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Today’s Black History Month spotlight is Jane Motilda Bolin.  In July of 1939 Jane Motilda Bolin made history when she became the first African-American woman to serve as a judge of a court, of any level in the United States. Eight years earlier Bolin had become the first African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School.

Like many trailblazer the judge had a modest view of her significant accomplishments. She said in a 1993 interview, “Everyone else makes a fuss about it, but I didn’t think about it, and I still don’t. I wasn’t concerned about first, second or last. My work was my primary concern.”

At the time of her death in 2007 then Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh said, Judge Jane Bolin lived a life of firsts: the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, to join the New York City Bar Association, to act as a lawyer for New York City, to sit on the bench. She entered new environs fearlessly, exploded old myths, and helped transform American law with her pioneering spirit.”

Judge Bolin who died at age 98 undoubtedly paved the way for many other women who have since entered the legal profession.

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