By Sam Bojarski

In her early teenage years, Michele Alexandre witnessed upheaval in Haiti, after the fall of the Duvalier regime in 1986. It was a time of instability, violence and human rights abuses. 

Moving to Brooklyn in 1990 at the age of 15 opened new doors for Alexandre, including the chance to better herself through education. But injustice was persistent in American society, too. 

Michele Alexandre, dean of Stetson University College of Law. Courtesy of Stetson University

“In the ‘90s in Brooklyn, Haitians were pariahs and were labeled as carriers of HIV and AIDS. We were constantly jumped on and singled out as less than, and that was kind of symptomatic of the way in which many poor Black folks were treated,” Alexandre said. 

Witnessing these injustices and how they intersect with the law would spark Alexandre’s interest in legal scholarship. Since receiving her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 2000, her career has included a long string of works and accomplishments. She now serves as dean at the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, becoming the first Black person to hold the position in June 2019. 


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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America fellow. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and...