Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Wilmington Ten were those arrested, tried, wrongfully convicted, and incarcerated for arson and for firing guns at responding emergency personnel during a violent 1971 episode in the North Carolina seaport, following sudden school desegregation in 1969. Although the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education had struck down the “separate but equal” ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), many southern school boards resisted integration for over a decade before it was finally instituted. Wrongfully convicted of violent crimes, the Wilmington Ten— eight Black high school students, a Black minister of the United Church of Christ, and a White female social worker—were actually victims of the racial and political turmoil during America's civil rights era. Wilmington's modern racial unrest began when Martin Luther King, Jr., who was scheduled to visit Wilmington on April 4, 1968, instead stayed in Memphis, Tennessee, after violence erupted there, and was ...