Motley was an African-American civil rights activist, judge, lawyer, and state senator, according to the Hartford Courant. Born in New Haven, Conn., Motley's legal career began as a law clerk in the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The first African-American woman to ever argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, she successfully won James Meredith's effort to be the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962. In 1964, Motley became the first African-American woman elected to the New York State Senate. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson named her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, making her the first African-American woman to serve as a federal judge. Motley became Chief Judge of the court in 1982 and Senior Judge in 1986.
Patrick Raycraft/Hartford Courant