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On Martin Luther King Day, remember the uncompromising politics of Black economist Sadie Alexander | Opinion

This Dr. Martin Luther King Day offers an opportunity to step back and reflect on an extraordinary past year in American history—one that lit up in neon lights the need to finally address the extreme, and deeply rooted, racial inequality in America, but that also leaves unclear whether or not our nation can find its way to address all our issues of structural and systemic racism.

2021 offers an opportunity to reflect on another anniversary. One hundred years ago this year, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander became the first Black American—of any gender—to receive a PhD in economics, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania.

To put Dr. Alexander’s achievements into context, U.S. women received the right to vote in 1920 and, in 1921, white supremacists burned Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma to the ground. The Sadie Collective formed three years ago to address the dismal underrepresentation of Black women in economics and related fields.

The Collective has been raising awareness of Alexander’s life and work. As a community organizer and an economist, we are writing now to amplify the Collective’s work […]

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