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.”