A Woman to Know: Anna Julia Cooper

The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or sect, a party or a class it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity. Anna Julia

(image via the University of North Carolina)

In 1858, Anna Julia was born a slave in North Carolina. In 1868, she was a freed woman, studying multiple languages at a secondary school in Raleigh. In 1898, she was traveling the country lecturing on race, gender and class oppression. Her first book, A Voice from the South, is considered one of the founding texts on intersectionality. At its time of publication, A Voice from the South made the radical proposition that black women held the keys to American future -- only in educating and empowering them could America begin to understand the horrors of slavery.

As she said herself, "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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