February 6 – Jane Matilda Bolin, judge

Judge Jane Bolin – The New Black Magazine

In a speech from 1958, Jane Bolin, the first black women to graduate from Yale Law school in 1931, discussed women’s struggle for equal rights:

“Those gains we have made were never graciously and generously granted,” she said. “We had to fight every inch of the way, in the face of sometimes insufferable humiliations.”

She was born, Jane Matilda Bolin on April 11, 1908 in Poughkeepsie, New York. She was the youngest of four children. Her father, Gaius C. Bolin, was a lawyer, practiced law in Dutchess County for fifty years and was the first black president of the Dutchess County Bar Association.

In 1939, she became our nation’s first Black woman judge having been appointed by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia at 31 years old. According to the New York Times, Bolin ruled on important family court cases throughout her career and worked with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to support a program that aimed to root out crime among young boys. She remained a judge of the court, renamed the Family Court in 1962, for 40 years, with her appointment being renewed three times, until she was required to retire aged 70.

After a life of groundbreaking achievements, Jane Bolin died on Monday, January 8, 2007 at the age of 98 in Long Island City, Queens, New York.  Bolin was an activist on the bench, a staunch Republican, severed on the board of the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Child Welfare League. She received honorary degrees from Tuskegee, Williams College, Hampton University, Western College for Woman and Morgan State University.

Judge Bolin’s obituary http://www.thenewblackmagazine.com/view.aspx?index=637

Ebony Magazine with Judge Bolin on the cover August 1947 https://www.ebony.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/0847_EBCOV-296×400.jpg

 

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