Through Survivors  Eyes
417 pages

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On the morning of November 3, 1979, a group of black and white demonstrators were preparing to march against the Ku Klux Klan through the streets of Greensboro, North Carolina, when a caravan of Klansmen and Nazis opened fire on them. Eighty-eight seconds later, five demonstrators lay dead and ten others were wounded. Four TV stations recorded their deaths by Klan gunfire. Yet, after two criminal trials, not a single gunman spent a day in prison. Despite this outrage, the survivors won an unprecedented civil-court victory in 1985 when a North Carolina jury held the Greensboro police jointly liable with the KKK for wrongful death.

In passionate first-person accounts, Through Survivors' Eyes tells the story of six remarkable people who set out to change the world. The survivors came of age as the "protest generation," joining the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. They marched for civil rights, against war, for textile and healthcare workers, and for black power and women's liberation. As the mass mobilizations waned in the mid-1970s, they searched for a way to continue their activism, studied Marxism, and became communists.

Nelson Johnson, who grew up on a farm in eastern North Carolina in a family proud of its African American heritage, settled in Greensboro in the 1960s and became a leader of the Black Liberation Movement and a decade later the founder of the Faith Community Church. Willena Cannon, the daughter of black sharecroppers, witnessed a KKK murder as a child and was spurred to a life of activism. Her son, Kwame Cannon, was only ten when he saw the Greensboro killings. Marty Nathan, who grew up the daughter of a Midwestern union organizer and came to the South to attend medical school, lost her husband to the Klan/Nazi gunfire. Paul Bermanzohn, the son of Jewish Holocaust survivors, was permanently injured during the shootings. Sally Bermanzohn, a child of the New York suburbs who came south to join the Civil Rights Movement, watched in horror as her friends were killed and her husband was wounded.

Through Survivors' Eyes is the story of people who abandoned conventional lives to become civil rights activists and then revolutionaries. It is about blacks and whites who united against Klan/Nazi terror, and then had to overcome unbearable hardship, and persist in seeking justice. It is also a story of one divided southern community, from the protests of black college students of the late 1960s to the convening this January of a Truth and Community Reconciliation Project (on the South African model) intended to reassess the Massacre.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 septembre 2003
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826591753
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 16 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1750€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Through Survivors’ Eyes
THROUGH SURVIVORS’ EYES From the Sixties to the Greensboro Massacre
Sally Avery Bermanzohn
Vanderbilt University Press NASHVILLE
Copyright © 2003 Sally Avery Bermanzohn Published by Vanderbilt University Press All rights reserved First Edition 2003
This book is printed on acid-free paper. Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Bermanzohn, Sally A., 1947-Through survivors' eyes : from the sixties to the Greensboro Massacre / Sally Avery Bermanzohn.— 1st ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8265-1438-3 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 0-8265-1439-1 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Civil rights workers—North Carolina—Greensboro— Interviews. 2.Political activists—North Carolina—Greens-boro—Interviews. 3.Greensboro (N.C.)—Biography. 4. Greensboro (N.C.)—Race relations. 5.Greensboro (N.C.)— History—20th century. 6. Massacres—North Carolina— Greensboro—History—20th century. 7. Riots—North Carolina—Greensboro—History—20th century. 8. Ku Klux Klan (1915– )—North Carolina—Greensboro—History— 20th century. I. Title. F264.G8B468 2003 323'.092'275662—dc21 2003012401
To the memory of
César Cauce,
Mike Nathan,
Bill Sampson, Sandi Smith, and Jim Waller, who died on November 3, 1979, fighting for equality and justice,
and to all those who carry out
their legacy.
Acknowledgments Introduction xiii
PA RT I Black Is Black, White Is White, and Never the Twain Shall Meet 1 Growing Up 3 2 The Sixties: Joining the Movement 3 Movement Peak 88
PA RT I I The Twain Meet 4 The Seventies: Becoming Communists 5 Party Life 136
PA RT I I I Ku Klux Klan: “Take Back the South for White People” 6 We Back Down the KKK 181 7 Countdown of a Death Squad 193 8 The Massacre: November 3, 1979 208
PA RT I V Keep on Walking Forward 9 Aftermath 237 10 Trials 265 11 Tribulations 311 12 Healing 331
I: Growing Up and the Sixties (following page 46)
Willena Reaves, late 1950s Willena Reaves in high school, 1959 Sally Avery with brother and sister, 1956 Sally and Mike Nathan at Duke graduation, 1969 Marty Arthur with her father, big sister, and mother, 1950s Paul Bermanzohn with his parents, Munich, Germany, 1949 Paul Bermanzohn at City College, 1968 Nelson Johnson, March 1968
II: Party Life (following page 168)
Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU) pamphlet Flyer for clinic organized by Paul Bermanzohn and Jim Waller Sandi Smith speaks against Cone Mills’s firing of union activists, 1977 Sandi Smith in front of Cone Mills corporate headquarters, 1977 Duke Workers Organizing Committee newsletter and protest, 1977 Leola Lee, Whitakers, North Carolina, summer 1977 Kwame Cannon, Jim Waller, and Sandi Smith in picket line, 1977 Paul Bermanzohn and daughter Leola at strike, 1978 Bill Sampson plays guitar at Traders Chevrolet strike, Greensboro, 1978
César Cauce, Durham, North Carolina, 1978 Bill Sampson on picket line at Traders Chevrolet strike, Greensboro, 1978 Mike Nathan collects medical supplies with Dick David for Zimbabwe African National Union, 1978 North Carolina delegation at African Liberation Day, 1979 Sandi Smith, African Liberation Day, 1979 Jim Waller, African Liberation Day, 1979 Dale and Bill Sampson Sandi Smith Jim Waller and Bill Sampson César Cauce and Floris Caton marry, June 1979 The Wallers Michael Nathan and Marty Arthur marry, 1978 Michael Nathan and daughter Leah, 1979 Flyer for November 3, 1979, anti-Klan rally
Diagram of massacre scene, drawn in 1980
III. Greensboro Massacre, November 3, 1979 (following page 227)
Klansmen/Nazis David Matthews, Roland Wayne Wood, Jack Fowler, and Claude McBride Demonstrator kneels over César Cauce Michael Nathan dying from a shot in the head Nelson Johnson kneels over Jim Waller Sally Bermanzohn crouches above Paul Bermanzohn Kate White comforts Jim Wrenn Dale Sampson and Tom Clark try in vain to save Bill Sampson
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