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Honestly Rach - February 22, 2021

Jane Bolin was a Black woman of many firsts. She was the first Black woman to earn a law degree at Yale Law School, the first Black woman to join the New York City Bar Association, the first Black woman to serve as assistant corporate counsel for New York City, and most notably known as the first Black female judge in the United States. Bolin was nothing less than a trailblazer whose accomplishments led the way for Black women in the legal industry.


When I was working to become an attorney there were several women of color I could look up to, but Jane Bolin did not have those same examples. She constantly faced blatant racism and even isolation on the path to achieving her goals. From the very beginning, upon expressing interest in the legal field, she spoke to a guidance counselor at school about her interests and was told that there was little opportunity for women in law and absolutely none for a colored one. Additionally, even her father initially discouraged this career choice but Bolin continued to persevere.


In 1939, after becoming the first female, black judge at the age of 31, Bolin continued to be a pioneer and leader on the bench throughout her career. She was confronted by a range of issues fighting against racial discrimination within the system, especially when it came to the plight of children. She additionally changed segregationist policies that had been deep-rooted in the system, including skin-color based assignments for probation officers. Bolin worked with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in providing support for the Wiltwyck School, which was an in-depth program to help eradicate juvenile crime among boys.


Jane Bolin continued to retain her seat on the bench, as three more mayors would reappoint Bolin to her seat, for three more ten-year terms.


Although Bolin never liked to make a big deal of her successes, her achievements carved out a path for representation in the legal system today. She never allowed racial or social injustice, discrimination, or doubts prevent her from achieving her goals. Bolin once said this, which alludes to the motivation behind her drive, “ [i]t is easy to imagine how a young, protected child who sees portrayals of brutality is forever scarred and becomes determined to contribute in her own small way to social justice.”


Jane Bolin is Black history personified. She is an inspiration and an example of how to be the difference and create change. For more information on Jane Bolin, check out her biography, Daughter of the Empire State: The Life of Judge Jane Bolin by Jacqueline A. McLeod, detailing Bolin’s life and career and was published in 2011.


~Honestly, Rach



9 Comments


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Jessica Denbow
Jessica Denbow
Feb 27, 2021

I had never heard of this brave, extraordinary woman before reading this post. Thank you for sharing her!


You, too, are a brave, extraordinary, trailblazer. We love you Big Rach, we’re lucky to have you here, and we stand with you 💜

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Glad to learn about Jane Bolin. Thank you, Rachel!

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Rachel! I am really appalled by all of the hate that you are getting. You were by far my favorite Bachelorette. It was refreshing to see someone that looks like me find love because its something I did not see. I appreciate you speaking up when things arent right. I don’t understand why WHITE people want to blame you for Chris Harrison saying how he really feels. I commend you for holding your composure because I wouldn’t have. I would have been labeled as the “angry black woman”. Keep your head up and keep being the person you are despite the noise.


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PATRICIA FENDER
PATRICIA FENDER
Feb 22, 2021

That is a great article, I believe in anyone getting ahead in their career no matter what color they are, I really liked you on the Bachelor show and I am glad you found a husband, I do not like the way you are causing so much trouble for Chris Harrison and trying to get him fired after being on that show for 20 years, he is always nice to everyone and tries to make everyone happy, he helped you a lot, why are you turning against him and making so much trouble for him and causing him to lose his job, you owe him an apology, maybe you need to be fired from your job for all the trouble…

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Replying to

Why are you upset with Rachel? She asked a him a questioned and he inappropriately answered the question he had no business answering because he didn’t know what that girl mind set was while she attended the racist party! I don’t think Chris is going to lose his job, but he does need sensitivity training to make him a better human being and a host! U owe Rachael an apology for accusing her of something she didn’t do! she didn’t make him answer the question! He should’ve deferred the question back to the contestant in the show.

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