On this date in 1872, America’s third female law student was graduated. But this third was a first. Charlotte Ray was a freeborn African-American, and the first black woman to graduate law school. With her degree from historically black Howard University, she shortly began her law practice in Washington, D.C., and was the first woman accredited to argue a case before the Supreme Court. When Charlotte Ray graduated, only some 8,500 college and professional degrees were awarded in the U.S. Today, among the 24 million African-Americans over 25 years old, some 6.8 million have bachelor’s degrees, and some 3.7 million more hold advanced degrees, including almost 400,000 doctorates. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.
Saturday, February 28th. Although February is the calendar’s shortest month, it looms large in America’s history of railroad development. In 1815, the first state charter for a railroad was issued by New Jersey for a never-completed line between Trenton and New Brunswick. On this date in 1827, the famed Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was chartered to carry passengers and freight. And February 1830 saw the first charter for an interstate railroad to serve Virginia and North Carolina. The peak year for the number of railroads was 1907, with over 1,500 lines in operation, and the greatest extent of track mileage came in 1930 at nearly 430,000 miles. While the iron horse is no longer so singularly vital to transportation, nearly $16 billion worth of rolling stock are manufactured annually. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.