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On this date, Sadie Alexander, a Black lawyer, and activist, was born in 1898.
Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was born in Philadelphia into an accomplished family. She was educated in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Alexander graduated from M Street High School (now Dunbar high school) in Washington and entered the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Education in 1915. She graduated in 1918 and helped found the gamma Chapter of the Delta Theta Sorority.
She earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics by 1921 and was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in economics. She became an actuary for the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co., and she married Raymond Pace Alexander.
Together they worked in numerous Philadelphia-area civil rights cases. In 1943, she became the first woman to be elected secretary (or hold any office) in the National Bar Association, a position she held for four years. President Harry Truman appointed her to his Commission on Civil Rights in 1946. In 1948, Alexander helped prepare the report “To Secure These Rights,” a document that was influential in the foundation of the American Civil Rights policy in the years that followed.
She joined the law firm of Atkinson, Myers, Archie & Wallace as counsel in 1976. Sadie Alexander, a pioneer among Black women in United States law and education and a committed civil rights activist, died in her hometown in 1989.