Dear Friends of CRRJ, 


Thank you for your continued support for the work of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law

This month, we are excited to share with you our first toolkit, “Redressing Historical Racial Injustices: A Toolkit for Policymakers and Advocates.” This is a resource to help state and local policymakers, staff, and advocates understand why such remedies are needed, what forms they may take, and what policies other states and localities have adopted to address historical injustices. Below you will find a link to the executive summary and the full toolkit is available upon request.

We will also share with you the case of Hosea Carter, who was lynched in 1948 in Mississippi. His story comes direct from the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive.

Updates on our restorative justice work, events, and job listings are also included in this month’s newsletter. 


Thank you for your commitment to our work.

CRRJ Director and founder, Professor Margaret Burnham

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​​Redressing Historical Racial Injustices: A Toolkit for Policymakers​​ and Advocates

This toolkit introduces readers to a range of policy approaches to remediating historical racial injustices, including racial violence, subordination, and other forms of discriminatory policies and practices. In some cases, legislation may be appropriate to address a discrete event, such as a commission created to study a specific massacre and provide remedies to survivors and descendants. Other initiatives may aim to address a broader historical period or pattern of events – for example, a commission to study a state’s history of lynching or a task force to develop proposals for reparations for descendants of slavery. This toolkit serves as a resource to help state and local policymakers, staff, and advocates understand why such remedies are needed, what forms they may take, and what policies other states and localities have adopted to address historical injustices.

Request the toolkit

Featured Case

Hosea Cater lynched in Mississippi in 1948

Hosea Carter

On December 17, 1951, a national civil rights organization accused the United States of genocide. 

Citing cases of violence against Black people in the United States, the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) submitted to the United Nations the report “We Charge Genocide.”

The report received considerable media attention, and raised global awareness of cases of anti-Black violence in the United States.

One of the cases covered by the CRC’s 1951 report was the killing of Hosea “Shant” Carter, who was lynched in Marion County, Mississippi on May 2, 1948. 

Carter was born in 1915, one of 11 children. As an adult, he served in the military and worked as a carpenter in Marion County, Mississippi. He and his wife, Earnestine Carter, had four children; Florine, Donna Fay, Jimmie Dale, and Lavern. It was a household that, in a recent interview with CRRJ, Jimmie Carter described as “close-knit,” warm, and kind. 

But this family was destroyed when Carter was shot in the chest on May 2, 1948. 

Read about Carter's case

Updates at CRRJ and in the Field

WWII: Black Soldiers and Veterans Workshop

The Civil Rights & Restorative Justice Project convened its spring workshop"World War II: Black Soldiers and Veterans" on May 17, 2023.   

Workshop participants heard from Matthew F. Delmont, Distinguished Professor of History at Dartmouth College and author of the recently published book Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad (Penguin 2022),  along with Richard Brookshire, executive director of the Black Veterans Project and a U.S. Army veteran.

Above: Richard Brookshire and Matthew Delmont discuss their work with and for Black veterans, via Zoom.

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Above: Margaret Edwards researched Lawrence Basey's case. Basey was shot and killed in Washington D.C. in September 1936.

Spring Clinic students expand research into border states

In the spring 2023 clinic, there were 14 students, each charged with investigating three cases. At the end of the semester, students presented their cases to a panel of academic experts and lawyers, and they each produced a portfolio of investigative work that will be added to the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive.


While previous clinics have focused on cases from the Deep South, for the first time, these students explored cases from states that bordered the Confederacy, specifically Missouri and Washington, DC.

Read More

CRRJ Director honored with Mass Humanities Governor's Award

Professor Margaret Burnham, director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, will be honored with the 2023 Mass Humanities Governor’s Award.

The award recognizes Burnham’s contributions to civic life, and her “dedication to exploring history, illuminating truth and confronting injustice in order to protect civil and human rights locally, nationally and internationally,” according to the announcement on August 1.

Read More

Above: Dominique Agnew researched the case of William White, a father of five children and a skilled painter who was beaten to death by two white men on July 2, 1948 in St. Louis, MO.

Student connects with descendants

On the morning of July 2, 1948, William White, a 41-year-old father of five young children and a skilled painter, was living with his family in St. Louis. He went to work that day and would not return. White was beaten to death by two white men with a paint can.

Dominique Agnew, a third-year law student, researched the case of William White while participating in last spring’s CRRJ ClinicAgnew recounts her experiences working with White's case and connecting with his descendants.

Read More

Virginia court overturns John Henry James' 1898 conviction

On July 12, 2023, John Henry James, a Virginia resident, received a small measure of posthumous justice. Last month, a Charlottesville judge dismissed a 1898 indictment against him that came after he was brutally killed by a mob while under the county sheriff's custody. 

This terror was triggered by an accusation of sexual assault made by Julia Hotopp, a white woman. Despite his murder and doubts about the accusation, the grand jury proceeded to indict James shortly after he was killed.

Above: James' murder, as reported in The Baltimore Sun, July 13, 1898. Courtesy of

Both James’ lynching and his subsequent posthumous indictment starkly illuminate an enduring and lethal history surrounding rape accusations. CRRJ researchers are working to uncover this history, as we build an archive of state executions for rape. Stay tuned for future updates on this new project.

Read More

Above: Sydney Wideman presented her impressive research to CRRJ staff and faculty Aug 3. Photo by Lauren Hawkes.

Summer interns support CRRJ's research and expansion

During the summer of 2023 , CRRJ’s work was supported by three passionate and highly-motivated interns: Sydney Wideman, a rising third year student at Pennsylvania State University; Marisa Belthoff, a 3L Northeastern Law student; and Dr. Cheryl Holmes, a master’s student at Bridgewater State University.  

Read More

Featured cases

We have launched our new Featured Cases series on social media and our website. We will regularly highlight different cases from the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive, which is currently home to more than 1,000 cases of historical racial violence.

Find CRRJ on social media

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CRRJ Spotlight

Spotlight on: CRRJ Program Coordinator Charlotte Mathews-Nelson

Ms. Charlotte Mathews-Nelson, program coordinator for the Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR), has spent more than 40 years pursuing racial equity. Involved in national and grassroots activism, dedicated to advancing economic and educational opportunities for Black Boston, she continues to serve as an integral member of CRRJ.

But her activism began long before her move to Massachusetts in the 1970s. 

Born during the Jim Crow era in Jefferson County, Florida, near the Georgia state-line, Mathews-Nelson’s family moved to Dade County when she was a child. 

Above: Ms. Charlotte Mathews-Nelson spoke to CRRJ about her life of activism and pursuit of racial equity.

“At that time everything was totally segregated, especially in the South. And when I say segregated, I mean the hardest kind,” Mathews-Nelson recalled in a recent interview with CRRJ. 

Read More

We Are Hiring

Community Leadership Fellow

CRRJ seeks a community activist/organizer to build a project based on the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive; design, manage, and execute CRRJ’s community-based programs; promote strong collaborative relations with CRRJ’s non-academic partner organizations; and engage in other activities to support its restorative justice work. This is a full-time, in residence position.

Apply Now

Staff Attorney

CRRJ seeks a staff attorney to direct the legal programs of its Racial Redress and Reparations Lab, teach in its clinical program, and litigate cases. Reporting to Professor Margaret Burnham, the successful candidate will have subject matter experience in civil rights law; human rights law criminal justice or a related field; and broad knowledge of US civil rights history. The successful candidate will have experience working as an attorney in the litigation or policy arena, or in legal education.

The staff attorney serves as the lead on the Lab team, directing law students, legal fellows (lawyers), and other staff in the design and execution of projects of racial redress for legal wrongs in the US. They may teach clinical law courses; lead legal research projects; engage in litigation and policy advocacy; develop programs and projects for the law school community in CRRJ’s areas of expertise; manage CRRJ’s relationships in the academic and legal community including litigation partners in national law firms; create training material and policy guidelines; and collaborate closely with affected communities, public officials, and social justice organizations.

This is a full-time benefits-eligible position based at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

Apply Now

Launched in 2007 by University Distinguished Professor Margaret Burnham, the center of CRRJ’s work is the investigation of racially motivated homicides in the Jim Crow South, and the creation of the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive, which contains more than 1,000 cases. In 2022, CRRJ became a program of the Law School's Center for Law, Equity and Race. 

Support CRRJ

We rely on donors like you to continue our work. Donations are used for litigation expenses, field research and restorative justice projects. With your help, we can continue training tomorrow’s civil rights lawyers, filling in the gaps in U.S. history and informing our national dialogue on racial redress and criminal justice.