“According to the historian David S. Cecelski, presenting [Alfred] Waddell as a righteous campaigner for ‘sobriety and peace’ was standard in Wilmington until the 1990s. ‘I grew up in a small town in eastern North Carolina 90 miles from Wilmington,’ Cecelski says. ‘I had a book in my middle-school classroom that listed the 12 greatest North Carolinians ever. It included the Wright brothers, Virginia Dare, and then it included three of the people who were the leaders of the white supremacy campaign.
“ ‘For something like Wilmington in 1898,’ Cecelski continues, ‘it’s hard to describe the level of indoctrination. In the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, they bragged about [the coup]. After that, they backed off but it stayed in the history books and they talked about it as an unfortunate but necessary event.'”In fact, part of how historians have pieced together the real story of the Wilmington massacre is by looking back at newspaper archives — from towns all across North Carolina, not just Wilmington — where similar violence was coordinated that day. ‘They burned down black newspapers all over the state,’ Cecelski says….”