Finding Aid for the
Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Collection

Bennett College Archives, Bennett College for Women

Greensboro, North Carolina

Summary Information

Title: Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Collection

Date/Date Range:  November 3, 1979 – May 25, 2008

Extent: 369 linear feet

Series number: A100

Repository: Bennett College Archives, Thomas F. Holgate Library, Bennett College for Woman, Greensboro, North Carolina

Collection Scope and Content Note: This collection contains documents concerning the fatal clash between members of the Communist Workers Party (CWP) and members of the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party which occurred on November 3, 1979, as well as the subsequent investigation and findings of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (GTRC). This collection includes correspondence, hearing transcripts, court documents, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, posters, audio/visual material and photographs, manuscripts, and other materials documenting these events.

Provenance: This collection is comprised of documents collected by the GTRC from several different sources. The material within these separate sources was organized, documented, and forwarded to Bennett College for Women at the completion of the work done by the GTRC. The original system of documentation of these separate sources was incorporated into the organizational structure of the final collection.

Abstract: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed in response to an incident, which occurred on November 3, 1979, in Greensboro, North Carolina. On this date, there was a clash between the Communist Workers Party (CWP) and members of the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party in the Morningside Homes community during a "Death to the Klan" demonstration. This event resulted in the deaths of César Cauce, Michael Ronald Nathan, M.D., William Sampson, Sandra Neely Smith (student and SGA president of Bennett College), and James Waller, M.D., and the wounding of demonstrators Paul Bermanzohn, Claire Butler, Tom Clark, Nelson Johnson, Rand Manzella, Don Pelles, Frankie Powell, Jim Wrenn; Klansman Harold Flowers; and news photographer David Dalton. There were subsequently two criminal trials and a civil trial which found the Greensboro Police Department (GPD), and members of the Nazi Party and Ku Klux Klan, jointly liable in the death of one activist. In an attempt to place this incident within a broader social context and to attempt restorative justice in this matter, the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (GTRC) was formed.  Seven people, nominated by the community, formed an independent panel comprised of members of diverseracial, religious, and economic groups. The commissioners were sworn in on June 12, 2004, in Greensboro, North Carolina, as the nation’s first truth and reconciliation commission.  The commission published the results of their careful compilation of facts and material in a report dated May 25, 2006. This final report recounts their findings, suggests institutional reforms, civil remedies, and strong civic engagement in the future to heal the "deep divides of distrust and skepticism in our community."

Access and Use

Acquisition Information: This collection has formally become the property of Bennett College for Women.

Access Restrictions: This collection is open to researchers under library restrictions. All access to these materials requires an appointment with the library archivist.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which Bennett College assumes no responsibility.

Copyright: The nature of the Thomas F. Holgate Library Archive means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Thomas F. Holgate Library Archive claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, U.S.C.). The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The Archives and Special Collections assume no responsibility of infringement of copyright or literary property rights.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of Item], Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission Collection, A100 Series, Bennett Collection Archives, Bennett College for Women, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Arrangement: This collection consists of 26 boxes divided into 9 series:

Processed by: Bennett College Archives

Series I: Greensboro Police Department Documents - Information gathered by the GPD regarding the events of November 3, 1979, including police reports, evidence, interviews, photographs, court related documents and news articles.

Series II: FBI Documents - FBI documents concerning CWP demonstrator Paul Bermanzohn.

Series III: Emily Mann Documents and Audio-Visual Material - Documents from the collection of writer and director, Emily Mann, who wrote Greensboro: A Requiem. Material includes news footage, testimonies, depositions and interviews, and hearing and court documents.

Series IV: General Audio Visual Material - Audio visual material including news footage, public hearings, television broadcasts, photographs, and letters of support.

Series V: Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission Documents - Documents collected by the GTRC including commission's founding documents, International Center for Transitional Justice material, news articles, public hearing and court documents, community dialog information, interviews, transcripts, statements, and the GTRC final report.

Series VI: Carolyn McAllaster Documents - Documents from the collection of Carolyn McAllaster, one of the Plaintiffs’ (CWP) attorneys for the civil trial. Documents include criminal and civil court documents and related news articles.

Series VII: Signe Waller Collection - Documents from the collection of Signe Waller, CWP member, widow of James Waller and plaintiff in civil suit. Documents include GPD documents, FBI documents, biographies, survivor's writings, news articles, and trial documents.

Series VIII: Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Race, Labor, Police – News Articles - News articles relating to the events of November 3, 1979 (dated January 5, 2005, until July 1988)

Series IX: Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission Installation and Public Hearing Material - Material includes signs, placards, student art, photographs, posters, banners, brochures and T-shirt.

Description of Series