“The Long Struggle to Abolish Reproductive Slavery” is a lecture by Dorothy E. Roberts – a professor of both Law and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and founding director of the Program on Race, Science & Society in the Center for Africana Studies. She traces the denial of Black women’s reproductive and parenting rights to a 19th century court case that decided the offspring of enslaved persons were considered like animals, without human rights – even if they were the children of the owner himself. Stopping mistreatment of Black families was a paramount issue of the abolitionist cause and a major reason behind the 13th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution. But the hateful attitudes continued into modern times, and are underlying the idea that state law can dictate the terms of pregnancy and parenting, now confirmed by the US Supreme Court – and applicable to all women. Roberts describes the longterm aims of Black feminists, and calls for unifying the movements for abortion rights, parental rights, and prison abolition.
The Rothko Chapel and the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas at Austin hosted this 2023 Frances Tarlton ‘Sissy’ Farenthold Endowed Lecture in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights on February 15, 2023. Edited for radio by Frieda Werden. Video of entire event here: https://rothkochapel.org/experience/events/event/dorothy-roberts-farenthold-lecture-2023
Attached photo of Professor Dorothy E. Roberts was captured from the video