The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice (CRRJ) Project, founded by University Distinguished Professor Margaret Burnham, addresses harms resulting from the massive breakdown in law enforcement in the South from 1930 through 1970. 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. 

CRRJ conducts research into the nature and extent of anti-civil rights violence and works with members of a diverse community – prosecutors, lawmakers, victims – that is seeking genuine reconciliation through legal proceedings, law reform and private investigations. CRRJ works with 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.

Upcoming Events

October 20, 2018
Past Harms, Present Remedies: Law Enforcement and Families Affected by Historical Police Violence in Conversation
Before cell phones and body cameras, African Americans who were killed because of the actions of law enforcement officers had virtually no recourse to courts or justice. Although their cases were ignored by public officials for decades, today families and communities are unearthing the stories of these lost lives and calling for recognition and repair from local police departments and other government leaders. CRRJ is convening a public gathering in New Orleans on Saturday, October 20, 2018, at Loyola College of Law to talk about the impact of deaths at the hands of police in the mid-twentieth century on today’s initiatives to improve police accountability and police-community relations. 

October 24, 2018 | 4:00 PM | 360 Dockser Hall
CRRJ Workshop Series | Lift Every Voice: A Way to Meaningful Repair
Linda J. Mann, Visiting Scholar, Alliance for Historical Dialogue & Accountability at Columbia University; VP of Research for the Georgetown Memory Project (GMP)
Dr. Mann will discuss the GMP’s project identifying and locating 300 enslaved people sold by Georgetown University and the Maryland Jesuits to plantations in Louisiana in 1838 and tracing their direct descendants.
RSVP to crrj@northeastern.edu with your name and the session.

October 30, 2018 | 4:00 PM | 240 Dockser Hall
Sighted Eyes | Feeling Heart
Please join us for a screening of Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, a documentary directed by Tracy Heather Strain, Northeastern Professor of Media and Screen Studies and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the Tracy Heather Strain and a panel featuring Professor Margaret Burnham, Director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project. 
>>Download the poster

November 14, 2018 | 4:00 PM | 360 Dockser Hall
CRRJ Workshop Series: Freedom’s Cost: Children & Youth in the Black Freedom Struggle
Francoise Hamlin, Africana Studies and History, Brown University
Dr. Hamlin’s project positions children and youth at the center of the postwar African American civil rights movements by addressing activism’s personal and communal costs.
RSVP to crrj@northeastern.edu with your name and the session.

December 12, 2018 | 4:00 PM | 360 Dockser Hall
CRRJ Workshop Series: Silences and Erasures
Diane Harriford, Africana Studies, Women’s Studies and Sociology, Vassar College; Visiting Scholar, CRRJ
Dr. Harriford is utilizing the CRRJ-Nobles Archive to examine the intersection of gender and sexuality with the racial violence documented there. She explores, in the context of this violence, women’s resistance, the impact of heterosexual or homosexual affective ties across race, and black and white masculine identity.
RSVP to crrj@northeastern.edu with your name and the session.

Recent Events

August 18, 2018
Recalling Their Names: Racial Terror in Jim Crow Mobile
 The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project’s (CRRJ) investigation of six Jim Crow-era murders will be featured in an exhibit, “Murders in Mobile,” opening August 18 at the History Museum of Mobile in Alabama. In addition, a Mobile street will be named in honor of Rayfield Davis, one of the murder victims.

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.