Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 Sarah Louise "Sadie" Delany
Sarah Louise"Sadie" Delany "Life is short, and it's up to you to make it sweet."

Sarah Louise "Sadie" Delany (1889–1999)
Teacher and Author
Teachers College 1920, 1925

Sadie Delany was a nonagenarian when she found fame in 1993, after a joint oral history of her life and that of her sister Bessie became the best-selling book Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years. One of ten children born to a former slave who became the first African-American Episcopal bishop, Delany was educated at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C. She left the Jim Crow-era South in 1916 to move to New York, where Bessie joined her less than two years later. In 1923 Delany became the first black woman to teach home economics (then called domestic science) in New York City public schools, at Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Bronx. Over the years she also taught at P.S. 119 and both Girls' and Evander Childs High Schools before retiring in 1960. The sisters' book was adapted for the Broadway stage in 1995, the year in which Bessie Delany died at the age of 104. As a tribute to the younger sister to whom she was so close, Sadie published a second book, On My Own at 107: Reflections on a Life Without Bessie.

Delany enrolled in Teachers College in 1918 after graduating from Pratt Institute, then a two-year college. As a student teacher, she insisted on doing her training at a city public school instead of at the "Negro settlement" on Henry Street, and earned her undergraduate degree in 1920. While studying at Teachers College for the master's degree she would receive in 1925, she ran a side business making and selling the candies she called "Delany's Delights."


Bessie Delany


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