Sarah "Sadie" Delany, 109, the last of...


Sarah "Sadie" Delany, 109, the last of the storied Delany sisters, died peacefully in her sleep yesterday at her home in Mount Vernon, N.Y., spokesmen for her family said.

She was the oldest survivor of one of America's most remarkable families, the daughter of a man who had been born a slave, and the first colored woman -- the term she preferred -- ever permitted to teach home economics in white New York City schools.

Miss Delany and her younger sister, Dr. A. Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany, were always celebrated in Harlem, where they lived and flourished from 1916 to 1957, after leaving their native Raleigh, N.C.

The sisters gained widespread fame after the publication in 1993 of a memoir they called "Having Our Say; The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years." They wrote it with Amy Hill Hearth as an oral history from their early days in the Jim Crow South to their arrival in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance to their life in a white suburb.

The book, part of curriculums at hundreds of colleges and high schools, was a New York Times best-seller. They followed it in 1995 with "The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday Wisdom."

Dr. Delany died in 1995 at age 104, but Sadie, as her friends called her, kept going, just as the Delany sisters always had. Her last book, with Ms. Hearth, "On My Own at 107: Reflections on a Life Without Bessie," appeared in May 1997.

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