Joseph Seamon Cotter Sr. (February 2, 1861 – March 14, 1949) was a poet, writer, playwright, and community leader raised in Louisville, Kentucky (but born in Nelson County, Kentucky). Cotter was one of the earliest African-American playwrights to be published. He was known as "Kentucky's first Negro poet with real creative ability." Cotter was born at the start of the American Civil War, and was raised in poverty with no formal education until the age of 22. He later became an educator and an advocate of black education.