Preparatory High School for Colored Youth (Washington, D.C.)
Université de Paris IV: Paris-Sorbonne
Virginia Theological Seminary and College (Lynchburg, Va.)
Anacostia Community Museum
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum
2 open reel 1/2 inch video recording
Filmed literary readings
Anacostia (Washington, D.C.)
Title transcribed from physical asset.
The collection, Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South Audiovisual Records, contains sound and video recordings of exhibit tours, gallery talks, and lectures associated with an exhibition, Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South. The exhibition presented the life and times of Washington, D.C. black educator and author Anna Julia Haywood Cooper through historical documents, photographs, memorabilia, and re-creations of her home and classroom settings. It was organized by the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and held there from February 1981 to September 1982; Louise Daniel Hutchinson served as curator. The exhibition was based on an unpublished manuscript by the late Dr. Leona Gable, Smith College; and titled after Cooper's written work, A Voice from the South: By a Black Woman of the South.
Educator, author, and speaker Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964) was born into slavery and educated at Saint Augustine's Normal School and Collegiate Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina. While teaching at St. Augustine's, she married George A. C. Cooper, who died two years later. After her husband's death, Cooper moved to Washington, D.C., attended Oberlin College, taught at Wilberforce College and M Street High School, and later went on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. Cooper taught Greek, Latin, geometry, and science; and created a path for African Americans to attend Ivy League schools. Although she taught and served as principal (1902-1906) of the M Street High School (now Dunbar High School) in Washington, D.C., her role and influence extended beyond its boundaries. Cooper was an advocate of human rights who lectured on a broad range of topics that affected blacks and women, including race relations, poverty, and gender inequality; a feminist of her day. She was a contributor to the District of Columbia's Colored Settlement House; served as president of Frelinghuysen University, which offered affordable liberal arts and professional courses for working African Americans; and wrote A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South, the first book-length volume of black feminist analysis in the United States.
Professor, poet, and literary critic Dr. Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989) was born and raised in the Washington, D.C area. He grew up on a farm in Howard County, Maryland; and attended Waterford Oaks Elementary, Dunbar High School, Williams College in Massachusetts, and Harvard University. He married Daisy Turnbull in 1927. Brown taught at Howard University, Fisk University, Vassar College, New York University, Atlanta University, Yale University, and Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Virginia. His studies and poetry focused on black history and culture of the Southern United States.
Originally named Preparatory High School for Colored Youth and later known as M Street High School, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, located in Washington, D.C., was the first black public high school in the United States. During the first half of the twentieth century, Dunbar was an academically elite public school with many of its teachers holding master and doctorate degrees. By the 1950s, the school was sending 80 percent of its students to college. During the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, Dunbar struggled to keep its prestigious reputation and high standards. As with many troubled urban public schools, Dunbar standards fell and some students struggle with basic reading and math. The Dunbar Legacy Lecture Series, which was held at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum in the early 1980s, consisted of lectures by and about people associated with Dunbar High School.
Dr. Sterling A. Brown talks about his experiences and teachers, including Anna J. Cooper, at Dunbar High School; and education and segregation, which was fought by Cooper and Mary Church Terrell. He provides a short history and legacy of Cooper, who he considers a role model; and reads prose by Anna J. Cooper which highlights her educational philosophy and her views regarding education and the roles of teachers. Brown talks about his education and academic career; reminiscences his teaching experiences particularly at Virginia Theological Seminary and College, and living in Lynchburg, Virginia; and reads a few of his own poems, which focus on black life experiences in the Southern United States. Ophelia Settle Egypt, a friend of Sterling Brown, reminiscences her experiences attending Howard University and adventures with Brown and his wife, Daisy: their resentment of Jim Crow and riding on a segregated bus. Mr. Muhammad reads his poems in tribute of Sterling Brown and "for everyone in the struggle of identifying what is what and who is who and what we need to do about it." Zora Martin-Felton introduces the speakers throughout the lecture series.
Lecture, and poetry and prose reading. AV003057: Part 1. AV003051: Part 2. Part of Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South Audiovisual Records. Undated.
The Dunbar Legacy: Dr. Sterling A. Brown Lecture, Exhibition Records AV03-029, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution
African American women
African American educators
African American women educators
Civil rights leaders
African American authors
African American women authors
African American poets
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Some items are not accessible due to obsolete format and playback machinery restrictions. Please contact the archivist at ACMarchives@si.edu