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Strong Rooted Volume I: September 28, 2017

Sadie Alexander January 2, 1898

“Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be Yourself. Imitation is suicide.” Marva Collins

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander came from a family that got things done. A family who did not just talk about what needed to be done, but one who did things for the betterment of themselves and their race.

Born January 2, 1898, in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. It seems fitting that a woman of her stature would be born there.

Alexander was the first Black woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the first black woman to practice law in Pennsylvania, the first national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the second Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States. That’s what you call getting things done!

Our roots are deep, and often the fruit, whether we like it or not, does not fall far from the tree. Alexander is the niece of Hallie Tanner Johnson, the founder of the Nurses School and Hospital at the Tuskegee Institute. Alexander’s father was the first Black graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Her uncle was the first Black graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Again, getting things done!

Alexander was passionate about overcoming racial oppression, and her passion drove her to public speaking and research about the issue. Many of her speeches are on record at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1923 Raymond Pace Alexander and Sadie Mosell were married. The couple had two children, Mary Alexander and Rae Alexander, and remained married until their deaths. Sadie died on November 1, 1989, at the age of 91.

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more intelligent and more educated than college professors. —Maya Angelou

The Writer

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