How Sadie Alexander Became the First Black American With a Doctorate in Economics

A century ago, Sadie Alexander graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and became the first Black American to receive a doctorate in economics.

Rejected by many working in the field, Alexander moved on to complete a law degree and built an illustrious career as a civil rights lawyer.

Her work inspired Nina Banks to spend years rediscovering Sadie Alexander’s economics. Banks is president of the National Economics Association and associate professor of economics at Bucknell University.

She says Alexander’s insights remain relevant today and is the editor of the new book “Democracy, Race, & Justice,” a collection of Alexander’s speeches and writings.

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