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Black History Month: Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

To say that Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander shattered multiple glass ceilings is an understatement.The Philadelphia native was the first Black per...

Posted: Feb 25, 2021 9:12 AM

To say that Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander shattered multiple glass ceilings is an understatement.

The Philadelphia native was the first Black person in the nation to earn a Ph.D. in economics in 1921. Three years later, she earned a law degree and went on to become the first Black woman to pass the Pennsylvania bar and practice law in the state.

Alexander accomplished all this while often facing bitter acts of racial prejudice. As a first-year undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, she was told she couldn’t check books out of the school library. A dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law lobbied against her being selected to join the university’s law review. She persevered and made law review anyway.

Alexander’s accomplishments were chronicled by the Urban League in “Negro Heroes,” its comic book showcasing influential Black Americans, where she was named ‘Woman of the Year’ in 1948.

Even US presidents took notice. In 1947, President Harry Truman named her to his Committee on Civil Rights, whose report became a blueprint for the civil rights movement. Some 30 years later, President Jimmy Carter appointed her chair of the White House Conference on Aging, which sought to address the social and economic needs of the elderly.

By the time of her death at 91, Alexander had been awarded seven honorary degrees and had taken her rightful place as a revered champion of equal rights for all.

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Temperatures have dropped down below freezing for many this morning with mostly clear skies creating a few areas of frost. Today temperatures will struggle to warm up again into the upper 40s and lower 50s with a mix of sun and clouds. Tonight temperatures will drop into the upper 20s and lower 30s again providing another frosty morning on Thursday. Southerly winds will return on Thursday helping to slowly warm temperatures back up into the upper 50s. Most of the day Thursday will be dry but rain chances will start to increase after about 6 PM. Rain chances will continue for the first half of the day Friday before moving out of our area. The weekend looks comfortable and spring like with temperatures in the 60s and 70s under mostly sunny skies. The warm up continues into next week with highs in the 70s and 80s on Monday.
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