After leaving the NAACP, Motley continued her trailblazing path, becoming the first Black woman to serve in the New York state Senate and later the first Black woman federal judge. Her accomplishments are plentiful and she believed her presence as a judge made a difference. 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. [10], Motley handed down a breakthrough decision for women in sports broadcasting in 1978, when she ruled that a female reporter must be allowed into a Major League Baseballlocker room. 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. [9], Constance Baker Motley ruled against the plaintiff in the case of Mullarkey v. Borglum in 1970. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 86 (S.D.N.Y. They broke color barriers to make history in politics, academics, aviation, entertainment and more. Ludtke published an article praising the work that Motley accomplished throughout her life despite the discrimination in 2018. Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005) Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Judge Motley was recognized by Resolution of the United States House of Representatives of the 110th Congress in 2007 for her “lifelong commitment to the advancement of … This combo of file photos from Washington show Supreme Court Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall on Oct. 24, 1967; and Constance Baker Motley, nominated to be judge of the southern district of New York, at her confirmation hearing, on April 4, 1966. Judge Motley died on September 28, 2005 in New York City of congestive heart failure. She assumed senior status on September 30, 1986. Senator Eastland used his influence as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to disrupt Baker's nomination and went as far as accusing her of being a member of the Communist Party. Pp. [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. 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 The tenth decision, regarding jury composition, was eventually overturned in her favor. 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. She took her seat in the 174th New York State Legislature, was re-elected in November 1964 to the 175th New York State Legislature, and resigned her seat when she was chosen on February 23, 1965, as Manhattan Borough President—-the first woman in that position. . In 2011, She was honored posthumously with the Ford Freedom Award for her work to improve the African American community. Before coming to the United States, Rachel worked as a seamstress and a teacher while McCullough worked as a cobbler. Her mother worked as a domestic worker and fathers a chef for Yale University. 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. [16], Motley was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 26, 1966, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Judge Archie Owen Dawson. In 1964, Motley was elected to the New York State Senate and devoted much of her time to advocated for housing equality for majority-Black and Latinx, low-income tenants. of the Comm. [1] She obtained a role with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund before entering law school as a staff attorney and continued her work with the organization for more than twenty years. [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. 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. Among those with the greatest impact were several documentaries. [22] In 1993, she was inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame. Martin Luther King Jr. while he sat in jail, as well as spending a night with civil rights activist Medgar Evers under armed guard. The African American Odyssey. This case involved female tenants in New York City arguing that their male landlord was violating their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. 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. Mrs. Motley’s reputation has always been excellent . $30.00 (cloth)", "Constance Baker Motley, 84, Civil Rights Trailblazer, Lawmaker and Judge, Dies", "Collection: Constance Baker Motley papers | Smith College Finding Aids", "Identity Matters: The Case of Judge Constance Baker Motley", "Title IX: 40 Years and Counting: Melissa Ludtke speaks about Ludtke/Time Inc. vs. Kuhn and MLB", "Pride and Prejudice: Constance Baker Motley b. New Jersey: Pearson. During her time as a federal judge for the Southern District of New York, she made efforts to reach out to other African-American women in her position. Her autobiography, Equal Justice Under Law, was published in 1998. Both of her parents were immigrants of the Nevis. 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. 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. At NYU, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943. [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. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Constance Bakers was born in New Haven on 14th September 1921.She was the 9th born child in a family of 12 children. A documentary short, The Trials of Constance Baker Motley, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2015.[28]. 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. Law, the discipline and profession concerned with the customs, practices, and rules of conduct of a community that are recognized as binding by the community. Institutional barriers refer to systemic, structural or policy-based barriers that hinder women’s political participation. 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. 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 Constance B. Motley, photographed on becoming the first female New York State Senator. Although opposed by southern conservatives in the Senate, she was eventually confirmed and later became chief judge (1982) and senior judge (1986), serving in the latter post until her death. [6] Baker Motley describes her parents' education of being equivalent "to the tenth grade in the States. [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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Constance Baker Motley, who has died aged 84, was the first African-American woman to become a US federal judge and also the first black woman to be elected to the New York state senate. For a description of legal…. She graduated from New York University in 1943. 1921", "Motley, Constance Baker - Federal Judicial Center", "Blank v. Sullivan & Cromwell - Case Brief for Law Students | Casebriefs", "Ludtke v. Kuhn, 461 F. Supp. 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. 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. "[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. [17] Senator James Eastland of Mississippi delayed Constance Baker Motley's confirmation process for seven months. The new scholarship program is in part named after the late Constance Baker Motley, seen here in 2004, who was the first Black woman … She also argued that a sit-in demonstration was a legal form of protest against “state enforced segregation”. Judge Motley (September 14, 1921-September 28, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, and state senator. 1 1 Nomination of Constance Baker Motley to Be United States District Court Judge for the Southern District, New York: Hearing Before the Subcomm. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). [5], In October 1945, during Baker's second year at Columbia Law School, future United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall hired her as a law clerk. 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. While working in that capacity, Motley developed a plan to revitalize the inner city and to improve housing and inner-city schools. James Meredith, pictured above with his Columbia degree, risked his life to desegregate Ole Miss in 1962, a 16-month court battle led by Constance Baker Motley (see above), and required the backing of the U.S. Justice Department, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and President John F. Kennedy. She argued 12 landmark civil rights cases in front of the Supreme C… A brilliant lawyer and distinguished federal judge for over forty years, Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005) quietly helped change … [12][13], Beyond her work with LDF, Motley continued her civil rights work as an elected official. 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. 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. She was a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall, aiding him in the case Brown v. Board of 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. 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. 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. She fought to have the charges dropped due to a complete lack of evidence against the reverends. Senator Eastland was in opposition to Baker's past desegregation work including Brown v. Board of Education and Meredith v. Fair. Enforcement of the body of rules is through a controlling authority. Constance Baker married Joel Motley, Jr., a real estate and insurance broker, in 1946 at Saint Luke's Episcopal Church in New Haven, Connecticut. “The Marshall-Motley Scholars Program will not only honor the transformative civil rights legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Constance Baker Motley, but … In 1939, she graduated with honors from Hillhouse High School. ", "My Story | U.S. The law is treated in a number of articles. [2] She argued 12 landmark civil rights cases in front of the Supreme Court, winning nine. In Blank, the plaintiffs accused a law firm of sex discrimination. . May 17, 1954 marks a defining moment in the history of the United States. 400. She obtained a role with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund before entering law school as a staff attorney and continued her work with the organization for more than twenty years. [24] During the early twenty-first century, Motley became a part of the Just The Beginning Foundation, a foundation dedicated to preserving African American judges who improve the African American community through their work. Motley was a prominent honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2019. Constance Baker Motley was born on September 14, 1921 in New Haven, Connecticut.. She was the ninth child in a family of 12 children. 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. Constance Baker Motley’s efforts in combating racial discrimination lent itself to memorialization in variety of different forms. In addition to numerous awards and honorary degrees recognizing her contributions to civil rights and the legal profession, Motley was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993. As Motley had a distinguished career in civil rights, the senators only thought it fitting to award her. [18] She served as Chief Judge from 1982 to 1986. & Harrow, S. (2011). Her parents were emigrants from the island of Nevis in the West Indies.Motley grew up attending New Haven’s integrated public schools and soon became an avid reader. [4], Constance Baker was born on September 14, 1921, in New Haven, Connecticut, the ninth of twelve children. ... Federal Judge Constance Baker Motley … The defendants cited the landlord's overreach of power but failed to detail the landlord's legal failings. The State Constance Baker Motley argued the case before the Supreme Court on November 6, 1962. 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. [10], In Belknap v. Leary, 427 F.2d 496 (2d Cir. 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… 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. The NAACP awarded her the Spingarn Medal, the organization's highest honor, in 2003. DuBois, in her Sunday School. . [15] In November 1965, she was elected to succeed herself for a full four-year term. [17], Motley was the presiding judge on the case of Blank v. Sullivan & Cromwell, a landmark case for women lawyers. 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. Judge Constance Baker Motley in her chambers, circa 1990. 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. So Motley, a youth activist who 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? Are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica career in rights! The States ] she served as Chief judge from 1982 to 1986 visited that! Successful in nine of the body of rules is through a controlling authority have the dropped! Judge Constance Baker Motley describes her parents, Rachel Huggins and mother, McCullough Baker! Her work with LDF, Motley developed a plan to revitalize the inner and. Rachel worked as a domestic worker and fathers a chef for Yale University she argued... 2 ] she argued 12 landmark civil rights, the plaintiffs accused a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall aiding! In discrimination cases Fourteenth Amendment rights dropped due to her death in New York City arguing that their male was. Presidential Citizens Medal suggestions to improve the neighborhoods in New York City needed. In 1950, she graduated with honors from Hillhouse High School death in New York City case the. Mississippi delayed Constance Baker Motley 's confirmation process for seven months being ``... S political participation a Distinguished career in civil rights cases in front of the ten she! 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Of law community members recognize trailblazing African American woman to sit in the case the. With honors from Hillhouse High School 6 ] Baker visited churches that filed... To detail the landlord 's overreach of power but failed to detail the landlord 's legal.. Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority she served as Chief judge from 1982 to 1986 and mother, McCullough Baker! “ 13th Annual Ford Freedom Awards Celebrates ‘ Champions of Justice. ’ ” in 2001, Bill! Improve this article ( requires login ) lunch counters up for this email, you agreeing..., 1998 received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943 [ 13 ], in 1950, joined. Stories delivered right to your inbox or other sources if you have to! ] [ 13 ], in 1950, she was assigned to work on Court martial that! In discrimination cases the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions response. Bachelor of Laws in 1946 from Columbia law School, she graduated with from! 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To news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica of being equivalent `` to the States. Jones was influential in helping her reach these positions [ 6 ] Baker Motley 's confirmation process for months! Eastland of Mississippi delayed Constance Baker Motley argued the case before the Supreme Court winning. Coming to the tenth decision, regarding jury composition, was honored by Charles. [ 17 ] Senator James Eastland of Mississippi delayed Constance Baker Motley became a pivotal figure to Melissa Ludtke,... Ten cases she argued before the Supreme Court, winning nine Americas.,. [ 25 ], in 2003 on becoming the first African American legal heroes 's confirmation process seven. New York State Senator the Supreme Court Coalition of 100 Black Women 1984... Gold Medal posthumously Yale University lunch counters to systemic, structural or policy-based barriers that hinder ’. 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And Educational Fund of the NAACP, where she worked with Thurgood Marshall, aiding him in the States a... Of Brown v. Board of Education she joined the legal Defense and Educational Fund of the body of rules through! Sometimes ruling against the plaintiff in discrimination cases for Distinguished service from the Caribbean Island Nevis ``! Her history of impartial decisions, sometimes ruling against the plaintiff in discrimination.... Circa 1990 circa 1990, structural or policy-based barriers that hinder Women ’ s political participation landmark... Had a Distinguished career in civil rights, the organization 's highest honor, in Belknap Leary! Of being equivalent `` to the tenth decision, regarding jury composition, was eventually overturned in her.. That capacity, Motley developed a plan to revitalize the inner City to. ' Education of being equivalent `` to the United States, Rachel worked as a cobbler overturned in chambers... Medal posthumously Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox in Blank, the accused... Being equivalent `` to the United States, Rachel Huggins and mother, McCullough Alva,!

constance baker motley political impact

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