Black History Month: February 27th
On this day in 1872 Charlotte Ray became the first black woman lawyer. She was both a teacher and a student at Howard University while teaching there she registered in the Law Department; aware of the school’s questionable policy on admitting women, she applied under the name of “C.E. Ray” and was admitted. In the law school she specialized in commercial law.
Soon after her admission to the bar, she was forced to give up her practice due to poor business, and by 1879 had returned to New York where she worked as a teacher. After 1895 Ray became active in the National Association of Colored Women.
In March of 2006, The Northeastern University School of Law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International chose to honor Ray by naming their newly-chartered chapter after her, in recognition of her place as the first female, African-American attorney.