- NAME: Constance Baker Motley
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, Lawyer, Judge, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: September 14, 1921
- DEATH DATE: September 28, 2005
- Did You Know?: In 1964, Constance Baker Motley became the first African-American woman to serve in the New York State Senate.
- Did You Know?: In 1965, Constance Baker Motley became the first female president of the borough of Manhattan.
- Did You Know?: In 1966, Constance Baker Motley became the first African-American female federal judge.
- EDUCATION: New York University, Columbia Law School (Columbia University), Fisk University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New Haven, Connecticut
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
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Constance Baker Motley was a legal advocate in the Civil Rights Movement. She became the first female African-American federal judge in 1966.
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In 1966, she became the first black woman to serve as a federal judge; following the encouragement of New York Democratic Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Jacob K. Javits, President Johnson appointed Motley to the federal bench of the Southern District of New York. During her time as a judge,
Motley oversaw many civil rights cases. One case that received notoriety was her ruling in 1978 to allow a female reporter into the New York Yankees' locker room. Motley went on to become chief judge of the district in 1982, and senior judge in 1986.
Motley continued to serve as a federal judge until her death. She died from congestive heart failure on September 28, 2005, at the NYU Downtown Hospital in Manhattan. She was survived by her husband, Joel Wilson Motley Jr., her son, Joel III, and three grandchildren.
Motley will be remembered for decades to come for her tireless work on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement, and for such inspiring quotes as, "Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade." Motley also captured her legacy for future generations in her memoir, Equal Justice Under Law: An Autobiography, released on September 10, 1999.
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