I was a professor and civil rights lawyer. Our work started with my master's degree paper. I saw how segregation between African Americans and whites led to unequal conditions. In their elementary years, the girls had attended local public schools, but after graduating, their parents found that the building that housed their junior high and high school – Blackshear – was uninhabitable. Throughout the history of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc (LDF), women have been the lifeblood animating our efforts to achieve racial justice. She was the only woman on the NAACP legal team for Brown. Along with her mother, she was the first to sign onto the lawsuit that would eventually become Brown v. Board. As LDF commemorates the 65th anniversary of this transformative victory, we celebrate the women whose invaluable contributions made that triumph possible. ... Brown v. Board of Education Plessy v. Ferguson Question Title * 3. Constance Baker Motley Papers at Smith College. In the Kansas case, Brown v.Board of Education, the plaintiffs are Negro children of elementary school age residing in Topeka. They had to tell us which dolls they liked and wanted to play with. This came to be known as "separate but equal." So I decided to become a civil rights attorney. Judge Rogers approved a desegregation plan for the school district in 1993. Instead, it inspired me to become a lawyer and fight against discrimination. In a 1985 interview for PBS’ “Eyes on the Prize” documentary, Brown Thompson said of the pivotal Brown v. Board decision, “I really think of it in terms of what it has done for our young people, in taking away that feeling of second-class citizenship. I went to the Howard University School of Law. Here is a section of the Court's decision, in the words of some eighth graders. This wise and affecting memoir is the inside story of the great efforts leading up to the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v.Board of Education in 1954 and the fight to implement it--and its implications for affirmative action and black poverty today.. A black woman who moved in the corridors of power in the middle of this century, Constance Baker Motley has been a pioneer in … They ruled that laws segregating students by race were unconstitutional. Even though there was an elementary school close to my house, my sister and I had to go to an all-Black school much farther away. 1) Student Greeter: You may wonder what difference landmark Supreme Court decisions make in our lives – today. The history of Brown v. Board of Education is represented in our national consciousness by a single building, Monroe School, which is a National Historic Site located in Topeka, Kansas. Did you know that one of the most famous cases in American history – Brown v. Board of Education – started with an elementary school girl? Today we'll hear from the people whose courage, intelligence, and determination changed history for all of us, starting with Mr. Homer Plessy. 6) Constance Baker Motley: My name is Constance Baker Motley. © Copyright 2021 NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Administrative Oversight and Accountability, Chronological History of Authorized Judgeships - Courts of Appeals, Chronological History of Authorized Judgeships - District Courts. Roadways to the Federal Bench: Who Me? Shirley Chisholm First African American woman elected to Congress and first African American who ran for Presidential nomination. She obtained a role with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund before entering law school as a staff attorney and continued her work with the organization for more than twenty years. In school, children learn cultural values, prepare for careers, and to be successful in life. Life of Firsts. 5) Oliver Hill: My name is Oliver Hill and I was a lawyer. The Court struck down the laws allowing segregated schools. Constance Baker Motley died from heart failure at 84 on Sept. 21, 2005 at New York University Downtown Hospital. Today you are going to hear a summary of my argument to the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. So Motley, a youth activist who spoke at community events, made her own good fortune.A philanthropist heard one of her speeches and was s The Brown Foundation succeeds because of your support. This wise and affecting memoir is the inside story of the great efforts leading up to the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v.Board of Education in 1954 and the fight to implement it—and its implications for affirmative action and black poverty today.. A black woman who moved in the corridors of power in the middle of this century, Constance Baker Motley has been a pioneer in … 3) Homer Plessy: My name is Homer Plessy. Constance Baker Motley Attendance Quiz Question Title * 1. The cover photo of Equal Justice Under Law, Constance Baker Motley’s 1998 autobiography, captures Motley, James Meredith, and Medgar Evers exiting a federal courthouse in New Orleans.It was 1962 and Motley, a staff attorney for the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was there to argue on … The student strike in 1951 – one of the earliest youth-led protests of the civil rights movement – led Johns and some of her fellow students to request LDF representation in order to sue for a new building. The Court ruled against me in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. University of Virginia School of Law community members recognize trailblazing African American legal heroes. Judge Constance Baker Motley was born in New Haven and attended New Haven's public schools. The Court said that the states could legally segregate the races, as long as each race was treated "equally." In 1966 – about the time some of your parents were born – I became the first African American woman to become a federal judge. From her position with the NAACP LDF, Motley participated in most of the important Civil Rights cases from 1945 to 1965. ... where she helped write briefs filed in Brown v. Board of Education … Those same kids in Virginia and South Carolina—and I have seen them do it—they play in the streets together, they play on their farms together, they go down the road together, but they separate to go to school, they come out of school and play ball together. 8) Dr. Mamie Clark: I am Dr. Mamie Clark. Few cases better exemplify this tradition than Brown v. Board of Education. I worked with Thurgood Marshall on Brown v. Board of Education. Children in other states had the same problem as we did, so when we took our case to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court combined our cases. Find  out more in the Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress. In our experiments, we had African American children look at a set of white dolls and black dolls. The Justices said that separate is not equal. The school building had burned down the year prior, only for the school board to have the structure poorly rebuilt using railroad ties and old tires. Everybody knows that is not true. It was one of the five cases included in the Brown v. Board of Education case, which later outlawed segregation in public schools. As a 16-year-old student, Barbara Johns led an all-Black student body in a walkout to protest the conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia. After working with LDF founder Thurgood Marshall, Motley became LDF’s first female attorney and wrote the original complaint in Brown v.Board. Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005), “was a giant among women, and men for that matter,” Lubarsky said. The LDF chose Martin Luther King Day to announce the Marshall-Motley Scholars Program, named for the Supreme Court justice and for Constance Baker Motley, who was an LDF attorney just a few years out of Columbia University Law School when she wrote the initial complaint that led to the court’s Brown v. The fund aims to cover the education and training of at least 50 new civil rights lawyers. When I was a girl, I wasn't allowed to go to a public skating rink or to the beach because of my race. I think it has made the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our young people greater, today.”. Constance Baker Motley Lawyer, judge, Manhattan Borough President; part of the Brown v. Board of Education legal team. Read more about Johns incredible life in the New York Times’ recent obituary, as part of their Overlooked series. Federal Judge Richard Rogers ruled in favor of the school district, but an appeals court reversed his ruling. 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