Greensboro will formally apologize for not responding to information the KKK and neo-Nazis had deliberate violent assault on protesters in 1979
Greensboro City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of a formal apology for the massacre that left five dead 41 years ago by neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
The passing of the resolution, which was passed with a 7-2 vote of the council, means that the city will recognize that the police agency has not responded to information it had about acts of violence perpetrated by the NSDAP and the Ku Klux Klan wanted a low-income community during a “Death to Klan Rally” on November 3, 1979 organized by Communist Workers’ Party activists.
The resolution also mandates that the city award a grant to commemorate the victims of the Greensboro massacre. It also includes an apology to the families, victims and the Morningside Homes community for the violence and the lack of police operations.
The resolution includes an apology for: “The failure of government action to effectively overcome the hatred that sparked the violence, embrace the grief that resulted from the violence, and reconcile all traces of these heinous events in the years after 1979 bring. ”
Anti-KKK protesters walk down Pennsylvania Avenue NW (toward the White House) during a protest in Washington DC on November 27, 1982. Several people carry signs that read “Stop the KKK”, while a banner partially reads, “… Greensboro, five militants murdered by KKK / Nazis, never again!” (Photo by Ann E. Cell / Getty Images)
Before the planned protest could begin at 11:20 a.m. that deadly morning, a caravan of cars with Klansmen and neo-Nazis arrived at the Greensboro housing project, where anti-racist protesters set out to begin their procession. The heavily armed Klan Nazi invaders were ready to stop the demonstration and do more, and within less than two minutes of stopping in their cars they would fatally wound five people and leave seven injured.
Edward Dawson, a Greensboro police informant who helped plan the massacre, previously briefed the division on the details of the white supremacists’ deadly intentions. Bernard Butkovich, an agent with the alcohol, tobacco and firearms bureau undercover at the local NSDAP, also supplied some of the weapons used in the massacre. Ultimately, the tactical force to oversee the march was missing when the Klansmen and neo-Nazis arrived at the apartment complex to provoke a confrontation.
A jury ruled in 1985 that there was no coordination between the clan, local police and the federal government to injure protesters or disrupt the demonstration.
Six KKK and neo-Nazi members were charged with the murder of the victims Sandra Neely Smith, César Vincente Cauce, William Evan Sampson, Dr. Michael Ronald Nathan and Dr. James Michael Waller indicted. The white defendants of the Supremacists were acquitted in 1980 by an all-white jury. About four years later, in 1984, nine defendants were acquitted by another all-white jury.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said Friday that the resolution took shape in December when faith and civil rights leaders began reaching out to members of the city council to request an apology after the 40th anniversary of the massacre.
The Morningside Homes Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year to five Dudley High School graduates in honor of the five victims of the massacre.
Although the city has made an informal apology for the massacre in the past, it is the most thoroughly scrutinized and first formal apology ever issued.