RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The home of a former North Carolina newspaper publisher who helped orchestrate an 1898 riot in which at least 60 Blacks were killed was removed Tuesday from a list of local historic landmarks.
The Raleigh City Council voted unanimously to strip the home of Josephus Daniels of the local designation, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.
The change is one of several from the last year as organizations look to separate themselves from Daniels. The home sits on about 4 acres (1.6 hectares) west of downtown Raleigh and Wake County land records show the property is worth $4.1 million.
The request to remove the landmark status was submitted by Scott Murray of Scott Murray Land Planning on behalf of the Masonic Temple of Raleigh, which owns the property. The house, called Wakestone, has been home to the Masonic Temple of Raleigh since 1950.
“Simply stated, ties to the Josephus Daniels’s legacy presents a dark cloud over the Freemasons/Masonic Temple of Raleigh organization,” Murray said, adding that the Masons worry about the property being the site of protests and unrest.
A statue of Daniels outside the former The News & Observer office in downtown Raleigh was removed at the request of Daniels’s descendants last summer, and both a Wake County middle school and N.C. State University renamed buildings originally named for Daniels.
The Masonic Temple had tried to sell the property, and in 2005, unsuccessfully tried to get the historic designation lifted for most of the lodge property, the newspaper reported previously.
The Raleigh Historic Development Commission voted unanimously to recommend removing the local designation in January. The property is still listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was added in 1976.
Daniels, who was a former publisher of The News & Observer, conspired with others to instill fear and anger among the white residents of Wilmington, a majority Black town on the North Carolina coast in which both elected Black and whites worked with each other, according to the book, “Wilmington’s Lie.”
An armed mob descended on the city Nov. 10, 1898, killing at least 60 Black residents. The mob set fire to the black-owned local newspaper and sent thousands of Black people into hiding in swamps and woods. It has been recognized by historians as the only overthrow of an elected government in U.S. history and was referenced in the siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.