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The Art of the Backlash

From the Wilmington Massacre of 1898 to the present day, America’s legacy of vigilantism against Blacks — as well as their White allies — is alive and well

Photos of the aftermath of the 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina coup and massacre. (1) Co-instigator Alfred M. Waddell, who promised before the coup to ‘choke the current of the Cape Fear River’ with black bodies; after the coup, he had himself installed as mayor; (2) Manhattan Park, where a white mob shot a group of Black Wilmingtonians; (3) Fourth and Harnett Streets in Wilmington, where first Black men fell; (4) E.G. Parmalee, who took over as chief of police after the coup; (5) Vigilantes stand outside the wrecked remains of the black ‘Daily Record’ newspaper building. of Congress/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

When I researched an article on the Wilmington Coup of 1898 earlier this year, several things struck me about this little-known…




Momentum is a blog that captures and reflects the moment we find ourselves in, one where rampant anti-Black racism is leading to violence, trauma, protest, reflection, sorrow, and more. Momentum doesn’t look away when the news cycle shifts.

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Marlon Weems

Marlon Weems

Storyteller. 2x Top Writer. Bylines in GEN, Momentum, Level. Check out my podcast and more:

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