If you never buy the News and Observer again in your lifetime, buy it today or at least read it online. There's a special section about the history of racism in our state, focused Wilmington in 1898. And make sure you read the lead editorial as well, which includes this remarkable paragraph:
Again we confront the role played by the press in firing the hatreds that led white vigilantes to overthrow Wilmington's elected municipal government and wantonly to kill black residents. This newspaper was a leader in that propaganda effort under editor and publisher Josephus Daniels. Although the paper no longer is owned by Daniels' heirs, an apology for the acts of someone whom we continue to salute in a different context on this page and for the misdeeds of the paper as an institution is perfectly in order, and so we offer that apology today.
I'm a big fan of apologizing when you've screwed up, and I spend plenty of time doing just that. Apologies should be clear, with no attempt to explain away or duck responsibility. The N&O does a decent job today and it's a good first step.
But it's going to take more than one newspaper apologizing. The descendants of those abused and denied a hundred years ago continue to suffer the enduring effects of institutional racism. Affirmative action policies have not gone nearly far enough in remediating that history. I don't know what the ultimate answer is, but I know we have not found it. Not even close.