Indian Hair Report

Despite Being Born Into Slavery, This Black Woman Obtained a PhD In Europe

Reported by Dr. Sinclair Grey III

March is considered Women’s History Month, but we could never recognize the achievement of women only once a year. Everyday, we should be celebrating the remarkable achievements of women throughout history because without the struggle that women have gone through to overcome barriers, many of us would not be where we are today.

Case in point—Dr. Anna Julia Cooper (pictured) became the 4th African-American woman to earn her Ph.D. At the age of 66 in 1924, Dr. Cooper received this honor in Paris. It was her work in the educational field that prompted her to succeed.

Born into slavery, Dr. Cooper was the daughter of an enslaved woman. She was committed to education within the Black community, so as part of her efforts, she became the head of the first public high school for Black students in Washington, D.C.

The school Dr. Copper was the head of was originally called the Washington Colored High School. It was later changed to M Street School. With another name transition, it was later called Dunbar High School in honor of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Dr. Cooper gave her students an opportunity. The school has produced well-known African-Americans such as Dr. Charles Drew, Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, and Elizabeth Catlett, just to name a few. This simply shows the success that African-Americans can achieve, if given the opportunity.

“Cooper blatantly disregarded the school district’s all-white, all-male Board of Education that insisted she needed to focus on teaching her students basic math and vocational skills in belief that these skills would be more useful to them,” an Atlanta BlackStar article informed readers.

During the time when African-Americans were supposed to be focused on working in the labor industry, Dr. Cooper pushed her students to think beyond that. Even though having a skill was important, shes challenged her students intellectually.

During the time she was active, the well-known debate between scholars W.E.B Dubois and Booker T. Washington was heating up. Dubois contended that Blacks needed to put heavy importance on education, while Washington argued that the African-American community should focus on learning trades that would ensure employment.

Having established a friendship with both men, Dr. Cooper leaned more toward Dubois’ emphasis on intellectual strength.

She died at the age of 105, but with all of her accomplishments, Dr. Cooper is well-remembered.

Source: Atlanta BlackStar

Dr. Sinclair Grey III is an activist, speaker, writer, author, life coach, and host of The Sinclair Grey Show heard on Mondays at 2pm on WAEC Love 860am (iHeart Radio and Tune In). Contact him at drgrey or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey

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