NAACP Victory: The Wilmington 10 Pardoned
40 years after being wrongfully accused of firebombing a North Carolina grocery store, the Wilimington 10 received a Pardon of Innocence from Governor Beverly Purdue. These young activists were non-violent protestors fighting for educational equality. They were framed, wrongfully convicted and incarcerated.
The NAACP submitted over 15,000 signatures for a petition in support of justice for The Wilmington 10.
Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President & CEO commended the Governor:
"I applaud Gov. Beverly Perdue for her leadership in righting this disgraceful wrong and congratulate the NAACP North Carolina State Conference, NAACP members and activists around the country for their work to raise awareness about this case."
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, NC NAACP State President added this:
In this season, North Carolina has finally had a revelation and with this revelation comes a continued need for redemption and repentance from the stain of injustice. Not only will the civil rights and human rights communities honor this act, but history itself will record this day as groundbreaking. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Governor Perdue has proclaimed a contemporary emancipation for these freedom fighters, Benjamin Chavis, Connie Tindall, Marvin Patrick, Wayne Moore, Reginald Epps, Jerry Jacobs, James McKoy, Willie Earl Vereen, William Wright, Jr., and Ann Shepard, whose fight for justice will never be forgotten. These pardons are not only for North Carolina but also for the nation and for the world. We honor the Governor's noble, courageous and righteous decision today and we commend her heart's steadfast commitment to justice.
The NAACP revealed trial notes by prosecutor Jay Stroud that show the assistant district attorney selecting jurors he considered "Uncle Tom types" and members of the Ku Klux Klan. Stroud also weighed the pros and cons of a mistrial that was later granted based on his claim of illness. The Wilmington 10 was convicted at the second trial.
View copies of Jay Stroud's trial notes below.