Greensboro Set To Mark Deadly Anniversary
Posted November 3, 2003 11:47 a.m. EST
GREENSBORO, N.C. — On Nov. 3, 1979, a Nazi and Ku Klux Klan rally ended with five people shot dead in the street. Monday marks the 24th anniversary of what is known as the "Greensboro Massacre."
It started as a peaceful protest that turned to terror. Five demonstrators died and 11 others were wounded. Signe Waller was one of the demonstrators there that fateful day. Her husband was among those who died.
"I saw bodies lying all over the ground," she said. "The whole course of your life is affected."
There are many layers to the "Greensboro Massacre." The five victims were members of the Communist Workers Party. There were police who were part of the Klan and Nazi caravan. In the end, two all-white juries acquitted the gunmen, although a civil suit later found them and several police officers liable.
Rev. Nelson Johnson, who was wounded in his arm at the rally, said the tragedy of 1979 can be a gift if it is claimed, but he said some in Greensboro refuse to claim it.
"The lack of trust, the tension, the racial division -- that's the state of our relationship today," he said.
"It's a process of trying to get a whole community to awaken," Waller said.
A conference was held over the weekend to discuss the lessons learned and not learned from the killings.