Profile America: Charlotte Ray

Monday, February 27 — 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 8,500 college and professional degrees were awarded in the U.S. Today, in the 25.6 million-strong black population over 25 years old, more than 20 percent have bachelor’s degrees or higher levels of attainment. Over 1.9 million black people have graduate or professional degrees.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online here.

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