A letter from the great niece of civil rights martyr Viola Liuzzo

On March 25, 1965, civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, the 39-year-old wife of a Detroit Teamsters official and mother of five, was murdered on an Alabama highway by a carload of Ku Klux Klan members, one of whom was an FBI informer. Liuzzo, the only white woman killed during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, was an uncompromising fighter for social justice and equality.

In June, Joanne Laurier of the WSWS reviewed Home of the Brave, directed by Paola di Florio, a documentary treating Liuzzo’s life and death. Laurier interviewed the film’s director and Viola Liuzzo’s daughter, Mary Liuzzo Lilleboe. The WSWS recently received the following letter, from Viola Liuzzo’s great niece.


My name is Gloria Jean Liuzzo, I live in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. I lived with these stories all my life. Viola was a godsend to human rights. I truly believe in her work that she died for. My immediate family never wanted to talk about what she did, but every time I saw articles in the newspapers I would cut them out and show them to my friends.

I lived in Oakland, California for 11 years and even people from different nationalities knew about what she fought for. I feel proud to be her great niece, and to have talked with some of the family members. I hope Mary keeps on spreading her stories for more people to understand and live by.

Thank you for a wonderful article.

Gloria Jean Liuzzo