Through his tireless efforts, Judge Alexander disciplined himself to achieve what was nearly impossible for a man of color in the 40’s and 50’s. He graduated from Xavier University prior to Georgetown Law. He moved to the north and took full advantage of the few resources available to him as a young ambitious scholar. Through his knowledge and willingness to learn, he was destined to thrive within our nation’s capital.
His wife Beatrice worked in the D.C. school system for 30 years and received 3 masters’ degrees. Alexander’s first child, Norma Alexander, went on to become the first female President of the National Bankers Association, their second child Agnes graduated Magna Cum laude from Howard University and her father’s alma mater, Georgetown University Law Center and went on to become the Chairperson of the D.C. Utilities Commission. His first son, Harry Alexander Jr. attended Howard University under grad and completed law school there. The fourth child was named after her mother and died in 1973 at the age of 9. The fifth addition to the family was Louis Alexander; he followed in his father’s footsteps by attending Xavier University in New Orleans. Louis is a philanthropist in the District and has without question seen the world from a completely different prospective than most.
United States Attorney General Robert Kennedy selected Judge Alexander to be the first African American Assistant US Attorney, subsequently President Lyndon Johnson appointed Alexander to the Court of General Sessions, which later became the DC Superior Court.
Judge Alexander touched thousands of lives through applying lofty ideals to the day-to-day administration of justice in Washington, D.C. A widely reported incident in 1972 inculcated the Judges solid moral character and legal scholarship by him challenging the Superior Court’s precedent that it was not necessary to use proper salutations during court proceedings; instead, Judge Alexander did not allow anyone in his court room to address each other without the proper salutations and titles regardless of race or class. The formality of Judge Alexander’s personality and legal style is a result of his having been a consistent trailblazer at the highest levels of academia and jurisprudence.
The standards he set for himself were strict and unwavering as a legal apparatus. Carrying with him the knowledge, hard work, and 50 year personal habit of his rigorous pursuit of personal excellence, the Judge personifies the beauty of formality, truth and etiquette. Harry T. Alexander could have been Mayor of Washington, D.C. at any point in the last 50 years as he is one of the most respected men in the city for his integrity and solid commitment to excellence. After leaving the bench, Judge Alexander was an accomplished athlete for many years in the Senior Olympics.
As D.C. is now in many ways Obamaland, the world is watching us to determine if the hope and desire for positive change fashioned by those of us who seek a better world will lead to purposeful new beginnings that will enable our nation to lead by example in terms of the challenges of society and government action. Within the collective ideas and actions of all classes of the District, a multicultural, positive, and powerful energy resonates throughout all of our lives in Washington, DC as we begin 2010. Let the accomplishments of those who paved the way to possibility and equality like Judge Harry T. Alexander be acknowledged not as a celebrity, but as a scholar and a gentleman whose confidence and content of his character made immeasurable contributions to the laws that govern us all. As Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson were searching for qualified new talent and found Harry T. Alexander; the leaders of today and tomorrow are ready and willing to engage with the best.
Judge Alexander respectfully demanded that all DC citizens do whatever it took to be their best at all times and to bring our ideals to fruition thus moving our great city forward, even if you have to be the first person in history to do so.