NOT Charlotte E. Ray

In 1872, Ms. Ray (later Mrs. Fraim) (January 13, 1850 – January 4, 1911) became the first black woman in the USA to practice law.
She was 27 at the time.
Unfortunately there is no known photograph of her, only a drawing.
For some peculiar reason people have started sharing pictures of other women claiming them to be Charlotte E.Ray.
And once a photo of someone has the wrong name or other information under it, it can start to lead its own life.

It is extremely sad and sensitive in this case.
Charlotte E. Ray deserves the honour and respect she earned by working very hard under difficult circumstances.
Her name and story is regularly shared online by people who admire her but they use the photos of other black women who also deserve their place in the limelight.

These photos show three different women who all have achieved some great things but they are not Charlotte E. Ray.

This is Lutie A. Lytle (November 1875 – 1940), she was one of the first black women in the legal profession in America .

Photo by Charles de Flaugergues, C. 1934.

This is Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993), she is one of the most celebrated opera singers of the twentieth century and social reformer.
A similar photo from clearly the same photo shoot was also used on the program for her 1935 concert in New york;

This is Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (January 2, 1898 – November 1, 1989), she was the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. in economics in the US in 1921 and the first black woman to practice law in Pennsylvania and did a lot of good work for civil rights.

There is no photo of Charlotte E. Ray, sadly all we have of her is this illustration and nobody seems to know who made it and if it even really depicts Charlotte, but at least it’s not some other woman.

If you want to honour Charlotte and still want to use a picture, you could also choose the art piece below, it was made by Baba Adelana, I think it’s very nice and although we of course don’t know how lifelike it is, it is more respectful to use than a photo of some of the other black woman who deserves recognition of her own.

© 2022 Baba Adelana

You can find mr. Adelana’s Etsy shop by clicking here or follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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Picture(s) found online, used for (re-)educational purposes only.
I do not own the copyrights to these images, I only share them here for educational purposes to try and make sure the real story behind it becomes known and people will stop spreading false information.
If the copyright owner objects to the sharing here, kindly contact me and I shall alter the article.
If you’re interested in using any of the images here get in touch with the copyright owners mentioned in the article.
Feel free to contact me with questions.

2 thoughts on “NOT Charlotte E. Ray

  1. Thsnk you so much…I knew this was Marian Anderson…and I guess I hurt my young niece’s feelings..this kind of stuff annoys me to no end I have Marion’s stamp Mug,etc..a big fan


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