(BALTIMORE, MD) – Coppin State University (CSU), a historically black university, has announced the dedication of a life-size, bronze monument of Fanny Jackson Coppin, the institution’s namesake. The monument will be erected in a prominent located on the campus on October 15, 2021. The institution invites guest to be a part of this history-making event where Fanny will have a permanent and physical presence.
In 1865, Fanny Jackson was appointed to the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania), a Quaker school in Philadelphia. Within four years, she became head principal, from which position she influenced two generations of young people. In a letter to Frederick Douglass in 1876, she explained her commitment: “I feel sometimes like a person to whom in childhood was entrusted some sacred flame… This is the desire to see my race lifted out of the mire of ignorance, weakness and degradation; no longer to sit in obscure corners and devour the scraps of knowledge which his superiors flung at him. I want to see him crowned with strength and dignity; adorned with the enduring grace of intellectual attainments.”
Her school was centered on this dream. She explained the curriculum to include an Industrial Department, established a Women’s Industrial Exchange to display the mechanical and artistic works of young women, and founded a Home for Girls and Young Women to house workers from out of town. Moreover, she persuaded employers to hire her pupils in capacities that would utilize their education.
Fanny Jackson Coppin was born a slave in Washington, D.C., she gained her freedom, graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio, and founded the Philadelphia Institute that was the forerunner of Cheyney State University.
Coppin was founded in 1900 at what was then called Colored High School (later named Douglass High School) on Pennsylvania Avenue by the Baltimore City School Board who initiated a one-year training course for the preparation of African-American elementary school teachers. By 1902, the training program was expanded to a two-year Normal Department within the high school, and seven years later it was separated from the high school and given its own principal. In 1926, this facility for teacher training was named Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in honor of the outstanding African-American woman who was a pioneer for teacher education.
“Love wins when everything else will fail.”
-Fanny Jackson Coppin