For Black women judges like Jackson, blazing a trail has meant opportunity, scrutiny

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WASHINGTON – By 1966, U.S. District Judge Constance Baker Motley had smashed every barrier in her path, winning some of the biggest legal battles of the civil rights era and securing a spot in history as the first Black woman to preside over a federal court. 

But Motley, who had worked under armed guard in the Jim Crow South, initially felt uncomfortable with the simple act of grabbing a sandwich in the courthouse cafeteria.


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