Cordelia Ray

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Henrietta Cordelia Ray (August 30, 1852 - 1916) was a poet, teacher, and African-American political activist. She was the sister of Charlotte E. Ray. She was born in New York City to Charlotte Augusta Burrough and clergyman, abolitionist, and blacksmith Charles B. Ray, and named for his first wife, Henrietta Ray.

In 1891 she graduated from the University of the City of New York with a master's in pedagogy. She also studied French, German, Greek and Latin at the Saveneur School of Languages.[clarification needed] She became a schoolteacher, but stopped teaching in order to write.[1]

Freedmen's Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Ray's ode "Lincoln" was read at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C in April 1876. A memoir of her father, written with her sister Florence, was published by J.J. Little & Co. in 1887.[2][3] Her Sonnets were printed, also by Little, in 1893, and her Poems were published in 1910.

Ray died in 1916.


  • Sketch of the life of Rev. Charles B. Ray. New York: Press of J.J. Little & Co., 1887
  • Sonnets. New York: Press of J.J. Little & Co., 1893
  • Poems. New York: Grafton Press, 1910


  1. ^ Osborne, Tonya Michelle. "Charlotte E. Ray: A Black Woman Lawyer" (PDF). Stanford Law School. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Henrietta Ray". African American Registry. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ Ray, Florence; Ray, Henrietta Cordelia (1887). Sketch of the Life of the Rev. Charles B. Ray. J.J. Little. Retrieved April 26, 2014.