Wilmington struggles to recover from effects of riots and record-long occupation

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Fifty years have passed since riots broke out in Wilmington, Delaware in the aftermath of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. Residents burned and looted businesses in frustration, anger, and grief. The next morning, in an attempt to “restore order,” Gov. Charles Terry activated the entire 3,800-man Army and Air National Guard for deployment throughout the state, with many assigned to downtown Wilmington.

The guardsmen would remain in the city until Jan. 21, 1969 – one of the longest tenures of any such guard detail nationwide.

Fifty years have since passed. And to many, Wilmington has yet to fully recover.


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