Fanny Jackson Coppin was born in Washington, DC on January 8, 1837, as a slave. At the age of twelve, her aunt purchased her freedom for $125. Fannie spent the rest of her youth in New Bedford, Massachusetts working for author George Henry Calvert, as a servant—studying at every opportunity.

Throughout her youth, she used her earnings from her servant work to hire a tutor who guided her studies for three hours a week. With the help of a scholarship from the African Methodist Church and financial support from her aunt, Fanny was able to enroll at Oberlin College, Ohio – the first college in the United States to accept both black and female students – in 1860. Initially enrolling for the “ladies’ course”, Coppin switched to the more rigorous “gentlemen’s course” the following year. 

During her years as a student at Oberlin College, she taught an evening course for free African Americans in reading and writing, and she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1865, becoming one of only three black women to have done so by this time (the others were Mary Jane Patterson and Frances Josephine Norris). Fanny was the first black teacher at the Oberlin Academy. In 1865, she accepted a position at Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania). She served as the principal of the Ladies Department and taught Greek, Latin, and Mathematics. In 1869, Fannie was appointed as the principal of the Institute after the departure of Ebenezer Bassett, becoming the first African American woman to become a school principal.  Jackson organized an effort to save The Christian Recorder from bankruptcy in 1879.

1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago

On December 21, 1881, Fanny married Reverend Levi Jenkins Coppin, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and pastor of Bethel AME Church Baltimore. She started to become very involved with her husband’s missionary work. In 1888, with a committee of women from Mother Bethel, she opened a home for destitute young women after other charities refused them admission. In 1893, Fanny Coppin was one of five African American women invited to speak at the World’s Congress of Representative Women in Chicago, with Anna Julia CooperSarah Jane Woodson EarlyFannie Barrier Williams, and Hallie Quinn Brown, where she delivered a speech called “The intellectual progress of the coloured women of the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation”.She was politically active her entire life and frequently spoke at political rallies.

Fanny Coppin was one of the first vice presidents of the National Association of Colored Women, an early advocacy organization for black women founded by Rosetta Douglas. In 1899, the Fannie Jackson Coppin Club was named in her honor for community-oriented African American women in Alameda County. This club played an important role in the California suffrage movement. And in 1902 Reverend Levi Jenkins Coppin and Fanny went to Cape Town, South Africa, and performed a variety of missionary work, including the founding of the Bethel Institute, a missionary school with self-help programs.

After almost a decade of missionary work, Fanny’s declining health forced her to return to Philadelphia, where she died on January 21, 1913. But in 1926, a Baltimore teacher training school was named the Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School (now Coppin State University).On December 18, 1999, Coppin State University unveiled a bust in Fanny Jackson Coppin´s honor during their Centennial Celebration. On June 24, 2021, the Philadelphia Board of Education voted unanimously to rename the former Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia after Jackson Coppin (no relation), effective July 1, 2021.

Biographies

  1. Cassandra Waggoner (November 20, 2007). “Fannie Jackson Coppin (1837-1913)”BlackPast. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  2. Evans, Stephanie Y. (2008). Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850–1954: An Intellectual History. University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-4520-7.
  3. Rasmussen, Frederick (February 10, 2001). “She achieved her goals Educator: Fannie Jackson Coppin made a name for herself by teaching and job-training African-Americans in the late 19th century. Baltimore’s college is named for her”. Baltimore SunProQuest 406497668.
  4. Hairston, Eric Ashley (2013). The Ebony Column. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-57233-984-2.
  5. History of Coppin State University Archived July 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. Boulware, Dorothy (January 12, 2001). “Coppin State Unveils Bust, Street Sign in Centennial Finale”. Afro – American Red Star.
  7.  Kanik, Hannah (June 25, 2021). “South Philly’s Andrew Jackson School to be renamed for Fanny Jackson Coppin”PhillyVoice. WWB Holdings LLC. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  8. Senker, Gerry (26 June 2021). “Andrew Jackson School In South Philly To Be Renamed For Fanny Jackson Coppin – She’s Buried In Bala Cynwyd”This Is Lower Merion and Narberth. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  9. Information retrieved from Wikipedia.com 01/20/22.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

1077Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII stood in freezing snow for three days to have an audience with the pope begging forgiveness—which was granted.
1672 – A Bedford, England, congregation calls John Bunyan as its pastor. He is in prison at the time for preaching.
1781Robert Aitken petitions the Congress of the Confederation to officially sanction his publication of the first English-language Bible printed in America.
1901Charles Parham preaches his first sermon at the Academy of Music in Kansas City, which was dedicated solely to the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.
1914 – The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau is organized in New York City to inform the general public about The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
1921 – Presbyterian minister Samuel McCrea Cavert, a notable ecumenist, becomes the General Secretary of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. A chief player in forming the World Council of Churches. “The temptation of Protestantism has always been to magnify freedom at the expense of unity. The temptation of Roman Catholicism, on the other hand, has been to magnify unity at the expense of freedom.”

*Information retrieved from ChristianHistoryInstitute.org and Rhemalogy.com.

2 Comments »

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.