Love and Revolution: A Political Memoir: People's History of the Greensboro Massacre, Its Setting and Aftermat (New Critical Theory Series)

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Overview

On November 3, 1979, members of the Ku Klux Klan drove into an anti-Klan rally in a black housing project in Greensboro, North Carolina and opened fire. They killed five demonstrators and wounded ten. All those killed were anti-racist community and labor leaders. Love and Revolution: A Political Memoir is both memoir and people's history. It is a factually detailed and passionate account of events surrounding the Greensboro Massacre by a woman intimately connected with the events. The author's husband, a pediatrician who abandoned medicine to work in a textile mill and organize low-wage workers, was among the slain. The activists killed were from Christian, Jewish, African American, and Latino backgrounds; they were César Cauce, Michael Nathan, M.D., William Sampson, Sandra Smith, and James Waller, M.D. All were in Greensboro that day on behalf of the Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO), part of a New Communist Movement inspired by Marx, Lenin, and Mao Tse-Tung. As the Ku Klux Klan came out of the woodwork during a period of economic downturn in the late seventies, WVO activists took a militant stand against the Klan and its racism. In the aftermath of Greensboro, survivors and concerned citizens faced an uphill battle for justice that eventually uncovered the involvement of official agencies in abetting the attack. At last, a 1985 civil suit found several of the attackers, as well as Greensboro police officers, liable for the wrongful death of Dr. Nathan. The union organizing, the massacre, the coverup of official complicity, and the struggle for justice are all essential moments of this political memoir. Readers become acquainted with a neglected portion of recent U.S. history—the South of the 1970s and 1980s—and with lovers and revolutionaries who did not accept the established order and dared to struggle to change it. Waller explores the meaning and implications of the events for the survival of American democracy.

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Editorial Reviews

News and Record (Greensboro NC)
A serious, complex, and important study of one of our city's most devastating, least understood events.

Waller is able to zoom in and show what it was like to live through this searing and sorrowful event - seen now through the eyes of a woman who is older, wiser, and more circumspect thatn the strident propagandist of 20 years ago.

CHOICE
This is a marvelous recounting of how the CWP managed to organize textile workers, not only in Greensboro but also throughout North Carolina. Recommended.
Emily Mann
Signe Waller's life exemplifies how the political and the personal are one. Her courage, her unflinching honesty, and her ability to look critically at herself, her beloved husband, her friends, and her enemies make this book essential reading. To understand what happened in Greensboro on November 3, 1979 is to understand a movement, a country, and a generation. Signe Waller has given us, through Love and Revolution: A Political Memoir, a rare gift.
Kenneth Robert Janken
Signe Waller's perceptive biographical sketches in Love and Revolution rescue an important part of American history that is usually overlooked. Her work does for the social justice movements of the 1960s and after what the movie 'Reds' did for the revolutionary generation of the post-World War One era: it discloses what radicals and revolutionaries were fighting for and why they decided to follow that path in life.
Manning Marable
Signe Waller's life personifies courageous political commitment and integrity. Her story represents an intimate and deeply moving portrayal of one person's struggle for justice. This extraordinary book speaks to the best in all of us.
Fitzhugh Mullan
For Signe and Jim Waller, the politics of social justice were never theoretical. Jim died for his principles, murdered by the Klan in November of 1979. In Love and Revolution, Signe relives these years with a vividness and generosity of spirit that make for both a magnificent memoir and an important chronicle of our time.
Howard Zinn
Signe Waller gives us in this moving memoir an important piece of the hidden history of our time. Her story tells us so much about our country, about things to be ashamed of, and about people to be proud of.
Julian Bond
This is an important look at a tragic moment in civil rights history—almost written out of history and memory. But now a victim—who refuses to be victimized—has told the story.
Anne Braden
The fight-back after the Greensboro Massacre was a watershed in the struggle against racism. It became that because the widows and other victims refused to give up and organized effectively. I know of no instance where tragedy has been transformed so creatively. This book weaves together the personal and political so that we come to know the martyrs and survivors, who were part of that remarkable generation radicalized by the 1960s. They beleived passionately that they could change the world and—although they made tactical mistakes—succeeded for a time in uniting people of color and whites in struggle in one of the most repressive states in the south.
Nc News and Record: Greensboro
A serious, complex, and important study of one of our city's most devastating, least understood events.

Waller is able to zoom in and show what it was like to live through this searing and sorrowful event - seen now through the eyes of a woman who is older, wiser, and more circumspect thatn the strident propagandist of 20 years ago.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Waller significantly adds to the historical record of a violent episode that took place in a city that long prided itself on its progressivism. . . . Intimate knowledge enables her to portray the slain demonstrators as real people cut down in their prime. Love and Revolution not only sheds light on what survivors call the Greensboro Massacre, but also illuminates how 88 seconds of gunfire that shook a housing project 24 years ago echo to this day.
Choice
This is a marvelous recounting of how the CWP managed to organize textile workers, not only in Greensboro but also throughout North Carolina. Recommended.
Socialism and Democracy
This is rich, new material for historians and students of the 1970s, the labor movement, and recent Southern history.
High Point Enterprise
A comprehensive, heavily footnoted account with an invaluable index.
Anderson Independent
An important account of history.
Contemporary Sociology
With a wonderfully hybrid structure combining biography, autobiography, journalism, history, and trenchant political criticism, Waller has provided us with a vivid picture of the community of activists that once sustained her personal and political life, as well as of an event that forever altered it.
Missoulian
Waller weaves her deeply personal story into a sweeping historical account that details the shifting alliances among factions of the New Communist Movement. A comprehensive, heavily footnoted account with an invaluable index.
Publishers Weekly
This politically laden memoir is as much an exploration of the American leftist mentality of the late 1970s as it is an examination of a violent incident in recent American history. Waller's husband was one of the five people-all but one Communists-killed by the Ku Klux Klan during an anti-Klan rally in Greensboro, N.C., in November 1979. After several acquittals on criminal charges, some Klan members and a few police officers were eventually convicted in a civil lawsuit. But the rally is only part of Waller's hodgepodge story, as she mixes her own memories and newspaper accounts of the era with oral interviews to depict how she and her fellow Communists-many of them well-educated professionals-came to the Greensboro area to organize. Throughout, Waller makes no pretense at objectivity. Her "insider" status allows her to depict the motivations of Communist activists in the waning days of a politically active era. It does appear that local police at the very least failed to prevent the murders at the rally. But Waller's bias gets in the way of her description of the massacre and its context-for instance, she writes that in 1978 "strikes indicated a rising consciousness of the working class" in the United States, an unsubstantiated claim. And when she sympathetically analyzes the ideological discussions within her small Communist circle, she is likely to lose all but the most ardent fellow travelers. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742513655
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2002
  • Series: New Critical Theory Series
  • Edition description: 2002
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Signe Waller was one of the organizers of the anti-Klan rally that turned into the Greensboro Massacre. Her husband, Dr. James Waller, and four close friends were killed in the massacre.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Heirs to the Radical Sixties Chapter 2 1 The Making of a Radical or How I Became One of Them Chapter 3 2 Jim Waller M.D. in the New Communist Movement Chapter 4 3 Nelson Johnson and the Politics of Black Liberation Chapter 5 4 Durham Activists Tell It Like It Is Part 6 Home-Grown Bolsheviks Chapter 7 5 Organize! Make a Mighty River Chapter 8 6 People, People, Have You Heard? Chapter 9 7 And Cone You Own the Factories, But Us You Do Not Own Chapter 10 8 Something's Rising in the Nation Chapter 11 9 China Grove and the Preparations for November Third Chapter 12 10 Like a Wolf on the Fold: The Greensboro Massacre Part 13 Home-Grown Fascists Chapter 14 11 This Precipitous Hour Chapter 15 12 Resisting Upside Down Justice: The Civil Rights Movement Reawakened Chapter 16 13 A Lesser Crime to Kill a Communist Chapter 17 14 Green Light for Reactionary Violence: The State Trial in 1980 Chapter 18 15 The Blitz Amendment and Other McCarthyisms Chapter 19 16 A Winding Road to Justice: Bringing Federal Charges Chapter 20 17 Victory and a Whitewash: The Grand Jury in 1982-83 Chapter 21 18 No Racial Animus? The Federal Trial in 1984 Part 22 On New Foundations Chapter 23 19 Partners in Crime: The Civil Rights Suit in 1985 Chapter 24 20 Convened by Martyrs

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