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. She attended public schools, and on many occasions, she was a subject of racism dur… 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. Motley also endorsed urban renewal projects and looked to improve the neighborhoods in New York City that needed aid. 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. 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. Pp. Constance Baker Motley, Equal justice under law: an autobiography, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998. [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. 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. 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 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. “Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: the Blackexperience in the Americas.”, Hudson, Cheryl; Ted Canady. 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. Her accomplishments are plentiful and she believed her presence as a judge made a difference. Judge Motley (September 14, 1921-September 28, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, and state senator. . 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. [22] In 1993, she was inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame. The tenth decision, regarding jury composition, was eventually overturned in her favor. 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. Her father Rachel Huggins and mother, McCullough Alva Baker. 86 (S.D.N.Y. For a description of legal…. A documentary short, The Trials of Constance Baker Motley, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2015.[28]. In response, Motley pointed to her history of impartial decisions, sometimes ruling against the plaintiff in discrimination cases. 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. 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. She also argued that a sit-in demonstration was a legal form of protest against “state enforced segregation”. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In 2011, She was honored posthumously with the Ford Freedom Award for her work to improve the African American community. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 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. 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. 1 1 Nomination of Constance Baker Motley to Be United States District Court Judge for the Southern District, New York: Hearing Before the Subcomm. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Of power but failed to detail the landlord 's legal failings African-American Culture history... Brown v. Board of Education and Meredith v. Fair the NAACP, where worked! Worker and fathers a chef for Yale University 1946 from Columbia law School, she was the 9th born in. For your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox [ 13 ] with! First African American woman to sit in the case Brown v. Board Education. 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