Interesting Facts: African Americans & Minorities at WCL

- Although the founders, Emma M. Gillett and Ellen S. Mussey, were active sufferage movement supportors for Equal Rights, WCL only welcomed Whites into the college. At it's inception, WCL confined its membership to whites, which admited women as well as men, as co-education is believed to be the true method, for law students.

- Mussey graduated from Howard University, which coincidentally was founded for the educational advancement of African American students, after being rejected from other law schools that did not admit women.

- The first foreign student, Josefa Larroque Harriague a South American, graduated in 1905. By 1925, the WCL had international students from across the globe including: Japan, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Nicaragua and the Philippines. Today, representatives from over 60 countries attend WCL.

- The first student of color was Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, a Native American woman, who graduated in 1914.

- Before the middle of the 19th century, WCL did not keep records that showed when they started to allow African Americans to study law in their institution. The earliest known African American student, James Taylor, was admited over a half century after the school's opening in the spring of 1950, and graduated in 1953.

- Still today no single minority group in the United States accounts for more than 4% of the lawyers in the United States. In an effort to address the underrepresentation of minorities in the legal profession, the Law School Admission Council promotes the Minorities Interested in Legal Education (MILE) project. MILE provides minority students with reliable information about preparation for law school. Designed primarily for college freshmen and sophomores, MILE offers information that can enhance prospective student's academic preparation for law school. (1)


- (1) Law School Admission Council, Minority Perspectives, LSAC.org.

- Mary L. Clark, The Founding of the Washington College of Law: The First Law School Established By Women For Women, American University Law Review, Feb. 1998, Vol. 47, Num 3, pg 613. Also found at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/WLHP/articles/gender.pdf.

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