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Friday, January 2, 2009

Flying with Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander is my new hero. Do you know who she is? I didn't until the day after Christmas (Okay, it was really December 22nd when I opened the gift. But in my defense the sistergirlfriend who gave me the gift opened the gift I sent her first. So I just wanted to equalize the situation). Anyway, in the gift (which I discuss in a later blog) was Sadie.

Today is Sadie's birthday. In 1918, she received a B. S. in Education with senior honors, and in 1919, a M.A. in Economics, both from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1921, she received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, becoming one of the first black women to receive a doctorate and the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in economics.

Talk about perseverance! So, now no more sob story from me about how hard it is to finish my PhD. Well, maybe not as many sob stories. I doubt I can eliminate them all! However 'meeting' Sadie has inspired me.

The author of The Black Female Ph.D., McLean Tobin wrote "Black professional women may shed light on the unique experience of a group that has conquered double discrimination. In most cases being both black and female produces a defeating situation." Sadie Alexander overcame this "double jeopardy," and paved the way for her "sisters" to pursue doctoral degrees".

She was the first, if she were here, she would be encouraging me to be the next black woman, one of the next, or simply one of the many to get her doctorate. I cannot let her or myself down.

Read more about Sadie at


Anonymous said...

Greetings from a pilot in the making! Yes I'm female, and black :-). Your blog and story really touched me. I have been scouring the net trying to find other black females interested in aviation.I also grew up wanting to be a professional pilot, but ended up as an engineer. A few months ago I finally got the guts to pursue my dream and started taking flying lessons. I am just about to go on my first solo, and I am thrilled. I want to do all I can to encourage more of us to go out there and do it. Yes, we can fly!

doretha said...

Congratulations! Please keep us posted on your journey. I would love feature you in a blog! You can reach me at

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