Wilmington 1898

November 12, 2024 | GBH’s American Experience

FILM SYNOPSIS

Wilmington 1898 tells the little-known story of a race massacre and coup d’état in Wilmington, NC, in which white supremacists overthrew the multi-racial “Fusion” government of North Carolina’s largest city through a coordinated campaign of violence and intimidation that destroyed Black political and economic power and imposed white control. The film’s narrative will be structured around the harrowing events of November. 1898, framed against the broader sweep of American history surrounding the coup. Its protagonists are the historical characters at the heart of the events: coup participants and victims, leaders and ordinary citizens. Their stories are brought to life through exhaustively researched archival materials, interviews with scholars, journalists, and descendants, evocative animation, and readings of first-person historical accounts.

FILM TEAM

Co-Director, Yoruba Richen is a journalist by training and filmmaker by vocation and has spent the last decade making documentaries that not only chronicle historic, racial injustices but also explore the resistance and resilience of Black Americans. Her recent films The Green Book, How It Feels To Be Free, The New York Times Presents: The Killing of Breonna Taylor, American Reckoning, and The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, have helped viewers across the country understand our collective past and its strong impact on the present.

Co-Director, Brad Lichtenstein After working with the late Congressman John Lewis in high school, Atlanta-raised Lichtenstein discovered a calling – to tell stories of America’s struggle to achieve racial and social justice. With numerous awardwinning films to his credit, from the Dupont Award-winning Ghosts of Attica, to the Emmy nominated As Goes Janesville, Lichtenstein has recently returned to that formative experience in the PBS Frontline American Reckoning, featuring Rep. Lewis’ efforts to reopen civil rights era murders through the Emmett Till Act. His 2021 documentary When Claude Got Shot won a Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.