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Vehement Reactions To Expulsions

As the Committee of Twenty-Five deposed individual city officials and ethnic leaders, the victims were driven out of the city. This action raised a vehement response in both of the newspapers I am examining.

To restore order in Wilmington, Mayor Waddell was forced to place guards around the court house to prevent “proposed lynching” of the six African Americans that were being held there. These same prisoners were escorted to the train first thing in the morning; “this is but the beginning of a general movement to rid the town of the turbulent negroes’ leaders.”[1] It should be noted that the headline for this story about banishing African American leaders and white Republican office holders refers to the victims as “Lawless Negros.”[2] This is despite the fact that for the most part, they were never accused of a crime nor ever tried in a court of law.

In a related story printed on the same day, the New and Observer related that the banished officials of Wilmington were forced to move on from New Bern. This article referred to the banished white officials of Wilmington as “dirty white Republican scoundrels.”[3]

            The News and Observer was not the only one to use inflammatory rhetoric to describe these events.  The Planet referred to the Committee of Twenty-Five as “treasonable revolutionists.”[4] The article claims that the banishment was the result of an agreement with a band of Red Shirts that they would leave the city in exchange for their lives.[5]

[1] “Lawless Negroes Banished,” Raleigh News and Observer, November 12, 1898

[2] Ibid

[3] “Ordered To Move On,” Raleigh News and Observer, November 12, 1898

[4] “Exiting Officers Of The Law,” Richmond Planet, November 26, 1898

[5] Ibid