Photograph of the members of the Wilmington Ten amongst a crowd standing in front of City Hall.
The Wilmington Ten, a group made up of nine young African American men and one white woman, were all convicted in a case that made national news in 1972. The defendants were accused of participating in the firebombing of a local Wilmington, NC grocery store, and then shooting at responding emergency personal in February 1971, when school boycotts and riots over desegregation peaked in New Hanover County.
In 1972, prison sentences ranging from 23 to 34 years were given to the defendants, none of whom were able to testify in their own defense. In 1976, all three witnesses recanted their stories, prompting a federal investigation and drawing the attention of critics, both domestic and foreign. The sentences were reduced in 1978, and overturned in 1980. In 2012, attorneys petitioned for individual pardons for the six surviving members of the Wilmington Ten. The pardons were approved in December 2012 by Governor Beverly Perdue.
Blacks--Civil Rights; State action (Civil rights)--United States--Cases; African American--History
Cape Fearians Digital Collection, New Hanover County Public Library
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