Jane Crow Project
U.S. Has Highest Maternal Mortality Rate Among Developed Nations
African American Women Die Giving Birth Three Times More Often
This website and work is in honor of Pauli Murray, a lawyer, author, poet, activist and Episcopal priest (1910-1985) who is described as the most important woman of the 20th Century by historian Laura Lovett, associate professor, UMass Amherst. Murray coined the phrase “Jane Crow” in 1944 after being rejected by Harvard for being female. She had graduated the top of her law school class at Howard University and had every reasonable expectation that a prestigious fellowship Harvard was her next stop. The nation’s most competitive law school reserved the fellowship for Howard’s top student—as long as the student was male. Not even Murray’s friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, could persuade Harvard to abandon its male-only policy and admit Murray. Instead, she pursued advanced legal studies at University of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall. Her thesis was The Right to Equal Opportunity in Employment that argued that the civil rights law against racial discrimination could be applied to gender. To find out more about Pauli Murray please go to the Pauli Murray Project.
The mission of the Jane Crow Project is to produce multi-media presentations that uncover the hidden and false narratives undermining the health, safety and wellbeing of all American women of child-bearing age, with a major focus on the history of racial and gender bias that continues to compromise the health of African American women, their infants and their communities.