[Pioneers of the Past] Sarah Louise Delany
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 College) 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.