Anna J. Cooper Haywood, A Woman from Raleigh We Should Know
In honor of Women’s Month I want to share a story about an amazing woman that I discovered on my way to work one day. I was driving to my office in downtown Raleigh, while stopped at a red light, I noticed a historical marker on the side of the street. It stated: “Anna J. Cooper, educator, orator and early black feminist…” I made a note to myself to look up more information about Anna. To my amazement here is what I discovered!
In 1865, at the age of six years old, Anna was emancipated as other slaves in the South. Anna continued to work for the Haywood Household as did many slaves, for there was little choice for employment. Three years later when Anna was nine, she received a scholarship to attend Saint Augustine’s School (which is now a University in Raleigh). The school was founded by an Episcopal priest so that former slaves and their families could receive an education.
Anna furthered her education at Oberlin College which was one of the first colleges to allow freed men and women to earn a degree. Then Anna went on to receive a PhD from the University of Paris-Sorbonne and was the fourth African American woman to do so!
I am grateful for her life and words, and for the ways that she speaks up for those who have been marginalized throughout history. Anna Cooper Haywood is a woman we need to know!