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Community Read & Conversation: By Hands Now Known

November 1, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Join Lloyd Kramer, Director of Carolina Public Humanities, for a conversation about Margaret Burnham’s book By Hands Now Known. 

In By Hands Now Known, Margaret A. Burnham, challenges our understanding of the Jim Crow era by exploring the relationship between formal law and background legal norms in a series of harrowing cases from 1920 to 1960. From rendition, the legal process by which states make claims to other states for the return of their citizens, to battles over state and federal jurisdiction and the outsize role of local sheriffs in enforcing racial hierarchy, Burnham maps the criminal legal system in the mid-twentieth century South and traces the unremitting line from slavery to the legal structures of this period and through to today. Drawing on an extensive database, collected over more than a decade and exceeding 1,000 cases of racial violence, she reveals the true legal system of Jim Crow, and captures the memories of those whose stories have not yet been heard.

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. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

This conversation is one of series. The event series includes:

  • Wednesday, November 1, 6 pm: facilitated book discussion with Lloyd Kramer at Chapel Hill Public Library.



  • Sunday, November 12, 3 pm: facilitated book discussion with Orange County Commissioner Sally Greene at the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough.
  • Saturday, December 2, 2 pm: book talk by author Margaret Burnham at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.

Learn more & order a copy of the book: Discounts available for members of the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition, the Northern Orange County branch of the NAACP, and Orange County Justice United.

In partnership with the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition, the Northern Orange County branch of the NAACP,  Justice United, and Carolina Public Humanities.


November 1, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Chapel Hill Public Library
100 Library Dr
Chapel Hill, 27514 United States
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