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Blumrosen, Ruth G.-2004 (Ruth Gerber)

Blumrosen, Ruth G.-2004 (Ruth Gerber)

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PERSONAL:

Died January 13, 2004; married Alfred W. Blumrosen (a law professor), 1952; children: Steven, Alexander. Education: University of Michigan, B.A., J.D.

CAREER:

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Washington, DC, acting director of compliance, 1965-67, consultant to chair, 1979-80, consultant to the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1980-81; Rutgers Graduate School of Management (now Graduate School New Brunswick, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey), New Brunswick, NJ, associate professor, 1965-80; Rutgers School of Law, Newark, NJ, adjunct professor of law, 1980-2004. New Jersey Commission on Sex Discrimination, advisor; Rockefeller Institute Conference and Study Center, scholar in residence, 1995.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Fulbright scholarship, 1993.

WRITINGS:

(With husband, Alfred W. Blumrosen) Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution, Sourcebooks (Naperville, IL), 2005.

Author of articles for law journals, including the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform and Women's Rights Law Reporter.

SIDELIGHTS:

Ruth G. Blumrosen was law professor who spent most of her career forging new paths in civil rights law. She was active in the founding of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and served as its first director of compliance. She was known for her work against wage discrimination and job segregation in opposition to the Civil Rights Act, and litigated several high-profile cases regarding fair housing laws and the equal pay act. With her husband, Alfred W. Blumrosen (also a civil rights lawyer), she traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship in 1993 to study whether U.S. laws concerning employment would be relevant after apartheid.

The Blumrosens wrote Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution. The basis of the book is the 1772 Somerset decision by the High Court of London to free all British slaves, and the "repugnancy clauses" in which Parliament decreed that the colonies could not pass laws that were inconsistent with those of the motherland. The event prompted slaveholders in the American colonies, particularly those in Virginia, to provoke the American Revolution in order to protect their right to own slaves. The Northern states, for their part, were provoked by taxes, not slavery. However, the Constitutional Convention of 1776 nearly came to a deadlock over slavery, with the Northern states refusing to sanction the practice. In the end, Southern states agreed to a prohibition against slavery north of the Ohio River, and the bond was formed by which the young nation rose up in arms against its colonizing forces.

The Blumrosens' book charts the events that led to that agreement, resulting in a young country that was divided from the start. The result is "a startling and necessary book," wrote Brad Hooper in Booklist. Writing in the Journal of Southern History, Robin Einhorn called Slave Nation "a passionate and interesting work," and noted that the "Blumrosens write with a deep commitment to overcoming the legacies of slavery in the United States."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 2005, Brad Hooper, review of Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution, p. 933.

Journal of American History, March, 2006, Daniel C. Littlefield, review of Slave Nation, p. 1415.

Journal of Southern History, November, 2006, Robin Einhorn, review of Slave Nation, p. 922.

Journal of the Early Republic, fall, 2007, Robert G. Parkinson, review of Slave Nation, p. 546.

Library Journal, March 15, 2005, Robert Flatley, review of Slave Nation, p. 94.

Publishers Weekly, January 31, 2005, review of Slave Nation, p. 63.

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