Copeland died Sunday at age 87.
According to an article published by the Ligon History Project at NC State, Copeland founded the Inter-Project Council to tackle issues affecting residents of public housing in Raleigh.
Her anti-drug efforts helped spawn Project Phoenix, an initiative that established police substations in housing communities with high crime rates.
Her work drew national recognition. She received the President's Volunteer Action Award, the Rosa Parks Award, and was designated one of President Clinton's Points of Light.