Anna J Cooper Education Advocacy Consultants, LLC
Anna J Cooper Education Advocacy Consultants, LLC work to uphold in Dr. Cooper's legacy on behalf of education equity for all learners. We are guided by the example of Anna J Cooper, Educator and Scholar, who saw education as the key to empowerment and liberation, and who relied on her faith as much as her intellect to overcome life's challenges. Her life's work and her Christian faith has set an example for generations to come. Dr. Cooper's Feminist Theory of the intersectionality of gender and race discrimination proved to be visionary and instructive for generations to come.
The Story of Anna J. Cooper
Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964) combined faith and action in her life and work. Formed by her early childhood experiences which made female self-reliance a necessity, Cooper advocated for adherence to grace, faith, diligence and perseverance, centered on educational opportunities to achieve gender, race and class equity. As a student of Oberlin College, its motto of “learning and labor” captures her fundamental understanding of Christ and His mission of service. Inspired by her Faith, coupled with her inborn desire for knowledge, Anna J. Cooper makes the two ideas of service and education the cornerstone her life’s work as an educator and activist.
Anna J Cooper Education Advocacy Consultants, LLC's mission is to continue her legacy in its mission of service to its clients.
Anna Julia Haywood Cooper was born into slavery in Raleigh North Carolina in 1858. She supported herself and her mother from age 6 by tutoring other children while attending St. Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute in Raleigh, NC, where she would also remain as a teacher upon graduation and eventually meet and marry her husband George A.C. Cooper in 1877. After his untimely death in 1879, Anna J. Cooper was accepted to Oberlin College, OH where she studied for a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Latin (1884), which was followed by a M.A. in Mathematics. Anna J. Cooper went on to earn a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France, in 1923, defending her dissertation in French on the slave rebellion in Haiti.
Dr. Cooper was one of the of few African-American women to speak at the Pan-African Conference in London (1890) and the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago (1893) as a leader within the Women’s Club Movement. Anna Cooper was also a member of the Niagara Movement with W.E.B. DuBois and a co-founder of the DC chapter of the YWCA.
She was critical of both racism and sexism within the Civil Rights and Women's movements. She developed this analysis in her book A Voice from the South (1892). Dr. Cooper's book outlined the intersectionality of race/gender/class discrimination as it affected especially Black women. Her fully developed Feminist Theory and the identification of multiple layers of privilege placed her a century ahead of her contemporaries both in the Civil Rights movement and the Women's Liberation movement.
By 1888, she had moved to Washington DC and taught at the only High School for Black Students, M-Street High School (later renamed Dunbar High School), where she also served as Principal from 1901-1906.
As principal of M-Street HS, Cooper advocated for students to take collegiate course work and saw graduates accepted at Ivy League colleges, a course of action contrary to Washington’s vocational track approach. This approach was in contrast to the dominant policy championed by Booker T. Washington, whose so-called "Tuskegee Machine." In 1906, she was ousted from her post and left DC for four years to teach at Lincoln University, MO. Upon return to M-Street HS in 1910 as a teacher, she remains till retirement in 1930.
In the 1930’s she co-founded a community college for Black non-traditional students in her home on T Street in Washington DC.
The college was dedicated to NJ Senator Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, who had been an advocate for Black Civil Rights during Reconstruction.
The original founders were Jesse and Rosetta Lawson and the college moved to Dr. Cooper's home in 1931 after it had lost its downtown location. Dr. Cooper, who served as President and Registrar, saw this institution as an opportunity for Black adults to attain the education previously denied to them.