Forty years ago today on November 3, 1979, five anti-racist members of the Communist Workers' Party were murdered by Klan members in Greensboro, North Carolina: César Cauce, Jim Waller, Sandy Smith, Mike Nathan, and Bill Sampson.
This memorial in Greensboro's Maplewood Cemetery for the individuals killed in the Greensboro Massacre is one of the most powerful sites of remembrance by the American Left that I've ever seen.
César Cauce worked at the Duke University Hospital and organized medical workers to form an AFSCME local (a campaign Duke successfully defeated). Only twenty-five years old, Cauce was a Cuban immigrant who had graduated magna cum laude with a history degree from Duke.
Dr. Jim Waller was a MD who started a Medical Committee for Human Rights in Durham for radical doctors, was a leading advocate for tobacco workers who suffered from Brown Lung disease. He also worked at the Cone Textile Mills, where he helped rejuvenate the ACTWU union local.
Sandi Smith was a native of Greenville, SC and graduate of @BennettCollege. She had been a local leader in both the Youth Organization for Black Unity and the African Liberation Solidary Committee, and like Waller she worked in the Cone mills and helped to revive the ACTWU local.
@BennettCollege Smith had also been the @Bennettcollege Student Body President. And it was the African Liberation *Support* Committee that she led in Greensboro.
@BennettCollege Mike Nathan was a pediatrician + organizer of the radical Medical Committee for Human Rights and Durham Health Collective and had been involved in Operation Breakthrough, part of the North Carolina Fund that helped inspire Johnson's War on Poverty.
@BennettCollege Bill Sampson worked at the White Cone Textile Mill. When he started, most of his co-workers thought he'd quickly quit, but he ultimately rose to shop steward of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union Local 1391.
@BennettCollege Some survived the Greensboro Massacre, and they have never stopped fighting. Signe Waller was a CWP member + Jim Waller's widow. She served as a CWP spokesperson and litigant in the aftermath of the murders amid widespread media and law enforcement disinformation.
@BennettCollege Waller has fought to protect + spread the real history of the Klan murders. Her memoir-history Love and Revolution is a truly powerful read + gives the full context before, during, and after the Massacre. And she was part of a successful effort to erect a state historical marker.
@BennettCollege Nelson Johnson has never stopped fighting either. Along with his wife Joyce, he's transformed Greensboro's Beloved Community Center + Faith Community Church into a major force for social justice, and he was one of @RevDrBarber's top lieutenants in the Moral Monday movement.
@BennettCollege @RevDrBarber Paul Bermazohn was shot but survived, as did his wife Sally Bermazohn. Both were involved in the years of lawsuits and criminal cases following the Greensboro Massacre, and Sally wrote an excellent history, Through Survivors' Eyes.
@BennettCollege @RevDrBarber No one was ever convicted for the murders. But it's often forgotten that survivors won a 1985 wrongful death civil case Waller v. Butkovich and a jury ruled that two Greensboro Police officers, one informant, three Klansmen, and two Nazis were liable for Mike Nathan's death.
@BennettCollege @RevDrBarber From 2004-2006, the city of Greensboro convened a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the trauma + misdeeds of the Massacre. Based on South Africa's Apartheid commission, the TRC report doubled as a history of white supremacy + anti-racist activism in Greensboro.
@BennettCollege @RevDrBarber The Massacre was national news when it happened. A brand new program on PBS, Frontline, devoted its second-ever episode to it, titled "88 Seconds in Greensboro."

That's all that it took for Klansmen and Nazis to kill five CWP members.…
@BennettCollege @RevDrBarber All the way over in England, @OfficialOMD saw that Frontline episode + penned a song in tribute to the murdered CWP members, also called "88 Seconds in Greensboro."

Watch the video. It's devastating + includes news footage of the killings.
@BennettCollege @RevDrBarber @OfficialOMD But after the '80s the memory of the Massacre seemed to fade, especially outside NC. It's been wonderful to see it get much more attention recently--from the state marker, to @kathleen_belew's excellent Bring the War Home, to even an article in @TeenVogue.…
@BennettCollege @RevDrBarber @OfficialOMD @kathleen_belew @TeenVogue This was a thread to honor those killed in the Greensboro Massacre. Just realize they were more than victims, as were the survivors. Read Waller's "Love + Revolution" for the whole history.

Remember the words on the CWP memorial: Live like them. Dare to struggle. Dare to win.
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