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When white supremacists overthrew a government

The hidden history of a North Carolina coup.

Ranjani Chakraborty is a lead video producer on the Vox video team and the creator behind Vox’s history series, Missing Chapter.

In November 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina, a mob of 2,000 white men expelled black and white political leaders, destroyed the city’s black-owned newspaper, and killed dozens — if not hundreds — of people. For decades, the story of this violence was buried, while the perpetrators were cast as heroes.

How did these events change the political and economic landscape? Watch the video above to find out what we learned by speaking to North Carolina historians and locals on the lasting impact of the 1898 coup in Wilmington.

If you’re interested in learning more about the event, you can check out the final report from LeRae Umfleet, a North Carolina historian and author, and the state commission that investigated this history. Or take a look at an in-depth documentary about the events of 1898.

This is the first installment in a new Vox series called Missing Chapter, where we revisit underreported and often overlooked moments of the past to give context to the present. Our first season tackles stories of racial injustice, political conflicts, even the hidden history of US medical experimentation. If you have an idea for a topic we should investigate in the series, send it to me via this form!

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. If you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.

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