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May 25, 2006


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Danny Wright

Is there anything that smells a little fishy from the following two paragraphs on pp. 305-306 of the report?:

Other language is more troubling. The WVO/CWP made a militant challenge to the Klan via posters, and Paul Bermanzohn said at a news conference, "(The Klan) can and will be crushed ... They must be physically beaten back, eradicated, exterminated, wiped off the face of the earth. We invite you and your two-bit punks to come out and face the wrath of the people." One of the WVO/CWP fliers urges that "The dogs have no right to exist! They must be physically beaten and run out of town. This is the only language they understand."1

Although both groups indulged in violent rhetoric, the cultural context of the time made the intent and effect of the rhetoric inherently unequal. Despite the inflammatory language and the ideological identification with violent international figures, the Communist Party within the United States does not have a historical pattern of terrorist acts.2 What’s more, communism has never been the dominant ideology in any part of the United States, nor has it ever enjoyed the support, direct or indirect, of law enforcement authorities. The same cannot be said of the KKK. Founded specifically as an insurrectionist terrorist organization, the Klan has counted among its members many elected and law enforcement officials, including at least one U.S. president.

Bruce Burch

Why, this sounds factual.

Fishy? Hardly. Perhaps to Klan apologists.

Ed Cone

I'm nowhere near analyzing this thing at that level, and I hope people won't just go thru it looking for particulars to disagree with.

You've presented two grafs without context. Looking at them out of context, it seems that the CWP's rhetoric is properly presented as radical and dangerous. What I can't tell without context (I'm not about to go dig thru the pdfs right now) is whether the second graf is presenting its reasonably accurate comparison of the two groups as an excuse, or as part of some larger argument.


"Founded specifically as an insurrectionist terrorist organization, the Klan has counted among its members many elected and law enforcement officials, including at least one U.S. president."

And your point as it pertains to the Report is.....?

Ed Cone

Again, it's a huge report, and Danny has decided to pull two grafs from 300 pages in...but the point seems to be that white supremacists have historically been better integrated into the power structure in this country than have communist radicals. Which is, y'know, true. The report aims at providing some context for the events of 11/3/79, and the groups involved, not just a blow-by-blow of that day.


I can't believe the good people in Greensboro went through this process only to be told that the Klan violently reacted to trash talk from communists and blacks and that the police could have done more to stop it.

Gee. I knew that when I was nine and saw the video on News 2 during the Clemson-Wake Forest football game I was watching in my Forsyth County basement that afternoon.

Race relations is your city's hallmark. I guess you folks want it that way, though many outsiders can't fathom why.


Curious to know which president was stupid enough to be in the klan, he looked it up and discovered that it was the president many consider to be the most scholarly in the history of the country. The one who was adored in foreign lands only to be derided at home for political reasons. Yes ladies and gentleman, none other than Ivy League university president Woodrow Wilson was a member of the KKK. He was a Democrat, if you are scoring at home.

You learn something new everyday. Thanks GTRC.


Hmm. Ed said:

"I hope people will look at the totality of the report, and the project, and not single out the detail or recommendation that proves to them whatever they thought all along."

Then Danny, Bubba, and Jeff, without irony, provided examples.

That's life in a reptilian brain, I guess.

Karl Brustmeyer

Until we all come together and mend our differences history will repeat itself. We have an opportunity to right a wrong. Lets Do That!!! We have an opportunity to utilize this as an blueprint for meaningful change. Lets Do That!!! Let us unite and say with one voice we will overcome. MLK's Dream can still be full-filled. Our organization TriadIMPAC will work with area organizations to once and for all eradicate racism, inequality and injustice in any form. I applaud the commision for the hard work. Now what are we going to do as a community?

Jerry McClough


Danny Wright

Bruce and Greendog,

I guess you weren't visiting this blog about a year ago when I stated my opinion that somehow the project would try to mitigate the blame / responsibility of the CWP for instigating a bunch of racist scumbags (Does that sound like a Klan apologist to you, Bruce?) to come confront them.

And then in those two paragraphs of the conclusion of the report, there it is -- an effort to minimize words like "eradicate, "exterminate", "wipe off the face of the earth", and "physically beaten". That sounds a bit self-explanatory and outside the law, don't you think?

This was the main issue for me a year ago and now. Ed knows what I think -- two fringe groups looked to cause trouble and one got the worst of it. Since the current process was driven along by supporters of the CWP, it is no surprise to me that this mitigation found its way into the conclusion.

And if that's life in a reptilian brain, Greendog (Why don't you have the courage to use your real name if you are going to fling insults at me?), then welcome, I guess, to Reptile City, where most people wish the whole mess would go away. We know what happened.

Any efforts to move Greensboro forward along racial and class lines would be far better served by focusing on present issues, not a singular moment from 27 years ago that was NOT the direct cause of much of our current problem -- which existed before 1979 and still exists today.

Ed Cone

"I hope people will read it, and consider it with an open mind, before rushing to confirm their own expectations. I hope people will look at the totality of the report, and the project, and not single out the detail or recommendation that proves to them whatever they thought all along.


Danny, I'm curious, among the recommendations in the report that focus on present issues, which do you find most compelling?

Danny Wright

Understood, Ed.

But just how DOES one make the leap that calling for the physical ending of people's lives -- which Bermanzohn DEMANDED -- is nothing more than rhetoric? Do we just give that a pass? I think a point of view that subscribes to that notion is reckless, or at least careless, whether or not it pertains to the issue that I have been concerned about for the past year. And this is serious historical writing, supposedly.

In the N&R article this morning, the word "naive" is attributed to the CWP by the Commission concerning the CWP's understanding of Bermanzohn's remarks. NAIVE? What the hell? Were these three year-olds who had never touched a hot stove before? No they were not. They provoked a bunch of terroristic thugs using words they HOPED would get the terroristic thugs to come to Greensboro. What else could they possibly have expected to materialize? Were not some of the CWP demonstrators armed themselves? Wasn't that established by Elizabeth Wheaton in "Codename Greenkill"?

I think the methods used by the CWP to bring the Klan to Greensboro are very important in understanding why things turned out the way they did. I think that trying to soften those methods over a quarter of a century later is bad history.

Here's where we differ:

That 11/3/79 stands for something bigger than two fringe groups issuing violent challenges and responding with violence.

Here's where I think we agree:

That Greensboro has REAL issues of racial divisiveness that need to be addressed that preceded and followed 11/3/79:

1. De facto segregated neighborhoods (Read "Civilities and Civil Rights" by William H. Chafe and tell me what has changed since then -- not much besides Southside and the area immediately around downtown; the rest of Greensboro's "historic" neighborhoods are still pretty much the same.)

2. Low-wage labor relative to the rest of the nation (a free market concept / state law issue that isn't going to change because of protests or marches)

3. A comparably unskilled labor force compared to the rest of the nation, not counting transplants.

4. Job influx that, until recently (Dell, FedEx, RF Micro) has been created in response to conditions 2 and 3 above.

I am guessing that you believe the report will help us along these lines.

My own personal view is that the events of that day are already pretty well understood and don't impact the four issues above in any meaningful way in 2006 for greater Greensboro. I would agree that circumstances which generally existed in 1979 have impacted the four issues above for us in 2006, and I think that is where we should focus our attention.

My rant is over. The last word is yours, since I've broken my promise not to comment on the issue anymore about five times now.

Tony Ledford

I only had a few minutes last night to glance through the "Conclusions and Recommendations" site before the GTRC website became unavailable (and it is still down this morning), but what I read was heartening, because I had given up hope that anyone or any organization would EVER publicly state what most of us already knew to be the truth and what so many have been so fearful to be "forced" to hear.

Kudos to the Commission. I look forward to reading the entire report.

Tony Ledford

By the way, Danny, RF Micro wasn't "job influx;" the company was founded in 1991 in Greensboro.

Ed Cone

Danny, as noted my newest post, I think the two groups narrative is deeply flawed, because it ignores the third group -- the police -- that had a role in the day's events.

I think that the anger behind the CWP and the Klan speaks to issues we confront today, and that writing off the events of 1979 without looking at the context is ahistorical and counterproductive.

That said, I think those events were outliers on the chart, they weren't the mainstream of Greensboro history, but I don't think stuffing them down the memory hole because they were extreme is a good idea.

I don't read in my cursory look at the report the kind of exculpatory attitude you see in it. Mitigating factors and degrees of responsibility, yes.

I don't know how I'll feel about the whole report. I'm going to read it before I decide.


Ed, Why did you delete a comment by me? (around 8:04 AM)

Ed Cone

Sorry, thought it was an exact dupe of the one immediately before it -- the only comments I've ever deleted have been ones where the sender hits the button twice.

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