Jan 7, 2013
North Carolina’s outgoing governor Beverly Purdue granted pardons of innocence to the Wilmington 10, a group of civil rights activists falsely convicted in 1972 of firebombing a white-owned store a year earlier.
The conviction of these nine black men and one white woman was an obvious frame-up, and their convictions were overturned just eight years later. They were convicted based solely on the testimony of three witnesses and sentenced to a total of 282 years in prison.
All three witnesses admitted they lied. One stated that prosecutors offered him a minibike in exchange for his testimony. Another had a history of mental illness, which the prosecutor knew and hid from lawyers for the defense. Prosecutors deliberately caused a mistrial in order to get a judge and jury favorable to their case.
Despite all the evidence of the frame-up, it took another 34 years for the politicians to officially clear the names of these ten activists, whose only crime was to have stood up against racist injustice.
Such is the example of the fabled American system of “democracy” in action.