Wilmington Race Riot Commission Releases Recommendations

A couple of months ago, I blogged about the preliminary draft report of the Wilmington Race Riot Commission. The Commission was formed to examine the events of 1898, when the Wilmington City government and the majority of the Black community were attacked by a mob of White Democrats upset with the state of affairs in the city. The Commission concluded that the "riot" was really a planned overthrow of the local government--the only successful overthrow of a local government in the history of the United States. The overthrow had many long lasting negative effects on the Black community in the Southeastern part of the state.

Now the Commission has released their list of actions to remedy the problems created by the riot. Among their recommendations are calls for reparations, programs for Blacks in the area, requiring the event to be taught in schools around the state, and, probably most constroversially, is a call to use eminent domain of commercial property in Wilmington to create affordable housing. We will see how these suggestions are taken, but for now the Wilmington Star has a good summary of the Commission's recommendations, including:

Within the recommendations that would affect Wilmington particularly, were calls for a new redevelopment authority and economic incentives to encourage minority business and homeownership in the Northside and Brooklyn, which were among the sites of racial violence more than a century ago.

Minority homeownership should be increased, the commission recommended, and suggested as a possible action that the government "use its eminent domain power to acquire vacant commercial properties," and sell them to poor residents with guaranteed mortgages.