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.

Look and Listen

>> Read “Let the Records Show” in the winter 2023 Northeastern Law magazine
>> Read “Resurrection” in the summer/fall 2010 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
Jennifer True

Managing Director, Center for Law, Equity and Race
Deborah Jackson

Communication Specialist
Catherine McGloin

Elizabeth Ann Zitrin Justice Fellow
Olivia Strange

Jay Driskell