Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > The house that Dr. Pope built: race, politics, memory, and the early struggle for civil rights in North Carolina

In 1919, Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope ran for the office of mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina, heading a slate of all African American candidates for the city’s municipal positions. Born in 1858, Dr. Pope was part of a generation of college-educated black men in the South who came of age during Reconstruction, created successful businesses and professional lives, and were the backbone of political fusion in the 1890s. After the rise of white supremacy, which brought Jim Crow segregation and political disfranchisement, some African American men of Dr. Pope’s generation gave up political activity and/or left the South altogether. A significant group remained in North Carolina, however, and resisted white supremacy between 1900 and 1920 by registering to vote, forming political organizations, and insisting upon their rights to participate in the political process as an essential component of their manhood and citizenship. The memory of these events, though not included in standard white histories, remained strong in the black community and influenced the next generation who participated in the post-World War II Civil Rights Movement. The story of Dr. Pope’s life and the broader story of resistance to white supremacy after 1900 was uncovered through the discovery of his home in Raleigh, built in 1901. It remained in the family until his youngest daughter died in 2000, and serves a site of memory for this lost story, as it contains a remarkable collection of documents and artifacts dating to the 1850s which chronicle this era and this family’s history.