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The politics of being sorry: the Greensboro truth process and efforts at restorative justice

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This paper examines the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (GTRC) to better understand the way the truth process in Greensboro, North Carolina intersects with conceptions of restorative justice and geographic understandings of the ‘right to the city.’ The GTRC was a grassroots truth process focused on a shooting of labor organizers in 1979 by Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party Members and the complicity of local officials in the violence. In 2006, the GTRC released its report to the citizens of Greensboro and its recommendations for the city touched off a contentious debate. Using a multi-method qualitative approach—including open-ended interviews and archival research—I argue the GTRC process engages with notions of right to the city activism that challenges the right to the city literature to focus on broader discussions of racism, activism, and white privilege that emerges from critical race scholarship and contributes to the growth of robust, multiracial anticapitalist coalitions; an approach to scholarship on the right to the city that has broad academic purchase for social geography and urban political engagement in general.

Keywords: Comisión de la Verdad; Derecho a la Ciudad; Droit à la ville; Racismo; Reconciliación; Violencia; commission de vérité; racism; racisme; reconciliation; right to the city; truth commission; violence

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography and Africana Studies Program,University of Tennessee, Knoxville,TN,37996, USA

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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