Civil Rights Queen

By Tomiko Brown-Nagin,

Book cover of Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Book description

With the US Supreme Court confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, “it makes sense to revisit the life and work of another Black woman who profoundly shaped the law: Constance Baker Motley” (CNN). The first major biography of one of our most influential judges—an activist lawyer who became the first Black…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Civil Rights Queen as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Constance Baker Motley’s role within the Civil Rights Movement had not received the recognition it deserved until Tomiko Brown-Nagin’s Civil Rights Queen. Brown-Nagin reconstructs Motley’s life and pushes readers to consider the activist and legal career of the first Black woman appointed as a federal judge. As a writer who is especially interested in studying Black working-class women, I appreciate the author’s close attention to how Motley’s life from a working-class background to her position as a judge of the Southern District of New York.

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