Barbara Pope

Barbara Pope was born in Georgetown, District of Columbia in January 1854 to Alfred and Hannah Pope.

Barbara E. Pope as a Teacher

Pope was 16 years old when she became a teacher in those schools in 1873. In 1884 she had a one-year appointment to the faculty of the Tuskegee Normal Institute in Alabama and then returned to teach in Washington. In 1888, a student physically assaulted her, and she refused to re-admit the student to her classroom until he apologized. Although the Board of Trustees ordered her to re-admit the student, Pope did not find the student’s apology to be sufficient and resigned from her position.[3]

Pope is Recognized As A New Literary Star

In 1881 four of Pope’s short stories were published in Waverly Magazine, a “weekly magazine for ladies”.[4] The stories were so well received that The Broad Ax proclaimed Pope “A new literary star”.[5] Those four stories were later included in Daniel Murray, Thomas J. Calloway, and W. E. B. Du Bois‘s landmark The Exhibit of American Negroes was organized for the 1900 Paris World’s Fair.[6]

She eventually broke with her father who believed in the leadership and message and ideas of Booker T. Washington, becoming one of the first female members of Du Bois’s Niagara Movement.[7]

Before Rosa Parks, there was Barbara E. Pope

Pope and her sisters, along with many other well-to-do African-Americans in Washington, would vacation in Loudoun County, Virginia. On August 7, 1906, Pope bought a train ticket in Washington for Paeonian Springs, in Loudon County. After boarding the train, she chose a seat in the “white-only” section of the car, rather than the “Jim Crow” section. She refused to move to the “Jim Crow” section and was removed from the train at Falls Church, Virginia. She was fined $10 by the city judge. Pope was then invited to the 1906 meeting of the Niagara Movement in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, where the meeting voted to support Pope in appealing her fine. The fine was upheld in [the] trial court, but the Supreme Court of Virginia overturned the verdict and ordered that the fine be refunded to her.]

Source All of the above information and more at Wikipedia Org -Barbara E. Pope

Barbara’s end of life

She lost her income and suffered scrutiny and criticism from her family. This led her to months of depression and insomnia. On September 5, 1908, she pinned a note on her dress, identifying herself for the coroner, walked out to Lovers Lane beside Montrose Park in Georgetown, and hanged herself. She was 54 years old. Source Barbara E. Pope Blackpast Organization