Sarah Louise Delany

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Sarah Louise Delany
Sarah Louise Delany.jpg
Born (1889-09-19)September 19, 1889
Lynch's Station, Campbell County, Virginia, U.S.
Died January 25, 1999(1999-01-25) (aged 109)
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
Other names Sadie Delany
Alma mater St. Augustine's College
Pratt Institute, A.A.
Columbia University, B.A., M.A.
Occupation Educator, author, activist

Sarah Louise "Sadie" Delany (September 19, 1889 – January 25, 1999) was an African-American educator and civil rights pioneer who was the subject, along with her younger sister Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany, of the New York Times bestselling oral history, Having Our Say, by journalist Amy Hill Hearth. Sadie was the first Black person permitted to teach domestic science at the high-school level in the New York public schools, and became famous, with the publication of the book, at the age of 103.


Delany was the second-eldest of ten children born to the Rev. Henry Beard Delany (1858–1928), the first Black person elected Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, and Nanny Logan Delany (1861–1956), an educator. Rev. Delany was born into slavery in St. Mary's, Georgia. Nanny Logan Delany was born in a community then known as Yak, Virginia, seven miles from Danville.

Sadie Delany was born in what was then known as Lynch's Station, Virginia, at the home of her mother's sister, Eliza Logan. She was raised on the campus of St. Augustine's School (now University) in Raleigh, North Carolina, where her father was the Vice-Principal and her mother a teacher and administrator. Delany was a 1910 graduate of the school. In 1916, she moved to New York City where she attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, then transferred to Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1920 and a master's of education in 1925. She was a New York City schoolteacher until her retirement in 1960. She was the first black person permitted to teach domestic science on the high school level in New York City.[citation needed]

Delany died at the age of 109 in Mount Vernon, New York, where she resided the final decades of her life. She is interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Delany Sisters[edit]

In 1991, Delany and her sister Bessie were interviewed by journalist Amy Hill Hearth, who wrote a feature story about them for The New York Times ("Two 'Maiden Ladies' With Century-Old Stories to Tell"[1]). A New York book publisher read Hearth's newspaper story and asked her to write a full-length book on the sisters. Ms. Hearth and the sisters worked closely for two years to create the book, an oral history called Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, which dealt with the trials and tribulations the sisters had faced during their century of life. The book was on The New York Times bestseller lists for 105 weeks. It spawned a Broadway play in 1995 and a television film in 1999. Both the play and film adaptations were produced by Judith R. James and Dr. Camille O. Cosby.[citation needed]

In 1994, the sisters and Hearth published The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday Wisdom, a follow-up to Having Our Say. After Bessie's death in 1995 at age 104, Sadie Delany and Hearth created a third book, On My Own At 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie.

Her siblings were:

  • Lemuel Thackara Delany (1887–1956)
  • Annie Elizabeth (“Bessie”) Delany (1891–1995)
  • Julia Emery Delany (1893–1974)
  • Henry Delany, Jr. (1895–1991)
  • Lucius Delany (1897–1969)
  • William Manross Delany (1899–1955)
  • Hubert Thomas Delany (1901–1990)
  • Laura Edith Delany (1903–1993)
  • Samuel Ray Delany (1906–1965)

Delany was the aunt of science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany Jr., the son of her youngest brother. Living Relative Families: Delany, Mickey, Stent, and Graham Families


  • Delany, Sarah Louise; Delany, Annie Elizabeth; Hearth, Amy Hill (1993). Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (First ed.). New York: Kodansha International. ISBN 1-56836-010-X. 
  • Delany, Sarah Louise; Hearth, Amy Hill (1997). On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie (First ed.). New York: HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0-06-251485-7. 
  • "Sarah Louise "Sadie" Delany". Columbia250. Columbia University. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Hill, Amy (1991-09-22). "Two 'Maiden Ladies' With Century-Old Stories to Tell". Mount Vernon (Ny): Retrieved 2017-09-28.