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August 10, 2012

Happy birthday to Anna Julia Cooper, who was born today in 1858.

On her 82nd birthday, Cooper wrote a poem entitled “No Flowers Please” that discussed how she would want to be remembered. The final stanza reads:

No flowers please, just the smell of sweet understanding
The knowing look that sees Beyond and says gently and kindly
‘Somebody’s Teacher on Vacation now
Resting for the Fall Opening.’

The full poem can be found in the collection “The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper: Including a Voice from the South and Other Important Essays, Papers, and Letters,” edited by Charles Lemert and Esme Bhan.

Read more about Anna Julia Cooper and her extraordinary life here. Check out the bottom of the page for a bibliography of Anna Julia Cooper, including her own writings, writings about her, and collections where her papers are housed.

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