Charlotte E. Ray

Charlotte E. Ray (January 13, 1850 - January 4, 1911) was the first black woman lawyer. Ray was born in New York City where her father the Reverend Charles Bennett Ray was a prominent abolitionist. During her childhood she attended the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington, D.C. which was one of the few schools African American women could attend. In 1869 she was both a teacher and a student at Howard University. While teaching at Howard, 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, and graduated in February of 1872 and was the first woman to graduate from the Howard Law School.

Ray was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar on April 23, 1872. 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.

Source: Wikipedia