October 03, 2013
Rosalie Wahl grew up in a farming family in Depression-era Kansas, attending a tiny rural school. She was 3 when her mother died; the child and her siblings lost their grandfather and a brother in a train accident just a few years later.
After World War II, Wahl married a veteran and moved to Minnesota. While raising five children, she enrolled in law school in order to get a job to help support their family. She spent 10 years as a public defender then was the first woman appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, where she served for 17 years.
A new film, “Girl from Birch Creek: The Life and Legacy of Justice Rosalie Wahl,” tells the story of how efforts by women like her helped open more opportunities in the legal profession.
The movie, by film maker/lawyer Emily Haddad, is set to air Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. at the Woldenberg Art Center at Tulane’s Newcomb College.
Nina Totenberg, NPR’s legal affairs correspondent, narrates the film, which includes an appearance by Newcomb College Institute Executive Director Sally J. Kenney.
Kenney, a Political Science Professor and Tulane Law School Affiliated Faculty member, wrote about Wahl In her book Gender & Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter (Routledge 2013).
The screening, which is free to the public, will include remarks from Haddad and be followed by a reception.