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Anna Julia Hayward Cooper (1858-1964), an educator, writer, and human rights leader, lived in this corner house for almost 50 years beginning in 1916. Cooper, born in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduated from Oberlin College in 1884. At the invitation of George F.T. Cook, the city's first black assistant superintendent of schools, she moved to Washington in 1887 to teach Latin at the Preparatory School for Colored Youth (now Dunbar High School). From 1902 to 1906 she served as school principal.

Cooper also left her mark on Frelinghuysen University, a night school for working-class adults that opened in 1906. Frelinghuysen University was founded by Jesse Lawson (1856-1927) at 2011 Vermont Avenue, NW, the home of Lawson and his wife, Rosetta E. Coakley Lawson. Lawson established the university to provide education and training for poor and working-class adults. It held classes at various locations around the city. Cooper became the second president of the university in 1930, and classes were held in her home.

Cooper was a prolific writer and civil and women's rights activist. In 1892 she published A Voice from the South, a book of feminist speeches and essays. She also helped to found the Colored Women's League of Washington, DC, a precursor to the National Association of Colored Women, and the Colored Women's YWCA (now the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA).

In 1925 Cooper received the Ph.D. from the Sorbonne at age 66.

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