Wilmington Ten, 10 civil rights activists who were falsely convicted and incarcerated for nearly a decade following a 1971 riot in Wilmington, North Carolina, over school desegregation. Wrongfully convicted of arson and conspiracy, the Wilmington Ten—eight #African American high-school students, an African American minister, and a white female social worker—were victims of the racial and political turmoil during America’s civil rights era.
Wilmington’s modern racial unrest began when the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., canceled his visit to speak at the all-#black high school, Williston Senior High School, in Wilmington on April 4, 1968. Instead, he stayed in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was then killed. Although April 5 began with peaceful protests of King’s murder by African American high-school students in Wilmington, the following three days were filled with violent rioting that ended only when 150 National Guardsmenoccupied the city.