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The Honorable Ethel Skyles Alexander

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Information about The Honorable Ethel Skyles Alexander

Profile image of The Honorable Ethel Skyles Alexander

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Representative
State Senator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Favorite Quote:
I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

Birthplace

Born:
1/16/1925
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
State Representative
State Senator

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Favorite Quote:
I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

Birthplace

Born:
1/16/1925
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how The Honorable Ethel Skyles Alexander is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Ethel Skyles Alexander was born on January 16, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Charles Skyles, a minister, went on in 1945 to become a member of the Illinois General Assembly. Alexander moved with her family to Davenport, Iowa, and to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, due to her father’s parish assignments. Returning to Chicago, Alexander attended Sherwood Elementary School and Englewood High School. After completing high school, she had one child, Gayla Aniece.

Alexander worked as a clerk in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Records Department for thirty-three years. She was the first woman to be appointed Assistant Chief Deputy Clerk of the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court. Alexander returned to school, receiving her B.A. from Loop College (now Harold Washington), as well as enrolling in an IBM Executive Training Course.

In 1978, Alexander was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. She was known for waving a red handkerchief in the air whenever she wanted to discuss an issue with fellow legislators. In 1986, Alexander was appointed to replace the late Charles Chew in the State Senate, where she remained until she retired in 1993. While in the legislature, Alexander served as vice-chair of the Elections and Reapportionment Committee. She co-sponsored a bill that prohibited state agencies from trading with apartheid-era South Africa and sponsored legislation that toughened child pornography laws.

Alexander passed away on September 10, 2016 at age 91.

See how The Honorable Ethel Skyles Alexander is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ethel Alexander interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander talks about her father and his involvement in Chicago politicals
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ethel Alexander shares stories about her father's political career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ethel Alexander discusses famous black Illinois legislators
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ethel Alexander talks about lesgislative strategies in the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ethel Alexander recalls the political climate in Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ethel Alexander talks about her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ethel Alexander discusses her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ethel Alexander details her formal education from elementary school to college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander talks about her experiences as a clerk at the Circuit Court of Cook County Criminal Division
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander comments on trying to get a job without her father's political clout
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ethel Alexander talks about being a prospective candidate for Cook County Commissioner
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ethel Alexander explains her entry into the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ethel Alexander talks about her experiences as an Illinois State Representative
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ethel Alexander gives her impression on Illinois State Representative, Charles Chew
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ethel Alexander comments on prominent black politicians from Chicago's South Side in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander talks about black politicians who were her contemporaries in the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander details the antics that went on during sessions in the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ethel Alexander discusses the importance of the Illinois General Assembly to the African American community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ethel Alexander talks briefly about a lobbying expedition to Springfield
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ethel Alexander talks about the importance of the Illinois Black Caucus in Springfield
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ethel Alexander discusses the legacy of African Americans in the Illinois General Assembly
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ethel Alexander comments on what her legacy might be