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By Sheyenne Rodriguez

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WTVD) — This morning the NAACP took its Wilmington 10 pardon campaign to Chapel Hill in an effort to prove its case.

The Wilmington 10 were convicted in 1971 of arson and conspiracy. They are now asking Gov. Bev Perdue for a pardon.

The state NAACP says it is opening the entire archive of Wilmington 10 documents, including new files, at the Chapel Hill campus library.

The group showed off the archives that will be a part of the Southern Historical Collection. It all surrounds the Wilmington 10, the group charged with burning a Wilmington store in 1971. Their convictions were overturned by a federal court, and the NC NAACP is trying to get a gubernatorial pardon, which it says will help with an ugly chapter in the state’s history.

“The history of the south too often lies in an unmarked grave, while the celebratory half truths and politically convenient lies, appear to march into immortality,” Duke scholar and NAACP member Dr. Tim Tyson said.

“Governor after governor has refused to pardon,” NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber said. “Too long has the propaganda that the Wilmington 10 had to have done something wrong.”

The group is hoping the governor will make a decision before she leaves office.

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21 Comments on "NAACP presents more evidence it hopes will get Wilmington 10 pardon"

It will never happen
2015 years 9 months ago

It will never be over. As long as people like you try to cover up for these bums, it will go on. These crooks were guilty then, and they’re guilty now.
The state doesn’t owe them, or you, one thin dime.
They weren’t innocent choirboys, and it doesn’t matter how often you say otherwise, they are guilty as sin.

“The racial animus that still lives and breathes in this state needs to die with this generation and I pray that it does”.
They may try to hide behind “The reverend” look, but we all know that title means nothing to these domestic terrorist.

They got what they deserved, but found a liberal left-wing judge to overturn the conviction.
To all the NAACP members, which are fewer than ever, look how your organization is spending your money.
State organization chair (lazy boy) Barber is sure eating well on your dollars.
Until everyone is accountable for their deeds, you will have the criminal whiners crying the innocence routine.

The race card is used for every imagined wrong, or lazy person to avoid having to deal with the real problem.

Get over it, and live Martin Luthers dream. Or is that too tough for people like these.

Loyal Supporter of Wilmington 10
2015 years 9 months ago

The correct route has been followed by the NAACP to secure a pardon for these individuals. Petitions have been sent to the governor. But we need to shine the light of justice on the injustices that were done in the state’s name over 40 years ago. The Wilmington 10 have been cleared of any crimes they were charged with. Their sentences were overturned in Federal District Court. They want full pardons from their state before they die. It is already too late for some of them. It is something any of us would want. It is something the state owes them, especially in the light of this new evidence. If you think differently, do more than a little research on this topic. The racial animus that still lives and breathes in this state needs to die with this generation and I pray that it does.

2015 years 9 months ago

I am sorry about how painful this episode must be for you, Kirk. I come from a very fine family, kind and loving, close-knit and solid. But my grandfather was a KKK member for a short time back in the 1920s; he repented of that, but it is true that it happened. He was young and ignorant at the time, a sharecropper with a fourth grade education. In later years, he went back to school at night, when he was 30, and finished high school and did a little college. By the end of his life, he was anything but a racist. And I have a great uncle who killed someone, too. He was a sweet man but had a bad temper and was drunk at the time, not that it excuses him in any way.

Your father is not the person he was forty years ago. None of us are. Back then, however, he framed ten people and sent them to prison for a long time, and there was no evidence that any of them was guilty. He bribed witnesses. He manufactured evidence. He coached the witnesses to commit perjury. He engaged in illegal racial discrimination in the jury selection process and also tried to pack the jury with Klansmen. And he made fraudulent claims of illness to the court in order the gain the mistrial so he could get–in his words–“a different judge” and “a different jury.” It is a really serious crime for an officer of the court who is sworn to uphold the law to mislead the judge. But he made a pros and cons list about whether to pursue the mistrial by claiming that he was sick. As you point out, this was all wrong.

That does not mean that he was purely an evil person, just that he misread the situation and made some mistakes. The court will decide what happens now. I hope you will find some people and be able to forgive everyone, both your father for making a mess of thing and all the other people who made mistakes, too.

2015 years 9 months ago

how does anything you have posted have a positive impact on today’s society or youth?

2015 years 9 months ago

Will they bring up that the Reverend Ben Chavis was fired from the NAACP? For taking funds to pay off a co-worker. I think sexual harassment? Almost positive. Now he is calling my dad delusional. Which is very offensive considering he is bi-polar. Maybe I should sue the Rev. Ben Chavis for making fun of a man with a mental illness. Or will he steal that from the Wilmington 10 members if they get the $55K per year for wrongful imprisonment?

This, his son, can tell you those were his notes. I’ve seen his handwriting on these notes and it is his. His handwriting is very unusual and unique. There are so many half truths and flat out lies about my dad out there. I can’t tell you about the Wilmington 10 because it was before I was born. I can tell you about the man, Jay Stroud. Those notes are 100% inappropriate. I won’t even pretend they are not. Notes explained one way or another does not define guilt or innocence. I am almost positive these notes are from the first trial, which was a mistrial. I maybe wrong about that. I think they are from the second trial? Again I maybe wrong. Either way, they are inappropriate.

There were black cops and black jurors. So did the DA’s office, not Jay Stroud who was the Assistant DA, get the black cops to lie? Then in turn get the two black jurors to bring back a guilty verdict? Then 40 years later, on an outgoing Governor, these notes service?
Sounds like a whole lot of people with a whole lot of tin foil on their heads, coming up with conspiracy theories.


2015 years 9 months ago

The NAACP are a bunch of losers who have found a way to live off the people they say they are trying to help. Look at what they did with the Duke lacrosse case. They were out there trying to get these boys throw in jail for what they did to this poor perfect lady. However, when they found out the truth the did nothing to correct their wrong. I would thought if they were out for justice they would have made sure the woman was changed.

2015 years 9 months ago

I love your #2 You are sooo right!!!

2015 years 9 months ago

The NAACP is trying to inform the citizens of North Carolina that their tax dollars were used to commit great injustice; using the legal system to frame innocent people and send them to prison for a long time in order to resist and roll back the changes brought by the civil rights movement. If you would take a moment to look at these documents, I suspect you would not want this done in your name with your money.

While the NC NAACP does have significant youth leadership programs and tutoring programs and the like, the NAACP is a century-old civil rights organization. If you believe that everyone should be able to vote, that citizens should not be lynched in the public square, that all citizens have the right and responsibility to serve their country in the military, and that society should not be segregated by skin color, then you owe the NAACP a great debt. Surely people should establish Boys & Girls Clubs and work with the Blue Ribbon Commission to Prevent Violence and other service projects. But the NAACP has a special role. Your suggestion is a little like saying the police department needs to send officers to teach kids to read; yes, that would be fine as a volunteer effort, but if they did that all day the streets would not be safe. The NAACP works to protect human rights and defend the U.S. Constitution for all of us. It is not the only work that needs doing, but it is important work indeed.

2015 years 9 months ago

1. There is a right and a wrong way to secure a pardon. Taking it to the media or a library in Chapel Hill is not the right way. That’s called trying to use media publicity.

The right way is to file the paperwork with the Governor; have a patron or 2 in the legislature to lobby for the pardon. With 30 days left in office, if it is done properly, who knows Smiley might come through on January 4th.

But either the NAACP does not know the law or feels it is above the law.

Don’t think it works that way.

2. Why not undertake some positive action that will affect today’s youth? Why not get into the neighborhoods such as Creekwood and make a strong attempt to being an end to violence? Why not join with the City and start some Boys & Girls Clubs?

Number 1 has no impact on the quality of life. NUmber 2 can.

2015 years 9 months ago

Excellent comments!! However, they will go right over their heads.

2015 years 9 months ago

Public media tends to tweek the interests and shed light on many untruths (and half truths) that have gone down in history as the truth. Keeping quiet about any issue that needs to have light shed on it, keeps it hidden under the rock of obscurity. If in fact the prosecutor did these unethical and unthinkable things (of which the earlier commenter doesnt even mention), the NAACP and/or any other organization has the right and even a duty to help bring the facts to light.

I am certainly thankful that not everyone chose to keep quiet about issues of inequality and injustice. Because, if they had kept quiet, folks would still be subject to being attacked by unleashed dogs and being sprayed with high-powered water hoses. The time for justice is always, always, right now.

2015 years 9 months ago

Perdue is about lame enough to fall for their deceptions, hopefully she will do one thing right since being in office and not grant them the pardons.

2015 years 9 months ago

Maybe someone such as the Star News or the TV stations need to do an at length interview with those who were there going through this such as the cops and fire fighters who had to put up with that riot situation. Why is it that only the rioters are the ones who have a story to tell?

Kevin Wuzzardo
2015 years 9 months ago

Thanks for your comment. We would love to talk to the police officers and firefighters who were involved in this. So far, though, we’ve been unable to find anyone from back then willing to talk. A lot of those people have left town or have died. Those who we have had contact with have said they do not want to talk, usually because they have been or are afraid they will be labeled as racist for telling their side of the story.

Earlier this year we did a story with a former Wilmington Police Officer (http://www.wwaytv3.com/2012/06/26/only-3-wilmington-10-seek-pardons-former-cop-wants-whole-story-retold) who joined the force a few months after the Mike’s Grocery fire. He came to us because he wanted some perspective from the police shared, but he said his friends who were on the force before him are not anxious to come forward.

If anyone, especially police and firefighters, who was involved in the Wilmington 10 incidents is willing to talk or has any information about that era, please let us know. Contact our newsroom at 910.763.0979.

For now, though, only one side is willing to give its version of the story.

News Content Manager
WWAY NewsChannel 3

Monkey Junction
2015 years 9 months ago

Whose heads?

2015 years 9 months ago

I made 2 points.

Follow the process to secure the pardon. Have a member of the House and Senate act as chaperones to work this bill onto the Governor’s desk. That’s the proceedure. But evidently the NAACP wants to keep this in the media rather than allow the “victims” a real opportunity to gain their pardons.

Second, focus in the hoods and try to establish activities such as Boys & Girls Clubs. I never said anything about having police or fire officers teaching children to read. How about forcing parents to be involved in their childrens lives and educations. How about requiring parents to control their little waifs and be held accountable when there is disruption in school or the neighborhood?

For the record, I owe the NAACP nothing. Nor do I owe the KKK.

Give me one instance where the NAACP follows the law and defends the constitution? Sorry, that was a false statement. NAACP has its own agenda; defending the constitution is not included.

NAACP = National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

If they’re defending the Constitution, why is there a reference to color? Why does it not say their purpose in their charter>

The ACLU is another story.

Ella Baker
2015 years 9 months ago

Tom, all of the official procedures in the effort to secure the pardon have been followed. Building public support is part of the way the system works, too. Legislators trying to pass a bill hold hearings and invite the media to cover them. I could go on, but you know how it works. That is what the NAACP is doing, just like any other citizens trying to persuade their fellow citizens and their elected representative of something they believe should be done.

I am sorry, but perhaps I was not clear enough. It seems we are talking past one another. I want to understand your point and I think that I am clear about your view. What I am saying is that, while the NAACP does actually do some of the things you are saying it should do–it has youth programs and tutoring programs, for example–its main purpose is as a social justice or civil rights organization. In the same way that the National Rifle Association seeks to protect the 2nd Amendment, the NAACP has its particular role protecting the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, and the 1st Amendment, for example.

I did not mean that you said the police should tutor children to read. I only meant that what you are asking the NAACP to do is like expecting the police to teach reading. The NAACP does, in fact, tutor children to read. The police in my community actually do have a tutoring program, too. But we don’t want all the cops to do that all day. And we don’t need to NAACP to stop its important activities as a civil rights organization.

If you believe in segregation, then you don’t owe the NAACP, you’re right. If you think only white people should be permitted to vote, then you and the NAACP are even. If you don’t think women have a right to equality before the law, then you don’t owe the NAACP. But the NAACP has been defending the Constitution for more than a hundred years. It fought to stop mobs from torturing people to death in the public square, which occurred several times a week during the many decades that the NAACP fought lynching in this country. The NAACP fought to allow all citizens of voting age the right to vote; this was not fully established until 1965, and they started that struggle in 1908. It took a long time. Many NAACP members were murdered for registering to vote or encouraging others to register to vote. The NAACP fought segregation for about seventy years. When they finally passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that law included women–white women, Latino women, Asian women, black women–as well as African Americans. It has done more to help white families than black ones, honestly, not that the NAACP minds; the NAACP supports equal rights and supported the vote for white women. Today it fights for the public schools–for well-funded, diverse, constitutional schools with strong training for teachers and a stronger emphasis on math, science, reading and history–back to basics. I could go on, but much of what the NAACP does you might well agree with.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is called that for historic reasons. It is an interracial organization; the majority of the founders were white. Many of its current members are white, Latino, Asian, as well as African American. Protecting the right to vote benefits everyone, unless you don’t think everyone should have the right to vote. Defending public education benefits everyone, even if you don’t believe in public education; communities with strong schools have less crime and more jobs and higher income. The NAACP has a public purpose that, if you looked into it and thought about it, you might support more of it than you think.

In this instance, in any case, the racial discrimination in the Wilmington 10 prosecutor’s documents, which are posted online, is so obvious, undeniable, and truly disturbing that I doubt that you would support that. If you do, well, the NAACP is not your biggest problem, but your heart and soul. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt, and just say thanks for explaining your point of view. I don’t have any desire to argue with you at all, but I want you to know that I understood you and make sure that you understood me.

2015 years 9 months ago

As someone who was actually alive and in Wilmington when these common criminals and thieving thugs were in their heyday, and as someone who was DIRECTLY impacted by their hatred and violent acts, I sincerely hope that they are NEVER pardoned. They are criminals, every last one of them. It has NOTHING to do with race, and shame on all of you for trying to play that ridiculous card. They attacked people – FOR NO REASON. They terrorized the city of Wilmington – FOR NO REASON. They burned and they looted, and most importantly, THEY MURDERED.

They are swine, and they need to be remembered as such.

2015 years 9 months ago

Criminals they are indeed. Think about the Wilmington Police Officer who was shot at by one of these thugs but thank God, the shot missed. Ask him,if he is still living,how he feels about these subjects being pardoned. Or the Highway Patrol Trooper who had a gun placed in his face but when the thug went to pull the trigger the gun did not fire. I know he is still living and I feel he would not be shy about giving his side or view of the entire situation. I was about 25 year old and I still remember the fear that fell over our city. Seeing National Guardsman and law enforcement, bunches of them brought in from all over the state, to assistance in the calming of peace to the city, the nightly curfews, the burning and looting of stores. There was Mike’s Grocery Store on 4th Street, burned and destroyed. Not only was the store destroyed,but the owner and his family,their livelihood and lives completely in ruins and ashes. My sister was on the jury, and I know she went thru a lot emotionally over this incident. She is gone now,but I know she would never change her mind on her jury vote. The only reason these people want a pardon is so they can go on to their next step and that is to sue the State of North Carolina and the City of Wilmington for money “owed” to them. BS

Ella Baker
2015 years 9 months ago

Clearly, you are beyond reason on this point, at least at the moment, but in a more thoughtful one, please have a look at the documents that are posted along with many of the news stories. They provide incontrovertible evidence that Prosecutor Stroud practiced illegal racial discrimination, encouraged and coached witnesses to perjure themselves, and had exculpatory evidence that he concealed from the court. The documents prove for a fact–he says it in his own handwriting, and he admits these are his documents, by the way–that he faked an illness to gain a mistrial and that he attempted to pack the jury with Ku Klux Klan members. At the top of the jury selection notes it says “Stay away from black men.” Black jurors names are marked with a “B.” Beside quite a few of the jurors’ names it says things like “KKK–good!!” “Good–probably KKK!!” “Good!! (KKK)” and so on. There is a letter from jail to Prosecutor Stroud from the central witness against the Wilmington 10, Allen Hall, that starts with this sentence: “I need a woman,” then expresses his willingness to lie against the defendants, and ends with this promise to Stroud: “I will be a good n****r.” Hall got his woman. He and both other defendants were bribed and all later recanted their testimony and admitted they were bribed. Your suggestion that the NAACP is “trying to play” some so-called “race card” seems pretty ridiculous beside the evidence. Just look at both ways before you roll out into traffic, friend. This is not exactly a tough call. And they were not even charged with murder, by the way.

2015 years 9 months ago

About his firing from the NAACP. If he is such an upstanding citizen, why was he fired from the very “company” he worked with. Why not ask the W 10 if it’s not about money to sign a contract saying all they want is a pardon. Why not ask Ben Chavis about calling Jay Stroud “delusional” when he has a case of mental problems. Sounds to me like Chavis is not only a crook, he is discriminating someone with a REAL issue. Maybe in 40 years, I will ask for his pardon and apology for defaming my last name. Or is discrimination a one way street.

Problem is you DO NOT want to ask these questions and if you did, it would be “off the record.” I know 100% fact a man who was an arresting officer who has talked on the record to you and Bev Perdue. Never see that anywhere. “Contact our newsroom.” PLEASE. You are “investigative reporters” dig it up yourselves. Or just wait and see what happens in 26 days or less and write the “hard hitting story” or pardon or no pardon.


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