Western Mass Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre: Lessons for Today

On November 3, 1979, five radical young labor and community organizers were shot and killed and ten others injured by Ku Klux Klansmen and American neo-Nazis who drove into a peaceful group of men, women and children preparing for an anti-Klan march in a Black neighborhood in Greensboro, NC. Despite videotaped evidence of the killers shooting unarmed demonstrators, two separate all-white juries found the murderers not guilty. In 1985, in a historic verdict, a federal court found Klansmen, Nazis AND Greensboro Police responsible for the death of Dr. Mike Nathan.
The Greensboro Massacre embodies many of the issues of today: the rise of white supremacy, the collusion and support by officialdom of bigotry and its violence, the struggle of workers for decency and a living wage, and the desperate need for an empowering mass movement across race, ethnicity, gender, age and class to transform our country into one that is sustainable and just.
Dr. Joyce and Rev. Nelson Johnson, leaders of Greensboro’s Beloved Community Center and survivors of the Massacre, will visit Western Massachusetts October 5-8 and participate in a series of events focusing on “The Greensboro Massacre: Lessons for Today”.

Reverend Nelson & Dr. Joyce Johnson
  • Saturday, October 5, noon to 3 pm. Intergenerational Dialogue between today’s Western Mass Organizers and Rev. Nelson & Dr. Joyce Johnson. For more information, contact Marty Nathan at martygjf@comcast.net.
  • Sunday, October 6, 10 am, Sermon by Rev. Nelson Johnson, “Our Need for Justice, Healing and Reconciliation”, at Edwards Church, 297 Main Street, Northampton, MA.
  • Sunday, October 6, 2-3:30 PM, Forum featuring Rev. Nelson and Dr. Joyce Johnson“Greensboro Massacre: Lessons for Today”, at Edwards Church, 297 Main Street, Northampton, MA
  • Monday, October 7, 6 PM, Fundraising reception for Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice and Beloved Community Center featuring Nelson and Joyce Johnson. For more information, contact Marty Nathan at martygjf@comcast.net.
  • Tuesday, October 8, 4 – 5:30 PM “The 1979 Greensboro Massacre: Lessons for Today”, with Nelson & Joyce Johnson at New Africa House Theater, UMass, sponsored by UMass Afro-American Studies Department, History Department, and Resistance Studies Initiative.
  • Wednesday, October 9, Resistance Films will feature the film “Greensboro: Closer to the Truth.” It documents the first ever Truth and Reconciliation Commission held in the United States 25 years after what is now known as “The Greensboro Massacre, a violent episode in the nation’s history.  The Closer to the Truth Project uses the film to support local reconciliation and justice efforts in communities all across the U.S. Northampton-based  member of the project , Dr. Marty Nathan (whose first husband was killed in the massacre) will lead the post-film discussion. https://greensborothemovie.com/
 
NEW FUNDING CYCLE! Two deadlines are:
March 15 for Spring awards and September 15 for Fall awards
UP TO $3000.00
Emergency grants of $500 are also available.
Please click here to apply.

The Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice Spring 2019 Grantees

The Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice is pleased to announce Spring 2019 Grantee Awards to following organization for their work on Social Justice issues (for more information about these organizations, see Our Grantees (Please click here to apply).

Spring 2019 Grantees

Arise for Social Justice, $2500, Springfield, MA “Undoing Racism Workshops” https://www.arisespringfield.org/

Artesana, Inc., $2500, Holyoke, MA “Creative workshop with Maria Salgado” https://artesana.co/

Compost Cooperative (Just Roots Community Farm), $2500, Greenfield, MA “Purchase of washing and cleaning machines” https://www.thecompostcooperative.com/

Eggtooth Productions, $2500, Greenfield, MA “Social Justice Theatre and Radical Festival” https://www.eggtooth.org/about/

Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution Conference, $500, Greenfield, MA “Organizing conference for social justice organizers” https://fccpr.us/

Manos Unidas Multicultural Education Cooperative, $1500, Pittsfield, MA “Hopeseed building Youth Leadership https://www.manosunidas.org/

Musica Franklin, $2000, Greenfield, MA “Transforming lives through performance” https://www.musicafranklin.org/

Nueva Esperanza, $1500, Holyoke, MA “Capacity Building and Retreat” http://www.nuevaofholyoke.org/

Out now!, $3000, Springfield, MA “Advocacy of Gay Youth” http://outnowyouth.org/

Real Costs of Prisons, $3000, Northampton, MA “Advocacy for Prisoner’s Rights” http://realcostofprisons.org/

The Performance Project, $2500, Springfield, MA “Youth Leadership and Training” http://www.performanceproject.org/

Springfield No One Leaves, $3000, Springfield, MA “STOP Campaign and Youth Leadership Training” http://www.springfieldnooneleaves.org/

Western Mass Medicare for All, $2500, Northampton, MA “ Continuing education and outreach” https://www.wmmedicareforall.org/

About

The Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice – Who We Are

The Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice serves grassroots social justice and peace groups in Western Massachusetts. The fund was created in 2009 by Northampton activist organizers Marty Nathan and Arky Markham, with their friends, in honor of their deceased husbands’ tireless devotion to building a better world. The MNF makes awards of up to $3000 to small activist organizations in Western Massachusetts that are dedicated to organizing and supporting the poor and powerless for a more just and peaceful world. An organization can have income from other sources to up to 175,000.

In the past five years, the MNF has distributed over $100,000 in grants; the MNF depends on the support of individual contributors with all donations going to our grantees. The MNF works with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts who are a 501(c)3 tax deductible non-profit organization.

The Markham Nathan Fund for Social Justice is deeply saddened by the passing of Arky Markham on June 11, 2018,
ten days before her 103rd birthday.

Please click here to read her obituary, published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Members of the Board

Heather Abel
Héctor Figarella
Milta Franco
Elliot Fratkin
Jim Levey
Sabine Merz
Marty Nathan
Lindsey Peterson
Mary Siano
Gary Tartakov
Jon Weissman

Bios

George Markham (1909-2009) was a tireless advocate for workers rights, economic justice, social change, and single payer health care.  As a legislative agent for the Massachusetts CIO in 1946, George was instrumental in the passage of the Fair Employment Practices Act and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.  Shortly after moving to Northampton in 1971, he organized the Northampton Elder Americans, and founded and was the first chair of the local CPPAX chapter.  He has served on the Democratic City Committee and was Democrat of the Year.  Never afraid to take on the “powers that be” George challenged, argued, demonstrated and demanded for what was right.   He was a journalist, intellectual, professor, gardener, chef, writer, and an unyielding, uncompromising activist for justice.  He was married to Arky Markham for 40 years.

George and Arky Markham.

Rose “Arky” Markham (1915-2018) has devoted her life to the cause of social justice, anti-war and anti-racism work, and single payer health care.  She was a founding member of the Franklin/Hampshire Health Care Coalition and an active member of MassCare, an organization whose sole mission is the enactment of single payer health care.  Arky and George were leaders in efforts to get legislative appropriation of $50,000 to study the feasibility of a state single payer system.  In 1982 Arky was a founding member of Social Workers for Peace and Justice which advocates for single payer health care and political freedom in Latin American countries.  She was an early and strong opponent of the war in Vietnam (her first date with George was at a demonstration against the war).  Arky was also a founding member of Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy and Torture and a founder and early board member of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.  Arky was active in anti-war vigils, lobbying, leafleting, organizing, presentations and educational programs.  She was married to George for 40 years.

Mike Nathan, MD (1947-1979) was born in Chicago of working class immigrant parents and grew up in Washington, DC. He first became active against the Vietnam War in high school and was a leader of the student support of Black housekeepers at Duke University and participated in a takeover of the University President’s house in 1969 to demand their union’s recognition.  As a pediatrician he treated children in the community health center in the heart of Durham, NC’s African-American Community and raised medical supplies for the Zimbabwean liberation movement fighting against apartheid in what was then Rhodesia. He also led a support movement for African-American laundry workers who contracted tuberculosis while working at Durham County General Hospital. He was murdered while attending an anti-KuKluxKlan march in Greensboro, NC, on November 3, 1979. Forty Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis drove into the gathering and shot and killed Mike and his friends Sandi Smith, Cesar Cauce, Bill Sampson and Jim Waller. All had been active in unionization efforts in the area and a civil rights suit 1985 found Klansmen, Nazis and Greensboro Police liable for Mike’s death.

Marty Nathan, MD is a physician residing in Northampton and working at Brightwood Health Center in Springfield. After the death of her first husband, Michael, Marty and other survivors successfully sued Klansmen, Nazis and Greensboro Police and, with the judgment won in this case, Marty helped initiate and for 15 years directed the Greensboro Justice Fund as a funding organization. Over the next twenty years the GJF raised and gave away $500,000 as grants to small groups fighting for civil rights and social justice in the US South. Marty has lived in the Northampton area since 1995, and was a founder, with her friend Arky Markham, of the Northampton Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy and Torture and the Pioneer Valley Coalition to Prevent War on Iran. She is currently on the steering committee of Climate Action Now and founding member of The Cliniquita Fund of the Pioneer Valley Project. She is married to Elliot Fratkin and has three children: Leah Nathan and Mulugetta and Masaye Fratkin.

Marty and Arky, with their friends, created the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice in honor of their husbands. It serves grassroots social justice and peace groups in Western Massachusetts. They urge you to join them to support those groups that are working to build a better world.