Denying Cultural Democracy

Democracy’s Denial: Revolutions in Wilmington tells the story of the only coup d’etat in U.S. history, in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898. We were unable to fit in at least three important elements of the story:

  1. The disputed municipal election which preceded it, and temporary post-Civil War disenfranchisement of Confederate leaders, which allowed some to feel that the new fusionist, racially integrated municipal government wasn’t legitimate.
  2. How an economic recession made Whites covet jobs—like barbering, construction, stevedoring etc.—which they’d previously been happy to leave to Blacks.
  3. Starting around 1875, Wilmington newspapers lamented African Americans’ monopoly on public music in the city, and calling for the formation of a White brass band! Eventually white musicians did indeed form a “Kornet Kavalier Klub!” Yet the Ku Klux Klan had disbanded or “gone underground” (as debated in the How the South Won the War program) around 1874, and wasn’t reborn until 1915. Yet the initials of the new White brass band deliberately referred back to that history!
    —(with thanks to Beverley Tetterton of the New Hanover County Public Library)

Someday we may figure out how to work these issues into an improved version of the program. In the meantime, why not research these topics, and share your results with visitors through this site?