The current iteration of the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice (JCRSJ) owes a great deal to its passionate creators and advocates. In 1992, a group of minority students became interested in creating a journal at Washington and Lee University School of Law that focused on investigating issues relating to race and law and provided a journal experience for ethnic students. At the time of the Journal's inception, there had been no minority students on Law Review since the mid-seventies. After pursuing several means of funding, the students found support in Deans Randall Bezanson and Barry Sullivan, Professor Louise Halper, and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Shephard and the Race and Ethnic Ancestry Law Digest was founded. REAL's first issue, which consisted primarily of case notes, was published in Spring 1994.
In 1998, the REAL Digest was renamed the REAL Journal and in fall 2005, the REAL Journal was renamed the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. The name change of the Journal marked two important changes. First, the Journal aimed to broaden the scope of its publication to address not only racial issues but also issues of concern for all underrepresented members of the population. The Journal's current mission remains one of promoting dialogue, encouraging scholarly research, and providing a space to highlight the intersection of ethnicity, religon, race, gender, and the law. Second, the Journal's new name reflected its acceptance within the legal community and its position as a mainstream scholarly publication. The Journal is indebted to its faculty advisor, Professor Ann MacLean Massie, and to its previous advisor, Professor Louise Halper, for allowing the Journal to grow, expand, and improve.