News Flash

Carrboro Town News

Posted on: February 15, 2024

Historical Marker Unveiling Honors Manly McCauley, Victim of 1898 Lynching

McCauley marker unveiling

CARRBORO, NC – The Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition, the Equal Justice Initiative and the Town of Carrboro announce their partnership to commemorate the life and tragic death of Manly McCauley, a Black man who suffered a white mob lynching in October 1898, just west of Carrboro, N.C.

The Historical Marker Unveiling for Manly McCauley is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. outside Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St.  With a welcome from Carrboro Mayor Barbara Foushee, this event will feature Dr. Reginald Hildebrand as the distinguished guest speaker and Poet CJ Suitt delivering a spoken word performance. The program will also include remarks from U.S. Congresswoman Valerie Foushee; N.C. Representative Renée Price; Diane Robertson, past political action chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP; former Hillsborough Mayor Jen Weaver; and a musical performance by Brown Sugar Strings.  

About Manly McCauley (1880-1898)

Manly McCauley's tragic story unfolded in 1898 when he was accused of "eloping" with a married white woman outside Chapel Hill. At 18 years old, Manly worked on the woman's husband's farm, while she was a 27-year-old mother of three. Pursued by the woman's husband and a posse, Manly and the woman were eventually captured in a neighboring county.

On the night of Oct. 30, 1898, after a harrowing journey back towards Carrboro-Chapel Hill, some members of the posse lynched Manly in the woods near the present-day intersection of Old Greensboro Road and Hatch Road. Shockingly, despite the subsequent arrest of four men on murder charges, they were swiftly acquitted.

This incident became the subject of widespread propaganda as Election Day approached, influencing white men to vote for the Democratic Party, rather than Populists or Republicans. This manipulation of public opinion led to a significant shift in North Carolina's political landscape and resulted in the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, a violent episode against the Black community.

Research has revealed historical connections between the McCauley lynching and prominent figures, including a founding family of the University of North Carolina, two U.S. senators, a legendary basketball coach, and a world-famous musician.

More about the Historical Marker Unveiling

Dr. Reginald Hildebrand is an author and former co-chair of the North Carolina Freedom Monument Project. Hildebrand has dedicated his career to African American Studies and History as a professor both at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Renée Price, NC House District 50 Representative and former Orange County Commissioner, emphasizes the importance of acknowledging such events from our history. 

Diane Robertson, the past political action chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, highlights the need to correct the historical narrative of race in America and its relevance to recent events.

The public is invited to the Historical Marker Unveiling for Manly McCauley on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. outside Carrboro Town Hall, as we remember and honor this pivotal chapter in our local history.





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