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Women of the Hall

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Year Honored: 1993
Birth: 1921 - Death: 2005
Born In: ,
Died In: ,
Achievements: Government
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Constance Baker Motley

Making history and making law are the twin components of Constance Baker Motley's extraordinary life and career. Motley's legal career began as a law clerk in the fledgling National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she worked with Thurgood Marshall and others. She became a key legal strategist in the civil rights movement, helping to desegregate Southern schools, busses, lunch counters - and successfully arguing nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1964, Motley became the first African-American woman elected to the New York State Senate; in 1965 she was chosen Manhattan Borough President - the first woman and first African-American in that position; and in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson named her a Federal Court judge - the first African-American woman so named - where she continues today. Known as an incisive and capable judge, Motley believes her presence makes a difference: "As the first black and first woman, I am proving in everything I do that blacks and women are as capable as anyone."
Additional Sources:
Rayner, William P. Wise Women: Singular Lives that Helped Shape our Century St. Martin's Press Inc., 1983.

With Telford Taylor and James K. Feibleman. Perspective on Justice. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1975.

Equal Justice Under Law: An Autobiography. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998.

Papers 1965-1970, Smith College, Sophia Smith Collection, William Allan Neilson Library. Northampton, Massachusetts.

www.jtbf.org

www.memory.loc.gov.