In the United States, she was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in economics and the second Black woman to receive a doctoral degree.
After completing graduate school, she found that many employers dismissed her credentials, despite her stellar record. This led her to pursue law school, making her the first African-American to be awarded a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout the rest of her life, she worked with her husband in their co-owned law firm addressing issues pertaining to the civil rights of African-Americans.
Her exceptional journey is honored today by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which she presided over, the Black Law Student Association at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Elementary School. We hope to continue her incredible legacy by holding a conference for Black women in economics in her honor.
In recalling her academic journey, Dr. Alexander has said that “[She] knew well that the only way [she] could get that door open was to knock it down; because [she] knocked all of them down.” In the same fashion, we hope to break barriers and pursue excellence as aspiring economists.
To learn more about Dr. Alexander's Story, please read Dr. Nina Banks' paper and visit the University of Pennsylvania's Archives.