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The Local Take: History Erased By Development? Dekalb's Historic Porter Road Community

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This week on WCLK's The Local Take I spoke with community activists Derik Rinehart and Renaldo Porter Moore about the history behind the Porter Road Community and their campaign to get DeKalb County to preserve the historical significance and graveyard that is part of of their legacy. 

The land that makes up this neighborhood was left to the formerly enslaved and their families by DeKalb Judge Joseph Walker at his death.  It is believed he did this so that they could create their own community.  The majority of the homes on Porter Road are still inhabited by the descendants of the enslaved families that inherited the land. 

Derik Rinehart explains that fewer than five homes on Porter Road belong to non-descendants. 

Renaldo Porter Moore mentions the Porter Road was built over the top of the original cemetery and they feel that there may even be graves under the paved street.  Mr. Moore mentions working to keep up the cemetery, a historic African American gravesite that dates to 1849. Moore says you can find him most Saturday mornings there. Many of the other residents are considered elders in the community. 

They speak to their encounters with DeKalb County Commissioners and their desire to earn a historical designation before developers come into the area, which is growing ever more desireable for housing.

For more information on The Porter Road Community reach out to PorterRoadCommunity@yahoo.com or call 404-731-7908. Reach out to Derik Rinehart via email 

For additional information on the loss of African American cemeteries

The article mentioned in the interview on Gentrification Is Erasing Black Cemeteries