South Carolina's outgoing governor, Governor Beverly Perdue, today granted pardon to the “Wilmington Ten,” or "Wilmington 10".
At the time of their sentence, the Wilmington Ten comprised of nine black male and a white female – eight male students, white female community worker and and nonviolent social activists, Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
The group were falsely convicted forty years ago of conspiracy in connection with racial violence which includes firebombing a grocery store that engulfed Wilmington, North Carolina in February 1971. The group received prison sentences totaling nearly 300 years for the 1971 firebombing during three days of violence that included the shooting of a black teenager by police.
Permanent civil rights experts have always considered the “Wilmington Ten” case as one of America's most miscarriage of justice.
In signing the pardons, Perdue said, "These convictions were tainted by naked racism and represent an ugly stain on North Carolina's criminal justice system that cannot be allowed to stand any longer." "Justice demands that this stain finally be removed," she also added.