Anna Julia Cooper
Cooper was born a slave to her father, G.W. Hayward who was a slave owner and mother, Hannah Stanley Hayward, who was Hayward’s slave in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1858. She married George Cooper who died after two years of marriage.
Cooper dedicated the rest of her life to education and never married again. She completed her bachelor’s and master of arts degree from Oberlin College in 1887 and proceeded to teach at the M Street High School, (which became the Laurence Dunbar School for Negroes and Native Americans).
She additionally completed her PhD in in-comparative literature from the Sorbonne University by completing a dissertation entitled, France’s attitude towards slavery during the revolution. Cooper was one of the organisers of the first Pan-African Congress which took place in London in 1901.
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She opposed the Atlanta compromise which was an agreement that Blacks would submit to White political rule and receive basic education. Cooper ensured Black students pursued education in the humanities and sciences, which prepared them to study liberal arts at some of the nation’s most competitive colleges and universities.
Due to the prominence of her deeds, Cooper was eventually fired from her post of principal of the school in 1906.