Jane Bolin: America’s First Black Female Judge

After graduating from Wellesley College as a top student in 1928, Jane Bolin went on to pursue a career in law. Although she didn’t receive much support, Bolin still went on to make American history throughout her career.

As she grew through the ranks, she was accepted into Yale, and later became the first Black woman to earn a law degree from this school, as well as the first Black woman to join the New York City Bar Association.

As time passed, Bolin was later appointed the Assistant Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, also another achievement previously untouched by a Black woman. It was only two years later, in 1939, when she was appointed and sworn in as a judge of the Domestic Relations Court, officially making her the first Black female judge in the United States.

Bolin was a truly groundbreaking pioneer in the field of law during her career, from her humble beginning in Wellesley College until her retirement in 1978. Since then, many women have color have followed the trail that she made.