How This Amazing Judge Fought Inequality And Racism

portrait of Jane Bolin
Leslie Taylor-Grover
April 18, 2023

Growing up, Jane Bolin was disgusted by pictures of lynchings she saw in The Crisis Magazine - and vowed to help build communities where Black people could be safe. 

She knew what she wanted to do – become a lawyer. Then she would have the power to make real change. But white authorities at her school didn’t see it that way.

She exited the guidance counselor’s office and slammed the door behind her. She couldn’t believe her dreams had been scoffed at, despite Bolin’s track record of overcoming obstacles.

After all, Bolin was attending Wellesley College because Vassar refused to admit Black people. And when white students at Wellesley discriminated against her and the only other Black student, they moved off campus and kept up their studies. 

So she wouldn’t quit now.

After graduating, she applied to Yale Law School despite her counselor’s lack of faith, becoming the first Black woman to graduate in 1931, and eventually the first Black woman judge in the country. But this was only the beginning. 

Bolin went on to work on countless cases that benefited our community.

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