CRRJ Community Leadership Fellow

Evan Lewis is CRRJ’s inaugural Community Leadership Fellow.  The Fellowship program provides an opportunity for dynamic activists working with community or nonprofit organizations to investigate the Burnham Nobles Archive and to engage in mutually beneficial exchange with scholars, journalists, and other activists who are examining historical racism in the US and seeking avenues for redress.

Evan’s relationship with CRRJ began in 2016 when our then clinic student and now journalist Shondiin Silversmith investigated the 1936 lynching of Lewis’ great-grandfather, Lent Shaw, in Royston, Georgia. Mr. Lewis and Ms. Silversmith traveled to Georgia to pursue the case.

In 2020, Evan Lewis helped lead the conference, Lynching: Reparations as Restorative Justice, bringing descendant families together with longstanding leaders of US reparations movements, racial justice activists, and scholars to discuss avenues for compensatory reparations and other forms of individual and community repair. Following this event, he founded the Legacy Coalition, an organization that seeks to secure reparative justice for families whose ancestors were victims of racial terror acts during the Jim Crow era.

As a Community Leadership Fellow, Lewis has collaborated with legal experts, journalists, historians, and archivists at CRRJ and Northeastern University to advance the work of the Legacy Coalition.  His research in the Burnham Nobles Archive will aid him in building the case for reparations.

Lewis has worked at the forefront of the national movement to eradicate the education achievement gap, fighting to provide high-quality educational opportunities to marginalized communities and to reframe the national dialogue concerning the fates and futures of students of color. Lewis is the assistant dean for community outreach at the School of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Cover Photo: Evan Lewis holds a photograph of his great-grandfather Lent Shaw. JOYCE SKOWYRA / NEPM

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