Criminal

In 1979, a group of labor organizers protested outside a Ku Klux Klan screening of the 1915 white supremacist film, The Birth of a Nation. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller-Foxworth remember shouting at armed Klansmen and burning a confederate flag, until eventually police forced the KKK inside and the standoff ended without violence. The labor organizers felt they'd won a small victory, and planned a much bigger anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina. They advertised with the slogan: “Death to the Klan" and set the date for November 3rd, 1979.

As protestors assembled, a caravan of nine cars appeared, and a man in a pick-up truck yelled: "You asked for the Klan! Now you've got 'em!" Thirty-nine shots were fired in eighty-eight seconds, and five protestors were killed. The city of Greensboro is still grappling with the complicated legacy of that day.

The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s full report is available online.

Today, Reverend Nelson Johnson is a pastor with Faith Community Church and serves as the Executive Director for the  Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, which advocates for social and economic justice.

Signe Waller-Foxworth is the author of  Love and Revolution: A Political Memoir.

Eric Ginsburg is the associate editor at the Triad City Beat

For this story, we also interviewed Elizabeth Wheaton, author of  Codename Greenkill.

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. 

Direct download: 01_Episode_43__39_Shots.mp3
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People have been giving each other "the finger" since Ancient Greece. The first documented use is said to be a photograph from 1886 in which the pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters extends his middle finger to the camera (ostensibly to the rival New York Giants). Even though it's been around for so long, many still find the gesture offensive enough to try to bring criminal charges. Courts have ruled that "flipping the bird" is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. It's not a crime to be obnoxious. But there's a man in Oregon who tests the limits of free speech by giving the finger to every police officer that he sees. 

To learn more about the legalities of the middle finger, you might
enjoy: "Digitus Impudicus: The Middle Finger and the Law" from the UC Davis Law Review. 

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Direct download: 01_Episode_42__The_Finger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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