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Andrew Jackson Elementary in South Philadelphia has been officially renamed as the Fanny Jackson Coppin Elementary School.

Back in July 2021, The School District of Philadelphia unanimously voted for the school to undergo a name change. The many events that occurred during another social reformation of America changed the community of the formerly named Andrew Jackson Elementary. After witnessing social justice unrest around the world the past two years, the South Philly community wanted their mark in making a change. The school having the name of man who was a slave owner, and who was responsible for forcing indigenous Americans to give up their land, wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

It took months of negotiating, surveying and meetings with the School District of Philadelphia to discuss several candidates for the school’s newest honoree. In fact, more than 1,100 school families and community members responded to a survey seeking input on a final name. The choices waned down to several Black candidates.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Acel Moore; Abolitionist, William Still; Civil Rights Leader, Barbara Rose Johns; and Philadelphia Educator Fanny Jackson Coppin. The amazing thing is that all of these people had ties to Philadelphia in someway.

In the end the school went with Fanny Jackson Coppin.

Fanny Jackson Coppin spent years in Philadelphia at the the Institute for Colored Youth.

The Quaker school appointed her as the head principal in 1869, where she taught two generations of young Philadelphians. She took the curriculum and expanded for those in need. She included an Industrial Department, established a Women’s Industrial Exchange to display the mechanical and artistic works of young women, and founded a Home for Girls and Young Women to house workers from out of town.

Fanny Jackson Coppin even persuaded employers to hire her pupils in capacities that would utilize their education. She retired as an educator in 1902 at 65 years of age. As she was a person coming from slavery, this is just one era of her life. There’s so much more to her inspiring life’s story. Having her name as the new name for the South Philly school is appropriate.

Fanny Jackson Elementary’s Superintendent, William R. Hite Jr., acknowledged the significance of the name change.

Our students must be given opportunities to learn in conditions and in school buildings that reflect their values and their identities.

On Tuesday, the school’s community celebrated the name change, as they ushered in a new era.


Surprise guest President of Coppin State University, Anthony L. Jenkins, dropped great news onto the school.

The university that dons the same honoree is providing a scholarship to uplift students. The “Philadelphia Pathway” scholarship will guarantee free tuition to Coppin State University to any graduate of Coppin Elementary after their high school graduation. Tuition at Coppin State, an HBCU by the way, is currently $11,266 annually for non-Maryland residents.

Superintendent Jenkins left this gem with the crowd after ensuring a better future for the children of this South Philly school.

The same tenacity that drove her (Fanny Jackson Coppin) is in you.

Money should never be the reason that you don’t earn a quality education.


Fanny Jackson Coppin Elementary isn’t the only school in Philly that wants to rid itself of its former namesake.

Woodrow Wilson Middle School in the Northeast Philly and Philip H. Sheridan Elementary in Kensington are currently going through a name change process. Those schools are currently asking for input from their communities about what they want their new names to be. Congrats to Fanny Jackson Coppin Elementary and its’ community on the name change. There will be more to come.

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