Through Survivors’ Eyes
From the Sixties to the Greensboro Massacre
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
Table of Contents
November 3, 1979, 11:23 A.M. ■ At the corner of Carver and Everitt Streets, black and white demonstrators gather to march through Greensboro, North Carolina, a legal demonstration against the Ku Klux Klan. A caravan of Klansmen and Nazis pull up to the protesters and open fire. ...
1. Growing Up [Includes Image Plates]
Willena Cannon and Nelson Johnson were born to African American families in the rural South in the early 1940s. In Europe, the United States waged war against the Nazis and their theory of Aryan supremacy. On this side of the Atlantic, the United States maintained segregation—politically, economically, socially—based on a theory of racial superiority and inferiority. ...
Image Plates: Gallery I: Growing Up and the Sixties
2. The Sixties
In the mid–twentieth century, the United States portrayed itself as the leader of the free world at the same time it segregated its own citizens. In the 1950s, a grassroots civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. challenged the social order. In 1960, four black Greensboro college students sat down and asked for service at a Woolworth’s lunch counter. ...
3. Movement Peak
After Martin Luther King’s assassination, the energy of the growing movement continued to take a more radical direction. In 1969, students took over campus buildings in both North and South. Black nationalism, the belief that African Americans had to build their own movement for empowerment, grew from coast to coast, leading to massive demonstrations in support of African liberation struggles. ...
4. The Seventies
Socialism developed in the nineteenth century as a vision that would offer an alternative to capitalist exploitation. Karl Marx laid out one of its most famous versions in the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848. When V. I. Lenin led the Russian Revolution in 1917, the theory of Marxism-Leninism arose, stressing the role of a communist party as central to building socialism. ...
5. Party Life [Includes Image Plates]
In 1976, the Workers Viewpoint Organization recruited communist collectives from a variety of places around the country, including Greensboro and Durham, with the goal of building a new communist party. For the next three years, the North Carolina branch of the WVO dug into union organizing and community campaigns; at the same time, we built families and raised children. ...
Image Plates: Gallery II: Party Life
6. We Back Down the KKK
The Ku Klux Klan was born just after the South surrendered in the Civil War. Made up of ex-soldiers and Confederate officers, it helped defeat Reconstruction. The KKK is best understood not as an organization, but as a terrorist social movement for white supremacy; it uses violence and the threat of violence to achieve its political goals. ...
7. Countdown of a Death Squad
Death squads are secret, often paramilitary, organizations that carry out extralegal executions and other violent acts against clearly defined individuals or groups. Murder is their primary reason for being. They operate with the overt support, complicity, or acquiescence of government, or at least some parts of it. But death squads are clandestine groups, so that government officials can deny connection to them. ...
8. The Massacre [Includes Image Plates]
In the rainy predawn darkness, Klansman/police informant Eddie Dawson, Imperial Wizard Virgil Griffin, and two other Klansmen finished driving the route of the anti-Klan march scheduled for that day. ...
Image Plates: Gallery III: Greensboro Massacre, November 3, 1979
On November 3, the Klan and Nazis had fired their guns for eighty-eight seconds.They killed four demonstrators at the corner of Everitt and Carver: Sandi Smith, Bill Sampson, C
People who commit violent crimes are usually tried in state criminal courts, prosecuted under state statutes. If their victims are not satisfied with the results, they can petition the federal government to examine the crime under the lens of a federal statute, as in the case of constitutional violations of civil rights law. ...
Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, accelerating the U.S. political shift to the right. From 1980 to 1985, the Greensboro massacre survivors not only contended with the three trials but also worked at rebuilding their shattered lives. ...
12. Healing [Includes Image Plates]
Healing from the massacre was a long journey that stretched through the 1980s and1990s into the millennium. During these decades, the plight of the poor grew worse in the United States, even as the country’s economy boomed. Inequality increased as most of the economic gains went to the small fraction of the nation’s wealthiest people. ...
Images Plates: Gallery IV: Since the Murders
What does it mean for a community when five people are killed at a well publicized, legally planned march and no one is held criminally accountable? More than two decades after November 3, 1979, profound questions remain unanswered: What was the role of the Greensboro Police Department? ...
Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2003
OCLC Number: 61895499
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Through Survivors’ Eyes