Southern Justice Institute records, 1978-1993.

Creator: Southern Justice Institute.
Collection number: 4704
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Abstract: The Southern Justice Institute, a public interest law firm, originally the southern division of the Christic Institute of Washington, D.C. It opened in 1985 as the Christic Institute South under director Lewis Pitts in Winston-Salem, N.C., relocating to Carrboro, N.C., a year later, and to Durham, N.C., in 1991. Formed to provide legal aid and organizing assistance to racial and other minorities in the South seeking political empowerment, the Institute incorporated as the independent Southern Justice Institute in 1992 and operated until 1994, handling, in its last two years of operation, mostly child advocacy cases. General abstract: Records are primarily court documents and case files with a small number of financial and administrative records, relating to legal challenges to political corruption, racial discrimination, obstruction of voting rights, school segregation, exploitation of consumers and tenants, and efforts to gain legal status for children. Many items pertain to the defense of Eddie Hatcher, a Lumbee Indian, and Timothy Jacobs, a Tuscarora Indian, charged with kidnapping while trying to bring attention to corruption in Robeson County, N.C. Other cases include those on behalf of African-American elected officials in Winston-Salem; a black lung union activist in Charleston, W. Va.; and a postal worker in Chatattanooga, Tenn., all charged with fraud. There are many materials relating to a case on sexual abuse of patients and another on desecration of an African-American cemetery on Daufuskie Island, S.C. Other cases, fought with the National Child Rights Alliance and the National Committee for the Rights of the Child, pertain to custody and adoption battles, the rights of lesbian mothers, and abused children suing their abusers. These include the Gregory K. and the Kimberly Mays cases. Organizations related to the Southern Justice Institute include the Christic Institute of Washington, D.C., a public interest law firm formed in 1979 by lawyers and others involved in a successful lawsuit against the Kerr-McGee Nuclear Corporation for exposure of employee Karen Silkwood to nuclear contaminants. Incomplete records, 1978-1979 and 1983-1992, of the Christic Institute consist mostly of investigatory materials, correspondence, legal documents, and publications. There are a few items related to the Silkwood case, but most material relates to the Institute’s investigation of the Iran-Contra Affair and a personal injury lawsuit brought against U.S. Contra supporters by journalists Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey after they were injured in a bomb explosion at La Penca, Nicaragua. A few items also relate to a suit brought

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Primarily court documents and case files relating to racial discrimination, obstruction of voting rights, and school segregation disputes.