Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pieces of truth

There are no quick and easy answers to the questions that have plagued Greensboro over the 25 years since the Nov. 3 shootings. But we know the answers are out there. The problem is, they’re in pieces.

One piece says what happened had nothing to do with Greensboro, for example, while another piece says it had everything to do with Greensboro. When people have different pieces of the truth and don’t talk with one another, they stay divided. We congratulate the city – City Council members, everyday residents, bloggers and others – for finally starting the difficult conversations that will bring out a whole truth with which we all can live.

Do you have a piece of the truth? Share it in a statement and share it here.

Are there pieces you just haven’t been able to understand? Ask your questions here. You’ll elicit answers (and hopefully statements) from others, and help us shape the final report into something that’ll work for everyone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This appears from your blog page to also be a blog comment location. (It appears above "Join the Dialogue.) Is this only for statements and not for community dialogue?

1:21 AM  
Anonymous JT said...

The commission can hardly be said to be neutral when the primary spokesman amd apparent organizer to date was one of the organizers of the event in question. Even so, the event itself has essentially concerned nobody else for years, now the concern seems to be the commission, not the event the commission purports to investigate. I would like to see some proof that Greensboro is concerned at all, perhaps an independent poll by an outside organization hired by the newspaper would let us see if any significant cross-section of the community even knows what is being talked about. Consider that a challenge to prove the need.

3:57 PM  
Blogger todd said...

I assume you mean Nelson Johnson when you refer to the "primary spokesman amd apparent organizer" of the Commission.
Just a point of clarity, it is my understanding that Nelson works on the Greensboro Truth and Reconcialtion Project, not the Commission. The Commission is an independent body. While the Project, of which Nelson is a part along with many other people, organized the process for choosing Commissioners, they did not nominate the Commissioners nor do they control any of the present or future actions of the Commission.

As to demonstrating "proof that Greensboro is concerned at all" with the events of November 3, 1979, consider that there was recently a march of over a thousand people to show support for the Project and the Commission. There altready exsits an ongoing petition with several thousand signatures to support this work. A poll could be done, but why? And while you seem to be comfortable that an "outside organization hired by the newspaper" would reveal whether there exists support for this issue, I do not agree.

The truth behind the events of November 3, 1979 deserves to be known. The interest is obvious. Neither the Project nor the Commision use dollars connected to the City of Greensboro that I'm aware of. Why should they have to prove themselves any further?

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Greensboro when all this happened. However, I had more sense than to be in the area of a DEATH TO THE KLAN rally, or DEATH to anyone rally. When you have RALLY'S with the name DEATH in them, what do you people REALLY expect is going to happen?

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody has anything to say? Its me again, anonymous from above.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Jill Williams said...

Thanks for your questions and concerns. This space is definitely appropriately used for further comments. I'm learning that your question about the title of the rally ("Death to the Klan") is one that many people in Greensboro and beyond want answered. While the Commission can't make any formal statements about this yet, I can share a statement made by Rev. Nelson Johnson at a recent City Council meeting that I believe speaks to your concerns:

"Allow me to say that I, and those associated with me, made mistakes in carrying out our work 25 years ago. I’m very sorry that we used the slogan “Death to the Klan.” There are other things that I want to share, and when I come before the Commission, I will share them in full in a proper setting."

I think Rev. Johnson also responded to your concerns when he said:

"When people are killed, in public, while exercising their legal and Constitutional rights, and the killings are dismissed in a fog of confusion, falsehood, and fear, and wiped aside by focusing on the motives and imperfections of those who were killed -- and at last, when a court of law finds, among others, Greensboro police officers guilty of liability for death, and no public official takes any responsibility for it -- I want to suggest to you that a cancer is growing in the body politic. And it will continue to grow until it is constructively engaged."

(Thanks, Chewie, for transcribing these can see a more full transcription at

Again, the Commission is in the midst of collecting many statements from people on all sides of this issue to answer these and many other questions. Rev. Johnson's comments represent one important perspective on these issues, but you do too. Because you were here in Greensboro when all of this happened and because you seem to have strong opinions about these issues, I hope that you will also consider contacting us directly to set up an appointment to give your statement in a one on one interview. Please keep sharing your comments here, too.

Thanks again for your input and please bear with us in our sometimes slow response time. As you might realize, we are in the middle of a great deal of work!

Jill Williams
Executive Director
Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission

4:12 PM  

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