The 40 Anniversary of Greensboro Massacre

Rachel Spinella
Features Editor

PC: Rachel Spinella

On Sunday Nov. 3, those who have lived Greensboro may know of the massacre that occurred 40 years ago now in 1979. This tragic event that took place when members of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party opened fire on Communist Workers’ Party as well as others who particpated in what was called ‘Death to the Klan’ march in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

The massacre left 5 people dead and 12 or more injured. The Ku Klux Klan, founded in 1865 is a white supremasist hate group, whose primary is African Americans and are against immigration espeically in the United States.  The organization is known to carry out violence including beatings, rape and lynchings against African Americans, Jews and other minorites. 

Two trials took place after the massacre, with several Klan members, where six men were prosecuted in state criminal trial in the year 1980. Five of the men were charged with murder, but all were acquitted by an all white jury. Only a second trial by the federal criminal civil rights was conducted in 1984, where it was concluded that the defendants “actions were based on political rather than racial motivations.”

Survivor, Pastor Nelson Johnson told WFMY that he would recite the story to the United Nations, saying, “A Nazi tried to stab me-he had a butcher knife and he was coming up under my midsection. I blocked it with my arm. The knife went through my arm, so I can’t raise this finger any further than that because the muscle is cut off.” 

His wife, Joyce had heard the shots when she was right down the road from the scene. She had arrived minutes later. She told WFMY, “It wasn’t just our friends that were killed, but a community was terrorized-actually our whole city was under constant police surveillance.” 

It was on Nov. 3 of 2004, that 700 people marched through Greensboro to city hall for the 25 anniversary since the massacre that took place back then. 

According to Spectrum News, Beloved Community Center along with Bennett College held a conference, discussing the five victims that had been killed that grave day, dying for their work and for the survivors in the community as well. 

Spectrum states that “students who are learning about the massacre say it highlights the need to continue to change for a better future.” 

In an interview with Abigail Mosley, she tells Spectrum, “In order to create lasting change its necessary for people to stay even when it’s not fun.” She continues, “Even when its more than just like marching at rallies and singing Kumbaya songs. Were actually doing things that are going to last a long time and last longer than were even around to see them.”

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