Professor Michele B. Goodwin Delivers Minnesota Law’s 9th Annual MLK Convocation

At the end of February, Minnesota Law welcomed Professor Michele B. Goodwin to deliver the 9th Annual MLK Convocation in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While Dr. King is well known for his advocacy concerning racial acceptance and equality, Goodwin and Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ra’Shya Ghee ’13 reminded audience members of King’s often forgotten legacy of promoting reproductive justice during the MLK Convocation entitled, “Dr. King and the Long Arc Toward Reproductive Freedom and Justice.”

Goodwin is currently the Linda D. & Timothy J. O’Neill Professor of Constitutional Law and Global Health Policy at Georgetown Law, where she is also the co-faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.

Goodwin and Ghee used Dr. King’s landmark acceptance speech, given after receiving Planned Parenthood’s inaugural Margaret Sanger Award, to illustrate how the fight for reproductive freedom today is not so far removed from similar struggles in the past.

Assistant Dean of Experiential Education Mitchell E. Zamoff’s opening remarks framed the discussion.

“Here at Minnesota Law, we know that lawyers play a critical role in defining, protecting, and expanding reproductive freedoms,” said Zamoff.

Dean Ghee noted that in Dr. King’s acceptance speech, he marries the struggles for racial justice and racial equality to our struggle for reproductive freedom. She asked Goodwin her thoughts on why it was important for King to do so.

“Dr. King recognized that the very first journeys of lawmaking in this country involved questions of reproduction,” Goodwin shared. “Those questions of reproduction were very specifically questions related to Black women and girls and their bodies.” 

Read a full write-up written by Reauna Stiff ’25 in an advance article for Minnesota Law magazine

RaShya Shee
Ra'Shya Ghee ’13
Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion