Life and career
Clifford Alexander Jr was born in New York City and attended the Ethical Culture and Fieldston Schools there; graduated from Harvard University 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.
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; and became a partner in the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, and Alexander, 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 who 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.
- "Boss Man". magazine. http://books.google.com/books?id=2csDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=clifford+alexander+fieldston+school&source=bl&ots=mQ-dE2t-ea&sig=O0iHAJQ2xj31ZOwC47mecoyIboM&hl=en&ei=VD4kTvK3HYmgtwe_vcGkAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Clifford Leopold Alexander Jr., Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army, 1992 edition.
- Clifford Alexander's oral history video excerpts at The National Visionary Leadership Project
Martin R. Hoffmann
|United States Secretary of the Army
February 1977–January 1981
John O. Marsh, Jr.
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