Wayne County, North Carolina, native Norman Jennett launched his career as a newspaper cartoonist at the age of fifteen. By the time of the 1898 political campaign, the Raleigh News and Observer prominently featured his cartoons. Each day from early August through the election, the staunchly Democratic paper featured a Jennett cartoon on its front page. The cartoons often ridiculed politicians like Governor Daniel L. Russell, and many featured stereotypical depictions of African Americans. This cartoon features a group of white men and women who appear terrorized by an African American represented as a vampire. The image depicts the white supremacist ideology of the Democratic Party during the 1898 campaign and communicates the notion that African American political power undermined the stability of white society. Spurred by incendiary messages such as these, hundreds of white men rioted in Wilmington, North Carolina, on November 10, 1898, hoping to retake the city from the clutches of “negro domination.”
"The Vampire that Hovers Over North Carolina," News and Observer, September 27, 1898, in The North Carolina Election of 1898, accessed September 28, 2016, http://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/1898/item/2215; for the description, see ibid.; Andrea Meryl Kirshenbaum, “‘The Vampire That Hovers Over North Carolina’: Gender, White Supremacy, and the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898,” Southern Cultures 4 No. 3 (Fall 1998): 6-30.