Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

WWCDA is proud to celebrate Black History Month, as we honor the many struggles and accomplishments of African Americans.  Black history is inextricably woven into American history, and the struggles for racial equality have advanced justice and equality under the law for all people.

In honoring Black History Month, the WWCDA reaffirms its core values of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access — the very ideals manifested by the many African American women who have been trailblazers in the practice of law. We especially want to recognize the three such trailblazers below. 

Jane Bolin was the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School.

Hon. Jane Bolin

Jane Bolin was the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, the first to join the New York City Bar Association, the first to join the New York City Law Department, and the first Black woman to serve as a U.S. judge when she was sworn into the bench of the New York City Domestic Relations Court in 1939, where she served for forty years. A staunch advocate for children’s rights and education, Bolin worked tirelessly to advance racial integration, ensuring that probation officers were assigned without regard to race or religion, and publicly funded childcare agencies accepted children without regard to ethnic background.

Constance Baker Motley was the first Black woman to join the federal judiciary.

Hon. Constance Baker Motley

Appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1966, Constance Baker Motley was the first Black woman to join the federal judiciary. Prior to her appointment, she was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights movement, winning nine out of the ten cases that she argued as the first woman attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In the years leading up to her appointment to the bench, she was elected the first Black woman state senator in New York and, a year later, the first woman to serve as president of the Manhattan borough.

Paulette Brown was the first woman of color and the first Black woman to serve as President of the American Bar Association.

Ms. Paulette Brown

In 2015, Ms. Brown became the first woman of color and the first Black woman to serve as President of the American Bar Association (ABA). During her tenure, Ms. Brown made diversity and inclusion efforts a top priority, launching a resolution encouraging States and other licensing authorities to institute CLE programs pertaining to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and requiring all ABA sponsored CLE panels to include at least one diverse speaker or moderator.