William E. Sampson, a 1973 Divinity School graduate, was among five persons killed during an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday. He was 31 years old.
Sampson and three other white men, and Sandra Smith, a black woman, died after members of the KKK and the American Nazi Party fired into a demonstration sponsored by the Communist Workers Party (Workers Viewpoint Organization). Smith a graduate of Bennett College in Greensboro, was married to Mark Smith '72.
Nine other people were wounded in the shooting. Fourteen men were arraigned in Greensboro Monday in connection with the shooting.
At the time of his death Sampson, who also held a degree from the University of Virginia Medical School, was a shop steward for the American clothing and Textile Workers Union at the Cone Mills textile plant in Haw River. N.C. He was working inside the plant to build the union's strength on a day-to-day basis. "He knew that orgainizing workers was not over after an election was won at a plant." Charles Finch, an acquaintance of Sampson, said Monday.
Sampson, a native of Wilmington, Del., earned his B.A. at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., in 1970, and concentrated in Church (now known as Applied Theology) in the Masters of Theological Studies program at the Divinity school. "He was very politically active all the way through," one of Sampson's friends at the Div School, who asked to remain unidentified, said yesterday.
Harvey G. Cox. Thomas Professor of Divinity and Sampson's faculty adviser, remembered Sampson as "quite a serious student. He was very motivated to a helping and serving life." Sampson had participated in the anti-war movement while at the Div. School.
A memorial service will be held at the Divinity school at a time to be announced later.