Desrosiers presenting lecture on Florence Kerins Murray
Marian Desrosiers, a two-time Fulbright Scholar and adjunct professor of history and humanities at Salve Regina, will discuss the groundbreaking career of Florence Kerins Murray when she presents “Patriot, Public Servant, Distinguished Jurist and Champion of the Rights and Progress of Women” at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in the McKillop Library.
Murray was one of the first women in many fields: lieutenant colonel in the army, senator, trial judge, chair of the National Judicial College and Rhode Island Supreme Court justice. She accomplished much on behalf of others locally as lawyer and legislator, establishing the Family Court and the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities, and nationally through her service on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, presidential commissions and as a founder of the National Association of Women Judges.
At the time of her election to the Supreme Court in 1979, there were barely 100 women serving on state courts, and 20 states still had no women judges on their trial courts. Only nine states had a woman on their highest court and Murray was one of them.
In her presentation, Desrosiers will examine Murray’s role in the Rhode Island judiciary and explore her legacy using historical evidence, as well as interviews with judicial figures, journalists, politicians, scholars and members of boards on which she served. Her contributions are analyzed in the framework of the post-World War II era and the movement to secure equal rights and legal protection for women.