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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Wilson Caldwell (1841-1898)

The effect of black suffrage was dramatic. Twenty black men took seats in North Carolina's General Assembly. Chapel Hill voters elected former college servant Wilson Caldwell to the town board of commissioners, and Republican governor William W. Holden named him justice of the peace. All over the state, power passed from the former Confederates to former slaves and white opponents of the Confederacy. The new leaders vowed to root out secessionism and create a more democratic society for both races.