08.21.19 — The Ford Foundation has made a two-year grant of $300,000 to the law school’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) to promote its pathbreaking work on historical racial violence in the United States. The grant will provide funding for “Restorative Justice, Restorative Truth,” an archival project documenting lynching and other racially motivated homicides that will be added to the CRRJ Burnham-Nobles Archive, named for its two directors: University Distinguished Professor of Law Margaret Burnham, who founded and directs CRRJ; and Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT, who is an advisor to CRRJ. The collection, archived and maintained by the university’s Snell Library, currently contains the 500 cases that CRRJ has investigated to date, including government documents, photographs, interviews and interpretive essays written by Northeastern law students on legal developments. The Ford grant will accelerate collection of additional data.

“This generous grant from the Ford Foundation will give us the ability to preserve documentary materials and capture oral testimonies now, while those personally affected can still participate,” said Burnham. “I’m confident that the resulting collection will dramatically shift our thinking about the Jim Crow period and its residual imprint.”

About CRRJ

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.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.