A paradigm-shifting investigation of Jim Crow–era violence from a renowned legal scholar, this “meticulously researched and carefully documented” historical work presents ”dozens of fully fleshed out stories…examples, of course, of countless stories left untold.” (Booklist)
Many may recognize the names of civil rights activists—from Rosa Parks to Medgar Evers to Martin Luther King Jr.—but they likely have little sense of the quotidian violence of Jim Crow, the system of white supremacy that prevailed between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century.
Now, the gap has been filled by author Margaret Burnham, Northeastern University School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, and its archive of nearly one thousand cases of previously undocumented racial homicides between 1930 and 1955. Drawn from these archives and augmented by newspaper accounts, court testimony and rulings, coroner’s reports, and interviews with surviving witnesses, family, and clergy, By Hands Now Known is essential reading. Those interested in race, history, and law will find it groundbreaking, illuminating, and moving.
Margaret A. Burnham is the founding director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University and has been a staffer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights lawyer, a defense attorney, and a judge. A professor of law, she was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the US Senate to serve on the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board.
Moderator L’Merchie Frazier is a visual activist, public historian and artist, innovator, and poet. She is Executive Director of Creative / Strategic PLANNING for SPOKE Arts and former Director of Education and Interpretation for the Museum of African American History, Boston/Nantucket, and was recently named an Art Commissioner for Massachusetts.
Presented by the American Inspiration Series from American Ancestors/NEHGS, in partnership with Boston Public Library, Museum of African American History, and GBH Forum Network
BIO: L'Merchie Frazier
L’Merchie Frazier is a visual and performance artist, educator, consultant, and mother of two sons and one daughter. She is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, but now she is based in Boston and has been active in the New England community for over twenty years; she is a board member of FabLabs For America. As a visual artist she is best known for her highly skilled hand crafted beaded jewelry, fiber and metal sculptures, and mixed media installations and quilt series, the “Quilted Chronicles.” Currently, Frazier is Director of Education at the Museum of African American History. She was formerly Education Director of Arts Are Academic, serving several Boston cultural institutions, including the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater and the Boston Public Schools, where she promoted art literacy for students and teachers across disciplines. She has taught African American Art and Culture at the Boston Community Academy for at-risk students. Frazier teaches courses in cultural diversity; principal teacher of visual and performance art for the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists and workshop instructor for the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, MA. Certified as an artist educator by the Kennedy Center Artists as Educators program, she is on the roster of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Directory for Events and Residences; she served on the MCC Folk Arts Review Panel and the First Night 2001 Review Panel. She has also served as director of urban art camps in Greater Boston. Her artwork has appeared in numerous publications, and she has exhibitions of her work in the Museum of African American History, Boston; the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston; the New England Quilt Museum; Museu Lasar Segall, Brazil; Ain Ping Harbor, Tainan, Taiwan; the American Craft Museum, New York; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; and the permanent collection of the White House.
BIO: Margaret Burnham
Professor Burnham began her career at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund litigating school desegregation cases. She has served as a Boston municipal court judge and a partner in a Boston civil rights firm with an international human rights practice. Her areas of interest are civil and human rights, comparative constitutional rights, and international criminal law. Professor Burnham directs the Northeastern University Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project , which engages students in legal matters relating to the 1960s US civil rights movement.