Signe Waller Foxworth

Signe Waller Foxworth was born in 1938 in Brooklyn, NY, and grew up in a middle-class home, the daughter of a businessman. She excelled in studies and in 1969 was awarded a PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University (one of the first women to do so.) Her teaching career began at Southeastern Massachusetts University.

Though always politically liberal, a key transformational moment occurred when she saw a tragic photograph from the Vietnam War of a woman holding her dead baby. This profoundly affected her, and started Waller on the road to activism. As she put it: "I could be that woman."

The 70s witnessed Waller’s increasing activism, as she became involved with union organizing at Cone Mills textile plants in Haw River, NC and Greensboro, as well as work in non-violent opposition to the KKK, which had begun a resurgence. Married to Jim Waller, a physician-turned full-time organizer, Waller and her fellow activists in September 1979 staged a daring but dangerous rally in China Grove, NC against the KKK.

Two months later, on November 3, 1979, the Greensboro Massacre occurred, and Signe endured the nightmare of having her husband murdered that day along with four other activists.

Waller tells of that terrible day, now forty+ years ago, her enduring activism and (amazingly), her feelings of optimism for the future. She is a person of immense strength who truly has "made good trouble" for over 50 years.