Despite the collapse of Reconstruction, African-Americans continued to participate in Wayne County’s political life through the end of the 19th century. Mathew W. Aldridge, in particular, was active in local governance, as announced in eastern North Carolina newspapers:
Wilmington Messenger, 27 April 1889.
Goldsboro Headlight, 1 May 1889.
Goldsboro Headlight, 8 May 1889.
Wilmington Messenger, 8 May 1889.
Goldsboro Headlight, 8 October 1890.
Other notables: C[larence] Dillard (Presbyterian minister who arrived in Goldsboro in 1884, later principal of “colored school”); Bizzell Stevens (also a minister; like William S. Hagans, married into the Burnett family, a prominent free family of color in the antebellum era; later a postal clerk at Goldsboro post office); John Frank “J.F.” Baker (postmaster at the Dudley post office; married Mary Ann Aldridge, daughter of J. Matthew Aldridge; murdered); James Winn; and Henry S. “H.S.” Reid (son of Washington and Penninah Reid; member of large prominent free family of color.)