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 criminal justice system of the mid-twentieth century. 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. CRRJ maintains the most comprehensive archive on racial homicides in the country, including records of law enforcement, civil rights groups, and state and federal courts, as well as images and oral histories.
In 2014 we expanded our caseload, partnered with Southern University Law Center, and realized excellent results on our longer-term work. We implemented a pilot program for high school students, participated in Freedom Summer 2014 in Jackson, MS, and worked closely with our research partner at MIT to build the database of racial homicides from the Jim Crow era. Our amicus brief supported a historic decision on posthumous relief in a 1944 capital case.