Our Work

The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) at Northeastern University School of Law conducts research and supports policy initiatives on anti-civil rights violence in the United States and other miscarriages of justice during the period 1930-1970. CRRJ serves as a resource for scholars, policymakers, and organizers involved in various initiatives seeking justice for these crimes.

The Reading Room is a space to explore documents in the CRRJ Burnham-Nobles Archive, and learn about the incredible stories of family members whose cases CRRJ has taken on. There are over 500 cases in the Archive, with the Reading Room being a small sample. The files contain government documents, photographs, interviews and interpretive essays about legal developments.

Enter the Reading Room

The Headlight is the online blog of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice (CRRJ) law clinic at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, featuring the most current work of the CRRJ Clinic.

Read The Headlight

The CRRJ Annual Reports page features annually authored year-end reports for the CRRJ law clinic as well as other publications from CRRJ.

Read CRRJ Annual Reports

There is broad consensus in American political culture that the law enforcement system, particularly in the Deep South, failed to protect African American citizens from anti-civil rights violence during the period 1930-1970–

Communities across the country are grappling with how to make amends decades after these events. Some have turned to the criminal justice system. State and local prosecutors have brought fresh cases against the perpetrators of old hate crimes. Federal legislation has been proposed to enhance state investigations. A sense of urgency hangs over these efforts, for those most affected by the events are aging.

CRRJ focuses on these public policy and criminal justice initiatives.

It conducts research into the nature and extent of anti-civil rights violence. CRRJ works with members of a diverse community – prosecutors, lawmakers, victims – that is seeking genuine reconciliation through legal proceedings, law reform, and private investigations. CRRJ assists these groups to assess and develop a range of policy approaches, including criminal prosecutions, truth and reconciliation proceedings, and legislative remedies. On the research front, CRRJ’s work aims to develop reliable data with which to analyze occurrences of anti-civil rights violence and to support research into the history and current significance of these events.

The two components of CRRJ’s program are research and remediation.

Scholars from a range of disciplines – including law, criminal justice, history, sociology, and political science – are engaged in CRRJ’s empirical research, the main program of which is compiling and analyzing information about anti-civil rights violence. The CRRJ Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive is a repository of an extraordinary collection of primary source documents as well as still images and interviews on cases of racially motivated homicides between 1930 and 1970 in twelve southern states. The Archive, not yet complete, contains over 500 cases of lynching, police killings, and other racially motivated homicides during the years in question. CRRJ researches examine the legal sequela and the political context of these events, including community resistance to the violence. The remediation program assesses and supports policy measures to redress the harms, including prosecution, truth and reconciliation proceedings, state pardons, and apologies by state and private entities who bear responsibility for the harms.

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