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Meet Fanny Jackson Coppin, the first African-American woman to be a school principal in 1869

Black Women in History

Meet Fanny Jackson Coppin, the first African-American woman to be a school principal in 1869



Fanny Jackson Coppin was born a slave on January 8, 1837, and at age 12, she escaped slavery when her aunt decided to purchase her freedom with the hopes that Fanny could do something worthwhile with her life.  She was later employed as a domestic servant by American essayist and Mayor of Newport, Rhode Island, George Henry Calvert.

Until 1860, Fanny was self- taught, learning how to read and write at any opportunity she had. She was very particular and determined to get an education. In 1860, she enrolled into Oberlin College, Ohio. Oberlin College was the first college that accepted both black and female students.

While in her junior year, Fanny was chosen by her faculty to teach some classes. Despite fears that she might be rejected as a teacher by the students, the faculty gave Fanny the opportunity and she was received warmly. Fanny’s classes had to be divided because the class grew bigger with time. She also …..


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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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