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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

David Cecelski, North Carolina historian and author

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
Cole del Charco is an audio producer and writer based in Durham. He's made stories for public radio's All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Marketplace. Before joining Due South, he spent time as a freelance journalist, an education and daily news reporter for WUNC, and a podcast producer for WFAE in Charlotte.