Constance Baker Motley

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Constance Baker Motley (born November 14, 1921 in New Haven , Connecticut , † September 27, 2005 in Manhattan , New York ) was an American lawyer and first African-American judge at a US federal court . Motley represented Martin Luther King in her early years and played an important role in civil disputes among the black population in the 1960s. In her 55 year legal career, she has served on almost every major civil lawsuit.


Constance Baker's parents immigrated to the United States from the West Indies . She achieved outstanding results as a student, but her studies could not be financed at first, so that after graduating she initially worked for the National Youth Administration , a New Deal agency. It was there that the philanthropist Clarence Blakelee noticed her intelligence and her ability to speak, whereupon he paid for her further education. She studied first at Fisk University and later at New York University , where she earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1943 . She then moved to Columbia Law School , where she met the future Supreme Court Justice , Thurgood Marshall . He placed her as a legal professional with the New York Legal and Educational Office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People .

After graduating in law in 1946, she initially stayed with the NAACP. In 1949 she married Joel Motley, a real estate agent. As part of her work for the NAACP, she wrote several briefs for the negotiations in the Brown v. Board of Education . 1964 Constance Motley embarked on a political career when she for the Democratic Party in the Senate from New York was chosen to which she belonged to the 1965th She then succeeded Edward R. Dudley as Borough President of Manhattan and remained in this post until 1966.

On January 26, 1966, Constance Motley was named by President Lyndon B. Johnson to succeed Archie Owen Dawson as a judge in the federal district court for the southern district of New York. After confirmation by the US Senate , she took office on August 30 of the same year. From 1982 she served as the Chief Judge of the court. On September 30, 1986 Constance Motley moved to senior status.

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