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Wed Mar 22, 2017, 03:50 PM

Segregation Had to Be Invented [View all]

Interesting article about the history of segregation in NC and the fusion party that flourished briefly in the late 1800s. The only successful bloody coup d'etat in US history happened in response to that bi-racial populist movement. I take solace in thinking that maybe racism and segregation are not always the default wishes of the people. We are greedy and flawed, sure, but the elites spend a great deal of money on divide and conquer, reinforcing our baser instincts for their personal gain. It does seem to yield great results for them But it is not our destiny.


It was the only successful coup in American history.

In 1894, black Republicans and white Populists joined together to create a “fusion” ticket of candidates to oppose Democrats. They shocked the political establishment and won two-thirds of the legislature.

This wasn’t the first time whites and blacks had allied politically. In Virginia in the late 1870s, black and poor white voters formed the Readjuster Party, which worked together to overcome the power of white political elites. In North Carolina; they also worked together to write the Constitution of 1868, which mandated the creation and funding of a state system of public education.

Yet the Fusion Party proved to be more powerful than anyone had anticipated. In 1896, it gained even more seats and elected a Republican as governor of North Carolina after decades of Democratic rule. (Fusion tickets also gained power in other Southern states, but none to the extent of the ticket in North Carolina, according to James Leloudis, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.)

Fusion was a ticket of the working class, and the alliance soon began implementing policies that helped its supporters. They capped interest rates, increased public-school funding, and allowed symbols to be put on ballots to enfranchise people who could not read or write. Their policies were designed, in the words of one supporter, to protect “the liberty of the laboring people, both white and black,” according to Leloudis.

The white elite were threatened by these new policies, especially because Fusion had shifted the burden of taxation from individuals to corporations and railroads. Yet they had little connection with poor voters, and so had few ideas about how to address their economic concerns. Instead, they tried to convince poor whites that they should not associate with blacks in any way. Democrats began to talk of blacks as an “other,” warning of the dangers of miscegenation, portraying blacks as rapists who would come after white women.

Someone made a movie about the Wilmington coup. I haven't seen it, but posting the link so I will remember to watch it soon. http://wilmingtononfire.com

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wildeyed Mar 2017 OP
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