A Sunday “Dateline NBC” program about Greenwood and black former Lusco’s waiter Booker Wright received mostly positive reviews from national viewers on Twitter.

But what about the folks at home?

Several of the participants in a roundtable interview featured briefly in the show weighed in this morning.

Mayor Carolyn McAdams said she thought for the most part the program was good. However, she said, it didn’t fully reflect the huge changes Greenwood has made since the 1960s.

“It’s a whole different world than it was,” she said.

Allan Hammons said the episode was what he expected.

“I thought it was a fairly well-done piece. There were some things that I would take exception with,” the Greenwood advertising executive said this morning.

Specifically, speculation that whites may have been behind Wright’s death left viewers to draw their own conclusions, he said. No real evidence has been uncovered to support that theory.

Wright was killed in 1973, seven years after a 1966 broadcast of an NBC documentary in which Wright, also a South Greenwood restaurant owner, spoke out about how he felt demeaned by his white customers And the man still sitting in prison for the crime, Lloyd “Blackie” Cork, who is black, has never come forward with allegations of a conspiracy.

The murder seems like a straightforward case: On the night of the killing, Wright had kicked Cork out of his cafe after Cork became disruptive, and Cork returned shortly in a rage and shot Wright with a shotgun.

Most of the “Dateline” episode centered on a quest by the original filmmaker’s son, Ray De Felitta, and Wright’s granddaughter, Yvette Johnson, to find out more about who Wright was.

The last six minutes or so were devoted to how Greenwood is doing now.

“The Booker Wright story certainly needs to be told, as we cannot ignore the plight of African-Americans during that era,” Angela Curry, executive director of the Greenwood-Leflore Industrial Board, said in a statement. “However, I wish the segment would have projected a more positive image of Greenwood. No, we are not where we should be as far as race relations are concerned, but this community has made more progress than depicted by NBC. An outsider looking at this story would think that Greenwood has not progressed at all. Perception is everything, and that is what we are working tirelessly to change.”

Kelvin Scott, president-elect of the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce, said, “I thought it did a great job of telling Booker’s story, and it did give segue into what we hope the future of Greenwood is.”

Scott said it’s impossible for an hourlong program to encapsulate everything about a city; he said it’s up to Greenwood’s citizens, not the national media or other people from the outside, to choose what the future holds for the city.

“It’s totally on us,” he said.

What did you think of the “Dateline NBC” segment?

Express your opinion by commenting on this article at www.gwcommonwealth.com.

(9) comments

paxton

This response is an example of poor journalism and ethics. Consider the interviewed sources for this article and reflect on the unbalanced views. Irresponsibility on the part of author.

ponder10

Angela Curry was quoted above saying: "...we are not where we should be as far as race relations are concerned, .... and that is what we are working tirelessly to change.”The fact of the matter is.... all the white folks are sending their kids to Pillow Academy to keep them away from all the blacks in Greenwood public schools. Working tirelessly huh? That's funny.

(Edited by staff.)

Charlie

To "ponder10" Who would go to a public school by choice?

paxton

Charlie, I think that we know that the public school system is not the driving force relative to this matter. GHS student population was majority white not too long ago. As more blacks moved in, more whites moved out. A lot can be said when the only time that the races come together is at work (not for church, dinner, or weekend activities). Progress has been made - Blacks can eat dinner at Lusco"s now. If this is considered to be an acceptable level of progress then maybe by 2050 black and white children will be able to attend Sunday School together.

GAD

@ponder10...we send our kids to Pillow for the quality of the education. It is no secret that private educational institutions offer superior education.

Belle

The Dateline piece and the DeFelitta piece were both unfair to Lusco's . The Luscos and Booker liked each other and he was not fired. He left out of consideration for their best interests. That was the kind of person he was. They should have at least spoken with the Pinkston family. And I do believe that he was simply shot by the man now in prison and his death was not the result of his appearance on NBC. Makes a good story tho.....

John Galt Redux

The show was pointless, incoherent, Yellow Press TV - primarily designed to sell advertising to the mentalities of “rubberneckers" on the highway and tabloid readership, who are drawn to sensationalism.

Carolyn Mac and too few citizens have done a phenomenal job IN SPITE OF what they have inherited and the monolithic obstacles that they face.

My frustration is with the charlatans and their weak-minded following, of all colors, who undermine Carolyn Mac, Troy Brown, the business owners and who exploit pettiness and ignorance.

One simple, primary solution that would actually accomplish real progress toward Greenwood's entry into the 21st Century. ....

Strict Building Codes should be established and ruthlessly enforced on all property owners … from N. Greenwood to the out-of-state slumlords in S. Greenwood.

If vacant lots were required to be mowed (mown?) and kept free of trash, if rental housing was maintained @ habitable levels, if shacks were demolished, the circles of poverty, despair and crime would soon be broken.

Property values (and taxes) would increase, thereby funding decent schools.

Thus, outside industry that would represent meaningful revenues would seriously consider locating to a community that offered a decent quality of life for its management and line employees.

Transitory improvements to "Main Street" and downtown "historical storefronts", promotion of "Blues Fests" … may or may not attract a few tourists to the freak show, but none offer any long-term solutions.

All the grants, tourism budgets, committees and foundations are geared toward putting a band aid on the cancer, lipstick on the pig.

John Galt Redux

ponder10

Charlie, what kind of dumb comment is that? Do you know that Pillow Academy costs about $1000/month for two kids? Let me say that again: A thousand dollars per month for two kids!!!! Tuition, meals, gas running back and forth, etc. There are people living there who are flat broke because they have to pay Pillow. There are people taking out loans to pay Pillow!!! Why people, why?????? Why do you stay there and feed that crazy system??? And PLEASE, do not say "Well, my mama lives here so I can't leave." If I hear that again, I'm gonna PUKE. Get off your *** and relocate your family so that your kids, your grand kids, and future generations will not be stuck in that horrible place, feeding that ridiculous system! I did just that - now I live among the mountains, waterfalls, great public schools, and no mosquitoes. Ask me when I'm moving back to Greenwood. Ask me. ;)

anniemae1

For those who would like to have a first hand look on the new documentary that prompted NBC's program: We will be screening "Booker's Place" at the church of the Nativity, 400 Howard St, Thursday 19 July, at 6pm, in the Parish Hall.

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