A Communication by Mrs. Roger Moore
Scope and Contents
In her four page letter, which appeared to be directed to the local newspaper, the Wilmington Messenger, Mrs. Susan Moore, wife of Roger, took issue with an earlier story in the Elm City Mirror which had claimed that the leader of the "revolution of 1898 in Wilmington" was Colonel Alfred M. Waddell (1834-1912). According to Moore, the leaders were in fact her husband, Colonel Roger Moore and Doctor J. E. Matthews, and that Waddell was not informed of the movement's plans until after his election as Mayor. She credited Colonel Moore with preventing greater violence toward the African American community by refusing to give the order to shoot at a crowd of people and by preventing lynchings at the jail.
- Creation: 1899, 1973
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Biographical and Historical Note
In 1898, members of the Democratic party in North Carolina orchestrated a white supremacist political campaign that resulted in the violent overthrow of the locally elected government in Wilmington on November 10. In a bid to remove Fusion party members of Black businessmen and their white political allies from public positions of influence, a group of armed, white men—coaxed on and led by powerful community leaders known as The Secret Nine—attacked and killed Black citizens throughout the city, ran out many others, and finally placed their own Democratic candidates in the newly vacated seats. The events of the 1898 coup marked a turning point in the post-Reconstruction South that changed the trajectory of race relations in North Carolina and marked the start of Jim Crow laws in the state, which further enforced racial segregation through the mid-20th century.
Colonel Roger Moore was born in Wilmington, NC in 1838. He served as a soldier in the Confederate Army and head of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. After his time with the Third North Carolina Calvary in the Civil War, he returned to Wilmington and began his work in several businesses, including grocery, brokerage, and supply. He also served as chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners and president of the Wilmington Produce Exchange, while working on several other major boards and committees. With his social and political influence, Moore was placed in charge of the angry, white mob that attacked Black citizens and overthrew the duly-elected government in Wilmington during the events of the 1898 coup. He organized distinct districts and blocks that were to be patrolled by the white militia and Red Shirts on the night of the election, when they marched into and attacked the Black Brooklyn neighborhood, killing Black men in the streets and arresting white sympathizers. He died in Wilmington in 1900.
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This collection was donated by Dr. Philip Gerard in March 1997.
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- A Communication by Mrs. Roger Moore
- Patricia B. McGee
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