For thirty-five years, the Greensboro Justice Fund (GJF) worked to increase the capacity of the progressive movement by supporting over 300 cutting-edge, community-based organizations working to end 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, NC on November 3, 1979, by the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis.
Believing in the power of (and strategic need for) committed and skilled organizers, on its 30th anniversary the GJF announced the donation of its assets to the Beloved Community Center and Highlander to train organizers in the name of the Greensboro Justice Fund. The Fund was originally 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. To learn more about its history, please visit https://www.greensboromassacrelessonstoday.org.
The Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowship is grounded in learning and relationship building. The fellowship provides multiple opportunities for community action and is meant to enhance team-building among fellows to expand their perspectives on community initiatives in which they are involved.
Fellows begin their one-year fellowship at Highlander with our Wild & Wacky, Witty & Wonderful Workshop Work Week (W-7) to dig deep into our methodologies with groups from across the country. During W-7, fellows engage in both small group time as a class and enjoy individual time for reflection as well. Fellows also have the opportunity to return to Highlander for a weekend workshop with their class, and to attend Highlander’s annual Homecoming celebration in September for a cross-class connection and learning exchange with previous classes of the fellowship.
Throughout the year, fellows stay connected to each other through conference calls and on the web. Through our networks, Highlander helps keep fellows abreast of other potential learning opportunities, including regional and national conferences to enhance their skills and build networking relationships. Fellows have access to our facilities for research projects, space and time to write, reflect, and plan.
With support from our staff here at Highlander, representatives of the Greensboro Justice Fund, and members of the previous classes, fellows have ownership to shape their fellowship experience and create hands-on opportunities to learn from one another.
Expenses to Highlander workshops will be covered by the fellowship, and fellows receive a $500 stipend to support their local community efforts, payable in two parts.
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.
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
Please include your name, postal address, phone number(s), and email address.
In your own way and your own words, please let the selection committee know the following about you:
Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes the following:
SELECTION PROCESS AND TIMELINE
A small committee of representatives of the Highlander Center, Greensboro Justice Fund, and the previous classes will select the five fellows. Phone interviews may be conducted with the finalists.
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
Dr. Mike Nathan had been an anti-war and civil rights student activist at Duke University and had become a “people’s physician” as a 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 the maltreatment of hospital workers at Durham County General Hospital.
William Sampson was a student anti-war activist and president of his college student body. He studied theology at Harvard Divinity School and medicine at the University of Virginia. 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.
Sandra Smith was President of the student body at Greensboro’s Bennett College and an activist on behalf of African-American students. As the leader of a union organizing drives at a Greensboro Cone Mill textile plant, she battled sexual harassment, low wages, and unhealthy working conditions.
Dr. James Michael Waller lent his expertise in medicine to poor people in need. He trained at the Lincoln Hospital Collective in New York City, flown to Wounded Knee to aid American Indian Movement activists under siege from the FBI, and 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 led a successful strike and had been elected president of this union.
You can learn more about these community organizers and their legacy at the links below: