Enacting Truth and Reconciliation Through Community-University Partnerships

A Grassroots Approach


  • Anthony James Miami University
  • Simran Kaur-Colbert Miami University
  • Hannah Stohry Miami University
  • Nytasia Hicks Miami University
  • Valerie Robinson




truth and reconciliation, racial terror lynching


Truth and reconciliation efforts around the world demonstrate distinctive cultural approaches, motivations, and outcomes. Utilizing four international cases of truth and reconciliation in Canada, South Africa, Germany and South Korea, we first establish common processes in national or macro-level truth and reconciliation as a result of past atrocities. In the U.S., 4000+ documented racial terror lynchings took place between the years 1870-1950.  In the absence of a national truth and reconciliation commission for racial terror lynchings in the U.S., we developed and applied a micro-level model and practices outlined by the Equal Justice Initiative to advance truth and reconciliation at the grassroots level, fueled by community-university partnerships. In this paper we detail components of our community-university partnership model that might allow communities across the United States to advance grassroots efforts in their own local context. We note that truth and reconciliation is an ongoing process that includes both macro (national) and micro (grassroots) level approaches rather than an outcome that will satisfy all stakeholders effected by the events.

Author Biographies

Anthony James, Miami University

Associate professor, and director of family sciene program in the department of family science and social work at Miami University. Deputy editor of Journal of Family Theory and Review and Consulting Editor for Journal of Research on Adolescence. 

Simran Kaur-Colbert, Miami University

PhD Student in department of educational leadership at Miami University 

Hannah Stohry, Miami University

PhD Student in department of educational leadership at Miami University 

Nytasia Hicks, Miami University

Doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology & Gerontology at Miami University

Valerie Robinson

Assistant Dean for Graduate Admission at Miami University