Senator Henry “Hank" Sanders
Senator Henry “Hank” Sanders is the second of 13 children born to Ola Mae and Sam Sanders of Baldwin County, Alabama. He challenged the twin obstacles of poverty and racism to: graduate from Douglasville High School, Talladega College, and Harvard Law School; establish a law practice; and serve as the first African American State Senator from the Alabama Black Belt.Â He is married to Faya Ora Rose Toure, formerly Rose M. Sanders, and they have three children by birth, four by foster relationship, and many by heart.
In 1971, Sanders began what became Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway and Campbell, LLC. At one time, it was the largest Black law firm in Alabama and one of the ten largest in the country. His law practice is one of service: helping poor and Black people save their lands, protecting people’s constitutional rights, challenging corporate abuse, and helping build strong governments to serve all people. He served as one of three lead counsel in the nationally known $1.2 billion Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation.
As a community person, Sanders has helped found and build many organizations and institutions, including the following: Alabama New South Coalition, where he currently is President Emeritus; 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement; Alabama Lawyers Association; Black Belt Human Resources Center; McRae Learning Center; the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute; the Slavery and Civil War Museum; C.A.R.E. (Coalition of Alabamians Reforming Education); the Selma Collaborative; the Bridge Crossing Jubilee; WBMZ-105.3 FM Radio Station; and more.
In 1983, Sanders was elected to the Alabama Senate, where he champions issues affecting education, children, health care, women, tax reform, constitutional reform and more. For 16 years, he served as Chairman of the Finance and Taxation Education, which handles the multi-billion dollar state education budget.
As part of his accountability, Sanders writes a weekly column entitled Senate Sketches, which is published in various newspapers, on the Internet, and in other publications. He has a self-published book entitled, Take a Walk in My Shoes, which is a compilation of selected Sketches. In 2004, he published his first novel, Death of a Fat Man. He speaks widely, especially to young people. His hobbies are reading, writing, and sports. He considers his most significant contribution to be his work with and for our youth.