Beatrice “Bebe” Coker is a Delaware treasure. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Coker graduated from Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) and moved to Delaware in 1960, where she has spent her life addressing problems wherever she found them, using poetry, theater, her work in social services, street-level activism and service on commissions and civic organizations to shine light on inequities, negligence and other evidence of systemic racism. Bebe holds a bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University and a Doctor of Humanities from Delaware State University.
Coker has been a community activist in Delaware for more than 50 years. She was appointed by former Gov. Pierre S. du Pont to join the Citizens Alliance for Public Education to help ensure the peaceful desegregation of schools. She has worked in social services, public and community relations and diversity training. In addition to her community service and commitment to improving Delaware’s education system, Coker is a playwright, poet and lyricist. Now retired, she has also served co-director of the Delaware Black Heritage Educational Theater Group, an organization that collaborates with literacy programs all over the city and county for African American youth, and as chair of the Stagehands of Christina Cultural Arts Center in Wilmington.
Bebe is a lifelong advocate for quality public education, the arts, and diversity and inclusion. She was honored by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce affiliate, The Partnership, Inc., at Superstars in Education Reception and Awards Ceremony on May 13, 2019, for her unrelenting dedication and leadership in advancing education for all children and making our community a better place to live and work. Ms. Coker is a revered community mobilizer and literacy advocate, as well as a champion of social justice in Delaware. She has volunteered for countless organizations, including The Christiana Cultural Art Center, the NAACP Young Adults Group and the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. She chaired the State Civil Rights Commission and has aided numerous organizations focused on literacy.