Image above: Plaintiffs Thelma Collins (left), Thomas Moore (right), Margaret Burnham (center), June 2010. In 2010, Margaret Burnham and a team of CRRJ students represented the families of Charles Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee in a federal lawsuit in Mississippi. Moore and Dee were murdered by Klansmen in 1964. Franklin County was the named defendant in the lawsuit.
CRRJ's year-end reports summarize our activities and case docket.
The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law brings together lawmakers, lawyers, activists, researchers, journalists and the families of victims of racial homicides to study and redress the systemic failures of the mid-twentieth century criminal justice system. We engage in a form of legal archeology: recovering documents lost to history, examining the fault lines of each case, and conceptualizing continuities over time. Our students interview witnesses and family members, document their memories, and share official accounts of the events. We design remedial projects – including legal measures – that respond to the interests and aspirations of communities.
CRRJ maintains the most comprehensive archive on racial homicides in the country, comprising records of federal, state and local law enforcement, civil rights groups, and state and federal courts, images and recorded histories. Each year we partner with archival and media experts to preserve our growing collection and render it accessible to researchers and the general public.
In 2020, CRRJ continued and expanded its work.
We researched over 230 cases of historical racial violence in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, significantly expanding the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive. Behind the scenes, our archive team worked to develop structures for the archival collection that will ultimately allow us to make the collection a publicly accessible research resource. We led clinics at law schools in Boston and Baton Rouge in which students came face to face with the realities of racial violence. We hosted national and local conferences that brought families into dialogue with restorative justice experts and public officials; today, these families and descendants of victims of racial violence are organizing to seek redress for this past. We also expanded our Historical Injustices and Present Policing Project to deliver trainings to four law enforcement agencies, and we published a report to share the findings of CRRJ’s investigations into historical police killings in Jefferson County, Alabama. We have continued our work with scholars and activists shaping the national conversation on racial harms and redress.