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Motley, Constance Baker

b. 1921 - d. 2005

Constance Baker Motley attended Fisk University before transferring to newly-integrated New York University. After earning a law degree from Columbia University in 1946, Motley served as a law clerk for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund (LDF). Working with Thurgood Marshall and other prominent lawyers, she wrote the complaint that persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on Brown v. Board of Education. In 1962, Motley became the first African American woman to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully representing James Meredith’s bid to attend the University of Mississippi in Meredith v. Fair. She was the first African American woman elected to the New York State Senate and the first to serve as a Borough President in New York City. Dr. King praised her civil rights litigation, inviting her to be a guest speaker at the opening banquet of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s 1965 Annual Convention in Birmingham. In 1966, President Johnson appointed Motley to the U.S. District Court, making her the first African American female federal judge.

Associated Archive Content : 4 results

"University Plans 'Liberties' Program"

Experts at Columbia University plan to adopt a program that will make the meaning of American liberties more relatable to students.

Letter from Wyatt Tee Walker to Constance Baker Motley

Mr. Walker informs Mrs. Motley, Associate Council of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, that either he or Dr. King will be in attendance at the upcoming Lawyers Conference.

People to People: The Law is Majestic

Dr. King pays homage to the numerous lawyers of the Civil Rights Movement and asserts that the one unifying belief among lawyers is the idea that "law is majestic and the judicial process is supreme." Dr. King supports this claim with a story about his Negro lawyers successfully winning a case in Birmingham with an all-white jury.

SCLC: Summary Of Ninth Annual Convention

This summary of the SCLC's Ninth Annual Convention describes events that were instrumental in the formation of the organization. The document outlines the ongoing projects of the organization and offers proposals for future efforts.