Anthony E. Cook

Founder & President

The Vision

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.

Image of professor Anthony Cook, law professor Georgetown, founder or gatebridge

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. 

The practice of transforming places and lives under siege into communities of hope, where the fullness of Black humanity could flourish, required courageous acts of resistance to structural and systemic racism and the audacity to re-envision and build toward what America was not yet but still might be.

This was the bridge connecting the first and second paragraphs of my life. Without realizing it, I was the beneficiary of a GateBridge Community. The opportunities that community afforded a poor, Black kid growing up in a racially segregated and economically disinvested community under siege by the legacies of white supremacy are still needed today... perhaps more so than ever.

 
Contact Information:
Cooka@georgetown.edu

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