March Madness, Round 2 (3/20/2018) — Charlotte Ray v. Azizah al-Hibri

Round 2 continues today with Charlotte Ray versus Azizah al-Hibri. Which woman inspires you the most? You can vote by participating in our daily Twitter or Facebook poll, or by casting a vote at the Circulation Desk.  Happy voting!

Image via

Charlotte E. Ray-“I am determined to persevere.”

Charlotte Ray was accepted to teach in District of Columbia’s Howard University after college, but Charlotte wished to be lawyer. Because Howard University discouraged women to apply, Charlotte applied under the name “C.E. Ray” to disguise her gender and was accepted into the university’s law school in 1969. After three years of study and specialization in Commercial law, Charlotte became the first woman to graduate from Howard University in 1872, the first African American to obtain a law degree, and shortly after became the first woman to be admitted into the District of Colombia bar. Unfortunately, she was unable to sustain a private practice and settled back in New York, becoming a teacher and marrying.

Image via University of Richmond School of Law

Azizah Y. al-Hibri-“Islam says that women should speak emphatically so that they should not be seen as weak and vulnerable.”

Granddaughter of a sheik, not much is known about Azizah outside of her academic research and talks on Islamic law and gender. She was a professor at Texas A&M University before entering a law school in 1982. She was an associate at two different New York law firms before returning to academia at the University of Richmond School of Law where she remained from 1992 to 2012 when she choice to retire. Azizah is most well-known for advocating for the strength of women in Islam. She founded the Karamah in 1993. Karamah is a group for Muslim Women Lawyers to help empower each other, teach women their rights, and encourage strength of character in female Muslims. The organization went from a small group of like-minded women to a distinguished group that has lasted almost 25 years. In recent years, Azizah has earned several civilian freedom awards and spent time traveling the world to discuss her views on Islamic law. Currently, Azizah is crafting the second volume of her groundbreaking book, “Islamic Worldview: Islamic Jurisprudence, An American Muslim Perspective, Vol. 1” and is working to advocate for a modern understanding of Islam with respect to gender, marriage, family, and jurisprudence.

Disclaimer: This is a friendly competition that is meant to increase awareness about some amazing women. The match ups were determined by a random outcome generator, and the winner will be determined based solely on the votes submitted by the participants. We are in no way seeking to pit one woman against each other in any inappropriate way, because each woman is inspiring in her own right.

Author: Alyson Drake

Alyson Drake is the Assistant Director for Public Services and the Director of the Excellence in Legal Research Program at Texas Tech University Law School, where she also teaches courses in Texas Legal Research, and Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research and administers the Legal Practice Program's research workshops. She blogs at

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