Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project
The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice (CRRJ) Project, founded by Professor Margaret Burnham, addresses harms resulting from the massive breakdown in law enforcement during the civil rights movement, from the 1950s to the early 1970s. This was a time of great political protest and turmoil as African-Americans and their allies militantly rejected Jim Crow, second-class citizenship, and economic exploitation. The project engages teachers and students across the university and is directed by faculty from the School of Law and the College of Criminal Justice.
CRRJ focuses on these public policy and criminal justice initiatives. It conducts research into the nature and extent of anti-civil rights violence. CRRJ works with members of a diverse community – prosecutors, lawmakers, victims – that is seeking genuine reconciliation through legal proceedings, law reform, and private investigations. CRRJ assists these groups to assess and develop a range of policy approaches, including criminal prosecutions, truth and reconciliation proceedings, and legislative remedies. On the research front, CRRJ’s work aims to develop reliable data with which to analyze events of anti-civil rights violence and to support research into the history and current significance of anti-civil rights violence.
The two components of CRRJ’s program are research and remediation. Scholars from a range of disciplines – including law, criminal justice, history, sociology, and political science – are engaged in CRRJ’s empirical research, the main program of which is compiling and analyzing information about anti-civil rights harms. The research program also encompasses CRRJ’s work on cold Civil Rights-era cases. The remediation program assesses and supports policy measures to redress the harms, including prosecution, truth and reconciliation proceedings, state pardons, and apologies by state and private entities who bear responsibility for the harms.