July 22

July 22, 1939 – Jane Matilda Bolin – The First African American Female Judge

Jane Bolin 1942

Judge Jane Bolin (1942)

Jane Matilda Bolin was sworn in at age 31 on July 22, 1939 by New York City Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia as the first African American Female Judge in the United States.   This was not the first major achievement for Bolin, she was the first African American female to graduate from Yale Law School in 1931.  She was the only African American and one of only three women in her Yale Law School class.  Bolin worked as a judge in what is referred to as Family Court for four decades until January of 1979 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. Judge Bolin was born on April 11, 1908 in Poughkeepsie, New York and died on January 8, 2007 in Long Island City, Queens, New York at age 98.