Fanny Coppin – South Africa; served 1902 – 1912

Fanny Coppin S AfricaFanny Jackson Coppin was born in 1837. She was born a slave. In 1849, her aunt ensured her freedom.  Afterwards, she served as a servant until 1860. In 1860, she enrolled in Oberlin College in Ohio, the first US college to accept both black and female students. While a student, she taught an evening course for free African Americans in reading and writing, and she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1865.

In 1881 Fanny married Rev. Levi Jenkins Coppin who was pastor of the Bethel AME Church in Baltimore. Pastor Coppins was elected an AME bishop in 1900, and he was assigned to Cape Town, South Africa. The couple went to South Africa in 1902 and were known for much missionary work. They founded the Bethel Institute, a missionary school with self-help programs. In 1912, Fanny’s health forced her return to Philadelphia, and she died on January 21, 1913. Coppin State University (Baltimore) was named after Fanny.

One thought on “Fanny Coppin – South Africa; served 1902 – 1912

  1. You asked for comment… the only thing I can say every time I learn of freed slaves and their achievements to society is what I feel: I feel so week. I feel soft and like I have never known challenge. And it inspires me. To be unafraid. Because I have never faced life and death — and probably never will — to be “brave.” Because of Fanny, I can be brave.


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