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Ellen Rafshoon Oral Histories: B

Beasley, Dorothy

Interviewee: Dorothy Toth Beasley
Interviewer: Ellen Rafshoon
Date of interview: 

Ellen Rafshon's interest in Judge Dorothy Beasley was sparked by her research on reproductive rights in the Georgia State University Archives on Women and Gender. She learned that Judge Beasley had been an assistant attorney general in the early 1970s and had defended Georgia in Doe v. Bolton (1973), the companion case to Roe v. Wade (1973). Learning later that Beasley was also the first women to be appointed to serve as a judge on the Fulton County state court and the Georgia Court of Appeals, Rafshoon sought to learn more about her life and work.  

The interview provides researchers with insights on what it was like to pursue a legal career during an era of vicious discrimination against women and how Beasley navigated the barriers to succeed nonetheless.  Beasley also provides interesting commentary on landmark Supreme Court cases she argued as well as her creative contributions to the law and civic life in Atlanta.  The Georgia Historical Quarterly published an essay by Rafshoon about Beasley as well as a redacted version of her interview in its winter 2021 edition.  

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