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Wilmington 10 member: Obama's re-election affirms King's dream

Posted January 21, 2013

Wilmington 10 photo on State Capitol background

— Ben Chavis of the Wilmington 10 celebrated many important milestones Monday – the second inauguration of the nation's first black president in the 50th anniversary year of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and 150th anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Chavis, along with eight other men and one woman, was wrongly convicted of arson more than 40 years ago in the fire-bombing of a grocery store during race riots in Wilmington.

A native of Granville County, he spoke Monday at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Oxford.

"The re-election of President Barack Obama was a re-affirmation of the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.," Chavis said.

But, on a personal level for Chavis, Monday marked three weeks since the Wilmington 10 were pardoned by outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue.

"I remember when I finally got the paper Gov. Perdue signed – the pardon of innocence – I said, 'These two sheets of paper, this is heavy. This is a heavy document,'" he said.

Ben Chavis Wilmington 10 member: Obama's re-election affirms King's dream

The pardon ended a long journey for the Wilmington 10, who were long branded as criminals rather than civil rights activists.

Chavis said he always knew that wrong would eventually be made right.

"I knew this day would come. I did not know when," he said. "It turns out, in the end, to be a good story where people can learn that, when people stand up for what's right, right will return its favor on you."

Four members of the Wilmington 10 died before they were pardoned. 

Perdue issued the pardons on Dec. 31 in a move state NAACP President Rev. William Barber called an act of "redemption and grace."


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  • keshiabethea Jan 23, 2013

    Everyday I go to WRAL just for the comments that are left by people that read the stories this society has so many issues.We all have such different views of what is going on in the world and everyone tries to make the other agree with what they believe. I thought that everyone has a right to voice their concerns. I wonder if the people going back and forth on the comment section ever stops to think and read what is being said before they comment on it. You can't make someone agree with anything u say just because u assume that u are right.Dr. King's dream will never come to light because of the hate and negativity in the world. May God have Mercy On All Of Our souls.

  • glarg Jan 23, 2013

    good maybe they can retire the race card once and for all

  • dejavu2u Jan 23, 2013

    Chavis is just as racist and radical now as he was back then in my book. They succeeded in pressuring Purdue, but what's inside a man's heart is what matters.

  • tarheelfan41 Jan 22, 2013

    Of all the people in the world to chose from, why would WRAL select this individual to disemenate his thoughts or opinions,who at BEST this person has a radical non maistream extreme view of world.

  • archangel44369 Jan 22, 2013

    Ben is certainately entitled to his opinion, one in which I believe the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would disagree with.

  • Bartmeister Jan 22, 2013

    "Id say that's a solid endorsement coming from a convicted murderer pardoned by a desperate liberal governor leaving office."

    If you have evidence that he's a murder than why are you hiding it? Or are you trying to score political points? Bill Brasky


    Tell me Bill, what is your evidence showing innocence other than a governor you like and agree with in principle folds under public pressure and pardons the group? At least my opinion is based on a jury of their peers and their decision as the evidence was presented. You don't have that.

  • Bartmeister Jan 22, 2013

    If you have evidence that he's a murder than why are you hiding it? Or are you trying to score political points? Bill Brasky


    Score political points? No. I'm not a politician nor am I in some competition to score anything especially here. This is a blog page for opinions and comments. You read both. As for evidence, they were convicted, that will not change even with a pardon. There is no pardon without a conviction to "overturn". I believe in the original decisions of the original jury, just as I do with Jeffrey McDonald, so don't make this to be a racial issue on me cause it's not. Anything can be twisted if enough time has lapsed. Key people died and no longer can testify in this case. YOUR liberal Governor desperate for an up tick in public opinion and leaving office does not change that for me at all.

  • lessismore Jan 22, 2013

    I don't believe King ever envisioned a black president enslaving Americans with welfare.

  • That Explains It Jan 22, 2013

    ripetomatoes, it appears the only contextual merit your comments have is in emphasizing the supreme importance of your own personal righteous indignation.

    Remember, a group of people who all look different but who all think alike is not what diversity is about. Diversity of opinion is so much more important than diversity of appearance, and is the basis for why forums such as this exist. Simply providing commentary that states you have come, you have read, and you are offended, offers nothing.

    Might I suggest you consider diversity as appealing rather than appalling. In a word, might not we Coexist?

  • ripetomatoes Jan 22, 2013

    Your comments go beyond insulting. By name calling you have negated the merit of your statements. ripetomatoes

    ripetomatoes, you observation is reminiscent of the segregationist who stood in the doorways of schools, "insulted" by the idea that their opinions did not reign supreme.JohnDrescher
    Well, obviously name calling is all you have, except for the prejudiced analogy.
    I re-read your earlier comment to see what I missed because of your response.
    I still only felt the hatred you were spreading.
    You are sounding like a broken record.