GREENSBORO — It wasn't the first time elected officials apologized for the Greensboro Massacre, but the City Council said Tuesday night they hope their resolution can be the last word and bring closure to a generation traumatized by the tragedy.
In a 7-2 vote, City Council approved a resolution of apology nearly 41 years after five demonstrators were shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party at a low-income housing community during a "Death to the Klan" rally organized by the Communist Workers Party.
Councilwoman Michelle Kennedy said she was a five-year-old living in a town 45 minutes away from Greensboro when she witnessed news coverage of the violence on Nov. 3, 1979 — a Saturday.
"This apology is 41 years too late," she said. "On behalf of the five-year-old kid I was then ... I am sorry for what the city of Greensboro failed to do on that day and for the things that we did. There is nothing in my professional life or in my adult life that means more to me than saying what we are saying tonight and the only thing I regret is that it didn't happen 41 years ago."
The resolution, which also creates a scholarship for five high school students in memory of the five who died, means that the city admits the police department neglected to act on knowledge it had that the Nazis and Klan were planning violence.
"Greensboro's police department in 1979, along with other city personnel, failed to warn the marchers of their extensive foreknowledge of the racist, violent attack planned against the marchers by members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party with the assistance of a paid GPD informant," the city's resolution states.