A City Reflects On Progress, Community Building After Greensboro Massacre
It’s been ten years since a major report was released in response to a violent and racially-charged day in North Carolina history. The Greensboro Massacre cast a shadow on a city that prided itself on a non-violent sit-in during the Civil Rights Movement.
On November 3, 1979, five people were killed and 10 wounded when Ku Klux Klan members and American Nazis clashed with protesters. In an effort to understand the tragic events of that day, the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed in 2004. It was the first of its kind in the U.S. and was initiated by the people rather than the government. After years of research and over 200 interviews, the commission issued a 500-page report.
UNCG professor Spoma Jovanovic wrote a book on the commission's work titled "Democracy, Dialogue, and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro." She says the group has become a model for other communities struggling with racial tension and the justice system. But the work of the commission isn't done yet.
“I think it’s an ongoing process and as long as people – residents – are committed to talking to one another about issues and participating in our democracy, I think that we have great hope, and there are very good signs for that in Greensboro,” Jovanovic says.
One of the commission’s many recommendations became reality in 2015 when Greensboro established a historical marker at the site of the massacre.