“Those gains we have made were never graciously and generously granted. We have had to fight every inch of the way"
Jane Matilda Bolin, born on the 11th of April 1906.
The first black women to graduate from Yale Law school and become a judge. She was always at the forefront of breaking down barriers. She was a social activist who was the first to assign probation officers to cases regardless of race or religion and she ensured the rights of children were upheld by adding a requirement that all publicly funded child care agencies would accept children regardless of the racial or ethnic background.
Here's why she's April's HWOM:
- Despite the racist and sexist barriers, Bolin powered her way through and earned her law degree in 1931 at just 23 years of age. The following year, Bolin aced her bar exam.
- Bolin fought to integrate child services, promote diversity in the hire of probation officers, and worked diligently for children’s rights.
- Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed Jane Bolin Judge of the Domestic Relations Court in 1939, where she served for 40 years. In fact, she was so passionate about her job she was forced to retire at 70 but she still wanted to work. What a woman!
Fun Fact: Gaius Bolin (her father) was the first black man to graduate from the super-exclusive Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He would take her into his office and she was fascinated by the ‘leather bound books’.