Director Nelson Oliver has spent the past decade working on a narrative retelling of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot, the only violent government overthrow in U.S. history. In a free film screening coming to Duke on Wednesday, April 18, in Perkins Library 217, Oliver’s The Red Cape will explore the conspiracy, riot, and ensuing racially-motivated massacre that went largely ignored by historians until a 2000 historical commission by the North Carolina General Assembly.
The Red Cape follows the fates of a young black boy and his father in what was then North Carolina’s most progressive city. Incensed by the biracial makeup of the newly-elected city legislature, a group of white businessmen stage a coup—publicizing a “White Declaration of Independence,” replacing democratically-elected officeholders with white supremacists, and massacring untold numbers of black citizens in the resulting chaos.
The film is 40 minutes in length, and it will be screened twice: once at 4:00 p.m., and again at 5:30 p.m.
The Duke University Libraries and John Hope Franklin Young Scholars invite you to join us in Perkins 217 on April 18.
For further information on the topic of the Wilmington Race Riot, the Libraries also offer the following resources:
John Sayles, A Moment in the Sun: A Novel
Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism
Speller Street Films, Wilmington on Fire
North Carolina 1898 Race Riot Commission, The Wilmington Race Riot Report
LeRae Umfleet, A Day of Blood: The 1898 Wilmington Race Riot
David S. Cecelski and Timothy B. Tyson Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and its Legacy
Andrea Meryl Kirshenbaum, Race Gender, and Riot: The Wilmington, North Carolina White Supremacy Campaign of 1898
Rhonda Bellamy and Si Cantwell, Moving Forward Together: A Community Remembers 1898
For further information about this screening, contact:
John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program Director
Duke University Libraries PepsiCo Education Technology Partnership Coordinator