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Race, Place, and MemoryDeep Currents in Wilmington, North Carolina$
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Margaret M. Mulrooney

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054926

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054926.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 27 January 2020

Port in a Storm, 1840–1880

Port in a Storm, 1840–1880

(p.56) Chapter Two Port in a Storm, 1840–1880
Race, Place, and Memory

Margaret M. Mulrooney

University Press of Florida

This chapter outlines the dramatic changes underway in Wilmington and in North Carolina during this period. Wilmington’s white elite actively embraced progress, becoming more and more pro-business and industry even as they maintained ties to agricultural production and plantation culture. At the same time, a white middle class emerged that included newcomers from the north and Europe as well as homegrown entrepreneurs. Industrial activity was not only integral to the port city’s development as a distinctive place, but it sparked spatial, social, economic, political, and cultural changes that helped free and enslaved blacks to resist their oppression. By 1850, the city’s most progressive, forward-thinking whites were struggling to maintain their supremacy and so they looked, ironically, to the past, especially remembrances of the colonial era as well as traditional modes of organized violence. During the stormy years of sectional crisis, southern rebellion, and Reconstruction, these efforts increased dramatically, but so did black Wilmingtonians’ use of similar methods to gain freedom and citizenship.

Keywords:   Plantation culture, White supremacy, Reconstruction

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