New Haven
1:01 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

New Haven Native Nominated for Posthumous Congressional Gold Medal

Constance Baker Motley in 1988.
Constance Baker Motley in 1988.
Credit Columbia Law School

Constance Baker Motley, a New Haven native, has been nominated for a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal. Motley was born in 1921 to a family that emigrated to New Haven from the West Indies. She was a pioneer as a civil rights lawyer, lawmaker and judge.

Motley became the first African American woman accepted at Columbia Law School, the first African American woman elected to the New York Senate, the first woman to be Manhattan Borough President, and the first African American woman appointed as a federal judge. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is among the Congressional leaders who would like her to receive a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal.

A Congressional Gold Medal is the highest level of recognition the U.S. government offers to citizens. In a statement, DeLauro said Motley spent her life giving back to her community. DeLauro said a Congressional Gold Medal is a fitting award for a woman who broke barriers for the many who were fortunate enough to follow in her footsteps.