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American Coup

There’s only ever been one successful coup on American soil. But white violence as a response to Black progress is as American as apple pie.

About this episode:

The storming of the Capitol building by white extremists loyal to Donald Trump on January 6th, was violent, deadly and shameful.

But it wasn’t unprecedented. The attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, follows a long tradition in America of white violence, aimed at undoing Democracy.

At nearly every turn, where this country bent toward freedom, there was a violent backlash. And there is perhaps no clearer example than the story of the only successful coup in U.S. history.

In 1898, white supremacists in Wilmington, North Carolina carried out a riot and insurrection, targeting Black lawmakers and residents.

Inez Campbell-Eason’s family survived the coup, but Black lawmakers were ousted, dozens of Black residents were killed, and she tells Trymaine Lee that the impact on the city is still felt.

Dr. Sharlene Sinegal-Decuir, African American History professor at Xavier University in New Orleans, explains the long history of white violence in response to progress. In order to prevent insurrections like the one last week in Washington, D.C., she says we must begin to understand our past.

Find the transcript here.

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