On a cloudy day in early November 1979, a caravan of Nazi and Ku Klux Klan members careened into Greensboro, North Carolina, winding toward a local Communist Workers’ Party protest that had gathered in the city to march against the state’s white supremacists. The communists, wearing berets and hard hats, spotted the fleet and taunted the new arrivals with chants of “Death to the Klan!” The KKK convoy slowed, and stopped. Far-left protesters, bearing both wooden planks and concealed pistols, began surrounding the motorcade, beating the doors. As TV cameras rolled, the trunk of a Ford Fairlane, stuffed with shotguns and rifles, popped open. Someone yelled from one of the cars, “You asked for the Klan! Now you’ve got ’em!”
Eighty-eight seconds and 39 shots later, five communists lay dead. Eight other demonstrators were wounded, some permanently paralyzed. For a brief moment, the Greensboro Massacre became one of America’s most notorious acts of political blood-letting. And yet, unlike Wounded Knee or Selma, Greensboro has over the decades largely faded from memory.
Except in Portland.