NYC Honorary Street Names


Judge Constance Baker Motley Lane (Manhattan)
Present name:The service road behind little Riverton adjacent to Harlem River Drive
Location:Between East 135th Street and 138th Street
Honoree: In 1945, after earning her law degree from Columbia, Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005) became a law clerk for Thurgood Marshall, and later worked for the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In 1950 she assisted in drafting the complaint in the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Motley and her fellow lawyers, declaring that separate schooling for black and white students was unconstitutional. She also represented Martin Luther King Jr. so that he could march in Albany, Georgia. She won 9 of 10 civil rights cases that she argued before the Supreme Court. She was the first black woman elected to the New York State Senate; the first female president of the Borough of Manhattan; and the first black woman to serve as a federal judge, appointed by President Johnson to the bench of the Southern District of New York. She went on to become chief judge of the district in 1982 and senior judge in 1986. (Dickens)

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