Note: This lecture has been re-scheduled to Wednesday, Nov. 7
NEWPORT, R.I. – Dr. Marian Mathison Desrosiers, a two-time Fulbright Scholar and adjunct professor of history and humanities at Salve Regina, will give a presentation on the groundbreaking career of state Supreme Court Justice Florence Kerins Murray on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Providence.
Desrosiers will present “Justice Florence Kerins Murray: Perspectives and Contributions to Rhode Island Judicial History” at 6:30 p.m. at the Fabre Line Club, 200 Allens Ave. Dinner is available; the kitchen opens at 5 p.m. For more information call (401) 274-1787.
This presentation will examine Justice Murray’s role on 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. Murray’s 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.
The research was made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
In 1979, at the age of 62, Murray (1916-2004) became the first female Supreme Court Justice in Rhode Island history. Although Murray was the first woman to sit on the highest court, she was no stranger to the judiciary, having spent the previous 20 years as an Associate Judge and Presiding Judge on Superior Court, the Rhode Island trial court.
Yet, her election was significant in judicial history. When Murray became a Supreme Court Justice 30 years ago, there were barely a hundred women serving on state courts. Twenty states still had no women judges on state trial courts. Only nine states had a woman on their highest court and Murray was one of them.