On November 3, 1979, Klansmen and Nazis attacked a Communist Workers Party (CWP) led anti-Klan demonstration in a black housing project in Greensboro, North Carolina. Eighty-eight seconds later, CWP members and union activists, Cesar Cauce, William Sampson, Sandra Smith, and Dr. James Waller had been killed, Dr. Michael Nathan lay dying, and nine other demonstrators had been wounded.
Despite the presence of a Greensboro police/FBI informant in the Klan and an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms inside the local Nazi group, police officers assigned to protect the demonstrators were sent to lunch minutes before the Nazi/Klansmen opened fire.
Local television news photographers captured the shootings on video tape. However, all-white juries found Nazi and Klan members not guilty in two criminal trials. In 1985 a civil trial found the Greensboro police, the Klan, and Nazis guilty in the wrongful death of the demonstrators. The Greensboro police department paid a $350,000 judgement. The Klan and Nazis paid nothing and never served a day in jail for the killings.
For more information about the Greensboro Massacre, the Southern labor movement, and the FBI's secret war on labor and the left, we have prepared a selected Bibliography of materials from the Holt Labor Library collection. Please refer to the library's Online Catalog for additional titles. We have also provided the following Web Sites for links to commemoration activities and additional research.
Bermanzohn , Sally Avery. Through Survivors' Eyes: From the Sixties to the Greensboro Massacre. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2003. The author, "one of the six activists whose story is told here, watched in horror as her friends were killed and her husband wounded on November 3, 1979." --back cover
Blackstock, Nelson. COINTELPRO: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom. New York: Vintage Books, 1975. One of the first exposes of the FBI's official campaign of infiltration, disruption, and harrasment of political groups
Blackstock, Nelson. Workers in the Changing South: The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1979. Pamphlet discusses the demise of Jim Crow segregation and the effect on the southern labor movement.
Chafe, William H. Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. Examination of Greensboro's role in the fight against racial discrimination, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Woolworth's lunch counter sit-ins.
Churchill, Ward. The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Domestic Dissent. Boston: South End Press, 1990. Examination of the FBI's COunterINTELligence PROgrams and their continuing legacy.
88 Seconds in Greensboro. [videocassette]. Boston: WGBH-TV, 1983. Documentary prepared for Frontline investigates police, FBI, and government complicity. Includes interviews with victims of the attack.
Hanging by a Thread: Social Change in Southern Textiles. Edited by Jeffrey Leiter, Michael D. Schulman, and Rhonda Zingraff. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1991. Essays by historians and sociologists. Includes a chapter on the work of the Brown Lung Association in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Mann, Emily. Greensboro: A Requiem. Included in Testimonies: Four plays. New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc., 1997. The play looks back at the human tragedy of November 3rd, using actual court testimony and interviews of participants and witnesses.
Waller, Signe. Love and Revolution: A Political Memoir: People's History of the Greensboro Massacre, Its Setting and Aftermath. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002. An insider's look by a participant and the surviving spouse of James Waller.
Waters, Jim. The Guns of November Third. [videocassette]. . Film footage of the Klan/Nazi attack on the Greensboro anti-Klan demonstrators.
Wheaton, Elizabeth. Codename GREENKIL: The 1979 Greensboro Killings. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987. Well researched account of the "sixteen-year history of people and events that set the stage for the tragedy and its aftermath." -- book jacket.
Working Lives: The Southern Exposure History of Labor in the South. Edited by Marc S. Miller. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980. Oral histories and investigative reporting bring to life the struggles of southern working people from 1900 to 1980.
The library has back issues of The Guardian, The Militant, Monthly Review, and Southern Struggle from the 1970s and 1980s. All contain articles documenting the Greensboro killings and the trials. They also cover the demonstrations in response to the killings, increasing Klan activity during the era, and verdicts.
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The Holt Labor Library provides these links for your convenience. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the Holt Labor Library makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of the information on these sites, and is not liable for any inaccuracy, error, or omission, regardless of cause.
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