Profile America: Charlotte Ray

Tuesday, February 27th. On this date in 1872, America’s third female law student was graduated. But this third was a first. Charlotte Ray was a freeborn African-American, and the first black woman to graduate law school. With her degree from historically black Howard University, she shortly began her law practice in Washington, D.C., and was the first woman accredited to argue a case before the Supreme Court. When Charlotte Ray graduated, only some 8,600 college and professional degrees were awarded in the entire country.

Today, in the 26 million-strong black population over 25 years old, about 21 percent have bachelor’s degrees or higher levels of educational attainment. About 2.2 million black people have graduate or professional degrees.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey.

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