Some citizens happy with recognition of 1898 coup

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The state’s historical marker program approved a sign, officially recognizing that the 1898 coup in Wilmington did happen. That’s when white supremacists overthrew the African American government and drove out many from the city. Many people in Wilmington are happy the state is taking this step.

“It’s really great that we’re recognizing this horrible thing that happened in our city’s history. So, maybe we can actually start moving forward from it,” Sophia Miller said.

“Just admitting that something very ugly happened and that to heal it, we need to be aware of it and try to move forward,” Elliot Smith said.

The plaque will be placed on Market Street between 4th and 5th streets. However, Deborah Dicks Maxwell and Kojo Nantambu with the New Hanover County NAACP are upset because the plaque will say only 60 blacks died during the coup.

“It’s underplayed. An undetermined amount of people died in 1898. My church which was built prior to 1898 could hold almost a thousand people,” Maxwell said.

“You go from 12,000 African Americans to 2000. What happened to 10,000 people in that short period of time? Everybody didn’t run. A lot of people got killed,” Nantambu said.

They still believe this is a step in the right direction.

“It’s very important that our youth understand exactly what occurred in this city, what occurred across this country because of what happened in Wilmington in 1898,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell says the NAACP is aware of this and is working to make sure the number is corrected before the plaque is put up in March.

Categories: Local, New Hanover