In 1979, a group of labor organizers protested outside a Ku Klux Klan screening of the 1915 white supremacist film, The Birth of a Nation. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller-Foxworth remember shouting at armed Klansmen and burning a confederate flag, until eventually police forced the KKK inside and the standoff ended without violence. The labor organizers felt they'd won a small victory, and planned a much bigger anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina. They advertised with the slogan: “Death to the Klan" and set the date for November 3rd, 1979.
As protestors assembled, a caravan of nine cars appeared, and a man in a pick-up truck yelled: "You asked for the Klan! Now you've got 'em!" Thirty-nine shots were fired in 88 seconds, and five protestors were killed. The city of Greensboro is still grappling with the complicated legacy of that day.
©2016 PRX, Inc. (P)2016 PRX, Inc.