Constance Baker Motley's Residence


Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005)

First African American federal court judge; successfully argued nine U.S. Supreme Court civil rights cases (Inducted 1998)

This was the childhood home of Constance Juanita Baker, lawyer, judge, and civil rights activist. Graduating from Columbia Law School in 1946, she married Joel Wilson Motley Jr.  She began working as a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She played a role in all of the major school de-segregation cases. She helped write briefs filed in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). In the 1950s and 1960s, she argued ten civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, winning nine. In 1964 she became the first African American woman elected to the New York State Senate. In 1965 she was elected President of the Borough of Manhattan. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson named Motley to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She became Chief Judge in 1982 and Senior Judge in 1986. The residence is located at 8 Garden Street in New Haven.

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