METHODS: An exploratory qualitative research design was used; in-depth, open-ended interviews were conducted with victims of the ‘Greensboro Massacre' who subsequently participated in the GTRC (n=17). Purposive sampling was used to include the population most affected by the violence who also participated in the intervention. Interviews took approximately two hours on average, were transcribed verbatim, and analyzed in ATLAS.ti using inductive content analysis. Nine respondents were female, 13 were white, and four respondents identified themselves as African-American/Black. Fourteen respondents had high levels of engagement in the GTRC. Three respondents had low levels of engagement. Seven respondents had a high geographical proximity to the GTRC, and ten respondents had a low geographical proximity.
RESULTS: Through analysis of participant's responses a typology of reconciliation was created that includes cognitive – affective (changes in thoughts, attitudes, and feelings), behavioral (making a gesture such as an apology to an opposing party), and social (changes in relationships when another's behavioral reconciliation is accepted) reconciliation. From the data, respondents were divided into two orientations with different priorities. Nine respondents were classified as ‘reconcilers' who valued reconciliation above truth-seeking and justice, and were more likely to interpret the perpetrators' behavioral reconciliation favorably. Eight respondents were classified as ‘seekers' who were unwilling to compromise their desires for justice and truth, and experienced less reconciliation, especially cognitive – affective reconciliation. Those who valued apologies – who wanted greater behavioral reconciliation – were disappointed by the GTRC.
IMPLICATIONS: These results suggest that three factors – engagement, proximity and orientation – determined overall satisfaction with this intervention. The GTRC was most beneficial for highly engaged individuals, in Greensboro, who had a reconciler orientation. Respondents with low engagement, low proximity, and with a seekers orientation were more likely dissatisfied. A third group, with high engagement but low proximity and a seekers orientation benefitted from participating but were mixed in their assessment of reconciliation. Future interventions must attend to the interrelated types of reconciliation. Cognitive – affective reconciliation is the foundation of the process, and contributes to humanization. Interventions should seek to encourage behavioral reconciliation which is necessary for social reconciliation. However social reconciliation may not result, even when gestures are made, depending on the orientation of participants. Future interventions must also promote engagement; the use of community participation strategies to accomplish this will be discussed.