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Originally published November 05, 2013

Coppin State University: The Founders Day Celebration

by AFRO Staff

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    Dr. Mortimer H. Neufville, Coppin State University president. (AFRO Photos/Dr. A. Lois De Laine)

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Dr. Thelma T. Daley, speaker for the Oct. 18 Founders Day event at Coppin State University, gave a complete history of Fanny Marion Jackson Coppin, a slave who became a teacher, principal, lecturer, missionary to Africa and wife of the Rev. Levi J. Coppin, a prominent A.M.E. minister, and together they were a driving force in Black America.

After attending Rhode Island State Normal School and then Oberlin College, Fanny Coppin became the first Black person to be a pupil-teacher there. In her senior year, she organized evening classes to teach free men.

“It was in me,” she wrote years later, “to get an education and to teach my people. This idea was deep in my soul,” quoted Dr. Daley.

Nancy Barrick, ’53, a member of the Arena Players, gave a dramatic monologue of Fanny Jackson Coppin, detailing her struggles for reaching her dream of “lifting my race out of the mire of ignorance, weakness and degradation....I want to see him crowned with strength and dignity; adorned with the enduring grace of intellectual attainments”

In 1900 Baltimore’s Board of School Commissioners established a one-year training program to prepare Black elementary school teachers. This school was named Normal Department of the Colored High and Training School (NDCHTS). The NDCHTS becomes a two-year Normal School program within the colored High School (later Frederick Douglass High School).

After separating from Frederick Douglass High School in 1909, the school was assigned its own principal, Dr. Joseph H. Lockerman.

In 1926, The NDCHTS was named Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School.

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