CDF Newsletter: July 2021


As part of our internal Crafting Democratic Futures communications, we highlight one team’s story every month.

This month, we’re sharing broadly the work of the Spelman College team.

“The Spelman project is about truth telling first; then we move to racial healing,” commented Dr. Cynthia Spence, principal investigator of the Spelman team and an associate professor of sociology. The Crafting Democratic Futures team at Spelman College is in the process of collecting oral histories with the Quarterman and Keller families. This is in order to gather information about their family histories but also to understand what reparations looks like.

Sarah Eisner is a direct descendant of the Kellers; Randy Quarterman, a Quarterman. Though Sarah’s great-great-great grandfather, George Keller, provided Randy’s great-great-great grandfather, Zeike Quarterman, with 10 acres of reparations land in 1865, Randy informed Sarah that the Quartermans had been paying taxes on this land despite being denied access and having it taken away through eminent domain. Sarah and Randy joined forces to create the Quarterman & Keller Foundation. Read more about the Quarterman & Keller Foundation and Reparations Project here.

The Spelman project will support community conversations with residents of the Savannah-Port Wentworth area and selected communities in metropolitan Atlanta to assess areas in need of reparations broadly defined to include land redress, restoration and reclamation. We seek to assist community members in tracing family histories and to create advocacy plans when there is evidence of misappropriation of land ownership and or the need for restorative actions. We have already begun collecting oral histories of members of the Quarterman and Keller families and will invite members of the community to participate in the oral history component of the project. We also seek to connect with others engaged in reparations initiatives in selected metro Atlanta communities and the Savannah- Port Wentworth area.

Read more about the Spelman Team’s project here.