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In Re: Sandersville Railroad Company's Petition for Approval to Acquire Real Estate by Condemnation

The privately owned Sandersville Railroad Company is threatening to use eminent domain against property owners in a predominantly Black community in Sparta, Georgia, who have refused to sell portions of their land for a rail spur (a separate track that is connected to the main rail line).

The railroad company wants to lay tracks for a spur to serve a nearby quarry that is already a source of contention within the community. Currently living with the quarry’s vibrations and the sounds of trucks transporting rocks nearby, members of the community do not want a train running through their property or near their homes. To make matters worse, eminent domain is a leading cause of land loss and the loss of generational wealth in African American communities.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Economic Justice team has been consulting with and supporting the community’s campaign against the railroad, including highlighting the issue on the SPLC website and in national publications.

The SPLC’s clients were also featured in a mini-documentary by CBS News titled 40 Acres and a Mule. The railroad has started condemnation proceedings before the Georgia Public Service Commission against property owners who are represented by counsel from the Institute for Justice.

The SPLC has intervened in the condemnation proceeding to represent the No Railroad in Our Community Coalition, an unincorporated association of impacted community members.