16 Anna Julia Cooper Quotes And Photos to Celebrate Intersectionality - BUST

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A vocal feminist in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Anna Julia Cooper was a pioneer and proponent for women’s rights and intersectionality. Cooper dedicated her life to advocating for education for women of color both through her writing and activism. At a time when women were told to be silent and remain in traditional roles, Cooper defied the odds and was anything but quiet about it. Cooper fought hard for her own education, obtaining a master’s degree from Oberlin College, but only after fighting to take classes that were traditionally “gentleman’s courses." She went on to teach math, science, Latin, and Greek and made a formidable career in public speaking and writing. Some years later, at the age of 66, Cooper became the fourth African American woman to earn her Ph.D, studying at the Sorbonne in Paris.

As a writer, Cooper’s works were centered around women’s rights and the rights of women of color. In her most famous work, A Voice From the South, Cooper was a compilation of essays and speeches about women’s rights and civil rights for all marginalized people. Cooper insisted that education was the key to women’s rights and ultimate independence. While being a part of the Negro Women’s Club Movement, she also co-founded both the Colored Women’s League and Colored Women’s YWCA. Cooper is currently the only woman quoted in the current U.S. passport: “The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class — it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.”

Here are some more great quotes:

“It is not the intelligent woman v. the ignorant woman; nor the white woman v. the black, the brown, and the red, it is not even the cause of woman v. man. Nay, tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice.”

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“I speak for the colored women of the South, because it is there that the millions of blacks in this country have watered the soil with blood and tears, and it is there too that the colored woman of America has made her characteristic history and there her destiny is evolving.”


“The old, subjective, stagnant, indolent and wretched life for woman has gone. She has as many resources as men, as many activities beckon her on. As large possibilities swell and inspire her heart.”


“I constantly felt (as I suppose many an ambitious girl has felt) a thumping from within unanswered by any beckoning from without.”

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“Only the black woman can say 'when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me.”

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“Let our girls feel that we expect something more of them than that they merely look pretty and appear well in society.”

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“Peace produced by suppression is neither natural nor desirable.”

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“Let woman's claim be as broad in the concrete as the abstract. We take our stand on the solidarity of humanity, the oneness of life, and the unnaturalness and injustice of all special favoritism, whether of sex, race, country, or condition. If one link of the chain is broken, the chain is broken.”


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