Caroline Still Anderson, Black Educator Hall of Fame

E’ry day this month, the Center for Black Educator Development, in partnership with, will highlight a Black Educator Hall of Famer.

But, don’t forget, e’ry month is Black History Month. February is just the Blackest.

Today, our featured Black Educator is Caroline Still Anderson.

Caroline S. Anderson was born in Philadelphia, PA on November 1, 1848. She is the daughter of Letitia Still and famed abolitionist and father of the Underground Railroad, William Still. Anderson attended Mrs. Henry Gordon’s Private School, The Friends Raspberry Alley School, and the Institute for Colored Youth.

She graduated from high school at sixteen and enrolled at Oberlin College. She graduated in 1868, becoming the youngest graduate and only black woman in a class of forty-five students. After graduation, Anderson returned to Philadelphia to become a teacher. She also married her first husband, whom she met at Oberlin. Sadly, he died in 1874, five years after their wedding.

After her husband’s death, Anderson left Philadelphia for Washington, D.C., and for Howard University where she was hired to teach music, drawing, and elocution. While at Howard, she decided to enroll in medical school. She moved back to Philadelphia to attend the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, where she graduated in 1878. After interning in Boston, she became one of the first Black female doctors in Pennsylvania.

She met and married her second husband, Matthew Anderson in 1880. By 1889, Anderson had revived her career as an educator, teaching hygiene, physiology, and public speaking while continuing her medical practice. She and her husband founded a vocational and liberal arts school called the Berean Manual Training and Industrial School, Anderson was the assistant principal in addition to her teaching roles.

Anderson’s career was cut short due to a stroke she suffered in 1914. But it did not keep her away from activist work. She served as president of the Berean Women’s Christian Temperance Union, as a member of the Women’s Medical Society (Philadelphia branch), the treasurer of the Women’s Medical College Alumnae Association, and was a board member of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People of Philadelphia.

Anderson’s work after retirement was so impactful, that W.E.B. DuBois praised her for her contributions to the African American community. Anderson passed away on June 1st or 2nd of 1919. Her husband Matthew Anderson said of her:

“I cannot find words sufficiently expressive of her value to me in this work. For over thirty years [Caroline] has been my chief inspiration and unfailing support. When I would become weak and think of giving up the work because of the discouraging aspect she was always able to infuse in me new courage and zeal to go forward. Like myself, she was by birth and training peculiarly fitted for this work …. A burning zeal to assist in improving the condition of her race in every way, fitted her to be my companion in this work.”

Caroline Still Anderson; a member of the Black Educator Hall of Fame.

For more information on Caroline Still Anderson, visit the following site.


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