Harlem Academy to Honor Civil Rights Champion Clifford Alexander ’58

Clifford Alexander '58, former Secretary of the Army, will be recognized at Harlem Academy’s Spring Benefit on April 28.

Mr. Alexander, an attorney and businessman, spent decades in public service as a counselor to presidents and as a champion of civil rights. He was born and raised in Harlem, attending Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Harvard, and Yale Law School.

In July 1963, he was called to serve on the staff of the National Security Council in the Kennedy administration. In 1964, President Johnson appointed him Deputy Special Assistant to the President, and in 1967, Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 1977, President Carter appointed him Secretary of the Army where he managed the transition to an all-volunteer force. For decades he has been president of Alexander & Associates, and he continues to serve as a trusted adviser on civil rights and issues of equality.

“We are honored that Mr. Alexander is choosing to have an impact at Harlem Academy,” said Vinny Dotoli, head of school.

“He connects to our mission on many levels: for his intellectual rigor, as a role model for his life and choices, and also as an incredible resource for our curriculum.”

In March, Mr. Alexander will visit Harlem Academy to meet students and lead a history seminar. The eighth grade class just completed a full trimester studying the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Era.

“Our American history course is built entirely from primary sources,” says history teacher Sean Robertson. “Adding Mr. Alexander’s perspective lets our students see that era through his eyes and talk with him about how it has evolved through to today.”

Harlem Academy is a private school for gifted, low-income children in grades one through eight. The Academy guides students to thrive at the highest academic levels and contribute to community, so they can one day make a mark on the world.