Clifford Alexander, Jr.

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Clifford Alexander, Jr.
File:Alexander, Clifford L.jpg
13th United States Secretary of the Army
In office
February 1977 – January 1981
President Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Martin R. Hoffmann
Succeeded by John O. Marsh, Jr.
Chairperson of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
In office
August 4, 1967 – May 1, 1969
President Lyndon Johnson
Richard Nixon
Preceded by Stephen N. Shulman
Succeeded by William H. Brown, III
Personal details
Born Clifford Leopold Alexander, Jr.
(1933-09-21) September 21, 1933 (age 88)
New York City, New York
Spouse(s) Adele Logan
Alma mater Harvard University, Yale Law School
Occupation lawyer, businessman, government official
Military service
Service/branch New York National Guard
Unit 369th Field Artillery Battalion

Clifford Leopold Alexander, Jr. (born September 21, 1933) is an American lawyer, businessman and public servant. He was the first African-American Secretary of the Army.

Life and career

Clifford Alexander Jr was born in New York City and attended the Ethical Culture and Fieldston Schools there; graduated from Harvard College in 1955 and from Yale Law School in 1958. He enlisted in the New York National Guard in 1958 and served briefly with the 369th Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Dix, New Jersey.[1][2]

He married Adele Logan in 1959. After being admitted to the bar he served as an assistant district attorney for New York County, 1959–1961; became executive director of the Manhattanville Hamilton Grange Neighborhood Conservation Project, then program and executive director of Harlem Youth Opportunities; and practiced law in New York City.

He was called to Washington in 1963 to serve as a foreign affairs officer on the National Security Council staff and was successively deputy special assistant to the President, associate special counsel, and deputy special counsel on the White House staff, 1964–1967. He was chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1967–1969 and was a special representative of the President and headed the U.S. delegation to ceremonies marking the independence of the Kingdom of Swaziland in 1968.

Leaving government service, he practiced law with the Washington firm of Arnold and Porter between 1969 and 1975; was a television news commentator in Washington, D.C., 1972–1976; was a professor of law at Howard University, 1973–1974; ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia, 1974;[3] and became a partner in the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, 1975. He served as Secretary of the Army under the Carter Administration from February 14, 1977, to January 20, 1981. During this time he concentrated upon making the all-volunteer Army work, stressed programs to enhance professionalism, and emphasized the award of contracts to minority businesses.

He formed the consulting firm of Alexander and Associates in 1981 and now serves on the boards of directors of several national corporations and is a member of the Board of Governors of the American Stock Exchange. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

His daughter Elizabeth Alexander (born in 1962) is a poet and professor of English at Yale University, who composed and recited the poem "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's presidential inauguration on January 20, 2009. His son Mark C. Alexander is a law professor at Seton Hall University, and has served as an advisor to Obama, Bill Bradley, and Ted Kennedy.

Alexander has been outspoken in his opposition to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and called for its repeal by Congress. Rachel Maddow interviewed him on her MSNBC television shows on May 11, 2009 and June 28, 2013.


  1. "Boss Man". Ebony (magazine). Retrieved July 18, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Clifford Leopold Alexander Jr., Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army, 1992 edition.
  3. Hornblower, Margot (September 23, 1974). "Hand Cheek Of 93,473 Ballots Ends: Mayor's Win Verified by Hand Count". The Washington Post. p. C1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Martin R. Hoffmann
United States Secretary of the Army
February 1977 – January 1981
Succeeded by
John O. Marsh, Jr.