#EducateAgitateLiberate Rosa Dixon Bowers (1855–1931), former slave became at 17 years old in 1872 the first black teacher in Richmond Virginia a High Feet Being in The South Jim Crow Period , She Was a Woman Activist Organizing to change social ills and Injustices Like Lynchings amongst New Afrikan ( Black ) People in Virginia. Rosa L. Dixon was born in Amelia County, Virginia, the daughter of Henry Dixon and Augusta Anderson Hawkins Dixon; she was ” most likely born enslaved “. As a child she moved to post-war Richmond with her parents, and was educated by teachers from the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Rosa L. Dixon Bowser, educator and civic leader, played a key role in implementing reforms that affected Virginia’s African Americans. Bowser was most likely born enslaved.She went on to become a teacher in Richmond’s public schools. Her efforts on behalf of educators helped create Virginia’s first professional African American teacher’s association, and she later served as its president. Throughout her teaching career Bowser, like her contemporaries Janie Porter Barrett and Maggie Lena Walker, worked for societal improvement. She played a major role in African American reform organizations, industrial schools for black children, groups supporting universal woman suffrage, and associations publicly opposed to lynching and racial segregation. The first branch of the Richmond public library to be opened for African Americans was named for Bowser in 1925.

Bowser became supervisor of teachers at the Baker School in Richmond and in 1896 principal teacher as well in the night school for men. In addition, she taught classes in social skills at the Young Men’s Christian Association in Black Wall Street Jackson Ward, the heart of Richmond’s African American community. Bowser organized reading circles in order to give experienced teachers a forum for sharing information with new colleagues about their reading, their students, and their classroom strategies, She became an advocate for underprivileged children, mothers and teachers. She teamed up with two other influential black women, Janie Porter Barrett and Maggie L. Walker, to establish the Woman’s Department of the Negro Reformatory Association of Virginia.

She became an advocate for underprivileged children, mothers and teachers. She teamed up with two other influential black women, Janie Porter Barrett and Maggie L. Walker, to establish the Woman’s Department of the Negro Reformatory Association of Virginia. Among other accomplishments, the association raised money to develop schools for black children in Hanover County.

In 1895, Bowser founded the Richmond Woman’s League, became its first president and guided it to take stands on issues of justice and rights. In 1896, for example, Bowser led a movement to raise $690 to pay the legal bills of three black Lunenburg County women, Mary Abernathy, Mary Barnes and her daughter, Pokey Barnes, who were appealing murder convictions. Abernathy and Pokey Barnes had been sentenced to hang. Mary Barnes was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Eventually, all three were pardoned.

Bowser continued her activism and teaching until she retired in 1923. Two years later, the first branch of the Richmond Public Library for blacks was named after her.

On Feb. 7, 1931, complications from diabetes claimed Bowser’s life.

 

 

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