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Justice is a Black Woman: The Life and Work of Constance Baker Motley
September 13 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
In honor of Constance Baker Motley’s 100th birthday, join the Yale African American Affinity Group, Working Women’s Network, and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women Clubs, Inc. for a virtual screening of Justice is a Black Woman: The Life and Work of Constance Baker Motley. This documentary chronicles the life and work of Motley, an “unsung” hero of the civil rights movement. Following the screening, we will have a Q&A with filmmaker Dr. Gary Ford Jr.
The documentary is based on interviews and other dissertation research conducted by Dr. Gary Ford, the producer who was determined to give Motley the credit she deserved for her work in the courts that affected the outcome of the movement and facilitated the dismantling of Jim Crow and a segregated society. The film is narrated by Juan Williams. Dr. Maya Angelou read her poem, Still I Rise, for the film, which includes President Bill Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Attorney Vernon Jordan, Members of the “Little Rock Nine,” Ms. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and many others.
Motley, the only woman attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) during most of the civil rights movement from 1946 – 1964 was the LDF attorney who tried and won most of the important desegregation cases. In addition to writing briefs in Brown v. Board of Education, Motley was trial or appellate counsel in 57 cases in the United States Supreme Court, 82 cases in federal courts of appeals, 48 cases in federal district courts, and numerous cases in state courts. She won cases that ended de jure segregation in white only restaurants and lunch counters, protected the right of protestors to march, sit-in, freedom ride, and demonstrate in other ways, and secured the right for blacks to register, vote, and have access to the political power structure.
The documentary aired on PBS in 2012, won an award as the Best Education Film of the year, won a Telly Award, and won an award for the Best Feature Documentary at the St. Tropez International Film Festival in France on May 18, 2013. It was also nominated for the Outstanding Historical/Cultural Program award at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Boston/New England Chapter on June 1, 2013.