Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project

Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project

The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice (CRRJ) Project, founded by University Distinguished Professor Margaret Burnham, addresses harms resulting from the massive breakdown in law enforcement in the South from 1930 through 1970. This was a time of great political protest and turmoil as African Americans and their allies militantly rejected Jim Crow, second-class citizenship and economic exploitation.

CRRJ conducts research into the nature and extent of anti-civil rights violence and works with members of a diverse community – prosecutors, lawmakers, victims – that is seeking genuine reconciliation through legal proceedings, law reform and private investigations. CRRJ works with 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 events of anti-civil rights violence and to support research into the history and current significance of anti-civil rights violence.

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 harms  The research program also encompasses CRRJ’s work on cold Civil Rights-era cases. 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.

Read about CRRJ in Northeastern Law Magazine!
Watch “The Trouble I’ve Seen,” an award-winning documentary about CRRJ's work, narrated by legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond.

Visit the photo gallery featuring Toni Morrison’s appearance at CRRJ's Martin Luther King celebration.


Who We Are

Founder and Director
Professor Margaret Burnham

Associate Director
Rose Zoltek-Jick

Program Coordinator
Lauren Hawkes

Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellow
Katie Sandson

Katie Sandson is an attorney and Elizabeth Zitrin Justice Fellow at the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law (CRRJ). At CRRJ, Sandson works with law students to investigate cases of racially motivated homicide in the Jim Crow South. She directs several projects that use CRRJ's Archive to support policy and education initiatives, including the Historical Injustices and Present Policing Project (HIPP) and the development of a toolkit on state and local legislation to address historical injustices. Sandson received her BA from Washington University in St. Louis and her JD from Harvard Law School. She served in a clinical position at Harvard Law School for two years before joining CRRJ.


Elizabeth Ann Zitrin Teaching Fellow
Emmanuelle Verdieu

Verdieu holds a BA in Crime and Justice Studies, magna cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and received her law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. During law school, Emmanuelle was a legal intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in the Consumer Protection Division, Bowmans in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Utah County Attorney’s Office. After law school, she went on to work at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination investigating complaints of discrimination and the Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School investigating and litigating against predatory for-profit colleges that target and harm students of color.