Black History Month: Dorothy Roberts


Roberts Dorothy 570x370RHAP’s first #BlackHistoryMonthFeature is Dorothy Roberts; a law professor, essayist, and social justice scholar focusing on the intersections of race, gender, socio-economic conditions and the law. Her work primarily focuses on African Americans, women, and children through the lens of public policy, bioethics and health. In 1997, Roberts’ groundbreaking book “Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty” was published, documents the history of systemic, and institutionalized oppression bestowed upon black women’s bodies through slavery, eugenics, sterilization, population control amongst other violations. Reproductive justice is a term coined in 1994 by black feminists, as they felt the woman’s rights movement excluded voices from women of color and the intersections that marginalized communities face. Reproductive rights is not only about protecting one’s right of choice, but access and security to family planning. It is about building trust between providers and communities after decades of coercion and manipulation at the state level. It is about seeing doctors, clinicians and nurse practitioners that look like the community they serve. We are grateful for Dorothy Roberts for her leadership and contributions to the movement.

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