Great news, Curmilus.
North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue announced on Monday a pardon for the Wilmington 10 — nine men and one woman who spent nearly a decade in jail for crimes they did not commit.
This is the kind of work we do, Curmilus. Led by North Carolina NAACP State Conference President Rev. William Barber, the NAACP worked diligently alongside The Wilmington 10 Pardon of Innocence Project, the Wilmington Journal and the National Newspaper Publishers Association and partners throughout North Carolina and around the country to shed light on the case of the Wilmington 10, and it paid off.
The pardoning of the Wilmington 10 is a crucial chapter in a story of more than four decades spent trying to right a great injustice. These civil rights activists created powerful enemies in their fight to stop school segregation. Rather than being honored as civil rights heroes, they were hounded as criminals. In 1971, the Wilmington 10 were framed for conspiracy and arson, and sentenced to a combined 282 years in jail. Then, dedicated civil rights activists went to work, raising awareness about the blatant prosecutorial misconduct and witness-statement fabrication that led to this wrongful conviction.
The convictions of the Wilmington 10 were overturned in 1980. Last year, the seven surviving members of the group petitioned Governor Perdue for a pardon and restitution for their years in jail.
And our victory sends a strong message that — no matter where or when injustice occurs — we will stop at nothing to bring it to light and right the committed wrongs.
The Wilmington 10 won’t be the last. These are fights worth winning. Please join the NAACP today, so we can have these same great successes in the future:
We look forward to working with you. Happy new year. Let’s make 2013 a great one, together.
Benjamin Todd Jealous