The Highlander Research and Education Center is pleased to announce a new leadership program, the Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowship at Highlander. Highlander was chosen, along with the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro, NC, to carry on the social and economic justice legacy of the Greensboro Justice Fund (GJF) and is honored to do so.

For 30 years, GJF worked to increase the capacity of the progressive movement by supporting over 300 cutting-edge, community based organizations working for political empowerment, workers rights, environmental justice and an end to all forms of discrimination and exploitation.

The Fund was established to honor and carry on the work of César Cauce, Mike Nathan, Bill Sampson, Sandy Smith, and Jim Waller, five community organizers who were murdered in Greensboro by the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis on November 3, 1979.

patch César Cauce was a Cuban immigrant who graduated magna cum laude from Duke University. He was a leader in the long struggle for a union for Duke Hospital Workers and organized community support for Durham chicken plant workers on strike against intolerable working conditions and low wages.
patch Dr. Mike Nathan had been an anti-war and civil rights student activist at Duke University and had become a “people’s physician” as chief pediatrician at Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, NC. He was a leader in a movement to send aid to liberation fighters in then-apartheid Zimbabwe and protested maltreatment of hospital workers at Durham County General Hospital.
patch William Sampson was a student anti-war activist and president of his college student body. He studied theology at Harvard Divinity School and then medicine at the University of Virginia. However, he left medicine to work and organize in a Greensboro Cone textile mill where he built the union and was a shoo-in for president of the local.
patch Sandra Smith was President of the student body at Greensboro’s Bennett College and an activist on behalf of African-American students. As leader of a union organizing drive at a Greensboro Cone Mill textile plant, she battled sexual harassment, low wages and unhealthy working conditions.
patch Dr. James Michael Waller had for many years lent his expertise in medicine to poor people in need. He had trained at the Lincoln Hospital Collective in New York City, had flown to Wounded Knee to aid American Indian Movement activists under siege from the FBI, and had organized Black lung screenings in North Carolina textile mills. He left medicine to work and organize in a rural Cone Mills textile plant where he had led a successful strike and had been elected president of this union.

Applications/Nominations Sought

Believing in the power of and strategic need for committed and skilled organizers, the GJF at its 30th anniversary announced the donation of its assets to the Beloved Community Center and to Highlander to train organizers in the name of the Greensboro Justice Fund, which was created using an award from a civil case that found the city of Greensboro and members of the Ku Klux Klan complicit in the murders.

This year will be the first class of the Greensboro Justice Fund Fellows at Highlander and we seek applications/nominations. There will be five fellows per class in honor of the five organizers who were killed.  Applications are due April 11.

Activities and Benefits of the Fellowship

Fellows will begin their one-year fellowship by attending a popular education and community organizing social change workshop at Highlander May 31 – June 4, 2011.  They will attend the workshop as part of a larger group with other people. During those dates, fellows  will also have small group time as a class, and individual time as well. A second training opportunity will be scheduled during the year. Throughout the year, fellows will be networked to each other through conference calls and internet technologies as well assisted in other opportunities regionally and nationally to enhance their skills and build relationships. They will be supported by Highlander staff and representatives of the Greensboro Justice Fund. Expenses to Highlander workshops will be covered by the fellowship, and fellows will receive a $500 stipend to support their local community efforts.

Eligibility Requirements

Fellows must be living and working for social justice primarily in the  states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. One fellow each year will be from North Carolina. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Applicants must be available for the first activities of the Fellowship at the Highlander Center, May 31 – Jun 4, 2011.

To apply for the Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowship at Highlander

Fellows should submit a Statement of Interest and Intent with the support of 3 nominators who write a one page nomination/reference letter.

Statement of Interest and Intent

In your own way and your own words, please let the selection committee know the following about you:

1)      Your name, postal address, phone number(s) and email address.

2)      Please describe your work for justice and community organizing experience.

3)      Discuss the skills you would like to strengthen or develop and/or the things you would like to learn as a GJF Fellow at Highlander.

4)      Describe how the fellowship could help you move forward as a community organizer.

5)      What is your vision for how change happens?

6)      What would be exciting to you about being a Greensboro Justice Fund Fellow at the Highlander Center?

7)      What might you find challenging about being a Greensboro Justice Fund Fellow at the Highlander Center?

8)      Please tell us about any additional information not yet mentioned including your paid work experience, volunteer experience or any awards or recognitions you have received. (submission of current resume may suffice)

Application/Nomination Process

Applications must be received in the Highlander Office by 8:00 pm eastern time, Monday, April 11, 2011. Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes the following:

Applications will be received any one of the following ways:

Mailed to Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowships at the Highlander Center

1959 Highlander Way, New Market, TN 37820

Faxed to865-933-3424


Selection Process and Timeline

A small committee of representatives of the Highlander Center and Greensboro Justice Fund will select the five fellows. Phone interviews will be conducted with the finalists.


April 11                   Applications due

May 6                     Notification of Fellows

May 31 – Jun 5          Attendance at Highlander

To Be Scheduled       2nd Workshop at Highlander

Excerpt from Comments of Highlander Director Pam McMichael at the

Greensboro Justice Fund 30th Anniversary Event

“Highlander is honored to be given this opportunity to carry on the legacy and work of the Greensboro Justice Fund, and honored to be carrying forward that work with the Beloved Community Center. We would like to express our deep appreciation and respect to the survivors, families and members of the community, and of the Fund for your vision, history, courage and work for these 30 years.

We look forward to working with many of you and the Beloved Community Center to help build organizing skills for racial and economic justice in the name of Sandy Smith, César Cauce, Michael Nathan, Bill Sampson and Jim Waller.  Their names, their work, what happened here 30 years ago, and the story of this community and the Fund, should be familiar to all who work for justice in the South and across the country.

At Highlander, those of us who are the current board and staff step into a 77 year history that was created by thousands and thousands of people, many whose names are known to us, most whose names are unknown. It is always humbling, and sometimes daunting, and we believe the best way to honor that history is to learn from it so that we may be the most effective social justice actors that we can for the challenges facing all of us today.

This is the spirit we carry into Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowships at the Highlander Center.”