March Madness (3/8/2018)-Azizah al-Hibri v. Edith S. Sampson

Today’s head-to-head is between Azizah al-Hibri and Edith S. Sampson. Azizah al-Hibri is an advocate for the empowerment of Muslim women, and Edith S. Sampson was the first African American U.S. Delegate to the United Nations. Which woman inspires you the most? You can vote by participating in our daily Twitter or Facebook poll, or by casting a vote at the Circulation Desk.  Happy voting!

Azizah Y. al-Hibri-“Islam says that women should speak emphatically so that they should not be seen as weak and vulnerable.”

Image via University of Richmond School of Law

Granddaughter of a sheik, not much is known about Azizah outside of her academic research and talks on Islamic law and gender. She was a professor at Texas A&M University before entering a law school in 1982. She was an associate at two different New York law firms before returning to academia at the University of Richmond School of Law where she remained from 1992 to 2012 when she choice to retire. Azizah is most well-known for advocating for the strength of women in Islam. She founded the Karamah in 1993. Karamah is a group for Muslim Women Lawyers to help empower each other, teach women their rights, and encourage strength of character in female Muslims. The organization went from a small group of like-minded women to a distinguished group that has lasted almost 25 years. In recent years, Azizah has earned several civilian freedom awards and spent time traveling the world to discuss her views on Islamic law. Currently, Azizah is crafting the second volume of her groundbreaking book, “Islamic Worldview: Islamic Jurisprudence, An American Muslim Perspective, Vol. 1” and is working to advocate for a modern understanding of Islam with respect to gender, marriage, family, and jurisprudence.

Edith S. Sampson-“You ask, do we get fair treatment? My answer is no. Just the same, I’d rather be a Negro in America than a citizen of any other country. In the past century we have made more progress than dark-skinned people anywhere else in the world.”

Image via Wikipedia

One of eight children, Edith left school at age 14 due to financial problems. She later graduated high school and, while working for a charity, studied at New York School of Social Work, where one of her teachers encouraged her to become a lawyer. After graduating, Edith moved to Chicago where she opened a practice to help serve the local African American community. In 1949, Edith gave speeches as part of the Round-the-World Town Meeting tour, which sent her and 24 other Americans to speak around the world. As a result of her speeches and the improvements she made in U.S foreign relations, President Truman appointed her as the first African American U.S. Delegate to the United Nations in 1950. In 1961 and 1962, she was also the first African American NATO representative. Eventually, Edith became a Circuit Court judge in Cook County Illinois where she remained until she retired.

Disclaimer: This is a friendly competition that is meant to increase awareness about some amazing women. The match ups were determined by a random outcome generator, and the winner will be determined based solely on the votes submitted by the participants. We are in no way seeking to pit one woman against each other in any inappropriate way, because each woman is inspiring in her own right.

Author: Alyson Drake

Alyson Drake is the Assistant Director for Public Services and the Director of the Excellence in Legal Research Program at Texas Tech University Law School, where she also teaches courses in Texas Legal Research, and Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research and administers the Legal Practice Program's research workshops. She blogs at

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