Key Highlights About Fannie Cobb Carter:
Organized the teacher-training department at West Virginia Colored Institute
Recognized as the first black woman to work in newspapers in West Virginia
Fannie Cobb was a pioneer educator who organized the teacher-training department at West Virginia Colored Institute.
Cobb was born in Charleston, West Virginia on September 30, 1872. That same year a new state constitution prohibited black and white children from attending the same school together. At a very young age, Cobb learned the value of a good education. She dedicated her life to providing future generations the tools needed to receive a quality education.
Cobb earned her teaching degree from Storer College in Harpers Ferry in 1891 and returned home to teach in Kanawha County’s public schools. She continued her education by attending summer institutes at Oberlin College, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University, among others.
In 1908, Cobb organized the teacher-training department at West Virginia Colored Institute, now West Virginia State University, where she remained for 12 years. She was named supeintendent of the State Industrial Home for Colored Girls in Huntington after the death of her husband in 1925. However, Carter refused to accept her appointment until state officials removed the bars from the home’s windows. Carter became known as the first black woman to work in newspapers in West Virginia, and also was seen as a “leader in the fight against illiteracy.
In 1935, Carter was named director of adult education for Kanawha County schools. She retired after two years, but her career was not yet finished. In 1945, Carter became dean of women at the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls in Washington, and at age 89 served as the school’s acting president. Fannie Cobb Carter died six months after her 100th birthday.