Women's Activism NYC

Jane Bolin

1908 - 2007

By: Marlie A | Date Added:

Jane Bolin, born on April 11, 1908, in Poughkeepsie, New York, was a trailblazing African American jurist who achieved several historic firsts in the legal profession. Bolin made history by becoming the first African American woman to graduate from Yale Law School in 1931 and later went on to become the first Black woman to serve as a judge in the United States. After earning her law degree, Jane Bolin began her legal career in private practice. Her commitment to public service and advocacy for the rights of children and families soon caught the attention of New York City officials. In 1939, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia appointed Bolin as a judge in the Domestic Relations Court, making her the first Black female judge in the United States. Throughout her judicial career, Jane Bolin championed the rights of children and families. She was a tireless advocate for juvenile justice reform and worked to ensure fair treatment and representation for all individuals, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status. Bolin's commitment to justice and equality left an indelible mark on the legal landscape. Bolin served on the bench for more than four decades, demonstrating a steadfast dedication to public service. Even after reaching the mandatory retirement age, she continued to work as a family court referee. Her impact extended beyond her individual cases, influencing the legal community's perceptions and expectations regarding diversity and representation. In addition to her judicial career, Jane Bolin was actively involved in various civic and community organizations. She served on the boards of institutions such as the NAACP, the Child Welfare League of America, and the Neighborhood Children's Center. Jane Bolin's legacy goes beyond her remarkable firsts; it embodies her unwavering commitment to justice, equality, and the well-being of children and families. Her life and career serve as an inspiration for future generations of legal professionals, particularly women and people of color, encouraging them to pursue careers in law and contribute to the ongoing fight for a more just and equitable society. Jane Bolin passed away on January 8, 2007, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire and influence those who follow in her footsteps.

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