The New York Times reports:

More than 40 years ago, 10 people were wrongly accused of firebombing a white-owned grocery store in a black neighborhood in North Carolina.

The racially charged case charged nine black men and one white woman but it was later discovered that the evidence in the case was insubstantial and the prosecutor made significant efforts to choose jurors that may have been racist. It was also discovered that the prosecution’s chief witness made up the testimony.

Although their convictions were overturned nine years after the arrests, in 1980, maintaining a normal lifestyle has proven difficult for the surviving defendants, especially when it comes to applying for jobs. So people across the country are urging North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue to pardon this group of people known as the Wilmington 10, six of whom are still alive.

Pardons are given on the first of every year, but North Carolina has rarely issued pardons in the past. Between 2001 and 2007, only two pardons were granted in the state.

The New York Times’ full article can be read here.