Who was the first U.S. Black female lawyer

Growing the Voices of Our Future

The Westside Gazette Newspaper is honored to feature these editorial contributions made by local students.

By Layla Davidson

There are so many people who have changed history, but the person who made the biggest impact on me is Charlotte E. Ray.

Charlotte E. Ray was the first African American female lawyer in the United States. She graduated from Howard University School of Law in 1872. However, Howard University’s Law School discouraged women from enrolling and Ray was forced to apply under the name C.E. Ray to disguise her gender.

Ray became the first Black woman to graduate from an American law school and receive a law degree.

Ray opened her own law office in Washington, D.C. However, she found it difficult to make a living as an attorney because of racial and gender bias. She returned to New York in 1879 and became a Brooklyn school teacher.

After she moved to New York, there was not much known about Ray. Ray passed away on January 11, 1911



About Carma Henry 21223 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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