JaneBolin

Jane M. Bolin

On this date in 1908, Jane M. Bolin was born. She was a lawyer who became the first Black female judge.

From Poughkeepsie, NY, she was one of four children of Gaius Bolin, the first African American graduate of Williams College who practiced law in Poughkeepsie. Bolin attended Wellesley College, graduating with honors in 1928. In 1931, she was the first Black woman to attend Yale Law School. After marriage to Ralph E. Mizelle and a successful law career, she ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for New York’s seventeenth district state assembly seat. In 1937, Bolin was appointed assistant corporate counsel in New York City’s law department. Here she made inroads, with private employers, to hire people for qualifications, rather than discriminate against African Americans.

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