On November 3, 1979, members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party shot and killed five protesters at a “Death to the Klan March” in Greensboro, North Carolina. Of the protestors killed, four were members of the Communist Workers’ Party (the organization responsible for the march), and one was a supporter. Despite clear video evidence and many witnesses, both of the two criminal trials resulted in acquittals by all-white juries. Six years later, a civil suit accusing police of collaboration with the Klan resulted in a $350,000 judgment against the city and both hate groups, but to this day only one plaintiff (the widow of a doctor who ran a clinic for low-income children) has received her payment.
Despite none of this being in dispute, the Greensboro Massacre, one of the darker moments in American history, is currently the subject of a partisan friction. Recently, the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Advisory Committee voted to erect a commemorative marker reading, “The Greensboro Massacre—Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party members, on Nov. 3 1979, shot and killed five Communist Workers’ Party members one-tenth mile north,” but the project remains in deadlock over objections from City Council members. The marker’s major suporters on the council are two black Democrats, and a few members remain ambivalent. Those most ardently opposed? You guessed it—two white dudes from that Grand Old Party!
The idea that this is some kind of conflict is both frustrating and predictable, but in lieu of a diatribe, here’s actual footage of the Greensboro Massacre. It’s violent, but not gory; the ugliest thing about seeing it is knowledge of the future, where justice is evaded and history is whitewashed.
Thank you Eric M. Fink