Jane Matilda Bolin

Jane Matilda Bolin

Born: 11th April 1908

Died: 8th January 2007

Birth Place: United States

Known for: Being a civil rights activist and a pioneering lawyer.

She was the first African American woman to graduate from Yale Law School.

She became the first Black female Judge in the U.S.

She teamed up with Eleanor Roosevelt to build a school.

It is easy to imagine how a young, protected child who sees portrayals of brutality is forever scarred and becomes determined to contribute in her own small way to social justice.

Jane Matilda Bolin

Life story

 

Who was Jane Bolin?

 

Jane Bolin was the first African American woman to graduate from Yale University, at a time when very few African American women were accepted into high-ranking universities in the United States.

 

Bolin eventually became a lawyer, and took several senior positions in the legal sector that had never been occupied by an African American woman before.

 

Law career

 

Bolin joined the Books of Record in the U.S. after her fast rise through the ranks of the legal field. African American people had limited opportunities in some fields due to deep-rooted prejudice, even more so for African American women. But that did not stop Bolin.

 

She became a lawyer with the help of her father, who practiced in Dutchess County and acted as the President for the County’s Bar Association. Later, Bolin was appointed a member of the Black Cabinet for President Franklin Roosevelt. She went on to become involved in politics in the state of New York.

 

She also dealt with many cases related to racial bias towards children after her retirement as a judge from the New York Domestic Relations court. She also volunteered in schools.

What was the biggest challenge Bolin had to overcome? Why do you think only a few African American women were accepted into high-ranking universities during Bolin’s time? What do you think it would have felt like being in a predominately white, male university if you were an African American woman?

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