The CDF Freedom Schools® program is rooted in the history and vision of the Civil Rights Movement, and Black leadership propels the program to this day. Every day at CDF Freedom Schools, young scholars learn about, reflect on, and apply the lessons of real-life Black heroes. In that spirit, we’re celebrating Black History Month by asking the staff of some of our exemplary CDF Freedom Schools sponsor organizations to tell us who inspires them and whose footsteps they seek to walk in as they serve our country’s children.
Inspiring figures in Black history: Anna Julia Cooper
The historical figure that inspires me the most is Anna Julia Cooper.
What about this person’s story or legacy inspires you today?
Anna Julia Cooper inspires me as she was a Black woman who did all she could in her power to make the plight of black people, with a specific focus on girls and women, known. In addition, not only through her writings and speeches, she used her personal resources to make education available as president of Frelinghuysen University. I’m further inspired by her commitment and dedication to her family and her own personal education, earning her Ph.D. at 67 years old.
How do you seek to live your life or serve the young people of your community in that person’s honor?
Anna Julia Cooper inspires me because she constantly pushed for the betterment of African American people during a time where she was met with challenges of racism and sexism, but she did not allow those hurdles to stop her. She made a loud voice to help others. I believe it is my responsibility to do the same, and as a partner with CDF Freedom Schools, I see the work of educating youth in our program one of my life’s work.
The views expressed above are those of the individual interviewed.
Anna Julia Cooper