Mahala Ashley Dickerson

By JULIA O’MALLEY, Anchorage Daily News, Published: February 21, 2007

Dickerson
Rosa Parks, left, visited Mahala Ashley Dickerson. Photo by ERIK HILL / Daily News archive 1996

1913 to 2007

“I remember one lawyer telling me one time, he said, ‘Rex, you see those mountains out there?’ He said, ‘Those mountains are littered with the bones of lawyers who underestimated M. Ashley Dickerson.’ ”

Mahala Ashley Dickerson was Alabama’s first black female attorney admitted to the bar in 1948; Indiana’s second black female attorney admitted in 1951; and Alaska’s first black attorney of either sex admitted in 1959. She was also the first black president of the National Association of Women Lawyers in 1983-84…. She was also the first black homesteader in the Mat-Su.

…at age 71, she was still working 12-hour days at her Fairview law office. “Whenever there’s somebody being mistreated, if they want me, I’ll help them.”

Dickerson grew up in Alabama on a plantation owned by her father. She attended a private school, Miss White’s School, where she began a lifelong friendship with Rosa Parks, who would become a hero of the civil rights movement.

…In 1995, she was awarded the Margaret Brent Award from the American Bar Association, an honor also given to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, a justice of the nation’s top court who has since retired.

She continued to practiced law until she was 91. […]

She evidently drove the Al-Can Highway up in 1958 by herself and her triplet sons.

Delayed Justice For Sale 1998, is the astonishing life story of Mahala Ashley Dickerson.


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1 Response to “Mahala Ashley Dickerson”


  1. 1 vuee 2007 September 24 at 11:50 am

    Honoring a pioneer
    Alaska’s first African American lawyer

    By Grace Jang, CBS 11 News Reporter
    Article Last Updated: 09/21/2007 07:29:15 PM AKDT
    She was Alaska’s first African American lawyer. On Friday, the Anchorage branch of the NAACP held a luncheon in her honor.”
    http://www.ktva.com/topstory/ci_6964269


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