Next time you hear somebody say, "Lincoln freed the slaves in 1865. If black people have problems today, it's their own fault," please get them a copy of Wilmington on Fire by Christopher Everett. This 89 minute documentary describes events in 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina. There, whites, through the vehicle of the Democratic Party, militias and a sympathetic judiciary, removed from office blacks and whites uncommitted to white supremacy. Black business owners and professionals were ordered to leave with the property they could carry, and the rest of Wilmington's blacks fled into nearby swamps to avoid murderous crowds. Subsequent to these events, the North Carolina legislature passed Jim Crow legislation,which continued to restrict opportunities for its black residents. White supremacist leaders, whose statues adorn Wilmington's public spaces and for whom its main streets are named, acquired the properties of the blacks who fled and even used them to defraud shareholders of the banks they managed through fraudulent mortgages. See the movie.
The DVD and digital download of "Wilmington on Fire" are scheduled to be available for purchase on November 10, 2016 the 118th anniversary of the massacre.
Find more information on the film's website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Soundcloud and Instagram. Dennis Leroy Kangalee has a more extensive review.
Listen to music and poetry inspired by the movie.
Director and producer Christopher Everett gave an interview on North Carolina Public TV's Black Issues Forum.
Wilmington on Fire (trailer) from Wilmington on Fire on Vimeo.
The In the Past Lane podcast of September 29, 2018 features an interview the Margaret Mulrooney, who wrote a book on the history of Wilmington, NC in which these events play a significant role.