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Throughout Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander’s life, she was driven not to be good, but to be the best. She was driven to clear a new path when a road block was placed in her way.
As a result, Alexander can be noted as being the “first” African-American woman to accomplish many titles.
In 1921, Alexander became the first African-American woman to receive a PhD. On that same day, Alexander became the first African-American to receive a PhD in economics.
A few years later, in 1927, Alexander became the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the first to become a licensed lawyer in the state of Pennsylvania.
Yet, through all of her accomplishments, Alexander never forgot the importance of fighting for social inequality. She once said in an interview, “We must act now because the gap between what we believe as American ideals and what we practice is creating a moral dry rot within us. We are threatening the emotional and rational bases of our democracy.” Throughout her career as a lawyer, she worked with the National Urban League and other organizations to create change. Through her work on President Truman’s Human Rights Commission, Alexander helped lay the foundation for an understanding of civil rights in the United States.