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Coralie Franklin Cook

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Coralie Franklin Cook
West Virginia University Libraries

 

Coralie Franklin Cook
West Virginia University Libraries

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Coralie Cook with her husband, George William Cook
National Baha'i Archives

 

Coralie Cook with her husband, George William Cook
National Baha'i Archives

Dates alive: 
1861-1942
Occupation: 
College teacher; Public speaker; School board member

Coralie Franklin Cook, Brown Colbert’s great-granddaughter, was born in slavery and became the first descendant of a Monticello slave known to have graduated from college.  She was born in Lexington, VA, to Albert and Mary Elizabeth Edmondson Franklin (1829-1917).  In 1880, Coralie Franklin graduated from Storer College in Harpers Ferry, WV.  From this time, she was widely noted as a powerful public speaker.  She taught elocution and English at Storer and then at Howard University.

In 1898 she married George William Cook (1855-1931), a Howard University professor and trustee.  Coralie Cook served for twelve years as a member of the District of Columbia Board of Education.  She was a founder of the National Association of Colored Women and a committed suffragist.  About 1910, the Cooks became followers of the Baha'i faith.  A longtime friend and admirer of Susan B. Anthony, she eventually became disillusioned by the women’s suffrage movement, feeling it had “turned its back on the woman of color.” 

 

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