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BLSA hosts 25th annual Sadie T.M. Alexander conference, Jan. 26

January 17, 2013

The University of Pennsylvania Black Law Students Association (BLSA) celebrates the 25th Annual Sadie T.M. Alexander Commemorative Conference on January 26, 2013. This year’s theme, “Looking Back and Moving Forward: Celebrating 25 Years,” commemorates the legacy of Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander ED’18, GR’21, L’27 and her example of how one person developed a career that spanned many legal positions, while remaining committed to the advancement of the community.

The Sadie T.M. Alexander Conference provides an opportunity for the Penn Law community to gather to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Alexander, the first African-American woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in economics and, in 1927, the first African American woman to graduate from Penn Law. Her exceptional career included service to President Harry Truman as a member of his President’s Committee on Civil Rights, as well as her active role in the creation of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Rights and her work as its first commissioner.  

The Conference begins with several panel discussions, including Law School Pursuit: Pre-Law Panel;Start Your Next Chapter: Best Practices (1L);Excelling in the Workplace Panel (2L/3L);Networking Workshop: Knowing Who It Takes To Propel Your Career Forward; and Different Career Paths and Possibilities: Creative Ways to Use Your JD.

These discussions aim to to encourage students to explore career development within a wide range of legal services, while realizing the importance of contributing to the community from a legal aspect.

The lectures are followed by a career fair introducing diverse first year law students to law firms and organizations. The Conference concludes with a reception and keynote speech by the inaugural Raymond Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander ED’18, GR’21, L’27 Chair and Professor of Civil Rights, Dorothy Roberts, commemorating the legacy of Dr. Alexander on Saturday evening.

Roberts joined the University of Pennsylvania in Spring 2012 as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professor with joint appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Law School.

The Chair was established at Penn Law through an initial gift from the Alexander estate in 1993, and through the involvement of the Alexanders’ daughters, Dr. Rae Alexander-Minter GR’81, who played a pivotal role over the years in leading fundraising efforts, and Mary B. Cannaday. The Chair has been co-funded by the Law School, Penn, and through a grant by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and a gift from the law firm Duane Morris.

In 1994 Penn Law’s BLSA established a Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Committee and each year since then has hosted an annual dinner and conference to support fundraising for the Chair as well as celebrate the Alexanders’ lives and legacy. In total, more than 350 donors, including individual alumni, students, and faculty, as well as alumni groups, student groups, law firms, and corporations, have contributed to the establishment of the professorship.

Roberts’ pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health, bioethics, and social justice, especially as they impact the lives of women, children, and African-Americans. Her major books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011), Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997). She is the author of more than 80 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law, First Amendment law, and women and the law.


For more information or to register, go to: e