This Day in Black History: Aug. 10, 1858

Anna Julia Cooper

This Day in Black History: Aug. 10, 1858

Author and educator Anna Julia Cooper was born on Aug. 10, 1858.

Published August 10, 2012

Born on Aug. 10, 1858, author and educator Anna Julia Haywood Cooper was the fourth African-American woman to earn her Ph.D. in 1925. She received her doctorate in history from the Sorbonne in Paris upon defending her dissertation titled The Attitude of France on the Question of Slavery Between 1789 and 1848.


Having expressed a desire to teach from an early age, she taught and headed the Modern Languages Department at Wilberforce University and became principal of Preparatory High School for Colored Youth (also known as M Street and now Dunbar High School) in 1901.


Cooper was also known for her speeches, including addresses to the World’s Congress of Representative Women in Chicago in 1893 and the Pan-African Conference in London in 1900.


Often heard using the phrase, “not the boys less, but the girls more,” Cooper addressed critical issues around gender equality through her conversations, speeches and writings.


The only woman elected into the American Negro Academy, a secret society, Cooper would continue on to become the second president of Frelinghuysen University, a non-traditional group of schools for colored working people, in 1930.  



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Written by Patrice Peck


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