Legal Divas of Color: Charlotte E. Ray

20140203-184756.jpg

Charlotte E. Ray was born in New York in January 1850. She was a daughter of a slavery abolitionist — highly intelligent with a will of steel. She decided to go to law school at a time that women and African Americans were not welcome. Knowing this, she got creative. She submitted her application as C.E. Ray, tricking the admissions committee into thinking she was a man. She succeeded, and attended Howard University School of law in Washington, D.C. Ms. Ray excelled in her coursework, with her specialty being corporate law. Her classmates were very impressed by her, noting that she was an apt student.

Ms. Ray graduated, and in 1872 became the FIRST woman to be admitted to the DC Bar…and the first woman of color to practice law in the US. Later, she became the FIRST woman to be granted permission to argue cases before the US Supreme Court.

She opened her own firm, advertising in famous activist Frederick Douglass’ newspaper to attract clients. Being aware of the biases of the day, she continued the use of the name C.E. Ray. Unfortunately, it was just too hard, and she had to close her firm. Never being one to sit idle, she became a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Ray was part of the women’s suffrage movement, as well as being an early member of the NAACP.

She died in NY in January 1911. Her legacy of firsts should never be forgotten.

Charlotte E. Ray, I thank you for being the ORIGINAL Legal Diva

Turning the Page to 2014….

Happy-New-Year-2014-goofy

 

A new day is dawning.

2013 has been one heck of a ride.

In the year of Suit & Tie and Blurred Lines, twerking & selfies, major issues took center stage. To name a few:

  •  The Zimmerman trial and the continuing debate regarding Stand Your Ground laws;
  • Gun ownership  and the safety of our children due to highly publicized school shootings (resulting in some new legislation);
  • Stop & frisk in NY;
  • Facebook bullying and liability for the consequences;
  • Hacking vs. whistleblowing, with Snowden dealing a severe blow to President Obama’s administration and the way the NSA does business.

Looking at the cultural aspects of things, the death of Nelson Mandela ended an era, and created a vacuum in some ways.  Who will unite us in the same way? His funeral had a cross section of political and religious beliefs, all united in their grief of the loss of such a great man, an icon.

The untimely death of Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame reminded us how short life is.  He was going to take time off after Fast & Furious 7 to spend time with his daughter.  This is a reminder…tomorrow is not promised, live TODAY.

For me professionally, it was a great year. Highlights from this year included my legal commentary regarding jury selection on the Rick Party afternoon drive show of Hot 105.1 during the George Zimmerman trial, the publication of my articles by a variety of online news outlets, including Essence.com, along with a great discussion on NPR about racial profiling while shopping.

On a personal level,  I lost 20lbs on Weight Watchers and enjoyed my second year of marriage to my soulmate.

But, most importantly, I started this blog.

I feel blessed and excited for what the new year will bring. Thank you to all who have supported, encouraged, proofread, and shared.

Next year?

I don’t do resolutions…they always seem to get broken.  I set INTENTIONS.

I intend to learn tennis, and to serve a wider community by providing quality opinions through writing and other media.

Wishing you and yours all the best for the New Year!

New-year-2014-card-quote