Philadelphia Alumnae Reflects on Founder’s Legacy

Submitted by Marcia Penn and Heather Duggin

The event began with a live video historical perspective with highlights of Dr. Sadie T. M. Alexander’s life including Dr. Alexander as a co-ed on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in 1913, the chartering of Gamma Chapter in 1918 with Soror Alexander as Chapter President, and 1927 when she became President and Charter member of Xi Sigma Chapter, currently the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter.  The historical perspective continued through 1966 when she was presented the first Sadie T.M. Alexander Award.  Additional highlights included her numerous achievements such as the University of Pennsylvania’s first African American woman to be awarded a law degree, the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Economics, the first to be admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar, and the first National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The Sadie T. M. Alexander 2022 awardee was the Honorable Jannie Blackwell, who served six terms as a member of the City Council of Philadelphia.  She was born and reared in Philadelphia, a season advocate for social change with a 30-year reputation for serving community members and the poor and underprivileged in Philadelphia.  These services continue to make her a leader in the city of Philadelphia with a wide vision of community support.

This year the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter highlighted Community Torchbearers, individuals whose stories demand to be told and heard. The Torch having special significance, as the light that illuminates the path to sisterhood, scholarship, service, and social action; and, therefore, it was fitting that the Chapter recognize community “unsung” heroes as Community Torchbearers.

The awardees were:

Sandra Clark, CEO of StoryCorps, whichpreserves and shares stories of humanity in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. She is the

former Vice President of News and Civic Engagement at WHYY in Philadelphia.  She has helped build the careers and opened the doors for many people of color, especially women in media.

Lynette Brown, received the 2021 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teachers awarded by the School District of Philadelphia. She is currently chairperson for the Pennsylvania Art Education Association’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She has taken up the cause of social justice and quality education for the students in the City of Philadelphia for over 25 years in the Philadelphia School District.

Dr. Delana Wardlaw, a family medicine physician and Dr. Elana McDonald a pediatrician, (“The Twin Docs”) have been practicing medicine, building trust, and giving back to their hometown of Philadelphia for 20 years. Their goal, “to make sure people in underserved areas are getting the best health care possible.”

This event was a Show Stopping Life and Legacy! Featuring: Marcia Penn, written by Maureen Henighan Booker, Curation of Photographs by Kimberly Quinn, Production & Research by Maureen Henighan Booker, Marcia Penn and Kimberly Quinn. “THE CROWNED SCENE” was scripted and adapted from an original essay by Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter Past President Soror Cynthia Muse.

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