The image of the "Welfare Queen" still dominates white America's perceptions of Black women. It is an image that also continues to shape our government's policies concerning Black women's reproductive decisions. Proposed legislation to alleviate poverty focuses on plans to deny benefits to children born to welfare mothers and to require insertion of birth control implants as a condition of receiving aid. Meanwhile a booming fertility industry serves primarily infertile white couples. In Killing the Black Body, Northwestern University professor Dorothy Roberts exposes America's systemic abuse of Black women's bodies, from slave masters' economic stake in bonded women's fertility to government programs that coerced thousands of poor Black women into being sterilized as late as the 1970s. These abuses, Roberts argues, point not only to the degradation of Black motherhood but to the exclusion of Black women's reproductive needs from the feminist agenda. Groundbreaking, authoritative, and timely, Killing the Black Body is both a powerful legal argument and a valuable aid for teachers, activists, and policy makers in creating a vision of reproductive freedom that respects each and every American.
About the Author
Dorothy Roberts graduated from Yale College and Harvard Law School. The author of more than forty articles and essays that have appeared in, among other publications, the Harvard Law Review and The New York Times, she has authored and co-authored several books, including the award-winning Killing the Black Body. Currently a professor of Africana Studies, Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dorothy directs the Penn Program on Race, Science and Society. She presented a TED Talk on the problem with race-based medicine in 2015.