Monday, June 18, 2012


By Cash Michaels

            Among the seventy-seven resolutions adopted at the NC Democratic Party State Convention last weekend in Raleigh was one calling for Governor Beverly Perdue to grant pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten.
            This resolution is the first for any political party, and comes on the heels of the national NAACP Board of Directors, which unanimously adopted a similar resolution on May 19 support pardons for the ten civil rights activists who were falsely charged and convicted with conspiracy forty years ago in connection to racial violence in Wilmington.
            It also comes just over a week before the “Faith Community Rally Supporting the Wilmington Ten,” scheduled for Tuesday, June 26th, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Stephen A.M.E. Church, 501 Red Cross Street in Wilmington.
            The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the NC NAACP, is the featured keynote speaker.
            Under the title of  “Civil Rights,” the 43rd resolution adopted June 16th by the NC Democratic Party Convention reads:
            WHEREAS, a group of ten civil rights activists were charged with inciting the violent Wilmington race riots in 1971; and WHEREAS, the racist organizations, the Ku Klux Klan and the Rights of White People, were the primary perpetrators of the violence during the race riots; and
         WHEREAS, the Wilmington Ten case is one of the most glaring travesties of justice in North Carolina history; and WHEREAS, the Wilmington Ten were convicted as the result of a highly controversial trial held in Burgaw, North Carolina; and
         WHEREAS, the State produced three eyewitnesses at the trial who testified to the guilt of the Wilmington Ten; and WHEREAS, two of the State’s witnesses were coerced and coached into presenting perjured testimony at secret meetings held at the private residence of the Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan; and
         WHEREAS, the prosecuting attorney bribed State’s witnesses to coerce perjured testimony; and WHEREAS, the Trial Judge prevented certain crucial facts from being placed before the jury; and WHEREAS, Amnesty International declared the Wilmington Ten to be political prisoners in 1978; and WHEREAS, all three State’s witnesses recanted their testimonies; and
         WHEREAS, the Wilmington Ten served considerable time in prison; and WHEREAS, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of the Wilmington Ten citing “prosecutorial misconduct;” and WHEREAS, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals discovered that the misconduct of the prosecutor was aided and abetted by the Trial Judge; and
         WHEREAS, the impact of prosecutorial misconduct aided by the miscreant Trial Judge resulted in wrongful convictions for the Wilmington Ten; and WHEREAS, distinguished civil rights attorneys have filed a petition for pardon for the Wilmington Ten; and
WHEREAS, the Wilmington Ten have presented their petition for pardon to Governor Beverly Perdue; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the North Carolina Democratic Party, call upon Governor Beverly Perdue to grant pardons for the Wilmington 10 in advance of the 40th anniversary of the original conviction in September 2012.
In a statement, the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project thanks the NC Democratic Party for its support.

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