Pondering for Friday, February 28, 2020

(Edited from last year’s Pondering)

Readings for Anna Julia Haywood Cooper: Educator 1964

Psalm 119:33–40 Proverbs 9:1-6 Luke 4:14-21

 “Lay aside immaturity and live, and walk in the way of insight.” (Proverbs 9:6)

It is not my custom to copy and paste an entire biography but the Episcopal Women’s History Project did such a wonderful job of reporting on Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, with detail and brevity, that I decided to just give it all to you and end with my very brief comment.

“Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (August 10, c1859- February 27, 1964). Educator, advocate and scholar. Born in Raleigh, North Carolina to an enslaved woman and a white man, presumably her mother’s master. Anna Julia was an academically gifted child and received a scholarship to attend St. Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute, a school founded by the Episcopal Church to educate African-American teachers and clergy. There she began her membership in the Episcopal Church. After forcing her way into a Greek class designed for male theology students, Anna Julia later married the instructor, George A.C. Cooper, the second African-American ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in North Carolina. After her husband’s death in 1879, Cooper received degrees in mathematics from Oberlin College, and was made principal of the only African American high school in Washington D.C.  She was denied reappointment in 1906 because she refused to lower her educational standards. Throughout her career, Cooper emphasized the importance of education to the future of African Americans, and was critical of the lack of support they received from the church. An advocate for African-American women, Cooper assisted in organizing the Colored Women’s League and the first Colored Settlement House in Washington, D.C. She wrote and spoke widely on issues of race and gender, and took an active role in national and international organizations founded to advance African Americans.  At the age of fifty-five she adopted the five children of her nephew. In 1925, Cooper became the fourth African-American woman to complete a PhD degree, granted from the Sorbonne when she was sixty-five years old. From 1930-1942, Cooper served as president of Frelinghuysen University.” (From the Episcopal Women’s History Project)

There are many take-aways here but most notable is the idea that it is never too late to continue one’s education.  This is the idea of life-long-learning. Dr. Cooper got her PhD when she was sixty-five. She lived to 105 years of age.  I say, keep the brain alive and working. She also had a heart that moved her to do for others which caused her real self denial.  She is an example of agape love. Thank you Lord Jesus.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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