About Constance Baker Motley:
Constance Baker Motley was an African-American civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, state senator, and Borough President of Manhattan, New York City.
The legal difference between the sit-ins and the Freedom Riders was significant.
I got the chance to argue my first case in Supreme Court, a criminal case arising in Alabama that involved the right of a defendant to counsel at a critical stage in a capital case before a trial.
I never thought I would live long enough to see the legal profession change to the extent it has.
We Americans entered a new phase in our history - the era of integration - in 1954.
I rejected the notion that my race or sex would bar my success in life.
Had it not been for James Meredith, who was willing to risk his life, the University of Mississippi would still be all white.
King consciously steered away from legal claims and instead relied on civil disobedience.
In high school, I discovered myself. I was interested in race relations and the legal profession. I read about Lincoln and that he believed the law to be the most difficult of professions.
When Thurgood Marshall became a lawyer, race relations in the United States were particularly bad.
We knew then what we know now; only exemplary blacks are acceptable.
We African Americans have now spent the major part of the 20th Century battling racism.
The fact is that racism, despite all the doomsayers, has diminished.
Sexism, like racism, goes with us into the next century. I see class warfare as overshadowing both.
New Orleans may well have been the most liberal Deep South city in 1954 because of its large Creole population, the influence of the French, and its cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Living at the YMCA in Harlem dramatically broadened my view of the world.
Lack of encouragement never deterred me. I was the kind of person who would not be put down.
In high school, I won a prize for an essay on tuberculosis. When I got through writing the essay, I was sure I had the disease.
How long must the American community afford special treatment to blacks?
My parents never told us that our great-grandmothers had been slaves.
My father kept his distance from working-class American blacks.