Top 50 Quotes & Sayings by Constance Baker Motley

Explore popular quotes and sayings by an American activist Constance Baker Motley.
Constance Baker Motley

Constance Baker Motley was an American jurist and politician, who served as a Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A key strategist of the civil rights movement, she was state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan in New York City before becoming a United States federal judge. She obtained a role with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund as a staff attorney in 1946 after receiving her law degree, and continued her work with the organization for more than twenty years. She was the first Black woman to argue at the Supreme Court and argued 10 landmark civil rights cases, winning nine. She was a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall, aiding him in the case Brown v. Board of Education. Motley was also the first African-American woman appointed to the federal judiciary, serving as a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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Doing away with separate black colleges meets resistance from alumni and other blacks.
King thought he understood the white Southerner, having been born and reared in Georgia and trained a theologian.
Whites would rather not be involved in race matters, I think. — © Constance Baker Motley
Whites would rather not be involved in race matters, I think.
Columbia Law School men were being drafted, and suddenly women who had done well in college were considered acceptable candidates for the vacant seats.
All Southern state colleges and universities are open to black students.
The black population now consists of two distinct classes-the middle class and the poor.
King consciously steered away from legal claims and instead relied on civil disobedience.
My parents never told us that our great-grandmothers had been slaves.
There is no longer a single common impediment to blacks emerging in this society.
There appears to be no limit as to how far the women's revolution will take us.
We knew then what we know now; only exemplary blacks are acceptable.
The fact is that racism, despite all the doomsayers, has diminished.
We Americans entered a new phase in our history - the era of integration - in 1954.
The middle class, in the white population, encompasses a wide swath. — © Constance Baker Motley
The middle class, in the white population, encompasses a wide swath.
I never thought I would live long enough to see the legal profession change to the extent it has.
Lack of encouragement never deterred me. I was the kind of person who would not be put down.
How long must the American community afford special treatment to blacks?
I rejected the notion that my race or sex would bar my success in life.
I was born and raised in the oldest settled part of the nation and in an environment in which racism was officially mooted.
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.
The legal difference between the sit-ins and the Freedom Riders was significant.
Today's white majority is largely silent about the race question.
The last state to admit a black student to the college level was South Carolina.
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.
I soon found law school an unmitigated bore.
We African Americans have now spent the major part of the 20th Century battling racism.
In my view, I did not get to the federal bench because I was a woman.
The Constitution, as originally drawn, made no reference to the fact that all Americans wre considered equal members of society.
The women's rights movement of the 1970s had not yet emerged; except for Bella Abzug, I had no women supporters.
Sexism, like racism, goes with us into the next century. I see class warfare as overshadowing both.
Had it not been for James Meredith, who was willing to risk his life, the University of Mississippi would still be all white.
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.
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.
Too many whites still see blacks as a group apart. — © Constance Baker Motley
Too many whites still see blacks as a group apart.
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.
Affirmitive action is extremely complex because it appears in many different forms.
My father kept his distance from working-class American blacks.
By 1962, King had become, by the media's reckoning, the new civil rights leader.
When I was 15, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. No one thought this was a good idea.
When Thurgood Marshall became a lawyer, race relations in the United States were particularly bad.
I grew up in a house where nobody had to tell me to go to school every day and do my homework.
Living at the YMCA in Harlem dramatically broadened my view of the world.
In my view, I did not get to the federal bench because I was a woman
We African Americans have now spent the major part of the 20th Century battling racism — © Constance Baker Motley
We African Americans have now spent the major part of the 20th Century battling racism
The fact is that racism, despite all the doomsayers, has diminished
Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade.
The last state to admit a black student to the college level was South Carolina
A Negro who does not vote is ungrateful to those who have already died in the fight for freedom. ... Any person who does not vote is failing to serve the cause of freedom - his own freedom, his people's freedom, and his country's freedom.
When I went to law school, nobody heard of civil rights.
When I was 15, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. No one thought this was a good idea
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