July 1, 2020 at 10:38 PM EDT – Updated July 1 at 11:16 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Hundreds of people took part in a peaceful sit-in at Hugh MacRae Park on Wednesday.
For organizers, the event was an opportunity to educate and motivate younger generations on how to be a part of the change in the community and world.
“We felt like occupying this space and bringing people to the park will allow more people to gain education about the history aspect about what’s going on in Wilmington as far as political, economic, and social,” said organizer Karimah Bradley.
“We need to come together–all the young black, white–and come to a common understanding that things are crazy, they’ve been crazy, history is crazy, and we need to find a way to change it together,” added Diamond Bentley, who helped organize the sit-in.
Guest speakers talked about Hugh MacRae and his involvement in the 1898 massacre and the need to have his name removed from the park.
“Because people want to talk about social change; they want to talk about making a difference,” said historian and anti-racism educator Lettie Shumate. “This park is named after someone who conspired to murder black people in 1898 on November 10.”
Hugh MacRae was involved in the 1898 massacre–where dozens of black people were brutally murdered. And for years, black people weren’t even allowed to visit this park–a request from MacRae himself, after he donated the land to the city.
The League of Women Voters (LWV) of Lower Cape Fear also helped to register voters at the event.
“We are committed to social justice,” said Kathryn Hedgepeth, president of LWV Lower Cape Fear. “We are very much involved in what’s going on in this community. So, it’s absolutely essential for us to be here.”
Wilmington Advocacy and Protest Organization and Lowercase Leaders also took part in the sit-in at the park.
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