Constance Baker Motley Quotes

Constance Baker Motley (September 14, 1921 – September 28, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan, New York City. She was the first African-American woman appointed to the federal judiciary by Lyndon B. Johnson. She was an assistant attorney to Thurgood Marshall arguing the case Brown v. Board of Education.

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Constance Baker Motley


New Orleans may well have been the most liberal Deep South city in 1954 because of its large Creole population, the influence of the French, and its cosmopolitan atmosphere.

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Had it not been for James Meredith, who was willing to risk his life, the University of Mississippi would still be all white.

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I got the chance to argue my first case in Supreme Court, a criminal case arising in Alabama that involved the right of a defendant to counsel at a critical stage in a capital case before a trial.

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King thought he understood the white Southerner, having been born and reared in Georgia and trained a theologian.

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In high school, I won a prize for an essay on tuberculosis. When I got through writing the essay, I was sure I had the disease.

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The last state to admit a black student to the college level was South Carolina.

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Columbia Law School men were being drafted, and suddenly women who had done well in college were considered acceptable candidates for the vacant seats.

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In high school, I discovered myself. I was interested in race relations and the legal profession. I read about Lincoln and that he believed the law to be the most difficult of professions.

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I remember being infuriated from the top of my head to the tip of my toes the first time a screen was put around Bob Carter and me on a train leaving Washington in the 1940s.

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By 1962, King had become, by the media's reckoning, the new civil rights leader.

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Living at the YMCA in Harlem dramatically broadened my view of the world.

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I rejected the notion that my race or sex would bar my success in life.

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There is no longer a single common impediment to blacks emerging in this society.

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I never thought I would live long enough to see the legal profession change to the extent it has.

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Sexism, like racism, goes with us into the next century. I see class warfare as overshadowing both.

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