Democracy, Race, and Justice The Speeches and Writings of Sadie T. M. Alexander Sadie T. M. Alexander, Nina Banks

Publication date:
10 Aug 2021
Yale University Press
320 pages: 235 x 156mm
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The first book to bring together the key writings and speeches of civil rights activist Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexanderthe first Black American economist

In 1921, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander became the first Black American to gain a Ph.D. degree in economics. Unable to find employment as an economist because of discrimination, Alexander became a lawyer so that she could press for equal rights for African Americans. Although her historical significance has been relatively ignored, Alexander was a pioneering civil rights activist who used both the law and economic analysis to challenge racial inequities and deprivations.
This volume—a recovery of Sadie Alexander’s economic thought—provides a comprehensive account of her thought-provoking speeches and writings on the relationship between democracy, race, and justice. Nina Banks’s introductions bring fresh insight into the events and ideologies that underpinned Alexander’s outlook and activism. A brilliant intellectual, Alexander called for bold, redistributive policies that would ensure racial justice for Black Americans while also providing a foundation to safeguard democracy.

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (1898–1989) was an attorney, economist, and civil rights activist. She was the first Black American to gain a Ph.D. degree in economics, doing so in 1921. Nina Banks is associate professor of economics and an affiliated faculty member in Women’s and Gender Studies and in Africana Studies at Bucknell University.

“Nina Banks’ excavation and presentation of Sadie Alexander’s words offers this pioneer’s early vision into the complex and irreducible structures race, class, gender and power in American economic life.”—Marcellus Andrews, Bucknell University

“Sadie Alexander embodies the Black feminist saying, 'the political is personal.' Her speeches brilliantly intertwine economics and law and will empower the next generation scholars-activists fighting for social justice.”—Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe, President, Women's Institute for Science, Equity and Race

"The speeches and writings of Sadie Alexander capture the intellectual reflections of a brilliant political economist, lawyer and racial justice advocate. Some of her observations have been confirmed by modern analysis; some cry out for closer scrutiny; others turn out to be dire predictions of the existential threat of racial discriminations for the rule of law and the fate of our democracy. Ignore at our own peril."—Warren C. Whatley, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor