Tomiko Brown-Nagin, author of CIVIL RIGHTS QUEEN: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality (Pantheon), will be in discussion with National Public Radio’s Michel Martin during a virtual event hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture on Tuesday, March 29 at 7:00 pm (ET).
CIVIL RIGHTS QUEEN captures the life of one of our most influential judges, Constance Baker Motley, the first black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. In the book, we learn that as an activist lawyer she defended Martin Luther King in Birmingham, helped to argue in Brown vs. The Board of Education, and played a critical role in vanquishing Jim Crow laws throughout the South. She was also the first black woman elected to the state Senate in New York, the first woman elected Manhattan Borough President, and the first black woman appointed to the federal judiciary.
Women’s rights activist and Viking author Anita Hill declares CIVIL RIGHTS QUEEN “a must-read for anyone who dares to believe that equal justice under the law is possible and is in search of a model for how to make it a reality.”
In this timely and impactful historical biography, Brown-Nagin shines a light on the parallel struggles of Judge Motley in the fight for gender equality and civil right during the 20th century while also driving readers to consider some urgent and ageless questions: How do the historically marginalized access the corridors of power? What is the price of the ticket? And, how does access to power shape individuals committed to social justice?
Tomiko Brown-Nagin is Dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and Professor of History at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the American Philosophical Society, and of the American Law Institute, and a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. She frequently appears as a commentator in media. She currently lives in Boston with her family.
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