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

The Greensboro Justice Fund Fellowship was grounded in learning and relationship building. The fellowship provided multiple opportunities for community action and enhanced team-building among fellows to expand their perspectives on community initiatives in which they were involved.

Fellows began 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 engaged in both small group time as a class and enjoyed individual time for reflection as well. Fellows also had the opportunity to return to Highlander for a weekend workshop with their fellowship class, and attended 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 stayed connected to each other through conference calls and online. 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 had ownership to shape their fellowship experience and create hands-on opportunities to learn from one another.

Expenses to Highlander workshops were covered by the fellowship, and fellows received a $500 stipend to support their local community efforts, payable in two parts.


*Please note the Fellowship program is not currently active and we are not currently seeking applications.

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.


*Please note the Fellowship program is not currently active and we are not currently seeking applications.

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:

  1. Describe your work for justice and community organizing experience
  2. 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
  3. Describe how the fellowship could help you move forward as a community organizer
  4. What is your vision for how change happens?
  5. What would be exciting to you about being a Greensboro Justice Fund Fellow at the Highlander Center?
  6. Which of the 5 organizers for which this fellowship is named do you relate to and why?
  7. Please tell us about any additional information not yet mentioned including your paid work experience, volunteer experience or any awards/recognitions you have received (submission of current resume may suffice)



Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes the following:

  • A Statement of Interest and Intent (please see above)
  • 3 Nominator Reference Statements (Reference statements can be sent separately as long as they meet the deadline.)



*Please note the Fellowship program is not currently active and we are not currently seeking applications.

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:


Democracy Now