Massachusetts Peace Action remembers our dear sister, Martha (Marty) Nathan. She died November 29 of cancer and congestive heart failure at the age of 70.
She co-led Western Massachusetts work on 2012’s Budget for All Referendum and follow-on efforts to cut the Pentagon budget.
She was a co-founder of Climate Action Now, the founder of the environmental activism group 2degrees Northampton, and a board member of the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition. She wrote a monthly column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette on the topic of climate change.
She worked as a family physician at Baystate Brightwood Health Center in Springfield.
Nathan’s husband and Markham dedicated the fund to the memory of their husbands, who were among the five anti-racism protestors shot and killed by Klansmen and American Nazis on Nov. 3, 1979, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
She was also a retired physician. Nathan spoke to Democracy Now! in 2019 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Greensboro massacre — when 40 Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis opened fire on an anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina, killing five anti-racist activists in a span of 88 seconds.
In 1979, Nathan’s husband Michael Nathan died when 40 Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis opened fire on an anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina, killing five anti-racist activists in a span of 88 seconds.
In 1985, a wrongful death lawsuit found eight people, including shooters and police officials, liable for the death of just one victim, Michael Nathan. The city of Greensboro paid Marty Nathan $351,000, which she split between victims’ families, the survivors of the massacre, the religious group that helped fund the lawsuit, and a legal aid organization for victims of racial violence.
In 2009, she and fellow activist Arky Markham founded the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice, which has awarded more than $300,000 in grants to small western Massachusetts nonprofits that help low-income and marginalized people.
After the US-backed 2019 Bolivian coup she joined the Latin America Solidarity Committee and its collaboration with MAPA’s Latin America Working Group.
In June, the Gazette and the United Way of Hampshire County honored Nathan with the Frances Crowe Award, named for the legendary Northampton peace and anti-nuclear activist who died in 2019 at the age of 100. Nathan considered Crowe a friend and ally for 25 years, saying the pair “were inhabiting the same ideological and political territory.”