Jane Bolin (1908-2007)
First African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School and first black female judge in the United State.
Quote: “Those gains we have made were never graciously and generously granted. We have had to fight every inch of the way.”
- Jane Bolin was born April 11, 1908 in Poughkeepsie, New York. She spent a lot of her childhood in her father’s law office and knew she wanted to be an attorney.
- Bolin graduated in 1928 from Wellesley College before attending Yale Law School and graduating in 1931. She was the first African-American woman to earn her law degree from Yale.
- She married Ralph E. Mizelle in 1933 and they opened their own practice in New York City.
- In 1939, Jane Bolin was appointed Judge of the Domestic Relations court. During her 40 years she achieved two major changes: the assignment of probation officers to cases without regard for race or religion, and a requirement that publicly funded private child-care agencies accept children without regard to ethnic background.
- Judge Jane Bolin retired in 1979, after reaching the mandatory retirement age. She passed away in New York City in 2007.