Cover image for Daughter of the Empire State : the life of Judge Jane Bolin
Title:
Daughter of the Empire State : the life of Judge Jane Bolin
Author:
McLeod, Jacqueline.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana, Ill. : University of Illinois Press, [2011]

©2011
Physical Description:
xvi, 146 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
"This long overdue biography of the nation's first African American woman judge elevates Jane Matilda Bolin to her rightful place in American history as an activist, integrationist, jurist, and outspoken public figure in the political and professional milieu of New York City before the onset of the modern Civil Rights movement. Bolin was appointed to New York City's domestic relations court in 1939 for the first of four ten-year terms. When she retired in 1978, her career had extended well beyond the courtroom. Drawing on archival materials as well as a meeting with Bolin in 2002, historian Jacqueline A. McLeod reveals how Bolin parlayed her judicial position to impact significant reforms of the legal and social service system in New York. Beginning with Bolin's childhood and educational experiences at Wellesley and Yale, Daughter of the Empire State chronicles Bolin's relatively quick rise through the ranks of a profession that routinely excluded both women and African Americans. Deftly situating Bolin's experiences within the history of black women lawyers and the historical context of high-achieving black New Englanders, McLeod offers a multi-layered analysis of black women's professionalization in a segregated America. Linking Bolin's activist leanings and integrationist zeal to her involvement in the NAACP, McLeod analyzes Bolin's involvement at the local level as well as her tenure on the organization's national board of directors. An outspoken critic of the discriminatory practices of New York City's probation department and juvenile placement facilities, Bolin also co-founded, with Eleanor Roosevelt, the Wiltwyck School for boys in upstate New York and campaigned to transform the Domestic Relations Court with her judicial colleagues. McLeod's careful and highly readable account of these accomplishments inscribes Bolin onto the roster of important social reformers and early civil rights trailblazers"--Provided by publisher.
Language:
English
Contents:
Her standing in Poughkeepsie : family lineage and legacy -- On her own : the years at Wellesley and Yale -- Politics of preparation : the making of the nation's first African American woman judge -- Politics of practice : an African American woman judge on the Domestic Relations Court -- Speaking truth to power : a view from the bench of Judge Jane Bolin -- Persona non grata : Jane Bolin and the NAACP, 1931-50.
ISBN:
9780252036576
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

This long overdue biography elevates Jane Matilda Bolin to her rightful place in American history as an activist, integrationist, jurist, and outspoken public figure in the political and professional milieu of New York City before the onset of the modern Civil Rights movement.



When Bolin was appointed to New York City's domestic relations court in 1939 for the first of four ten-year terms, she became the nation's first African American woman judge. Drawing on archival materials as well as a meeting with Bolin in 2002, historian Jacqueline A. McLeod reveals how Bolin parlayed her judicial position to impact significant reforms of the legal and social service system in New York. Beginning with Bolin's childhood and educational experiences at Wellesley and Yale, Daughter of the Empire State chronicles Bolin's relatively quick rise through the ranks of a profession that routinely excluded both women and African Americans. McLeod links Bolin's activist leanings and integrationist zeal to her involvement in the NAACP and details her work as a critic and reformer of domestic relations courts and juvenile placement facilities.


Author Notes

Jacqueline A. McLeod is an associate professor of history and African & African American studies at Metropolitan State College of Denver and coeditor of Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Blacks in Diaspora.


Reviews 1

Booklist Review

McLeod looks beyond the firsts of Bolin's career first black female graduate of Yale Law School and the nation's first black female judge to explore the restrictions on women and African Americans in the legal profession in the early twentieth century. Bolin was born in 1908 into a prominent family with a legacy of social activism in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her father, an attorney who founded the local NAACP branch, raised her after her mother's death. Her legal practice began with her father and brother and continued later with her husband in New York City. Her activism brought her to the attention of Eleanor Roosevelt, who championed her appointment in 1939 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to the domestic relations court, where she instituted several reforms. Ten years later, she was disparaged by the same black press that had celebrated her appointment because she dared to challenge NAACP leadership about greater participation by local branches. McLeod draws on archival material and an interview with Bolin to rescue from obscurity this juvenile justice activist and pioneer in the advancement of African Americans and women in the legal profession.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist


Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
1 Her Standing in Poughkeepsie: Family Lineage and Legacyp. 1
2 On Her Own: The Years at Wellesley and Yalep. 13
3 Politics of Preparation: The Making of the Nation's First African American Woman Judgep. 26
4 Politics of Practice: An African American Woman Judge on the Domestic Relations Courtp. 43
5 Speaking Truth to Power: A View from the Bench of Judge Jane Bolinp. 61
6 Persona Non Grata: Jane Bolin and the NAACP, 19311-50p. 79
Epiloguep. 107
Notesp. 111
Indexp. 141