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On This Day in History: Charlotte E. Ray

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Nothing like a good old On This Day in History for African American Heritage week!

Did you know on this day in history Charlotte Ray became the first African American female lawyer in the United States?

Charlotte Ray was born on January 13, 1850 in New York City, New York. Before becoming a lawyer, she was a teacher, and after attending the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington, D.C., she began teaching at Howard University in 1869 at the age of 19. A feat not many people can claim so young.

It was while teaching that she took an interest in and began studying law. She graduated from Howard University in 1872 at the age of 22, and shortly thereafter on February 27 passed the bar to become the first Black American female lawyer. She was also the first woman period to be admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and to practice before the Supreme Court of D.C.

Women like Ray are the people that enable African Americans and women to do what they do today. She was a change-maker and go-getter, setting her sites on her dreams no matter the prejudice she faced. So thank you, Charlotte Ray, for your feats allowing ours.
Image owned by the African American Registry.