Charlotte E. Ray – Storytelling Arc

Exposition: Setting the scene by introducing who I am (my name), the date, as well as telling the audience that I had just applied for the to practice in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.

Conflict Introduced: Howard University has an articulated policy of acceptance of blacks and of women.

Rising Action 1: I became a teacher at Howard University’s Prep School in the Normal and Preparatory Department in order to take a step closer in achieving my goal.

Rising Action 2: I came to the realization that I wanted to register in the Law Department while teaching at Howard; however, the university is very well known for being especially critical regarding blacks and women. 

Rising Action 3: In order to disguise my race as well as gender, I applied for the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia under the name of C.E. Ray, so that my admission wouldn’t be constantly revoked.

Climax: March 2, 1872: I get admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. As a corporate lawyer, I don’t appear much in courts; however, in a case of Gadley v Gadley, I happened to be the first female to argue in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. 

Falling Action 1: People call me “the women General O.O. Howard,” the founder and first president of Howard University. They say I give clear incisive analysis of one of the most delicate legal questions– not copied from the books but from my own brain. 

Falling Action 2: I was said to be, “eloquent, authoritative, and one of the best lawyers on corporations in the country.” People admired me regardless of my gender or race.

Resolution: I was only able to practice law for a few years; however, becoming the first female African-American lawyer proves how powerful actions can be. I showed others that African-Americans have the capability to excel in this field. Regardless of racism being at its “peak,” I demonstrated that anything is achievable.