The Trials of Constance Baker Motley

A film screening and Q&A with Joel Motley


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Light Refreshments at 5:30 PM

Program at 6:00PM





The Trials of Constance Baker Motley tells the story of the prominent civil rights lawyer who became the first African-American woman federal judge.

At the height of the civil rights movement, Columbia Law School graduate Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005), joined the NAACP's legal team. The only woman in the group, she left her husband and infant son in New York for weeks at a time to represent the NAACP in Southern courts.

The first female Black lawyer Southern judges and juries had seen, she stunned them by winning case after casegaining the right for Black students to enter Ole Miss, The University of Georgia, and Clemson College. After the assassination of one of her closest friends, she returned to New Yorkand went on to become the first Black woman NY State Senator, the first Black woman Manhattan Borough President, and, with the backing of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the first Black woman named to a federal judgeship.

Joel Motley is the son of Judge Constance Baker Motley and a producer of the film The Trials of Constance Baker Motley.  He is a member of the advisory board to the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute.

Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues)
New York City


  1. Attendance Selection
Thursday March 21
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Film Screening
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Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
tel: 212.650.3174 | email: