Roberta Margaret Young was born November 9, 1936 in Council Bluffs, Iowa to Mary and Theodore Young of Ames' Iowa. She was the oldest of four children and got her first job at a supermarket after her parents divorced in 1951. These early years were influential on Roberta, particularly an incident when her mother was passed up for a promotion in favor of a younger and less-experienced employee because he was male. In 1953, Roberta received a scholarship to attend Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls (now University of Northern Iowa) to become a schoolteacher and two years later she met Jerry David Madden. They were married September 6, 1956 in Knoxville, Tenn., and spent the next several years relocating around the country as Jerry assumed various teaching positions, writing fellowships, and degree programs, and Roberta worked as a journalist while completing her bachelor's degree in Government from Ohio University. Their son Blake was born in 1960. The Maddens moved to Baton Rouge in 1968 after Jerry accepted a position in the English Department at Louisiana State University. That same year Madden's long career as an activist began in earnest with her joining the Baton Rouge Council of Human Relations. From the late 1960s through the 2000s she was involved in numerous national, regional, state, and local organizations focusing on a variety of progressive causes including equal rights for women and minorities, consumer protection, and increased political and financial enfranchisement of traditionally oppressed groups. Madden ran unsuccessfully for the Louisiana State Senate in 1979, but emerged as a highly sought organizer and promoter by groups and future candidates over the next two decades. Though Madden held various high-level positions in the public and private sector, her most substantiative professional relationship was with the Greater Baton Rouge YWCA, serving in executive positions in the early 1980s and from 1994 to 2009. Madden's personal life' professional career, and activism frequently overlapped and after being successfully treated for breast cancer in 1993 her focus was on the health issues of women, minorities, and others in underserved communities. By the time of her retirement in 2009, Madden had recieved numerous awards and recognitions, including induction into the Louisiana Center for Women and Government Hall of Fame. In 2010 Madden and her husband moved to Black Mountain, North Carolina to be closer to her son,s family.
From the description of Roberta M. Madden papers, 1968-2010 (bulk 1970-1990). (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 747860510