SULC Burnham Honors Cohort begin their investigations

On Feb. 17, the 2023 Burnham Honors Cohort met virtually to begin a five-year project, investigating cases of Jim Crow-era violence in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

“The Burnham Honors Cohort will be undertaking crucial work, uncovering narratives that have been buried for far too long, and will play a vital role in bringing restorative justice for victims and their families,” said CRRJ Director and Distinguished Professor Margaret Burnham, after whom the initiative is named. “Their work will join that of previous scholars and CRRJ students in the  Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive, which currently houses documents and information on more than 1,000 cases of anti-Black violence,” said Burnham.  

The Burnham Honors Cohort is a project of the Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights and Justice at Southern University Law Center (SULC), in partnership with the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, Philander Smith College and Tougaloo College.  

“I hope that partnering with HBCUs will invite further scholarship and community engagement on Jim Crow Era violence, and, importantly, provide our communities with the resources they need to memorialize the events and acknowledge trauma,” said Burnham. 

The cohort is comprised of six students: Whitley Parker and Victoria Ardoin from SULC; LaChassity Jackson and Blaise Adams from Tougaloo College; and Dasia Turner and Amari Brantley from Philander Smith College. 

During the spring 2023 semester, these students will produce individual and group investigations that will broaden the timeframe of CRRJ’s work. They will attend weekly meetings and seminars and write case summaries and essays.  

Upon completion, their findings will be included in the  Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive. Students will also pursue restorative justice remedies, such as posthumous pardons and the installation of historical markers in cases where this is appropriate. 

The students are supported in their efforts by Julian D. Miller, Esq., director and assistant professor of political science at Tougaloo College; Dr. Daniel Egbe, associate professor of political science at Philander Smith College; Ada Lampkin, director of the Louis A. Berry Institute; John Collins, project manager at the Louis A. Berry Institute; and Brandi Worley, project coordinator at the Louis A. Berry Institute. 

“We are honored to host these cohort students,” said Burnham. “My hope is that this program will not only deepen their understanding of historical anti-Black violence but equip them with the tools to continue working towards restorative justice and racial redress in their future careers.” 

CRRJ’s program manager Lauren Hawkes is supervising the students’ investigations and helping them build connections with other CRRJ restorative justice projects. 

The students will meet at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston in May to present their findings and explore the law school.  

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