top of page
Daisy Jane Cooper Main.png

DAISY
JANE COOPER

"Respecting a person's
difference is a reflection
of our character."

D

Daisy Jane Cooper, widely recognized as Jane Cooper Johnson, was born in 1948 in Richmond, Virginia, to Bettie Elizabeth Boyers Cooper and Cleveland L Cooper, Jr. Raised as an only child, her early years unfolded in the Westwood Community located in the far west end.

 

In 1958, a significant turning point occurred when Civil Rights Attorney Oliver W. Hill, Sr. submitted an application to the Richmond City School Board on behalf of Jane's mother. The application aimed to transfer Jane from the all-black George Washington Carver Elementary School to the all-white Westhampton Elementary School. The case advanced to the State Pupil Placement Board, which ultimately denied the request, leading to a three-year federal lawsuit. Despite the challenges, this legal battle resulted in a groundbreaking federal court victory, impacting not only the citizens of Richmond and the Richmond City Public Schools, but also setting a precedent for other localities. This triumph meant that African American students no longer required permission from the State Board to attend a white school!

 

Therefore on September 5, 1961, in compliance with the U.S. Desegregation Court Order, Jane made history as the first African American student to integrate Richmond's Westhampton Junior High School.  Thus, this milestone paved the way for African American students to access white schools. The following year, on September 6, 1962, she continued to break barriers by becoming the first African American student to integrate Thomas Jefferson High School.

 

Presently, Jane is enjoying her retirement from the Virginia Department of Education. She has transitioned to a licensed realtor and resides in Richmond. Her joy comes from quality time spent with family and friends, as well as active participation in community volunteer work. Jane's legacy is defined not only by her personal accomplishments but also by her dedicated community service. With four daughters, eight grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren, her impact is felt through generations. Jane also takes immense pride in having witnessed her grandson's graduation from Thomas Jefferson High School, the very school she played a pivotal role in integrating.

Walking into middle school.jpg
PROFESSIONAL 

INTERVIEW

Elizabeth Cooper and Jane Cooper Johnson
Concrete Wall

Years Later

2003

VA Civil Rights Video Initiative

Oral histories of civil rights leaders in Virginia organized by the Virginia Historical Society, and produced by the Virginia Civil Rights Video Initiative. MORE

2004

Recognition VA Board of Education

Recognition by the Virginia Board of Education in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1954 Supreme Court's Decision, Brown v. Board of Education. 

2006

2005

Commendation VA General Assembly
Recognition: 40th H.S. Reunion

Recognition by classmates. MORE 

2018

Plaque

Recognition by high school graduating class with a plaque installed at their high school. MORE

2021

VA Historical Marker

Virginia Historical Marker dedicated to the Westwood Community.

MORE 

2022

Legacy of Elizabeth Cooper

2023

Bettie Elizabeth Boyers Cooper, who helped end Richmond and Virginia's determined efforts in the 1950s to maintain racially segregated public schools has died.  MORE

Proclamation

Proclamation by Richmond's City Council.  MORE 

2023

Honorary Street Renaming

2024

Strides

The sculpture, "Strides", was commissioned by Bon Secours Health System to recognize Westhampton School's place in the story of racial integration. MORE

ITERVIEW
EXPERIENCEO
CONTACT
Entry to HS.jpg
CONTACT

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page