By Hands Now Known Conference Speakers

Welcome Remarks

Margaret Burnham, Director, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project and University Distinguished Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Dan Cohen, Vice Provost for Information Collaboration, Dean of the Library, and Professor of History at Northeastern University

James Hackney, Dean, Northeastern University School of Law

Deborah Jackson, Managing Director, Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR), Northeastern University School of Law

Archival Collections and Restorative History

Dr. Daniel B. Domingues da Silva is Associate Professor of History at Rice University and author of The Atlantic Slave Trade from West Central Africa, 1780-1867 (Cambridge University Press, 2017). He is the host of SlaveVoyages.org, the world’s largest database of voyages of enslaved Africans transported across the Atlantic and between ports within the Americas. Domingues’s research has received support from major funding agencies, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has been published in the top journals in the fields of African and African Diaspora studies. He is a dedicated teacher, winner of the 2017 Center for Research Libraries Teaching with Primary Sources Award, and currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies of Rice University’s Center for African and African American Studies in addition to Magister of Martel College, one of Rice’s eleven residential colleges.

Dr. Monica Muñoz Martinez is Associate Professor of History at The University of Texas at Austin. Her first book The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas received six book awards. She co-founded the award-winning project Refusing to Forget and helped to secure four state historical markers commemorating the history of anti-Mexican violence along the Texas-Mexico border. She is currently the PI for two digital recovery projects: Mapping Violence and Race Laws in the U.S. Southwest. Martinez is a 2021 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. 

Gina Nortonsmith, JD, MILS, is the Project Archivist for the Northeastern University School of Law Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive at Northeastern Library Archives and Special Collections. She has experience in law as an attorney, professor, and administrator, and has worked on archival projects in the USA and in Cuba. Her archival practice, as did her trial work, centers the people being represented.

Tsione Wolde-Michael is the founding director of the Center for Restorative History. She is also a curator of African American Social Justice History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Her work focuses on racial redress through innovative approaches to community engagement, collections management, cultural heritage preservation, and exhibitions, including the landmark Slavery and Freedom show at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Tsione’s international work in Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, and the United Kingdom has focused on collaborating with local art and public history institutions to reinterpret colonial collections. As part of the Slave Wrecks Project, she worked with maritime archaeologists across Africa and the Caribbean to recover the first-known objects from underwater slave shipwrecks. Tsione’s 11+ years of experience in the field also extends to digital media and online exhibitions, writing for academic publications, teaching, and lecturing around the country. Her research has won awards from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Fulbright Scholars Program, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education, among other institutions. Her current projects include a special joint Smithsonian-wide initiative to document the history of the Black Lives Matter movement and forthcoming publications rethinking racist monuments and public space. She is also leading the Smithsonian’s first-ever decolonization tactical planning team. 

Historical Racial Violence in the Classroom: What are We Teaching?

Ada Goodly Lampkin is the Director of the Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights and Justice at Southern University Law Center, where she has helped run a law school clinic, in collaboration with CRRJ faculty, to investigate cold cases of racial murder in Louisiana and neighboring states. She sits on the advisory board for Historical Injustice and Present Policing (HIPP), a trauma-informed training partnership with CRRJ, and has been instrumental in expanding HIPP trainings for law enforcement officers in Southeast Louisiana and adapting the trainings for prosecutors’ offices. Ada serves on the Advisory Board of Dillard University’s Center for Racial Justice. Ada is also the owner of The Goodly Group, LLC where she provides consultation on cultural competency projects, conducts investigatory research for restorative justice cases, and drafts policy with a racial equity lens.

Hank Klibanoff is a veteran journalist at The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of a Nation (co-authored with Gene Roberts). Klibanoff is a Professor of Practice in the Emory University Creative Writing Program in Atlanta, where he teaches nonfiction writing in a cross-registered course in support of The Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project. The Project engages undergraduate students in examining Georgia history through research into unpunished racially motivated killings that occurred in the state during the modern civil rights era. Klibanoff is also the creator and host of Buried Truths, a narrative history podcast produced by WABE (NPR) in Atlanta, which draws from the Project, and has won Peabody, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward R. Murrow, and American Bar Association Silver Gavel awards.

Katie Sandson is an attorney and Program Director of the Racial Redress and Reparations Lab of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) at Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL). In this role, she works with policymakers, descendants, activists, and community stakeholders to develop and implement reparative projects. Sandson also supervises law students investigating cases of racially motivated homicide in the Jim Crow South and teaches the CRRJ Clinic at NUSL. Sandson received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. Prior to joining CRRJ as an Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellow in 2019, she served in a clinical position at Harvard Law School for two years.

Professor Rose Zoltek-Jick is the Associate Director of the Civil Rights & Restorative Justice Project. She has taught at Northeastern University School of Law for more than 35 years, specializing in criminal law and procedure, evidence, professional responsibility, and law and psychiatry. Her academic writing has focused on statutes of limitation, cold cases, and civil lawsuits on cases of sexual abuse.

Family History, U.S. History

Bayliss Fiddiman is the Director of Educational Equity and Senior Counsel on the Education & Workplace Justice team at the National Women’s Law Center. In her role she advocates for policies that keep girls of color from being pushed out of school and for the rights of pregnant and parenting students. She previously worked as Associate Director on the K-12 Education team at the Center for American Progress where she advocated for state and federal policies that increase access to a high-quality education for all children. Prior to that she worked at the Education Law Center in Newark, NJ where she advocated to protect and increase funding for public education, and for the rights of students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She received her B.A. in legal studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with Commonwealth Honors College distinction, and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Evan Lewis is the great grandson of Lent Shaw, who was lynched in Georgia in 1936. He has worked diligently over the past few years to build a community of scholars, legal experts and activists committed to preserving the legacy of his great-grandfather and other lynching victims across the American South. Evan is the inaugural Community Leadership Fellow at the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law School and is the Founding Executive Director of The Legacy Coalition, a national non-profit organization that seeks to secure reparative justice for American citizens whose ancestors were lynched during the Jim Crow era. Additionally, Evan has worked at the forefront of national movements to eradicate educational inequities facing communities of color for nearly two decades. His work has earned commendations from the U.S. Department of Education and the White House under President Barack Obama and has been featured by national and international media outlets including CBS, ABC and National Public Radio.

Sheila Moss Brown is a native of Detroit Michigan, currently living in Chicago, IL.  Sheila is a health care professional with over 20 years of sales in the medical industry. Sheila is currently employed by Medtronic, where she works with interventional cardiologists who treat patients with coronary artery disease. After learning about the lynching of her grandfather, Henry Peg Gilbert, Sheila has worked along with CRRJ and other organizations to highlight his story and keep his memory alive. Along with participating in a documentary about her grandfather created by CRRJ, Sheila has also spoken at the National Network for Safe Communities, and she was interviewed on ABC News about a story on racial justice. Sheila is a member of the Legacy Coalition, an organization seeking reparations for lynching victims.

Jonique Williams is a native New Orleanian, mentor, speaker, moderation enthusiast, and businesswoman, but most importantly, her life’s purpose is to influence others with the knowledge that they are worthy of love and respect simply because of their humanity, not their labor or sacrifices. In her role as Vice President of Stevenson Academy of Hair Design, Jonique works alongside her family at their 50-year beauty institute founded by her grandmother. Growing up in a family business, she is deeply passionate about providing resources to help her students achieve financial independence through entrepreneurship. Her commitment to the political and economic freedom of underserved people was further sparked by her undergraduate education at the black feminist bastion, Spelman College. Jonique earned her master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans and travels extensively in the fields of compliance and adult education. Her ultimate goal is to use her knowledge and experience to achieve unapologetic happiness and teach others to do the same.

James Williams joined the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in North Carolina in 2018. He coordinates racial equity work and other special projects at CDPL. He was Chief Public Defender for Orange and Chatham Counties from 1990 to 2017. He was previously the Felony Chief of the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office. He is a founder and chair of the N.C. Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, as well as the founder of the N.C. Public Defender Committee on Racial Equity. He has won several awards for his work to advance racial equity.  Mr. Williams convened the Private Booker Spicely Historical Marker Working Group in Durham, NC, and serves as the group’s informal chairperson.

Historical Violence, Contemporary Inequality & Future Advocacy

Dr. Dania V. Francis is Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research interests include examining racial and socioeconomic disparities in education, wealth accumulation, and labor markets. She is the co-author of an influential paper titled “The Economics of Reparations” in the American Economic Review. Her research has also been published in ScienceJournal of Economic Literature, and Review of Black Political Economy, among other peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Francis received her doctorate from Duke University and also holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College.  She is a board member of the National Economics Association and a National Academies of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship award recipient (2018-2019). Dr. Francis has been featured on CNBC International and TRT World and her research has been written about in several major publication outlets.

Marissa Jackson Sow is an Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. She teaches and writes in the areas of contracts, constitutional law, international law, human rights, and legal theory/jurisprudence. Her most recent work, Protect and Serve, was published in the California Law Review. Professor Jackson Sow earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, her Master of Laws from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and her B.A. from Northwestern University. Immediately prior to returning to academia, Professor Jackson served as a Leadership in Government Fellow for the Open Society Foundations and a 2020 Fellow for the Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent hosted by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. After a short time in private practice, Marissa clerked for the late Honorable Damon J. Keith on the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Honorable Sterling Johnson, Jr., in the Eastern District of New York.  She later served in senior leadership in the de Blasio administration in New York City, first as General Counsel for International Affairs, and then as a Deputy Commissioner at the City’s Human Rights Commission. Marissa is married to her best friend, and she is the mother of four chaotic young people and one equally chaotic cat.

Melvin J. Kelley IV is an Associate Professor of Law and Business within the Northeastern School of Law and the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Kelley previously served as an Assistant Professor of Law at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Kelley’s research focuses on the sociopolitical, geospatial and civil rights implications of decentralizing public authority, antidiscrimination jurisprudence governing real estate transactions, and community economic development tactics. Through these projects, Kelley seeks to identify possibilities for redressing enduring regional inequities in access to resources that enable upward mobility. Prior to teaching at Villanova, Kelley served as the first Elizabeth Ann Zitrin Teaching Fellow with the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern Law. Before transitioning to academia, Kelley held professional positions with the Connecticut Fair Housing Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut. He currently serves on the advisory board of Northeastern Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project and is a faculty fellow with the institution’s Center for Law, Equity and Race. Kelley received his BA in Political Science, Economics and Africana Studies from the College of the Holy Cross and his JD with Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar Honors from Columbia Law School.

Inga Laurent is a professor at Gonzaga University School of Law who theorizes, dreams about ways to improve and helps implement restorative justice practices across the globe. She teaches in the areas of criminal law and procedure, evidence, and alternative dispute resolution and she’s engaged in advocating for criminal legal and legal education reform, as she believes we need innovative and equitable models to better address the shifting needs present in our evolving societies. Inga had the pleasure of spending almost a year in Kingston, Jamaica, as a Fulbright scholar, researching and helping to implement their nationwide restorative justice policy. Inga is deeply curious about the world and its constructs. She delights in uncovering common points of connection that unite our shared but unique human experiences. 

Christina Simko is Associate Professor of Sociology at Williams College. Her research focuses on violent pasts and the complexities that they create for identity and narrative. Her first book, The Politics of Consolation: Memory and the Meaning of September 11 (Oxford University Press) received an honorable mention for the Mary Douglas Prize from the American Sociological Association. In addition to her research on 9/11 memory, Simko’s published work has examined the legacies of the 1945 atomic bombings, the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama, and ongoing debates about the future of Confederate monuments. Her current book project, tentatively titled Suffering from Reminiscences: Trauma and American Social Imaginaries, examines several memorials and museums to terrorism and their companion museums as windows onto contemporary trauma culture in the United States.

A Conversation: Margaret Burnham and Melissa Nobles – Lessons Learned and Hopes for the Archive

Margaret Burnham, University Distinguished Professor, Northeastern University.  Trained in law, Professor Burnham teaches, writes and practices in the field of historical injustice.   She began her career in civil rights law at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. From 1970 to 1972 she represented Angela Davis in the California criminal prosecution.  She was appointed to the bench in Massachusetts by Governor Michael Dukakis. She was appointed to investigate human rights violations charged against the African National Congress by President Nelson Mandela. Professor Burnham is founder and director of Northeastern University’s Civil Rights & Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ), a teaching, research and legal services program.  CRRJ is publishing the leading online archive on anti-Black killings in the South during the Jim Crow era.  Burnham’s book, By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners, Norton Press, has won wide acclaim.

Melissa Nobles is Chancellor and Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her current research is focused on constructing a database of racial murders in the American South, 1930–1954. Working closely as a faculty collaborator and advisory board member of Northeastern Law School’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice law clinic, Nobles has conducted extensive archival research, unearthing understudied and previously unknown racial murders, and contributing to several legal investigations. She contributes to the U.S. national dialogue about racial equity through thoughtful research-based commentaries that draw on her scholarship in the field. Chancellor Nobles is a graduate of Brown University where she majored in history. She received her MA and PhD in political science from Yale University. She has held fellowships at Boston University’s Institute for Race and Social Division and Harvard University’s Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study. She has served on the editorial boards of Polity, American Political Science Review, and Perspectives on Politics. Nobles has also been involved in faculty governance at MIT and beyond, serving as associate chair of the MIT Faculty from 2007 to 2009, and vice president of the American Political Science Association.

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