My New Book!

It’s official. Race, Place, and Memory: Deep Currents in Wilmington, North Carolina, will be published by the University Press of Florida in or around Jan 2018. It will appear as part of the Cultural Heritage Series edited by Paul Shackel.

Below you can find a Table of Contents and a version of the Introduction.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Rising Tide: 1740-1840
Chapter 2: Port in a Storm, 1840-1880
Chapter 3: Slack Water, 1880-1920
Chapter 4: Ebba and Flow, 1920-1990
Chapter 5: Soundings


This book began in July 1996 when I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, to fill a visiting professor of public history position. I delighted in the combination of moss-draped live oaks, antebellum houses, upscale dining, and miles of sandy beaches ten minutes away. My first weekend in town, Hurricane Bertha made landfall at nearby Topsail Island. A much stronger Fran followed seven weeks later, just after classes at UNCW had commenced. For me, a raw transplant, the storms’ impact eventually stripped away the romantic-yet-modern image I had of the port city, its people, and its communal spirit. With one of the richest collections of nineteenth century urban architecture in the South, an expanding university, and Frank Capra’s Screen Gems Studios, Wilmington had successfully leveraged its social and cultural capital in the early 1990s to revitalize the local economy. Yet the financial recovery exacerbated the city’s income disparity. When the storms hit, Wilmington’s poorest citizens, like their counterparts in New Orleans during Katrina, could not afford to evacuate; black neighborhoods and housing projects, already aging and in need of repair, experienced irreversible damage; and majority-black areas of the city lacked services longer than the white ones. The flood waters left layers of sludge and sand in many places, but for me, they moved gently, metaphorically across my brain, beginning to wash away years of muddy thinking about race in America. Other events that year removed additional layers.[1]

modern-post-card As this modern postcard suggests, Wilmington has a distinct cultural heritage that connects race, place, and memory. Key elements of this identity date back to the colonial era.

While hurricane clean-up commenced, colleagues in the History Department invited me to join a grassroots effort to commemorate the Wilmington “race riot” of 1898. The phrase “race riot” is in quotations because as I quickly learned white and black Wilmingtonians had constructed competing narratives of this event. To many whites, especially long-time, native-born residents, the “race riot” was an uprising of armed blacks that white civic leaders suppressed when they redeemed the city government from corruption and misrule. For many blacks, especially long-term, native-born residents, “race riot” meant the organized massacre of unarmed black civilians by white paramilitary organizations and state troops while civic leaders affected a municipal coup d’état. Complicating matters were conflicting memories of two modern “race riots,” one in 1968 and another in 1971. Furthermore, each population linked contemporary race relations to this heritage of racial violence. Local whites generally believed the city had a long history of good race relations—except for a few instances when outsiders came in and stirred the black community up. Local blacks, by contrast, generally felt that race relations were deplorable and had always been so—except for brief periods when outsiders came in and ensured equality for blacks. It was an extraordinary opportunity for a young but experienced public historian.

Curious to know more, I joined the 1898 Centennial Commission as its public-historian-in-residence and assigned students in my upper-level, Community Studies course a unique, hands-on project: creating an African American walking tour brochure that promulgated local blacks’ version of the city’s past. The field of public history, I should note, differs significantly from academic history (including academic studies of collective memory) in that practitioners seek to share authority with members of the community studied and involve them in the creation of engaging, accessible products that serve the community’s particular needs. In 1996, black Wilmingtonians had limited access to information about the “riots” of 1898 and 1971. Only one scholarly work of local black history existed, H. Leon Prather’s We Have Taken a City (1984), and the city library had one, non-circulating copy. My students conducted original research in area collections, consulted with members of the black community as they drafted and revised their text, and received many accolades when they completed the brochure, which the university published gratis for distribution around town. At end of term, however, after I had submitted all my grades, a young man named Hamiyd delivered a lengthy letter that forcefully but politely took me to task. A native Wilmingtonian, a resident of a public housing project, and the only black student enrolled in the class, he considered the brochure too celebratory. While it recognized several local sites of racial violence and resistance, the narrative arc implied that blacks had triumphed over adversity. His lived experience proved otherwise, and he recommended to me a list of black nationalistic authors to broaden my perspective. I felt surprise, befuddlement, and yes, some annoyance, too. But at the time, I was packing to move for a new, tenure-track job, so I merely filed it away. Over the years, as the brochure generated controversy, the 1998 commemoration unfolded, and this book developed, I recalled and reconsidered his words, each time understanding more and more what kind of history he wanted. I hope this book comes close.

The product of many years’ study, Race, Place, and Memory is not a celebratory work, although it does end on an optimistic note. It is an example of community studies, an interdisciplinary endeavor that combines the methods of ethnography, material and visual culture, literary criticism, public history, and collective memory with good, old-fashioned social history. There is nothing like it in the popular or scholarly literature of the port city.[2] Quite simply, I wanted to understand why the 1998 commemoration ended up reinforcing the racial status quo even as participants, myself included, sought to do the opposite. That conclusion will undoubtedly displease some of my former colleagues and neighbors, but Wilmington is not unique: its memory projects reflect a power struggle whose general dimensions are well known to public historians yet still need explication.[3] In the following pages, I use Wilmington as a case study to reveal how white elites used violence and, especially, collective memories of violence to create and maintain their racial privilege. Traced from the community’s founding in 1740 through the end of the twentieth century, this persistent and still extant pattern involves more than just elite whites’ silencing of blacks’ subaltern histories. I argue that in every era whites and blacks fashioned conflicting interpretations of the past as they tried to defend their competing civic and racial identities in their present. That is, the two groups, whom I further divide into oldtimers (insiders) and newcomers (outsiders), modified existing historical narratives in order to shape the community they inhabited and the people they considered themselves to be. As public historian Paul Shackel recently observed, “public memory is more a reflection of present political and social relations than a true reconstruction of the past.”[4] Thanks in part to growing public awareness of the constructed nature of white racial privilege, more and more white Wilmingtonians are recognizing and rejecting the structural legacies of slavery and segregation. Though the community still has a way to go to achieve equality, its trajectory, like that of other American communities, is clear.

feb51971protestathemenway Black high school students protest outside the city school board office on February 5, 1971. Ben Chavis, an organizer with the United Church of Christ’s Commission for Racial Justice, is shown lower left, with his back to the camera. This event gave way to violent upheavals that culminated in the 1972 trial and false conviction of the Wilmington Ten.

I attribute this slow but positive transformation, in part, to the “power of place.” Dolores Hayden, an architectural historian who has done significant public history work, coined this phrase to explain how the emotional attachments people have to physical spaces act back upon them to shape their sense of personal identity.[5] An example would be the attachment an old man has to his high school, which functions as a mnemonic device aiding the recollection of his cherished identity as a former track star. Not all attachments are rooted in positive memories of past experiences. Individuals can also attach to structures and landscapes negative memories of hardships or traumas associated with those sites. What is constant is the way memories transform spaces into meaningful places and the way places affect our sense of well-being or distress. Indeed, depending upon the meanings or memories attached to a location, a person may go out of his or her way to revisit or avoid it. Historic places have a similar power. Instead of connecting people to their personal pasts, they ostensibly connect them to a cultural heritage they share with others. Instead of shaping a person’s identity as an individual, they affirm an identity as a member of a particular ethnic group, as a resident of a particular city, as a citizen of a particular nation. In most cases, however, the heritage commemorated at historic sites still overwhelmingly reflects the collective memories of privileged white men and their ilk. To public historians, especially those interpolating black history, the persistence of this bias in a democratic society is a serious problem requiring serious action.[6] As Hayden discovered in Los Angeles, a community that ignores the histories of its non-elite, non-white members effectively says: “Only white elites matter here.” The good news is that, while an exclusionary public history helps alienate large numbers of Americans from the body politic, an inclusive approach to the past can promote civic engagement and cultural belonging.

The physical landscape gets its civic power from the fact that, whether positive or negative in their associations, all places known to an individual share a common origin as the site of specific stimuli, with each site situated among others in a complex cognitive map.[7] While each individual’s mental map is unique, inscribed with the memories and meanings he alone attaches to it, most sites are shared with other people and so become catalysts for collective identities as well as personal ones. A version of this process was documented in Robert Orsi’s 1985 study of Italian immigrants in Harlem, where individuals paraded through city streets to manifest shared ethnic and religious identities even as they declared non-Italian members of the neighborhood ‘Other.’[8] A more contemporary process is described by Alison Landsberg, who argues that starting around 1900 modern media ruptured traditional methods of memory-making and allowed people with “no natural claim” to certain memories to incorporate them into their own experiences and identities.[9] Both patterns existed in Wilmington, where urban spaces sheltered all sorts of structures, public events, activities, and images that in turn stimulated the behaviors, memories, and collective identities of its residents. Many historic sites, like the Market, the court house, and the wharf district, have especially contested meanings because their functions drew crowds that were simultaneously black and white, slave and free, male and female, native- and foreign born. Although attentive to the ways that class, gender, and nativity influenced Wilmingtonians’ experiences in and interpretations of urban spaces, in this book I am chiefly interested in race and violence and their links to memory and place.[10] If we are ever to achieve an inclusive society, we must understand how place-based memories shaped racial and civic identities in the past and how representations of those identities in public continue to influence race relations in the present.

old-slave-market-sketch Wilmington’s 1847 Market, a deeply contested site. Enslaved men and women were brought here in coffles and sold from a temporary wooden stand. An enclosed slave “pen” was located a block north. Wilmington had the largest slave market in North Carolina.

Influenced by the field of critical whiteness studies, I also use Wilmingtonians’ constructions of race, place, and memory as a way to explore perennial questions about access to resources, opportunities, and power in the contemporary United States. Notwithstanding Barack Obama’s presidency, cited by many Americans as proof of our “post racial” status, the #BlackLivesMatter movement points to the persistence of whiteness and some of its historic privileges. That persistence is not surprising. Numerous scholarly studies document how the Civil Rights era’s goals of racial integration and economic equality gave way in the 1970s and 1980s to celebrations of “diversity” and tolerance for disparity. Some scholars even assert the emergence of a new Jim Crow, a racially segregated domain shaped by the mass incarceration, mass disfranchisement, and mass unemployment of African Americans. As the following chapters show, I argue that current problems are influenced by collective memories of people, events, and places that have endured for hundreds of years. By tracing the production and reproduction of such memories in a single community, I seek to demystify the people, processes, and events that contributed to structural racism, to expose the vulnerabilities of the reified systems we inherited, and, following others of a postmodern bent, to thereby motivate greater social change.[11]

It is time for what historian Manning Marable calls a new “historically-grounded conversation” about race, one that recognizes as central to our common past the destructive processes of racialization that occurred in this country.[12] In Wilmington, these destructive processes began in the 1730s, when a group of elite, white aristocrats came to the lower Cape Fear and set about remaking a ‘wilderness’ according to the ‘civilized’ image of South Carolina’s low country. Their place-making goals not only led the founding generation to embrace rice and naval stores, commodities that demanded water and exacted blood, but to create for themselves and their progeny “a very considerable Town” modeled on memories of Charleston.[13] Organized racial violence was essential to their vision. Never mere punishments, whippings, maimings, and other forms of public bloodletting were part of a deliberate strategy to force black acceptance of white elites’ economic, political, and cultural supremacy. Outwardly, the strategy seemed to work. Wilmington prospered, and town fathers congratulated themselves on their vibrant economy, cosmopolitan culture, and “good race relations.” As time passed, they and other white residents internalized this positive civic identity, felt a sense of obligation to perpetuate it, and helped pass it down through the generations along with their color, their names, and their property.

stampactplaque Like many communities, Wilmington has long offered a particular narrative about the past–one that celebrates the achievements of elite white men. The 1998 commemoration marked a significant and successful effort to shift this pattern.

Beneath this calm surface swirled deep currents of discontent. In every period, black Wilmingtonians’ anger and resentment eventually surged up—from organized slave revolts in the colonial period to the establishment of black political organizations during Reconstruction and the sit-in movement of the 1960s. Significantly, these overt challenges to white authority were not wholly native; rather they resulted from complex changes influenced by newcomers, both black and white, whose own place-making efforts perceptibly altered local race relations. In each era, the community reached a tipping point, when elite oldtimers reasserted their self-designated civic authority with a deliberate, didactic application of large-scale racial violence. The most famous example occurred in 1898, when nine prominent, white businessmen, led by descendants of the city’s founders, brutally ended what they called “Negro Domination” and set about recreating Wilmington’s ‘good’ reputation. This attack was not a shocking aberration, as recent studies contend, but a conscious re-enactment of past events. Moreover, three modern studies of race relations in contemporary Wilmington agree that violence as a tactic to suppress black demands for equality persisted through the late twentieth century.[14] By probing the origins and evolution of this long-standing pattern of behavior, especially how different populations of people (black and white, new and old) forget and recall racial violence and employ it to construct different racial and civic identities, this work not only sheds new light on race relations in southern cities like Wilmington, but in a variety of American places.

Chapter one, “Rising Tide, 1740-1840,” covers Wilmington’s first hundred years. It identifies four of this community’s most salient, self-defined characteristics and shows how white elites developed and deployed them to create a particular sense of place and social hierarchy. I argue that violence especially affected colonial-era residents’ attachment to places and thus, their emergent racial and civic identities: the Market where blacks stood on the block for sale held different meanings for them than it did for white masters; so did early plantations and places like Nigger Head Road, where whites posted the decapitated skulls of suspected slave rebels. Using anthropological evidence, I reinterpret a well-known regional practice called Kunering, which I trace back to a specific place in West Africa. Never a mere holiday frolic, it began as a way for enslaved Papaw men to remember a cherished identity as ‘warriors’ even as white planters used it to craft positive identities as ‘city fathers’ and ‘benevolent, genteel masters.’ As the rhetoric of liberty spread throughout the colonial population, whites and blacks alike used pivotal events like the Wilmington Stamp Act rebellion of 1765 to recreate their racial and civic identities. I explore the role of civilian violence during the Revolutionary period and connect it to the new slave code that white patriots enacted to define the subordinate place of blacks in the new state. Perhaps paradoxically, whites simultaneously expanded the hiring-out system, which enabled many highly-skilled slaves to earn wages and purchase freedom. The chapter ends by analyzing racial tensions in the early 1800s, especially as revealed by the lives of three famous figures: David Walker, whose upbringing in Wilmington influenced not only the content of An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1831) but local responses to it; Louis Sheridan, a wealthy free black whose experiences here compelled him to help found Liberia; and “Moro,” an enslaved Muslim marabout (Omar ibn Said) who whites lionized as an exemplary ‘loyal slave.’ Competing memories of all three men lingered long after their physical presence ended, merging into and augmenting communal understandings of race and place.

said_ambro Omar ibn Said, known locally as “Prince Moro” and hailed by whites as “loyal slave” well into the 20th century. Ambrotype courtesy of Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill.

Chapter two, “Port in a Storm, 1840-1880,” interprets elite white efforts to maintain the racial status quo in a period of profound changes. In 1840, the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad opened and quickly transformed the port city into the state’s undisputed commercial center and largest slave market. Its population swelled with newcomers from Europe, New England, and the rural hinterlands; many of them joined the port’s growing urban, Southern middle class. To unite and control these diverse residents, elite white civic leaders promoted new commemorative celebrations, and began to define a distinctive ‘revolutionary’ identity around events, people, and structures associated with the 1760s and 1770s. They also led a massive building campaign, became more aggressively pro-business, and adapted urban slavery to fit the industrial order while expanding their rural plantations. Some black families benefitted enormously from these changes; skilled artisans consolidated their control of the building trades, the size of the free population increased, and blacks established civic celebrations and commemorations of their own, including revivals, parades, and Kuner festivals, which they modified in significant ways. Even so, racial violence remained a fact of life: when local whites’ defense of slavery grew more militant in the 1850s, black residents’ resistance surged again, aided this time by a distinctive underground railroad that operated on the river.

For obvious reasons, this chapter evaluates the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on Wilmingtonians. True to their local heritage, most white residents eventually supported the new ‘revolution’ against tyranny and embraced their new identity as Confederates. Meanwhile, blacks initiated revolutions of a different sort. The chapter traces the resulting transformations of racial and civic identity by assessing the role of everyday violence and new commemorations like Klan parades and Decoration Day. Here, too, I explain how a white-authored ‘revolutionary’ narrative developed in the 1870s to link the 1860s to the 1770s and 1760s. When the city’s former elites memorialized the Confederacy’s Lost Cause, they consciously reasserted their existing ‘revolutionary’ heritage, signaling an intent to overthrow the Yankee ‘tyrants’ in their midst. Through tactics like gerrymandered voter precincts, oldtimers successfully redeemed their government and assured themselves that race relations were reverting back to ‘normal.’

The title of chapter three, “Slack Water,” refers to a low tide with lower than usual water levels and stronger tidal currents. The term aptly describes Wilmington in the years spanning 1880 to 1920, when whites embraced lynching as a new form of organized racist violence, dramatically increased their memory-making projects, and sharply curtailed black advancement to enhance their own. These developments, I contend, reflected the port city’s declining status. As Northern capital flowed into the piedmont region of North Carolina, power and prestige shifted west, away from the Cape Fear, where they had lodged since the colonial era. Wilmington’s white civic leaders considered their marginalization untenable. They also resented challenges closer to home: due to an alliance of Republicans and Populists in the 1890s, pro-business Democrats lost control of municipal government and a small number of black men found their way into public offices. In response, in 1898 a group of prominent oldtimers orchestrated a violent attack on black citizens in order to justify a municipal coup d’état, which they termed the “Wilmington Revolution.” In contrast to other scholars of this well-known event, I reveal the social webs that connected the elite, white Revolutionaries, how shared identities and collective memories helped them achieve their goals, and what black counter narratives tell us about this “race riot’s” broader meaning. In keeping with the continuity of white privilege, the chapter examines Wilmington’s civic leaders’ return to economic and political prominence. It concludes with World War I’s local impact, especially the way it sparked racist violence to suppress new, historically-grounded assertions of black citizenship, which arose despite de jure and de facto segregation.

colliers Cover illustration for Collier’s Magazine, November 26, 1898, which erroneously depicted the events of November 10, 1898 as an armed uprising of black residents. This false narrative emerged after the fact to justify the organized anti-black violence and political coup.

Chapter Four, “Ebb and Flow, 1920-1990,” explores how Wilmington’s white civic leaders struggled to maintain the port city’s core characteristics as the twentieth century advanced and the Civil Rights movement rose and fell. I emphasize how local white boosters aggressively marketed the lower Cape Fear region as a perfect vacation destination and business location, a unique place blessed by sun and surf, a romantic past, a genteel culture, and a modern, progressive outlook. From pageants, parades, and festivals to historic houses and myriad literary projects, white elites recalled and reinvented their collective heritage, all the while working to advance present and future gains. In the 1930s, in keeping with the broader, state-wide movement toward civility, whites began to disavow publicly their heritage of violence and revolution, but World War II revealed their ambivalence. With thousands of newcomers in the area, including black soldiers who refused to be cowed, racial conflicts flared regularly. After the war, Wilmington reclaimed its sense of gentility, history, and racial harmony through the Azalea Festival, a multi-day event that I interpret as a performance of white supremacy. But a new generation of black civil rights activists had come of age and their steady stream of protests, coupled with the closing of the city’s largest employer, the Atlantic Coastline Railroad, in 1955 set the stage for yet another revolution. This time, starting with the sit-in movement of 1963 and accelerating over the next ten years, it was black youth who embraced militance. In 1968 they protested in the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, and in 1971 they demonstrated against the all-white school board’s resistance to federal desegregation mandates. At both times, the black protest turned violent and in both cases, white authorities responded with extreme force, including armed tanks and federal troops. The 1971 riot, widely covered by the media, resulted in the trial and conviction of the Wilmington Ten, whose case pushed local race relations into an international limelight. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the 1980s, a decade marked locally by the rise of the New Right, a downtown preservation and revitalization effort, and a host of new industries, including higher education, pharmaceuticals, and film production. The benefits of this revitalization were profoundly unequal, however.

1953kiwanis The Kiwanis Minstrels, 1953 Azalea Festival Parade. Courtesy New Hanover County Public Library. Racist representations of black Wilmingtonians were essential to the success of the whites-only tourism industry.

The final chapter, “Soundings,” measures the depth of race, place, and memory in the years leading up to, including, and immediately following the city’s signal commemorative event, the 1998 centennial observance of the 1898 Wilmington Revolution. The end of the century was a time of intense national discord over matters of race. Though many Americans upheld the need for affirmative action policies to redress historic wrongs, powerful counterarguments arose that proclaimed the nation’s ‘postracial’ or ‘colorblind’ status. In the public history arena, whites and blacks, liberals and conservatives all clashed regularly over representations of slavery, the Civil War, the Confederate flag, segregation, and the Civil Rights movement. The 1998 commemoration cannot be understood apart from this context. I open with the case of Katherine Bell Moore, a descendant of an old Wilmington family and the city’s first black woman alderman, who became a lightning rod in the 1990s for underlying racial tensions. From there, I critically evaluate the work of the 1898 Centennial Foundation, drawing partly from my own experiences, but chiefly from official minutes, letters, newsletters, and reports.[15] Of special note is the tactical debate that existed between those who felt it necessary to appease old-time, elite, white Wilmingtonians’ version of the past and those who did not. Most important, I show how and why certain elements of the 1998 commemoration (e.g., public lectures, story circles, a play, an academic conference, a memorial) supported the dominant, white-authored narrative, while others worked to subtly subvert it. Though Wilmington still needs an authentic public history, one that acknowledges the power of place for blacks as well as whites, the streams of change are flowing toward the future.

paddles The 1898 Memorial, erected 2008, incorporates six, massive bronze paddles intended to invoke West African beliefs about the afterlife. Its imagery and location along a busy highway have made it the focus of local controversy.

[1] On the hurricanes’ impact, see coverage in the Star-News from September 5th, 1996 to October 6th, 1996. Small notices telling people impacted by the disaster where to go for aid lasted well into November. See also Rutherford H. Platt, David Salvesen, and George H. Baldwin II, “Rebuilding North Carolina after Hurricane Fran: Did Public Regulation Matter?,” Coastal Management, Vol. 30 (2002): 249-269 especially 257.

[2] Alan Watson is probably the leading historian of Wilmington. His books include Wilmington, North Carolina, to 1861 (McFarland & Co., 2003) and Wilmington: Port of North Carolina (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001). As my bibliography attests, numerous scholarly books focus on particular aspects of Wilmington history or reference race relations in Wilmington, as do numerous journal articles, master’s theses, and dissertations.

[3] Many scholars have critiqued the tendency of modern public history projects to reinforce class, gender, and racial hierarchies even as their producers claimed to subvert the status quo. See, for example, Gerda Lerner, “Why History Matters” in Why History Matters: Life and Thought (New York: Oxford, 1997), 199-211; and Paul A. Shackel, Memory in Black and White: Race, Commemoration, and the Post Bellum Landscape (Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press, 2003), 11-12. Scholars in other disciplines often make the same point. See for example: Michael E. Crutcher, Jr., Treme: Race and Place in a New Orleans Neighborhood (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010), ix.

[4] Shackel, 11.

[5] Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995). Of course, it is geographer Yi-fu Tuan who is most closely associated with the study of space and place. His early books are especially notable: Space and Place (1979), Landscapes of Fear (1977), and Topofilia (1974).

[6] Michael Wallace, “Visiting the Past: History Museums in the United States,” in Presenting the Past: Essays on History and the Public, ed. Susan P. Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987), 137-61; Richard Handler and Eric Gable, The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), 5; and Seth C. Bruggeman, Here, George Washington Was Born: Memory, Material Culture, and the Public History of a National Monument (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008), introduction. See also two recent collections of essays: Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on History, Race, and Museums (Washington, DC: Association of American Museums Press, 2010); and Interpreting African American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites ed. by Max van Balgooy (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015).

[7] Cognitive mapping remains under utilized by historians. Examples of works that have shaped my thinking and approach are: Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, “Beyond Culture: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference,” Cultural Anthropology vol. 7, no. 1, (Feb. 1992): 6-23; Wayne Franklin and Michael Steiner, eds., Mapping American Culture (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1992); Kent C. Ryden, Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1993).

[8] Robert Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985). Studies more relevant to Wilmington are: Gregg D. Kimball and Elsa Barkley Brown, “Mapping the Terrain of Black Richmond,” Journal of Urban History, Vol. 21, No. 3 (March 1995): 296-346; and Timothy R. Tangherlini, “Remapping Koreatown: Folklore, Narrative, and the Los Angeles Riots,” Western Folklore 58, No. 2 (Winter 1999): 149-73.

[9] Alison Landsberg, Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).

[10] Earl Lewis, “Connecting Memory, Self, and the Power of Place in African American Urban History,” Journal of Urban History (1995). My previous work focused on the intersections between ethnicity, religion, gender, class, and place. See Margaret M. Mulrooney, Black Powder, White Lace: The du Pont Irish and Cultural Identity in Nineteenth Century America (Dartmouth: University of New Hampshire Press, 2002).

[11] Peter Kolchin, “Whiteness Studies: The New History of Race in America,” Journal of American History, Vol. 89, No. 1 (June 2002): 154-173. Kolchin particularly notes the tendency of whiteness studies scholars to accept and explain their own subjectivity, a position at odds with historians’ pursuit of objectivity. On white Americans’ views on race since the Civil Rights movement, see Eric Porter, “Affirming and Disaffirming Actions: Remaking Race in the 1970s,” in America in the Seventies, ed. Beth Baily and David Farber (Lawrence, KS: The University of Kansas Press, 2004), 50-74. On the emergence of a new racial domain, see Marc Mauer The Race to Incarcerate (1999), Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003); and Michele Alexander, The New Jim Crow (2010). On the national resurgence of white privilege during and since the 1970s, see Joe L. Kinchloe, “The Southern Place and Racial Politics: Southernization, Romanticization, and the Recovery of White Supremacy,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society 8 (Winter 2006): 27-46. For a cogent argument against privilege, see philosopher Mary Elizabeth Hobgood, Dismantling Privilege: Towards an Ethics of Accountability (Pilgrim Press, 2000).

[12] Manning Marable, Living Black History: How Reimagining the African-American Past Can Remake America’s Racial Future (New York: Basic Books, 2006), xx.

[13] Minutes of the North Carolina Governor’s Council, June 04, 1740 – June 05, 1740, Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, Volume 4 (1886), 458. Available at Documenting the American South (Accessed October 2010).

[14] Richard N. Ottaway and John E. Shields, Report to Wilmington, NC and New Hanover County on Human Relations Resources and Recommendations for the Future (Winston-Salem: Human Enterprises Institute of Wake Forest University, 1972); June Nash, “The Cost of Violence” Journal of Black Studies, v. 4, no. 2, Dec 1973): 153-183; and Isaiah Madison, “The Racial Climate in Wilmington, NC: June 1996,” submitted to Wilmington Alliance for Community Transformation, author’s possession.

[15] Melton A. McLaurin, “Commemorating Wilmington’s Racial Violence of 1898: From Individual to Collective Memory,” Southern Cultures (Winter 2000): 35-57. A long-time member of the Centennial Foundation, McLaurin’s assessment of the commemoration’s meaning and impact is more positive than mine. The 1898 Centennial Foundation self-published an account of its endeavors: Rhonda Bellamy, ed., Moving Forward Together: A Community Remembers 1898 (Carolina Beach, NC: Slapdash Publishing, 2008).