I first heard about the 1898 Wilmington Race Riots (also known as the Wilmington Massacre) soon after moving to this North Carolina coastal town in 1984. I was drawn there by the lure of working in the movie industry during the early days following Italian director and producer Dino de Laurentis’ establishment of his namesake film studios just north of town.
At the time, Wilmington was a small sleepy city steeped in Southern charm with beautiful beaches located nearby, but as I discovered during my two years there, the town and its people featured prominently in a particularly dark chapter of North Carolina history.
As I tend to do, I gravitated toward spending my leisure time with other local artists. One such character was Claude Howell, a noted seascape painter in his 70s, who held a weekly salon in his penthouse apartment in the historic city center. Claude was not…
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