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*Michelle Alexander was born on this date 1967. She is an African American writer, civil rights advocate, and educator.
She is the daughter of Sandra Alexander, formerly of Ashland, Oregon, and the late John Alexander, originally from Evanston, Illinois. Her mother was the senior vice president of the ComNet Marketing Group in Medford, Oregon, which solicits donations for nonprofit organizations. Her younger sister is a professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Oregon and is the author of African or American: Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861.
Alexander graduated from Vanderbilt University, where she received a Truman Scholarship. She earned a law degree from the Stanford Law School. Alexander served for several years as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, which spearheaded a national campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement. Alexander directed the Civil Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School and was a law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun at the U. S. Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. As an associate at Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, she specialized in plaintiff-side class action suits alleging race and gender discrimination. In 2002, Alexander married Carter Mitchell Stewart, they have three children.
She has litigated numerous class action discrimination cases and worked on criminal justice reform issues. She is a recipient of a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship of the Open Society Institute. Alexander published her first book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness in 2010. In it, she argues that systemic racial discrimination in the United States resumed following the Civil Rights Movement; the resumption is embedded in the US War on Drugs and other governmental policies and is having devastating social consequences. She considers the scope and impact of this current law enforcement, legal and penal activity to be comparable with that of the Jim Crow laws of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her book concentrates on the mass incarceration of African American men.
She appeared in the documentary Hidden Colors 2: The Triumph of Melanin, where she discussed the impact of mass incarceration in melanin communities. Alexander states: "Today there are more African American adults, under correctional control, in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850 a decade before the Civil War began. During the 2016 national election, Alexander wrote an essay in The Nation titled "Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote", warning against what she regarded as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's history of supporting policies which have "decimated black America." Alexander now sits on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York as a Visiting Professor of Social Justice.
Image: Zocalo Public Square