Fannie Cobb was a pioneer educator who established the West Virginia Colored Institute’s teacher-training department.
Cobb was born on September 30, 1872 in Charleston, West Virginia. The same year, a new state constitution made it illegal for black and white children to attend the same school. Cobb realized the importance of a good education at a young age. She dedicated her life to giving future generations the tools they need to get a good education.
Cobb graduated from Storer College in Harpers Ferry with a teaching degree in 1891 and returned home to teach in Kanawha County public schools. She continued her education by attending summer institutes at institutions such as Oberlin College, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University, among others.
Cobb established the teacher-training department at West Virginia Colored Institute, now West Virginia State University, in 1908, and remained there for 12 years. After her husband died in 1925, she was appointed superintendent of the State Industrial Home for Colored Girls in Huntington. Carter, on the other hand, refused to accept her appointment until state officials removed the bars from the windows. Carter became known as the first black woman to work in newspapers in West Virginia, and also was seen as a “leader in the fight against illiteracy.
Carter was appointed director of adult education for Kanawha County schools in 1935. She retired after two years, but her career was far from over. Carter became dean of women at the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls in Washington in 1945, and at the age of 89, she served as acting president. Fannie Cobb Carter died six months after turning 100.