The Forgotten Coup, January 6th & the Small Town Americans on the Frontlines of Democracy

Could a successful coup happen in the US? The ongoing Congressional hearings into the events of January 6 show that just a handful of election officials in several key states stood between Donald Trump and the overturning of the 2020 elections. While the insurrection unfolded, many Americans watched in shock, believing nothing like this had ever happened in United States history. But it has happened before — more than a century ago in Wilmington, North Carolina when an armed mob removed a democratically-elected government by force, and turned a majority-Black town into a citadel of white supremacy. In this episode, we look at the parallels between that coup and the events in DC and visit the rural county of Columbus in the south west of North Carolina where a self-described former Oath Keeper acquired a massive arsenal of decommissioned military hardware in 2018 soon after taking office after a contested election. Laura also meets the residents and leaders from across the state who are clear that the future of multi-racial democracy in America is being decided in out-of-the way towns like theirs. What do the rest of us need to know about what’s happening there?

“This is the soul of America. What we’re fighting for is the opportunity for not just for me, but for everybody’s child to have an opportunity to enjoy the richness of what America can be.” – Curtis Hill, President, NAACP Columbus County, NC

“Though we don’t have an opportunity to right all of the wrongs, we do have a potential to create the world that we want to live in. Once we tell the truth about the one that we are in right now.” – Serena Sebring: Executive Director, Blueprint NC


  • Sonya Bennetone: Director, National Black Leadership Caucus Southeastern Region
  • Rosa Bolden: Community Organizer
  • Carol Caldwell: Community Organizer
  • Deborah Dicks Maxwell: President, NAACP North Carolina
  • Cedric Harrison: Founder, Wilmington in Color
  • Lewis Hatcher: Former Sheriff, Columbus County, NC
  • Curtis Hill: President, NAACP Columbus County, NC
  • Marcus Norfleet: Former Commissioner Candidate, Columbus County, NC
  • Keith Rivers: President, NAACP Pasquotank County, NC
  • Serena Sebring: Executive Director, Blueprint NC
  • Mab Segrest: Writer, Organizer & Consultant Blueprint NC
  • Jeremy Simmons: Community Organizer

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