Constance Baker Motley

by Stephanie from New Haven

"When I went to law school, nobody heard of civil rights." - Constance Baker Motley
Constance Baker Motley<br>Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders<br>(
Constance Baker Motley
Walter Albertin; restored by Adam Cuerden / Public domain via Wikimedia

Constance Baker Motley was born on September 14, 1921, in New Haven, Connecticut. Her dad was the chef for the Skull and Bones, an exclusive club at Yale. She graduated from New York University in 1943. In 1946 she received her law degree from Columbia University, and married real estate and insurance broker, Joel Wilson Motley. She was then appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on January 25, 1966. Constance Baker Motley became the first African-American woman to serve for the Southern District of New York, the largest federal trial bench in the country. After a long, distinguished career, she died on September 28, 2005, at the age of 84.

A hero is "a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life." To me personally, I see Constance Baker Motley as a hero in the way that she broke through the discrimination against blacks, and she made it to be the first African-American judge. She also joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She took on segregation cases and gave them all a fair trial. Motley believed in equal rights for all.

Constance Baker Motley<br>Photo from Wikipedia
Constance B. Motley signing papers as the newly
elected Manhattan Borough President
Fred Palumbo (World Telegram & Sun) / Public domain via Wikipedia

Constance Motley is my hero because she fought for the rights of her people. For example, she would take all kinds of cases, including housing for African-American people, and write briefs for the Brown vs. Board of Education case. For doing all these great things, she got elected to the New York State Senate in 1964, becoming the first woman to do so, and then in 1965 she became the first woman President of a Manhattan borough. She believed that she could make a difference and she did.

This wonderful, great woman, who did many great things in her life, influenced me to believe that I could do anything that I want if I just set my mind to it. I feel like I can understand what she went through because she was black. I'm not black, but I am Hispanic and there are people that believe that Hispanics are not smart and are drug dealers. So I want to break through all of those stereotypes and show the country that Hispanics can also become great people in this country. Constance Baker Motley has shown me that there are no low races and that anybody who sets their mind to it can achieve wonderful things in their life - and maybe, just maybe, if they fight hard enough, they can change the world. That is why she is a hero in my eyes.

Constance Baker Motley is an inspiration to me in so many ways. She makes me believe in myself. Because of her I know that I can grow up, go to college, and live my dream. Just like she said in her quote, "Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade." I believe that she is trying to say that if things don't work out now, don't give up. Keep trying until you succeed. I will never give up, thanks to Constance Baker Motley.

Page created on 1/11/2012 10:29:52 AM

Last edited 9/9/2020 6:32:48 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Black Past - Learn more about Motley
Constance Baker Motley - "The first black woman appointed to the federal judiciary."

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