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Constance Baker Motley is a civil rights icon. Why don't more people know her name?

In this Aug. 9, 1965, file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. chats with his wife, Coretta, left, and civil rights champion Constance Baker Motley before the start of an S.C.L.C. banquet in Birmingham, Ala.
AP
In this Aug. 9, 1965, file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. chats with his wife, Coretta, left, and civil rights champion Constance Baker Motley before the start of an S.C.L.C. banquet in Birmingham, Ala.

Civil rights icons like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Justice Thurgood Marshall have become household names. But the historic work of New Haven native Constance Baker Motley is still unknown to many Americans. This week, a look into the life and legacy of the first Black woman appointed to a federal court in American history.

Guests:

  • Connie Royster: retired New Haven attorney, former director of development at the Yale Divinity School, and niece of Constance Baker Motley
  • Tomiko Brown-Nagin: Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and professor of Constitutional Law and History. She’s also the author of the book , Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Disrupted is produced by James Szkobel-Wolff, Zshekinah Collier and Catie Talarski. Our interns are Michayla Savitt and Sara Gasparotto.

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James Szkobel-Wolff is a producer for the Connecticut Public Radio’s weekly show 'Disrupted,' hosted by Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean.
Zshekinah Collier is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio’s weekly show 'Disrupted.' Previously she was a Radio Production & Storytelling Intern and contributed to 'Audacious,' 'The Colin McEnroe Show,' 'Seasoned,' and 'Where We Live.'
Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean is an award-winning scholar at Quinnipiac University, author, and host of 'Disrupted' on Connecticut Public.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.
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