Citizens Remember

After a two-year process, the Greensboro (North Carolina) Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first of its kind in the United States, delivered its final report in May on the events surrounding the November 1979 incident in which Ku Klux Klan and Nazi members killed five labor organizers and wounded 10 others at a “Death to the Klan” rally organized by the Communist Workers Party. The report details the process by which the community has come to a common understanding of the events leading up to the shootings; highlights varying levels of failed responsibility by the local police, community organizers, Klan and Nazi members, and federal law enforcement; and makes concrete recommendations for how the town can move forward, including public apologies and a public monument honoring those who died.

“There are so many people who want to focus on reconciliation without focusing on truth, and I don’t think that’s possible,” TRC co-chair Cynthia Brown told Sojourners. “In this two-year process, all we could do was lay the foundation for reconciliation. It’s up to the community now to take up our recommendations and pursue reconciliation.”

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