NRL News

A welcomed effort to correct the archival record on abortion at Harvard

by | Oct 13, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

In 1951, Mildred Jefferson became the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

In 1951, Mildred Jefferson became the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

Kudos to Anne Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, NRLC’s state affiliate. She sent out an alert today about a much-overdue event which will take place next Monday hosted by Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The title of the panel discussion is “Righting the Record: Conservatism and the Archives.” The four members and the moderator who are scheduled to participate indicate the Schlesinger Library is taking its charge seriously.

Here’s what we read about the October 17 discussion:

The Schlesinger Library is hosting a conversation among scholars, intellectuals, and activists—moderated by the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat—to explore the consequences of the current situation and examine possible solutions. “Righting the Record” is part of the library’s multifaceted approach to enhancing the diversity of the documentary record, to ensure that students, researchers, and scholars can write more complete and balanced histories of our times.

What is the “current situation,” you ask? “The collections of major public repositories, especially those housed at universities, tend to document only one side of this complicated history: the left side.”

The “complicated” documentary history of what? A variety of issues, including women’s roles, family values, and “reproductive policy,” which over the past half-century together have “transform[ed] modern American life.”

The Schlesinger Library, to its credit, acknowledges the paucity of documents from the “Right,” in our case, an allusion to pro-lifers. This is, to put it politely, very ironic.

Far more than pro-abortion activists, pro-life activists are grassroots oriented. We keep records like nobody’s business.

The Schlesinger Library is not only holding this discussion, it already is the repository for the papers of the late Dr. Mildred Jefferson, one of the earliest pro-life leaders. Dr. Jefferson served as president of National Right to Life from 1975 to 1978 and was the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

So if you will be in the vicinity of the campus of Harvard University next Monday, you can register in advance here.

If there is room, we are advised, walk-in attendees are welcome.

Categories: Pro-Lifers