Fannie Jackson Coppin, First African-American Woman to Become a School Principal and Superintendent

3 Posted by - September 7, 2018 - Black First, BLACK WOMEN, LATEST POSTS

dedicated her life to educating and advocating about female higher education. She knew there was so much more that women could do in society if they just had the opportunity to excel in academics. She was born into and had her freedom purchased by her aunt at the age of 12. She spent her youth working as a servant for a well-known author during that time, George Henry Calvert. In 1860, she enrolled at the only college during that time that accepted women, Oberlin College in Ohio. She taught Blacks how to read and write for free while she was attending college, she later graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in 1865.

After graduating she took a positions at the Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth, as the principal of the Ladies Department and taught Greek, Latin and Mathematics. She later became the first African-American woman to become a school principal. She was also promoted to superintendent by the school board becoming the first African-American superintendent of a school district in the United States. However, she didn’t stay in the position long and resumed her position as school principal.


She eventually met and married Reverend Levi Jenkins Coppin, and became involved in his ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She went to South Africa in 1902 to do missionary work. She spent a decade working in missionary work until her health began to decline. She died in 1913. After her death a teacher training school was named in her honor, The Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School, now (Coppin State University).






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