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Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

2023 Women’s History Month

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was a pioneering Black professional and civil rights activist of the early-to-mid-20th century.

In 1921, Mossell Alexander was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in economics in the United States.

In 1927, she was the first woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and became the first Black woman to practice law in the state.

She was also the first national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, serving from 1919 to 1923.

Mossell Alexander and her husband were active in civil rights in Philadelphia and nationally.

In 1952, she was appointed to the city’s Commission on Human Relations, serving through 1968.

Mossell Alexander is a founding member of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (1963).

She served on the board of the National Urban League for 25 years.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter named her in 1979 to chair the decennial White House Conference on Aging.