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Posted by: Yahairah Aristy on Feb 4, 2021

This past Monday, I hope you had a chance to read our February Newsletter and meet Charlotte E. Ray, who we celebrate and honor this Black History month because in 1872 she became the first female African American lawyer in the United States.  

Now, I would like you to meet Judge Jane Bolin, who in 1931 became the first female African American judge in the United States. Judge Bolin graduated from Wellesley College, where she was one of two African Americans in her first year. Despite experiencing racism and social isolation, she graduated and was officially recognized as one of the top students of her class. 

Bolin, interested in law school, pursued a law degree despite being told it was not realistic because she was a woman and an African American person. Undeterred, she attended Yale Law School, and became the first African American woman to earn a law degree from the school. Not enough to shatter that glass ceiling, she continued to trailblaze when she became the first African American female to join the New York City Bar Association and the first to work in the city’s legal department. She went on to serve as a judge for over forty years! 

Ray and Bolin are true testaments of the ideals of excellence we celebrate each year at our Annual Women of Color Reception—this year graciously sponsored by Procopio. This year’s honoree, Judge Irma E. Gonzalez, is in step with the trailblazing ways of Ray and Bolin. 


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