Communities engaged in


The central tenet of restorative justice is that the justice process belongs to the community.

As implemented by CRRJ, restorative justice is crafted to speak to the descendants of racial terror, foster accountability, support reparations, honor the healing process, memorialize victims, and further racial reconciliation.

We promote truth proceedings, official apologies, and memory projects to acknowledge this racialized past. These processes contribute to reconciliation by educating citizens through the public debates they stimulate and by providing structures for genuine interactions between alienated groups.

Engaging Public Officials

TEXAS – Joyce Faye Crockett Nelson, who was shot in October 1955 in the course of a murder that took the life of her cousin John Earl Reese, in 2009 was able to tell the story of what happened to public officials for the first time. CRRJ facilitated Ms. Nelson’s conversation with County Commissioner Mike Pepper and Rusk County Mayor Buzz Fullen.

ALABAMA – In 2012, CRRJ Fellow Chelsea Schmitz facilitated a conversation between Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson and the family of Rayfield Davis. Davis was murdered on March 7, 1948, by a white man, Horace M. Miller, who became enraged when Davis anticipated that the new Truman administration would bring equal rights to the South.

GEORGIA – CRRJ student Tara Dunn met with Harris County officials in 2016 on the Henry Gilbert case.

Official Apologies

Engaging the Families of the Perpetrators

The investigation of CRRJ students Tara Dunn and Gueun Ariel Lee in 2015-16 on the case of Henry Peg Gilbert and Gus Davidson produced a comprehensive account of the intertwined lives of these two men:

A letter from Karen Branan written to Recie Moss (pictured in corner)

Similarly, CRRJ student Kaylie Simon researched the case of John Earl Reese.

Transcript of a letter written by Sandra Simpson-Kraft
Letter from Sandra Simpson-Kraft to CRRJ

Burial Markers and Civil Rights Markers

Commemorative Events & Exhibits

aerial photo of a church gathering in pews

Correcting Public Records

John Earl Reese’s death certificate in 1955 reported his death as an “accident,” when in fact it was a racial killing. In 2010, CRRJ caused the official death certificate to be changed to reflect that the death was a homicide.

grainy photocopy of a death certificate and Amendment form

Court Cases and Consultations

Engaging in the Arts

CRRJ intern Michelle Wells wrote and produced the play, The War at Home.

On the John Earl Reese case, a community member commissioned a painting about the incident of racial violence.

Toni Morrison (pictured), Isabel Wilkerson, and many other writers have met with survivor families at Northeastern University.

(on left): photo of Toni Morrison; (on right): playbill for the play 'The War at Home'

Engaging the High School Classroom

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