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, she studied law, specialising in commercial law, and graduated in 1872 and was the first woman to graduate from the Howard Law School.
Ray was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar in 1872. Soon after her admission to the bar, she was forced to give up her practice, and by 1879 had returned to New York where she worked as a teacher. After 1895 Ray seems to have been active in the National Association of Colored Women.
Charlotte was a well-known abolitionist. She attended at Howard University. She studied law, because she wanted to be a lawyer. In February 1872, she received her law degree from Howard University. She was the first black woman in the USA to attain that goal. She opened her own law practice. Then she closed it, because it was not going so well. In 1895 she became active in the National Women's Suffrage Association. In 1897 she moved to Woodside, Long Island where she died at age of 60 in 1911.Poet H. Cordelia Ray was her sister.