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‘The most consequential project we have.’ New archive gives voice to forgotten victims of lynching.

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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University
10/06/22 - Boston, MA - The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) archive launch and student recognition event is held at Columbus Place on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022 with remarks from Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, Law School Dean James Hackney, MIT Chancellor Melissa Nobles, CCRJ alumni and Distinguished Professor Margaret Burnham.

On May 19, 1944, Ollie Hunter, a Black woman in her mid-50s, went to a shop near her home in Donalsonville, Georgia, to buy oil. She picked up a can but the store manager told her to put it down. She did and left the store. 

The white manager then followed her and hit her on the head with the handle of an ax. Hunter died of what the death certificate listed as “concussion of brain.” No one served prison time for the murder, and Ollie Hunter’s story was lost to history.

Until now. On Thursday, Northeastern School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project celebrated the launch of the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive, a collection of records of anti-Black killings during the Jim Crow era that finally make stories like Hunter’s part of the public record.

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