Mahala Dickerson speaks at Booth Memorial

Classmate of Rosa Parks is guest speaker in Anchorage.

by Lawrence Shiroma, Major – 

The Salvation Army Booth Memorial and Cares for Kids in Anchorage, Alaska celebrated Black History month with guest speaker Mahala Ashley Dickerson.

Mrs. Dickerson, 93, was a classmate and lifelong close friend of Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist. She was also the first African-American female attorney admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1948 and was the first black president of the National Association of Women Lawyers. In 1995, Ms. Dickerson received the Margaret Brent Award from the American Bar Association, the highest award available to women lawyers in the U.S.

Mrs. Dickerson shared with the teens and families at Booth Memorial and Cares for Kids what is was like growing up as a female and a minority, and the adversities she faced—first while attending college and then as a young black female attorney. With the help of God and her personal faith, she persevered and has been a role model for thousands of young African Americans throughout the country.

Members of the Anchorage Corps led the Booth Memorial teens in a musical selection as well as a sing-a-long of early American black spirituals.

Some of the Booth School students shared how she touched their lives. Gina shared how Mrs. Dickerson motivated her to continue on, even during hard times. Andrea commented that listening to Mrs. Dickerson helped her to realize how it was to grow up in the ’60s. Lisa said that Mrs. Dickerson is a “great model” for all of us today.

Diane Bedwell, Anchorage School District teacher, coordinated the event.

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