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date: 22 August 2019

Motley, Constance Bakerfree

(14 Sept. 1921–28 Sept. 2005)
  • Tomiko Brown-Nagin


Motley, Constance Baker (14 Sept. 1921–28 Sept. 2005), civil rights lawyer, politician, and judge, was born Constance Baker in New Haven, Connecticut, the ninth of twelve children of Willoughby Baker, a chef for various Yale University student organizations, and Rachel Huggins Baker, a preschool teacher prior to her marriage. Her parents hailed from Nevis, the Caribbean island and English colony, and had immigrated to the United States during the early twentieth century. The family’s immigrant background shaped the young girl’s upbringing and values; she grew up in a tight-knit community of immigrants who shared cultural practices, worshiped together, and secured work in New Haven’s service industries. Coming of age during the Great Depression in the 1930s, Constance attended the city’s racially integrated schools and lived in a racially mixed, working-class immigrant neighborhood. Her neighbors and schoolmates included Italians, Irish, Jews, and Nevisians....

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