[19] Due to the nature of this case and Motley's gender and race, there were calls for Motley to withdraw from the case assuming she would be biased. In 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal. She also argued that a sit-in demonstration was a legal form of protest against “state enforced segregation”. In 2011, She was honored posthumously with the Ford Freedom Award for her work to improve the African American community. [10] Baker visited churches that were fire bombed, sang freedom songs, and visited Rev. [17], Motley was the presiding judge on the case of Blank v. Sullivan & Cromwell, a landmark case for women lawyers. Senator Kamala Harris of California", Constance Baker Motley, Civil Rights Trailblazer, Dies at 84, Legendary Civil Rights Lawyer Constance Baker Motley Dies at 84, Constance Baker Motley's oral history video excerpts, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Constance_Baker_Motley&oldid=1007641561, African-American state legislators in New York (state), American people of Saint Kitts and Nevis descent, Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, United States district court judges appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson, Women state legislators in New York (state), Articles with imported Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 text, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Ahmed, Siraj. From 1964 to 1965 Motley served a full term in New York state’s Senate, and in 1965 she became the first woman to serve as a city borough president. Judge Constance Baker Motley in her chambers, circa 1990. The new scholarship program is in part named after the late Constance Baker Motley, seen here in 2004, who was the first Black woman federal judge. Learn more about Constance Baker Motley below. She was assigned to work on court martial cases that were filed after World War II. They were married until her death of congestive heart failure on September 28, 2005, fourteen days after her 84th birthday, at NYU Downtown Hospital in New York City. DuBois, in her Sunday School. Her service terminated on September 28, 2005, due to her death in New York City. She attended public schools, and on many occasions, she was a subject of racism dur… 400. United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, "Using the Law for Social Change: Judge Constance Baker Motley", "An Extraordinary Woman: The Honorable Constance Baker Motley", "Charles Postel. [12][13], Beyond her work with LDF, Motley continued her civil rights work as an elected official. Motley received her Bachelor of Laws in 1946 from Columbia Law School. Even before completing law school, she joined the Legal Defense and Educational Fund of the NAACP, where she worked with Thurgood Marshall. Ludtke published an article praising the work that Motley accomplished throughout her life despite the discrimination in 2018. The new scholarship program is in part named after the late Constance Baker Motley, seen here in 2004, who was the first Black woman federal judge. The African American Odyssey. [23] Her funeral was held at the Connecticut church where she had been married; a public memorial service was held at Riverside Church in Manhattan. Upon hearing of the founding of the Equal Justice Society, Judge Motley stated, “Now I can relax.” In her fifty-plus years as a jurist, Motley had a major impact on ending racial discrimination. [18] She served as Chief Judge from 1982 to 1986. Three years later, after earning a law degree from Columbia University in New York City, she married Joel Wilson Motley, a real estate and insurance broker. Motley was a prominent honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Motley ruled in favor of the defendant, rejecting the plaintiffs' claim of sex discrimination and going against her former advocacy for tenants during her time in the New York State Senate. The new scholarship program is in part named after the late Constance Baker Motley, seen here in 2004, who was the first Black woman … Senator Eastland was in opposition to Baker's past desegregation work including Brown v. Board of Education and Meredith v. Fair. … Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866–1896. [25] One of the women she reached out to was Judge Ann Thompson who received a personal note from Motley on the day she was appointed to be a judge for the District of New Jersey. Enforcement of the body of rules is through a controlling authority. Although the Supreme Courts decision in Brown was ultimately unanimous, it occurred only after a hard-fought, multi-year campaign to persuade all nine justices to overturn the separate but equal doctrine that their predecessors had endorsed i… Unable to afford a college education despite her academic talent, she so impressed wealthy white contractor and philanthropist Clarence Blakeslee that he paid for her education. Bebeto Matthews / AP The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is launching a scholarship program designed to produce a new team of civil rights advocates working for racial justice in the South. She graduated from New York University in 1943. ... Federal Judge Constance Baker Motley … [6] Baker Motley describes her parents' education of being equivalent "to the tenth grade in the States. “13th Annual Ford Freedom Awards Celebrates ‘Champions of Justice.’”. [15] In November 1965, she was elected to succeed herself for a full four-year term. As Motley had a distinguished career in civil rights, the senators only thought it fitting to award her. In 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, making Motley the first black woman to be appointed to a federal judgeship. [3] Baker Motley was also the first African-American woman appointed to the federal judiciary, serving as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. [5], After graduating from Columbia's Law School in 1946, Baker was hired by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) as a civil rights lawyer. At NYU, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943. Constance Baker Motley graduated from her Connecticut high school with honors, but her parents, immigrants from the Caribbean, couldn’t afford to pay for college. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. The State Constance Baker Motley argued the case before the Supreme Court on November 6, 1962. [25], With her work on Ludtke v. Kuhn, Constance Baker Motley became a pivotal figure to Melissa Ludtke. Her mother worked as a domestic worker and fathers a chef for Yale University. As the fund's first female attorney, she became Associate Counsel to the LDF, making her a lead trial attorney in a number of early and significant civil rights cases including representing Martin Luther King Jr., the Freedom Riders, and the Birmingham Children Marchers. She was a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall, aiding him in the case Brown v. Board of Education. Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 – September 28, 2005), was a key strategists of the African-American civil rights movement, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan, New York City. [22] In 1993, she was inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame. Over the 20-year period during which she served as a staff member and associate counsel, she won nine civil rights victories in cases she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, including James H. Meredith’s right to be admitted to the University of Mississippi in 1962. of the Comm. 1970)., another highly-publicized case, Judge Motley admonished the New York City police for not providing Vietnam war protesters with adequate protection against violence in the streets. The first African-American woman ever to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, in Meredith v. Fair she won James Meredith's effort to be the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962. [S]he is a woman, with great humanitarian instinct, but I have never seen it to disturb her judgment objectively and on questions of law. J. Raymond Jones was influential in helping her reach these positions. Her autobiography, Equal Justice Under Law, was published in 1998. 1978)", "CANDACE AWARD RECIPIENTS 1982-1990, Page 3", "Constance Motley Dies; Rights Lawyer, Judge", "Constance Baker Motley: Judiciary's Unsung Rights Hero", "We Stood on Their Shoulders: Are they strong enough for us now? A documentary short, The Trials of Constance Baker Motley, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2015.[28]. [10], Motley was elected on February 4, 1964, to the New York State Senate (21st district), to fill the vacancy caused by the election of James Lopez Watson to the New York City Civil Court. Through this work that she encountered local businessman and philanthropist Clarence W. Blakeslee, who, after hearing Motley speak at a New Haven community center, offered to pay for her education. She received a Candace Award for Distinguished Service from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 1984. Updates? Bebeto Matthews / AP The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is launching a scholarship program designed to produce a new team of civil rights advocates working for racial justice in the South. [20] In Ludtke v. Kuhn, Melissa Ludtke filed a lawsuit against Bowie Kuhn, the Major League Baseball Commissioner, The American League President Leland MacPhail, and three New York City officials over the New York Yankees gendered policy forbidding female sports reports from entering the Yankees locker room.[21]. In 1939, she graduated with honors from Hillhouse High School. Quick Facts Name Ella Baker Birth Date December 13, 1903 Death Date December 13, 1986 Education Shaw University Place of Birth Norfolk, Virginia Place of Death Meet extraordinary women who dared to bring gender equality and … [11], In 1950, she wrote the original complaint in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. Meredith’s admission to Ole Miss followed a 16-month court battle led by Constance Baker Motley ’46 and required the backing of the U.S. Justice Department, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and President John F. Kennedy. [26], Vice President Kamala Harris explicitly cites Constance Baker Motley's influence on her own political and law career on her campaign page. Constance Baker Motley, née Constance Baker, (born September 14, 1921, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.—died September 28, 2005, New York, New York), American lawyer and jurist, an effective legal advocate in the civil rights movement and the first African American woman to become a federal judge. "[7] Her mother was a domestic worker, and her father worked as a chef for different Yale University student societies, including the secret society Skull and Bones. Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 – September 28, 2005), was a key strategist of the African-American civil rights movement, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan, New York City. 1921", "Motley, Constance Baker - Federal Judicial Center", "Blank v. Sullivan & Cromwell - Case Brief for Law Students | Casebriefs", "Ludtke v. Kuhn, 461 F. Supp. Women in Politics Barrier #1: Institutional Structure or Policies. So Motley, a youth activist who Her interest in civil rights led her to join the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) after she was denied admission to a public beach and skating rink. She left one son, Joel Wilson Motley III, co-chairman of Human Rights Watch, and three grandchildren, Hannah Motley, Ian Motley, and Senai Motley. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Telford Taylor, Constance Baker Motley, and James K. Feibleman, "Judge Constance Baker Motley: A Life in Pursuit of Justice", obituary notice in, Dale Megan Healey, "Constance Baker Motley Is the Civil Rights Movement's Unsung Heroine,", This page was last edited on 19 February 2021, at 04:30. Barbara Jordan, Constance Baker Motley, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Condoleeza Rice / Photo Credit: Getty Images News 12 Black Women In Politics Who Helped Pave The Way For Vice President Kamala Harris Constance Baker’s father was a chef for Skull and Bones, an exclusive social club at Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut. Bebeto Matthews / AP The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is launching a scholarship program designed to produce a new team of civil rights advocates working for racial justice in the South. You may not know her name, but you have been affected by the legal battles she won and the precedents she set that helped shape civil rights, women’s rights and human rights. “Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: the Blackexperience in the Americas.”, Hudson, Cheryl; Ted Canady. “The Marshall-Motley Scholars Program will not only honor the transformative civil rights legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Constance Baker Motley, but … Constance Bakers was born in New Haven on 14th September 1921.She was the 9th born child in a family of 12 children. The new scholarship program is in part named after the late Constance Baker Motley, seen here in 2004, who was the first Black woman federal judge. Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) honored Motley’s life and work with “Justice is a Black Woman: The Life and Work of Constance Baker Motley,” a special that aired in 2012. 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