During Black History Month (February 2021), Tiber Hudson recognizes the Howard University School of Law and celebrates notable alumni who fought racial injustice and worked to create meaningful change in society.
When the Howard University School of Law opened its doors in 1869, it did so amidst a time of unprecedented change for African Americans in the United States. Through its diverse curricula and emphasis on the embodiment of legal activism, the School of Law prides itself in its history of molding powerful and conscientious agents of justice.
Charlotte E. Ray
In February of 1879, the Howard University School of Law graduated the first woman to practice law in Washington, DC, and the first Black female lawyer in the US. Charlotte E. Ray went on to open her own law practice and her achievements included being an active warrior against “anti-racist, anti-feminist efforts within the legal profession” (Baylegal.org).
Following an admissions rejection from the University of Maryland, Thurgood Marshall began his career at the Howard University School of Law where, inspired by his mentor Dean Charles Hamilton Hustoun, he would later take legal action against the University of Maryland’s discriminatory admissions policies and create a name for himself as an active force in dismantling racist and discriminatory practices against oppressed peoples.
The grandson of slaves and a Korean War veteran, Douglas Wilder overcame racial segregation to attend the Howard University School of Law. He would later on become the first elected African American governor in United States history as the 66th governor of Virginia.
For more than 150 years, the Howard University School of Law has stood as a beacon of educational achievement for African American and other minority students, and continues to hold space for students, faculty, and School of Law supporters as they embark on changing the world.
“Remembering Charlotte E. Ray.” Bay Area Legal Aid, 28 Feb. 2020, https://baylegal.org/remembering-charlotte-e-ray/. Accessed 10 Feb. 2021.
Smentkowski, Brian P. “Thurgood Marshall.” Britannica, 21 Jan. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Thurgood-Marshall. Accessed 10 Feb. 2021.