Uncovering the little-known history of New Bern's nonviolent coup
In 1898, a plot by white supremacists in North Carolina to overthrow democratically-elected local governments hit a fever pitch.
The Wilmington Massacre is the best-known result of that campaign. But violence, and the threat of violence, was real and realized in cities across North Carolina.
Just up the coast in New Bern, election day did not go the white supremacists' way. Instead of a violent coup d'état, they had another dramatic strategy — dissolve the city.
Their request was granted by the General Assembly, which revoked the City of New Bern's charter on Feb. 10, 1899. This was after white supremacists took control of the legislature in the 1898 elections.
The legislature incorporated the City of New Bern on February 20, 1898.
This history, and another link to the Wilmington Massacre is part of historian David Cecelski's recent piece for CoastalReview.org.
David Cecelski, North Carolina historian and author