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N.C. Republican Blasts Democrats for ‘Murdering Blacks’ In 1898 Wilmington Race Riot

Dallas Woodhouse’s tirade was in response to a tweet from the N.C. Democratic Party. (Photo by Harry Lynch/News and Observer).

In a series of vicious tweets over the weekend, a North Carolina Republican leader blasted Democrats for “murdering Blacks” while referencing the notorious Wilmington Race Riot of 1898.

N.C. GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse went on a tirade Sunday, Aug. 6, after the N.C. Democratic Party tweeted a message celebrating the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

“On this anniversary of the Voting Rights Act [of 1965], let’s celebrate how far we’ve come but remember that we must fight to keep moving forward,” the party tweeted, along with a photo of former President Barack Obama, his family and others. The message also featured a quote by Congressman John Lewis that read, “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”

Woodhouse issued a snarky response to the tweet, writing, “From the party that ran a racist campaign of murder and closed the polls to blacks who were Republicans, gaining power for 100 years.”

“After they murdered Blacks in Wilmington, [the N.C. Democratic Party] passed what they called the White Declaration of Independence,” the GOP executive wrote in another tweet, adding that the party killed African-Americans and created a “grandfather clause” to keep survivors from exercising their right to vote.

Woodhouse apparently doesn’t realize, however, that the “murderous” Democrats he was bashing are now current-day Republicans — and members of his own party.

During the Civil War era, most Blacks supported the Republican party, as that organization backed their interests. Meanwhile, Southern Democrats found the idea of citizenship rights for Black Americans to be unacceptable, The News & Observer reported.

After the South’s crushing defeat in 1865, the Democrats fought to wrest back control of the biracial Republican Party in the 1898 elections by running a campaign based on white supremacy and protecting white women from Black men, NPR reported, effectively taking it over. Over the years, the so-called “Dixiecrat” party — now the Republican Party — and its segregationist ideology swept the South. The Republican party gradually grew more conservative while the Democratic party became more liberal.

Woodhouse’s tweets didn’t mention this, though:

On Monday, N.C. Democratic Party chairman Wayne Goodwin responded to Woodhouse’s remarks.

“This is unhinged even for the NCGOP, a party that is desperate to hide three words: illegal racial gerrymander,” Goodwin said in a statement to The News & Observer. “The party that targets African Americans with ‘surgical precision’ has little to no credibility on this topic.”

When questioned about his tweets, Woodhouse pointed to Wikipedia and Encyclopedia of North Carolina entries on the 1898 event that an NPR article dubbed “the only coup d’etat in U.S. history.”

A mob of white supremacists armed with rifles and other weapons stormed Wilmington’s City Hall on Nov. 10, 1898, overthrowing the local elected government, according to the article. Both Black and white officials were forced to resign or were run out of town.

The violent coup was the apex of a race riot in which whites set fire to the offices of a Black-owned newspaper and killed several African-American residents. It’s unknown exactly how many people were killed, but historians estimate at least 90 Black people died that day.

“Southern Democrats lost their grip on power in North Carolina in 1894 and plotted to wrest control from the biracial Republican Party in 1898 elections,” the NPR article states. “They campaigned on a platform of white supremacy and protecting their women from Black men.”

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