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Crafting Democratic Futures


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $5M grant to the Center for Social Solutions (CSS) and nine institutional partners as part of the Foundation’s 'Just Futures' initiative. “Crafting Democratic Futures: Situating Colleges and Universities in Community-based Reparations Solutions,” emerged from the Center’s focus on slavery and its aftermath, and is informed by three generations of humanistic scholarship and what that scholarship suggests for all seeking just futures. 

The project creates and leverages a national network of college and university-based humanities scholars working in partnerships with community-based organizations to develop research-informed reparation plans for each location. Reparations refers to compensation, which may include a national apology, educational, housing, and healthcare programs, and financial redress from the U.S. government to Native Americans for genocide and African Americans for the detrimental effects of slavery and beyond. The question of reparations for the descendants of enslaved African peoples in the Americas, and especially the United States, had—until recently—been part of a smaller effort seeking a broader audience, lingering on the other side of what is possible until the late 20th century.

The Center for Social Solutions and our University of Michigan partners undertake the ambitious and timely project in concert with ten additional partners:

Carnegie Mellon University
Emory University
Rutgers University--Newark
Spelman College*
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)
*Concordia College in Moorhead, MN
*Connecticut College
*Wesleyan College in Macon, GA
*Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC 

* indicates a member institution of the Council of Independent Colleges.