March Madness, Quarterfinals (3/26/2018) — Barbara Jordan v. Charlotte Ray

The Quarterfinals Round of our Women’s History Month March Madness contest continues today with a match-up between Barbara Jordan and Charlotte Ray. 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 Wikipedia.

Barbara Jordan-“More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases. More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable. We must provide the people with a vision of the future.”

Born into a very religious family, Barbara Jordan was inspired in high school by Edith Sampson to become a lawyer. After attending university and law school, Barbara started practicing in Texas. She spent the majority of her career advocating for civil rights and campaigning to enter one public office or another. Barbara’s third attempt to gain a seat in the Texas Senate was successful and she was the first African-American woman to be elected into that position. She was the president pro tem of the Senate for a period and also served a single day as acting state governor. In 1972, she was elected the first female to be a representative for Texas in the House of Representatives. She remained a well-known member of politics until 1979 (prior to which she was mentioned as being a possible running mate with President Carter) when she retired to become an adjunct professor at UT Austin. Barbara might have been elected to the Supreme Court, if her declining health had not been a factor.

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.

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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