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"Greensboro Truth & Reconciliation Commission"

A follow-up to our lead story in the Jan./Feb. P&RMay/June 2006 issue of Poverty & Race

A follow-up to our lead story in the Jan./Feb. P&R: The Commission, culminating nearly two years of work by seven volunteer Commissioners and the Commission’s paid staff, released its 300+-page final report on May 25 at a ceremony held at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro (whose president is Johnnetta Cole). Speaking at the ceremony was Dr. Peter Storey, former president of the South African Council of Churches and former prison chaplain to Nelson Mandela.

The report analyzed police performance; police/community relations; the history of Ku Klux Klan, the Communist Workers Party and federal law enforcement agencies; the history of the black power movement and multicultural organizing efforts in Greensboro; labor and labor organizing history; and judicial system issues. Included as well are recommendations for future implementation in areas including community acknowledgement and institutional reform.

The May 26 NY Times story was headed, “Report Blames Police for Deaths at a ’79 Rally in North Carolina,” and noted that “Despite having a paid informer among the Klansmen, the police ‘showed a stunning lack of curiosity in planning for the safety of the event’.”

At the ceremony, the Commission ceased to exist, and the continuing community reconciliation work will fall to the Report Receivers — a variety of local and national religious, civic and other community groups — and to the Greensboro and Community Reconciliation Project. In keeping with the 2003 Declaration of Intent, the Project will engage in 6-12 months of follow-up discussions in the community.

Other communities in the South and elsewhere have followed the GTRC’s work. Success in Greensboro offers promise that the truth-seeking model previously used in South Africa, Peru and elsewhere can be effective in US communities.

The full report & an exec. summary are available on line at www. greenborotrc.org; further information from 336/275-5953, joya@greensborotrc.org.
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