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College of Law

Florida State University


2004 Press Releases

Professor Dorothy Roberts scheduled to give Mason Ladd Lecture February 16

Feb 01, 2004

TALLAHASSEE—Professor Dorothy Roberts of Northwestern University will deliver the 2004 Mason Ladd Lecture, an annual event in recognition of the Florida State University College of Law’s founding dean Mason Ladd. The lecture will take place at 3:30 p.m. in Room 101 of B.K. Roberts Hall, February 16, with a reception following in the D’Alemberte Rotunda law school.

Roberts’ lecture is titled “Black Club Women and Child Welfare: Lessons for Modern Reform.” One of the chief aims of black club women’s activities during the early 20th century was to improve the welfare of children. Yet, Roberts says, African-American women were excluded from mainstream child welfare organizations of that era, and African-American children were virtually ignored by child welfare institutions founded by elite whites in the late 19th century to rescue poor immigrant children from parental abuse and indigence. As a result of this exclusion, African-American women created a movement to provide services to African-American children that incorporated their own philosophy tying child welfare to racial advancement and justice. Their vision of child welfare differed drastically from the punitive approach of the modern child welfare system, in which African American children are over-represented, and offers important lessons for reform efforts today, which Roberts will address.

Roberts is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor Law at Northwestern University, where she holds a joint appointment with the law school and the Institute for Policy Research. She is a frequent speaker and prolific scholar on issues related to race, gender, and the law and has published more than 50 articles in law reviews and books. 

February 2004