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Ann Louise Nixon Cooper (née Nixon, born January 9, 1902) is an American activist for African-American people's rights.

Biography

Cooper was born in Shelbyville, Tennesseemarker, on January 9, 1902, and raised in Nashvillemarker. She moved to Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker, in her early twenties with her husband, Albert Berry Cooper, a dentist, and they had four children together. During that time, she served more than fifty years in public work on the board of Gate City Nursery Association and also helped found the Girls Club for African American Youth. When her husband died, Martin Luther King, Jr. sent Cooper a telegram; she also met with Coretta Scott King and saved photographs of the occasion. Cooper first registered to vote on September 1, 1941. Though she was friends with elite black Atlantans like W. E. B. Du Bois, John Hope Franklin and Benjamin Mays, she didn't exercise her right to vote for years, because of her status as a black woman in a segregated and sexist society.

During the seventies, she served as a tutor to non-readers at Ebenezer Baptist Churchmarker. She also served on the Friends of the Library Board, serving at one time as vice president of the board. In 1980 she received a Community Service Award from Channel 11marker for being one of the organizers of the black Cub Scouts and serving as the first den mother for four years.

She was bestowed with a community service award for her activism from Atlanta's WXIA-TVmarker in 1980, and the Annie L. McPheeters Medallion for community service from the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in 2002.

International fame

Still living in Atlanta, Cooper voted early for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. After Obama won the election, she came to international attention when Obama mentioned her and compared various stages of her life to the present day during his acceptance speech at a rally in Chicagomarker on November 4, 2008.

"She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin,"

President Obama also made reference to Cooper in his popular campaign chant, Yes We Can:

"And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: 'Yes we can'."



References

  1. Robert Johnson, "106-year-old voter shares hopes, secrets", CNN.com, October 20, 2008.



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