Wilmington 10 were falsely accused activists
The NAACP is calling the New Year’s Day pardon of a group of civil rights activists known as the Wilmington 10, a victory for justice.
North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue’s pardoned the group after the NAACP organized a petition that received more than 15,000 signatures.
“This pardon brings closure to a case marred by racism and injustice,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “I applaud Gov. Beverly Purdue 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.”
In 1971, 10 young activists, later deemed the Wilmington 10, were falsely accused and framed for crimes they did not commit. They were convicted and sentenced to a combined 300 years in prison. In 1980 a federal court overturned their convictions but the charges remained on their records and their names were never cleared.
“These young people were non-violent protestors fighting for educational equality. They were framed, wrongfully convicted and incarcerated” said Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. “These unjust convictions were due to racist manipulation of the court system and extraordinary and blatant racially motivated prosecutorial misconduct.”