Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Greensboro massacre occurred on November 3, 1979 in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was the culmination of attempts by the Maoist Communist Workers Party (CWP) to organise industrial workers, predominantly black, in the area. Five CWP marchers were killed.
Rally and attack
On the day in question, a rally of industrial workers and communists against the Ku Klux Klan, then active in the area, was due to march in Greensboro. Normally at such events, marchers carried firearms openly for self-defence, as allowed under North Carolina law. However, on this day the marchers were unarmed. It is alleged that the police had prevailed upon them not to carry weapons so as to avoid trouble. It has also been alleged that the protestors were armed, but evidence suggests that only one protestor had a firearm.
The generally accepted version of events is that a combined contingent of Klansmen and members of the American Nazi Party attended the rally. Accounts vary as to whether they were set upon by the demonstrators or not, but they were armed, opened fire at the demonstrators, killing several immediately and wounding others, some fatally.
Role of the police
One of the most dubious aspects of the incident is the role of the police. Normally, the police would have been present at such an event, yet by all accounts, no police witnessed the shooting, or in any way intervened, thus permitting the perpetrators to escape. This has unsurprisingly led to accusations of police collusion in the event, up to allegations that the police escorted the shooters to the event.
The Klansman and Nazi party members involved were not from Greensboro, but came to the city in response to a challenge from the march organizers. Articles in the Greensboro News and Record at the time indicated that the police were not at the scene initially, because the march organizers gave them an incorrect address for the march on their parade permit. However, It has also been noted that the Klan caravan was organized by a man later found to be an informant for the police, using the parade permit to guide the caravan to the correct address, in radio contact with the police all the while the caravan was forming and proceeding to the site of the shootings, and that the police were on the scene early, but had been dismissed "for lunch", just prior to the shootings.
Two criminal trials resulted in acquital of all defendants. A civil suit against the perpetrators and the city of Greensboro later resulted in a $300,000 settlement. These funds formed the basis of the Greensboro Justice Fund, an initiative which provides support to organizations in the south that fight against discrimination.
In 2005, Greensboro residents, inspired by post-apartheid South Africa, initiated a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to take public testimony and examine the causes and consequences of the massacre.
Articles and news reports
- 88 Seconds in Greensboro: Transcript. PBS Frontline. Reported by James Reston, Jr. Directed by William Cran. Original Airdate: January 24, 1983.
- Cops and Klan walked after Greensboro, NC massacre - Witness to massacre, 10 years old at time, serves life sentences By Kathryn Watterson, Trenton Times. 25 February 1996. Retrieved April 5, 2005.
Anniversary news reports
- Greensboro Set To Mark Deadly Anniversary: Five Killed, 11 Injured In 'Greensboro Massacre' by Scott Mason and Kamal Wallace. WRAL. Posted: 11:25 a.m. EST November 3, 2003. Retrieved April 5, 2005.
- Duke Law Professor Looks Back on Greensboro Massacre: The 25th anniversary of "The Greensboro Massacre" serves as an important reminder that people can be penalized for holding unpopular views, says Carolyn McAllaster Duke News & Communications. Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Retrieved April 5, 2005.
- Remembering the 1979 Greensboro Massacre 25 years later - Broadcast by Democracy Now! on November 18, 2004.
- Families, Loved Ones Reflect On 'Greensboro Massacre': Streaming video WRAL. Contains 1979 video footage. Real Player required. Retrieved April 5, 2005.
- Seeking Closure on 'Greensboro Massacre' Reconciliation Panel Convenes in N.C. to Address '79 Attack by Nazi Party, Klan by Darryl Fears, Washington Post. Sunday, March 6, 2005; Page A03. Retrieved April 17, 2005.
- Justice and the Greensboro Massacre by Paul Bermanzohn and Marty Nathan Narrative with images written for the Greensboro Justice Fund by rally participants.
- Chronology of COINTELPRO Black Panther Party history site includes examples of FBI informants in the Klan.
- Holt Labor Library Monthly Feature Monthly Feature - November 2003 Greensboro Massacre short article and lengthly bibliography. Retrieved April 5, 2005.
- Through Survivors' Eyes:From the Sixties to the Greensboro Massacre by Sally Avery Bermanzohn Vanderbilt University Press book description. Retrieved April 5, 2005.
- Bacigal, Ronald J., and Margaret Ivey Bacigal. When Racists and Radicals Meet. Emory Law Journal 38 (Fall 1989).
- Bryant, Pat. Justice Vs. the Movement. Radical America 14, no. 6 (1980).
- Eastland, Terry. The Communists and the Klan. Commentary 69, no. 5 (1980).
- Institute for Southern Studies. The Third of November. Southern Exposure 9, no. 3 (1981).
- Parenti, Michael, and Carolyn Kazdin. The Untold Story of the Greensboro Massacre. Monthly Review 33, no. 6 (1981).
- Bermanzohn, Sally Avery. Through Survivors' Eyes: From the Sixties to the Greensboro Massacre. 400 pages, 57 illustrations, index. Vanderbilt University Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2003). ISBN 0826514391.
- Waller, Signe. Love And Revolution: A Political Memoir: People’s History Of The Greensboro Massacre, Its Setting And Aftermath. London & New York: Rowman & Littlefield. 2002. ISBN 0742513653.
- Wheaton, Elizabeth. Codename GREENKIL: The 1979 Greensboro Killings. 328 pages. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987. ISBN 0820309354.
- Remember Greensboro, death to the Klan!. Greensboro Justice Fund, Berkeley. , Leaflet, 8.5x14 inches, printed on both sides, illustrated. Advertises two rallies, one in San Francisco, the other Oakland. Speakers included Wilson Riles Jr., and Dan Siegel.
- Bermanzohn, Sally Avery. Survivors of the 1979 Greensboro Massacre: A Study of the Long Term Impact of Protest Movements On the Political Socialization of Radical Activists. Ph.D. diss. CUNY, 1994.
- Lawbreakers: The Greensboro Massacre The History Channel. Lawbreakers Series. Video Cassette. 46 minutes. Color. 2000. Broadcast October 13, 2004.
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