Under the Dome

Wilmington 10 seek pardon

Members of the Wilmington 10, the NAACP and the National Newspapers Publishers Association held a press conference on the State Capitol grounds Thursday to announce a petition for pardon of innocence.

The Wilmington 10 were a group of nine African-Americans and one white woman who protested segregation and education inequality in 1972. The group was wrongly prosecuted and convicted for the firebombing of Mike's Grocery, a white-owned store in Wilmington.

All members of the Wilmington 10 were sentenced to a total of 242 years in prison. They served up to 8 years and their case garnered worldwide attention, including being featured in a segment on the CBS News' program "60 Minutes" in 1977.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals overturned their convictions in 1980.

Six of the living members were able to attend the event Thursday morning, along with family members of the deceased.

Rev. Benjamin Chavis, the leader of the group, told the audience, "we had some of the best attorneys, but 40 years ago, even having the truth on your side wasn't enough."

In an effort to set the record straight, the N.C. Conference of the NAACP delivered a letter of petition to pardon the Wilmington 10 to Gov. Bev Perdue's desk.

"Governor Perdue is a good woman, and we want her to do a good deed," Chavis said, referring to the passing of the petition.  

If granted, a pardon of innocence can be followed by financial compensation by the state.

"First things first," Attorney James Ferguson said, regarding whether the Wilmington 10 will receive compensation. "One step at a time, and then further steps will be considered."


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Bev, in case you haven't

Bev, in case you haven't noticed the state is broke.  Move on.


As a Wilmington native, I recall this group of being a bunch of thugs.I expect our liberal Governor to grant the pardon.The "Joker " never disappoints me.It was dangerous for my family during this unrest just going to work at the Atlantic Coastline Railyard at Smith Creek Yard.

Wilmington 10

I agree with dennis1. And this is the same Ben Chavis that caused all the riots in Oxford NC before he high tailed it to Wilmington. Maybe it's time for the SBI to release those sealed files on who was behind all the fire bombings. They have the evidence. Just to scared the same thing will happen again. If Mrs Perdue signs this pardon for innocence this will be the most disgraceful thing any governor in America has ever done. It does not take a 1st grader to know  they are NOT innocent and had those thugs not been in Wilmington none of it would have happened. Find some other state to take money from Ben. You already stole money from the NAACP and they pat you on the back. 

I still remember that crowd

I still remember that crowd from when I was a kid.  They were a bunch of rabble-rousers, as best I can remember.  But it was the 70's and I was 12 years old, so maybe I was influenced by the times? 

It would be beneficial if the N&O would recap (without their usual PC spin) these events that transpired many years ago, as even those of us who lived here then certainly won't remember the complete story.


always about the money.  people dont have character, morality, self discipline, etc.

just greed.

Well said

Well said.  Why should these criminals be compensated?  It would be just like our embarassment of a governor to do it though.

Wilmington Ten

We were moving to Wilmington from Asheville and were on Oleander Blvd when we heard news on the radio that parts of a street ( I believe Market St) was closed down and many of the Wilmington Ten where "holded" up in a CHURCH.   Gunfire broke out around the church and on one of the days a white male was killed. This was a awful time in the city of Wilmington and it all started when the Wilmington Ten put shopping carts in a grocery store checkout lines and outside the doors.  Chavis was the ring leader and I do not know who killed the man. I am not saying it was any of the Ten in the Church who shot and killed this man but that is where the gun shot came from. These 10 people were far from being the innocent protesters they claim to have been. And gunfire was directed at the Church and I believe it was hit several times...

You would have had to haved lived in Wilmington, NC during this time to know the turmoil these 10 people caused and they do not deserve a pardon of innocence . The Court of Appeal has over turned their conviction and they were not retried.  If it it given, the next step will be legal action to receive compensation which would come me and the rest of NC taxpayers. They paid for what they did and do not deserve anything from the State of North Carolina.

Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of Click here to register or to log in.