century, in a series of similar race riots throughout the country, Wilmington’s violence led to ever-tightening controls on blacks as they lost their rights and, in many instances, their lives.
The riot was neither isolated nor spontaneous. It was the result of a series of events planned by white businessmen to regain control of government on both local and state levels. State Democratic Party strategists thrust Wilmington into the spotlight as an example of Republican corruption and bad government because of the participation of African Americans in local politics.
The change in government that day–the only successful coup d’etat in United States history–fully ended black participation in local government until the advent of the civil rights era.
In this thoroughly researched, definitive study, LeRae Umfleet examines the actions that precipitated the riot; the details of what happened in Wilmington on 10 November 1898; and the long-term impact of that day in both North Carolina and across the nation.
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: North Carolina Office of Archives and History; first edition (November 2, 2009)
About the Author
LeRae Sikes Umfleet is Chief of Collections Management for the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. She holds a B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in history from East Carolina University. From 2003 to 2007, Ms. Umfleet was a research historian in the Research Branch of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.
In 2007 she received the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Merit and WOW Award for her work on the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Report.