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Ann Cooper

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Information about Ann Cooper

Profile image of Ann Cooper

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
To Thine Own Self Be True.

Birthplace

Born:
1/9/1902
Birth Location:
Shelbyville, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
To Thine Own Self Be True.

Birthplace

Born:
1/9/1902
Birth Location:
Shelbyville
See how Ann Cooper is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Ann Louise Nixon Cooper was born on January 9, 1902 in Shelbyville, Tennessee and attended school in that rural community. After the death of their mother, she and her six siblings were separated, and an aunt raised Ann. In 1922, Ann Nixon married Albert Berry Cooper, a young dentist in Nashville, Tennessee. Soon after, the Coopers moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where Dr. Cooper established a highly successful dental practice, and the young couple started their family of four children. Cooper served as a homemaker for most of her life, working briefly in 1923 as a policy writer for the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, which had been established in 1905 by African American barber Alonzo Herndon.

Cooper was a vibrant member of Atlanta’s African American elite for more than eighty years. During the first half of the 20th century, she and her husband counted as friends or acquaintances such luminaries as educators W.E.B. Du Bois, Lugenia Burns Hope and John Hope Franklin, Benjamin E. Mays and E. Franklin Frazier. She was an adult eyewitness to life in Georgia during two world wars, the Great Depression, and the efforts of whites to maintain segregation.

Cooper has worked to improve conditions in the African American community for much of her adult life. For more than fifty years, she has served on the board of directors of the Gate City Nursery Association. She was a founder of a Girls Club for African American youth in Atlanta, and in the 1970s, she taught people to read in a tutoring program at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

In 1980, Cooper received a community service award for her activism from Atlanta’s WXIA-TV. In 2002, she was awarded the Annie L. McPheeters Medallion for community service from the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.

The centenarian was the oldest living member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Links, Inc. and had been a member of the Utopian Literary Club since 1948.

On the evening of November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the first African American president of the United States. That night, in his acceptance speech, President-elect Obama mentioned Ann Cooper and stated that her life exemplified the struggle and hope of the African American experience of the 20th and 21st centuries. She saw the changing times from the Depression and the Jim Crow South to new technologies and the election of the first African American United States president.

Cooper passed away on December 21, 2009 at the age of 107.

Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 24, 2004.

See how Ann Cooper is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ann Cooper's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes her husband's roots in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper describes her mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes the fragmentation of her extended family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper describes her father's personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences at fairs in Tennessee and movie theaters in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper talks about changing her name as a child, pt.1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about her memories of Gallatin, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about her family's experiences at Langley Hall in Gallatin, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about childhood mischief with her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her brother, James Henry Nixon, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes the original namesake of her husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper talks about the lives of her sisters
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ann Cooper describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper recalls her father's talent as a shoemaker
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes the relationship between whites and blacks in Gallatin, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about leaving home after the death of her mother in 1913
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with organized schooling
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper describes her first meeting with her husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her courtship with her future husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr., pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes her courtship with her future husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr., pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper talks about moving to Atlanta, Georgia with her husband in the early 1920s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper talks about the homes where she has lived in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes visits from famous African American singers to Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about Charlotte Hawkins Brown of the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about her friendship with sociologist E. Franklin Frazier
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper talks about her interactions with W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1940s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper talks about her friendship with Jessie Herndon
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes the dance halls in Atlanta, Georgia during the mid-20th century
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her relationship with the Rucker family of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about her membership in the Utopian Literary Club
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about John and Lugenia Burns Hope
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper talks about Benjamin E. Mays and Sadie Mays
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with racial discrimination on public transit in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with racial discrimination on public transit in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her volunteer activities at the Gate City Day Nursery
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes her volunteer activities with the Girls' Club of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her tenure as a den mother with the Cub Scouts
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about why history is important
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes nearly drowning as a small child
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper narrates her photographs
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Ann Cooper's interview, session two
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper reflects on her process for running meetings
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about her mother's origins, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper talks about her mother's origins, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper describes her family life during childhood in Bedford County, Tennessee
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her mother's death in 1913
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper talks about her father's death in 1915, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper talks about changing her name as a child, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about changing her name as a child, pt. 3
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper shares memories of her childhood in Tennessee
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about her father's death in 1915, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper lists her siblings
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Ann Cooper describes her father's extended family
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Ann Cooper talks about her aunt, Joyce Nixon
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her grade school experiences
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes the family background of her aunt, Joyce Nixon
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper describes her social surroundings in Nashville, Tennessee during World War I
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes the romantic drama from her early relationship with her husband
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about moving to Atlanta, Georgia with her husband
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Ann Cooper describes her father-in-law, a preacher in the A.M.E. church in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Ann Cooper describes her marriage to her husband, Albert Berry Cooper, Jr., in 1922
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Ann Cooper talks about her involvement with the A.M.E. church in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Ann Cooper describes looking for her first job in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Ann Cooper talks about working at the Atlanta Life Insurance Company
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Ann Cooper describes her experiences with the Herndon family