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Law 

African American Firsts: Law

Constance Baker Motley - First Black Woman Federal Judge

In 1966, Motley received national acclaim for her achievements in civil rights and President Lyndon B Johnson appointed her to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She was confirmed in August 1966 and became the chief judge of her court on June 1, 1982, and served as such until October 1, 1986, when she took senior status.

Motley's appointment to the federal judiciary marked the climax of a distinguished career in politics and civic affairs. Throughout the years she had exerted honest, determined, and frank leadership in the legal field. She was personally pleased with the historically significant changes that had been made and the progress that had taken place over her last twenty years. She believed, however, that "there [was] still a lot to be done." On civil rights, Judge Motley firmly stated, "If we have to litigate the basic issues of racial discrimination into the next century, then that's what we must do."

 

From the book, Notable Black Women, Book 1

(Available from Biography Resource Center, a premium library resource)

 


 

 


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