Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964) was a writer, teacher, and activist who championed education for African Americans and women.
Born into bondage in 1858 in Raleigh, North Carolina, Anna Haywood married George A.G. Cooper, a teacher of theology at Saint Augustine’s, in 1877. When her husband died two years later, Cooper decided to pursue a college degree. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio on a scholarship, earning a BA in 1884 and a masters degree in mathematics in 1887. After graduation, Cooper worked at Wilberforce University and Saint Augustine’s before moving to Washington, D.C. to teach at Washington Colored High School. During her years as a teacher and principal at M Street High School, Cooper also completed her first book, titled A Voice from the South: By a Black Woman of the South, published in 1892, and delivered many speeches calling for civil rights and women’s rights.
On February 27, 1964, Cooper died in Washington, DC at the age of 105.