This Day in Black History: April 23, 1872

Charlotte E. Ray became first African-American woman to practice law in Washington, D.C.

Posted: 04/23/2014 07:00 AM EDT

On April 23, 1872, Charlotte E. Ray became the first woman admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. She was also the first woman admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and is credited as the first female African-American lawyer in the United States.

Ray graduated from Howard University School of Law in 1872. She went on to operate her own practice briefly before relocating to Brooklyn, New York, where she became a teacher. A member of the National Association of Colored Women, she was an activist for women's rights, among other social issues. At age 60, she died of acute bronchitis on Jan. 4, 1911.

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(Photo: WikiCommons)

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