Anthony E. Cook
Founder & President
I was born in rural southwest Mississippi to a father with a 3rd grade and mother with an 8th grade education. One of my earliest childhood memories was of a Ku Klux Klan cross being burned in the church yard across the dirt road from our home. I was 10 before we had running water and indoor plumbing. I vividly remember when the first telephone, television and “Internet” – World Book Encyclopedia, it was called then – arrived in our home.
Today, I am a tenured full professor at Georgetown Law Center – a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and alum of the Yale School of Law. I have completed two Harvard fellowships and was recognized by the American Bar Association as one of 21 lawyers leading America into the 21st century.
The most common question I’m asked by those familiar with my story is how did I bridge the very different worlds between paragraphs one and two? The answer always comes back to the cultural, spiritual, and intellectual wealth of my childhood experience. Long before the terms were coined by think tanks and universities, I grew up in a “mixed income,” “intentional,” and “cooperative” community.
Pastors, teachers, and school administrators, along with blue-collar workers, entrepreneurs and artists, the unemployed and disabled, all lived together. Everyone knew everyone else or their families, and in one manner or another, took responsibility for each other. They cooperated across educational, class, and cultural lines. These lines were never rigidly drawn, and, as a kid, I benefited from seeing individuals move fluidly and creatively between roles and functions, as opportunity permitted and circumstances required.
This diverse community of residents, supported by Guardians (pastors and churches in my time), Artists, Teachers and Entrepreneurs, all lived, worked, and raised their children together, as Partners, in a common enterprise.
They strove to ensure that the next generation had the opportunity to go as far as their imagination could conceive and determination could achieve. In the process they produced many forms of wealth – cultural, social, and economic – that was recirculated within the community to enrich the lives of all.