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Illinois recently lost one of its longtime public service pioneers, Ethel Skyles Alexander. The former State Representative and Senator Ethel Skyles Alexander transitioned from her earthly home on Saturday, September the 10th, 2016. Ms. Alexander was one of the Founding members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation (ILBCF).

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation offered the following statement:

“The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation mourns the loss of former legislator and Black Caucus member Ethel Skyles Alexander. Her legacy of leadership in public service will continue to live on and serve as a reflection of continued commitment to our community. We offer our condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Alexander.  We would like to thank the family for sharing Ms. Alexander with us while she served our great state.”

Ethel Skyles Alexander was born on January 16, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. Alexander worked as a clerk in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Records Department for 33 years. She was the first woman to be appointed Assistant Chief Deputy Clerk of the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court.

In 1978, Ms. Alexander was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. She was known for waving a red handkerchief in the air whenever she wanted to discuss an issue with fellow legislators. In 1986, Ms. Alexander was appointed to replace the late Charles Chew in the State Senate, where she remained until she retired in 1993. While in the legislature, Ms. Alexander served as vice-chair of the Elections and Reapportionment Committee. She co-sponsored a bill that prohibited state agencies from trading with apartheid-era South Africa and sponsored legislation that toughened child pornography laws.

Ms. Alexander was also known for her legislation she championed titled the “Rape Shield Law”, which protects rape victims from having their sexual reputation or past used against them during trial.

Ms. Alexander’s Father, Charles Skyles, was one of the early black legislators elected to the General Assembly.

Below are details for Ethel Skyles Alexander visitation, funeral and burial:

Wake/Visitation:
Friday, September 16, 2016
Progressive Funeral Home
72nd and Stony Island Avenue-Chicago
3:00-7:00pm

Funeral/Repass:
Saturday, September 17, 2016
1st Church of Deliverance
43rd and Wabash Avenue-Chicago
10:00 am

Burial:
Oakwood Cemetery
1035 E. 67th Street, Chicago

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