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Jane Bolin

Jane Bolin - 555


Before Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed her to family court, he first asked her husband (and law partner), Ralph Mizelle, for permission. LaGuardia may have pushed against the racial tide of that era, but he flowed very smoothly with the sexist tide of the day. Through this appointment, Jane Bolin became the first African-American woman judge in the United States, but this was not the first of her firsts: She also earned that distinction upon graduating Yale Law School. Despite her privileged upbringing as the daughter of an attorney, Judge Bolin remained a social activist throughout much of her life, and served on the boards of organizations that included the NAACP.