Black Women’s Suffrage Movement and Mary E. Dorsey

Laura, Mary and Hannah’s headstone

Mary Dorsey was the youngest child of Clem M. Dorsey and Hannah V. Lyles. She was born in 1882 in Alexandria, VA. In today’s world, it would have been unheard of for a single black woman who was a domestic and hair dresser to command the lifestyle, prestige and political involvement as Mary in the late 18th and 19th Century.

Mary and her sister, Laura M. Dorsey made their impact on history in Alexandria, Virginia in the Black Women’s Suffrage Movement. In future articles this year, I will continue telling the stories of other black women who took advantage of the 19th Amendment.

You can read more about Mary Ellen Dorsey in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper on pages 6 and 18 dated February 19, 2020 at

Clifton D. Wanzer: The View from the Air Traffic Controllers’ Tower

Clifton D. Wanzer

Clifton D. Wanzer is the oldest son of Daniel Wanzer and Viola Williams. He grew up in the Seminary (West End) of Alexandria, Virginia. A great deal of Clifton’s life has been in the years of segregation, but that period did not stop him for sketching out a better life for himself and his family.

Clifton D. Wanzer
1950s Air Force –
Air Traffic Controller

Although Clifton does not know whether he was the first Alexandrian African American to be an Air Traffic Controller, but it is clear that he was one of the first from his home town to have a view from the Air Traffic Controller’s Tower.

You can read more about Clifton D. Wanzer in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper on page 11 dated February 5, 2020 at Also you can read on page 10 a letter to the editor from Frances Burton.

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