Charlotte E. Ray was the first African-American woman to become a lawyer in the United States.
Her Story is remarkable given the fact that the legal industry has been a historically difficult career path for women, let alone Black women, and especially in the 1800s. Her accomplishments are impressive.
Ray was born in New York City in 1850. Her parents were strong believers in the value of education and made sure that each of their seven children went to college. After high school, Ray attended Howard University’s Prep Program, then registered in the Law Department as C.E. Ray and was accepted. When she graduated in 1872 she was the first female to graduate from the Howard University School of Law. That same year she became the first female admitted to the District of Columbia Bar, and the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. Her admission was used as a precedent in other states by women who sought admission to the bar.
Charlotte E. Ray made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of women, she was a legal pioneer and She Made History!