Anna Julia Cooper, Visionary Black Feminist: A Critical by Vivian M. May

By Vivian M. May

Vivian M. might explores the theoretical and political contributions of Anna Julia Cooper, a well known Black feminist student, educator and activist whose principles deserve way more consciousness than they've got obtained. Drawing on Africana and feminist idea, may perhaps areas Cooper's theorizing in its old contexts and provides new how you can interpret the evolution of Cooper's visionary politics, subversive method, and defiant philosophical outlook. Rejecting notions that Cooper used to be an elitist duped through dominant ideologies, may perhaps contends that Cooper's ambiguity, code-switching, and irony could be understood as techniques of an intensive method of dissent. may well indicates how throughout six many years of labor, Cooper traced history's silences and delineated the workings of energy and inequality in an array of contexts, from technology to literature, economics to pop culture, faith to the legislations, schooling to social paintings, and from the political to the non-public. may perhaps emphasizes that Cooper eschewed all sorts of mastery and known as for severe awareness and collective motion at the a part of marginalized humans at domestic and in another country. She concludes that during utilizing a border-crossing, intersectional procedure, Cooper effectively argues for theorizing from adventure, develops inclusive equipment of liberation, and crafts a imaginative and prescient of a essentially egalitarian social imaginary.

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C. Many years later, in answering a 1932 survey of Black college graduates, Cooper wrote that while some may choose to remember her for her doctorate as her most exemplary achievement, she would prefer to be remembered for creating, in 1930, the Hannah Stanley Opportunity School, “dedicated in the name of my slave Mother to the education of colored working people” (in Hutchinson 155). Cooper implies that her mother’s relations with Haywood were forced, not consensual. Thus, right from infancy, as Cooper recalls, her worldview was shaped by an awareness of the mutually reinforcing politics of race and gender oppression, both from her family and from other, older slaves around her (Hutchinson 4).

She refers to it in A Voice from the South as a crucial if brief experience of bodily freedom as a Black woman in the public sphere (88–89). Here we see the personal and political overlapping, both in terms of the friends Cooper traveled with for professional purposes and in terms of the philosophical insights gained from her embodied, “private” experiences. Another organization Cooper belonged to was the rather innocuoussounding Book Lovers’ Club, also quite a radical community organization. For example, members of the Book Lovers’ Club were pivotal in the 1906 creation of a group of schools that would, in 1917, become Frelinghuysen University (closed around 1960), a college for working black adults “designed for the non-elite population” with satellite campuses, night classes, and affordable tuition (Chateauvert 265).

Thus, women’s silence in the public record does not necessarily indicate lack of solidarity with or complete absence of support for Cooper. Actually, the fact that Cooper continued in her highly visible public roles at the Wheatley YWCA, in the Bethel Literary Society, and at the Settlement House could be understood as a show of solidarity and support by her Black female colleagues and allies. Fortunately, following months of intense debate and underhanded meetings, even these last-ditch efforts to eliminate the M Street curriculum were unsuccessful: the liberal arts offerings stayed in place.

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