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.

Recent Events

March 17, 2018 | Natchez, Mississippi
CRRJ Honors Samuel Mason Bacon 
Professor Margaret Burnham, Kaylie Simon and Mary Nguyen ’14 joined the family of Samuel Bacon at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture to honor the life and legacy of Samuel Bacon.

March 10, 2018 |  West Point, Georgia
Henry “Peg” Gilbert and Mae Gilbert: Honoring Their Lives and Restoring Justice
Professor Margaret Burnham and Tara Dunn ’17 joined the family of Henry “Peg” Gilbert and MaeGgilbert for an event reflecting on their lives and recalling the police murder of Henry Gilbert in 1947.

March 3, 2018 | Selma, Alabama 
Resurrecting Their Stories: A Community-based Oral History Project
The third in a three-part symposium series. Prior workshops were held at Tuskegee University and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. 

January 26, 2018 | Northeastern University School of Law
Digital Red Records
A workshop, hosted by CRRJ, on digital collections covering historical racial violence in the United States. 

October 20-21, 2017 | Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Resurrecting Their Stories: A Community-based Oral History Project
Proudly presented by NUSL's Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ), The Elmore Bolling Foundation and Alabama NAACP.

June 9-11, 2017 
Resurrecting Their Stories: A Community-based Oral History Project
Proudly presented by NUSL's Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ), Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Tuskegee University Archives, The Elmore Bolling Foundation and Alabama NAACP.

June 17, 2017
Reparative Justice and Social Healing: Research and Reflection on Historic Violence
Proudly presented as part of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice’s Sixth National Conference, this three-hour session will bring together artists, activists and researchers to think creatively about the national movement to come to terms with, and transcend, historic racial violence.


Read about CRRJ in Northeastern Law Magazine!
Watch “The Trouble I’ve Seen,” an award-winning documentary about CRRJ's work, narrated by legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond.
Visit the photo gallery featuring Toni Morrison’s appearance at CRRJ's Martin Luther King celebration in 2013.