About Their Business: 7 Black Female Politicians Who Made History

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Constance Baker Motley

Constance Baker Motley also accomplished a staggering number of “firsts.” In 1944, she was the first black woman to be accepted at Columbia Law School. In 1948, Motley joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. In 1954, she was the only female on the legal team that challenged Brown v. Board of Education, and in 1962, Motley was lead counsel in James Meredith’s battle to gain admission to the University of Mississippi. In 1964, she was the first black female elected to the New York State Senate. In 1966, Motley became the first black woman appointed to the federal bench when President Lyndon Johnson appointed her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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