A former Ku Klux Klan leader says Klan members who fired on marchers at a workers' rally in Greensboro more than 25 years ago did so in self-defense. Five people were killed and ten were injured at that rally. Gorrell Pierce is a former grand dragon of the Federated Knights of the K-K-K. He says everybody at the rally was participating in a riot. Pierce spoke today at public hearing held by the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an effort modeled on similar commissions in South Africa and Peru. The commission is investigating the November third, 1979, "Death to the Klan" march organized by the Communist Workers Party that ended when members of the Klan and the American Nazi Party opened fire. Pierce told the commission he was a leader of the Klan from Belews Creek in neighboring Forysth County in November 1979. On the day of the march, Pierce says, he was Christmas shopping in Winston-Salem.
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