CRRJ is a hub for innovative scholarship and teaching across the country on historical injustice, reparations, and race and criminal justice reform.
CRRJ offers a suite of courses to Northeastern students in law, journalism, and other graduate programs on concepts, theories, and practical skills in historical redress and in contemporary criminal justice reform. Student investigators work with communities to design restorative projects. We sponsor internships and academic fellowships. Our toolkits and curricular material support trainers and educators in a range of classroom settings. Fellows, visitors, and interns enrich our community and expand the reach of our unique pedagogy.
Our Northeastern graduate and undergraduate courses address civil rights law, historical redress, and criminal justice reform.
We support faculty and student working groups on themes related to our mission. We sponsor lectures, workshops, films, conferences and other events to explore major topics on historical injustice within the Northeastern and broader community.
In the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice clinic, our unique pedagogy couples student researchers with family descendants and community groups to investigate cases and design reparative programs. Students studying international reparations movements in the course Historical Injustice and Reparation engage with scholars across the globe to produce accessible resources for public initiatives on reparations. In the course Race, Justice and Reform, students help support current reform efforts in Massachusetts communities.
Our community of students include public officials and criminal justice professionals. Our Historical Injustice and Present Policing Project (“HIPP”) adapts the study of historical violence to the traditional police training program.
The CRRJ Clinic, founded in 2007 and headquartered at the Law School, offers opportunities for graduate students in law, journalism, media studies, and public history to work in two primary domains: the expanding field of historical redress, and contemporary criminal justice reform.
The clinic’s mission is to help communities in the US engage with historical injustices in order to deepen the inquiry into structural racism and inequality. We work with families who have lost relatives to lynching and other forms of racial violence during the Jim Crow era. In collaboration with practicing lawyers, professional archivists and historians, students track down materials from government repositories; conduct interviews; and, where feasible, visit the region where the events took place. Applying tools and insights from the fields of restorative justice and transitional justice, law students work closely with families and local communities to memorialize these past events and to draw connections with the present dialogue over systemic racism in the US. Journalism students take advantage of the publication prospects these narratives provide. The Clinic offers pro bono support, including research and design expertise, to governmental and community-driven projects, such as truth commissions and reparations initiatives, that are meant to address past racial harms. We engage varied strategies to help communities analyze the past to focus attention on present-day remedies for entrenched racial inequality.
Criminal Justice Reform
Affiliated with CRRJ is the law school seminar Race, Justice and Reform, which focuses on how current laws, policies, and practices within the criminal justice system disparately impact communities of color and perpetuate structural economic inequality in Massachusetts and other states.
CRRJ at Southern University
Since 2014 CRRJ has collaborated with faculty at Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, to offer a clinic to law students and select undergraduates on civil rights law and practice and historical redress. Students at Southern focus on historical racial violence in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Fellows and Visitors
Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship
CRRJ hosts the Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellowship. A 1979 graduate of the Law School, Elizabeth Zitrin has dedicated her career to ending the death penalty in the US and around the world and other criminal justice reforms. Named in her honor, the Zitrin fellowship, for recent law graduates, trains aspiring teachers, activists, and scholars in the fields of criminal justice reform and historical redress.
CRRJ Community Leadership Fellowship
The CRRJ Community Leadership Fellowship program provides an opportunity for dynamic activists working with community and nonprofit organizations to investigate the Burnham Nobles Archive and to interact with scholars, journalists and other activists who are focusing on historical racism in the US and avenues for redress.
Visiting ResearchersCRRJ offers to professional researchers and practitioners the opportunity to join a vibrant community of scholars and activists with the benefit of institutional affiliation, workspace at CRRJ, and access to the CRRJ Burnham-Nobles Archive. Visiting Scholars present work-in-progress to the Northeastern community. They may visit for up to a year or a shorter period.
Co-Ops and Internships
CRRJ hosts Northeastern University School of Law students throughout the academic year through the Cooperative Legal Education (Co-op) program. Law student co-ops work full time for a term, conducting investigations into CRRJ cases, assisting staff attorneys in managing its docket and archive, and supporting CRRJ’s research and policy work. The research includes obtaining documents through state and federal disclosure laws; interviewing fact witnesses, law enforcement officials, and other investigators; and field research. Co-op students prepare written findings for the CRRJ archive and are supervised by CRRJ’s legal fellows.
CRRJ also hosts high school, undergraduate, and graduate interns throughout the academic year. Interns assist with all aspects of CRRJ’s work, including case investigations, research, and restorative justice efforts.
During the summer of 2023 , CRRJ’s work was supported by three passionate and highly-motivated interns. Sydney Wideman, a rising third year student at Pennsylvania State University, first heard about the project from…