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A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name Hardcover – January 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439158878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439158876
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,252,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this remarkable life story, the 107-year-old woman hailed by President Obama in his Election Night speech reflects on the times she lived through on the eve of her heath in December, 2009, with help from NPR news correspondent Bates (author of the Alex Powell mystery series). In Obama's speech, the new president remarked on a life that spanned segregation, the Civil Rights Era, and voting (electronically) for the first African-American president. Though Cooper describes that moment as "plenty exciting," her story is more than that milestone: "I had a life before CNN and the rest 'discovered' me." Though Cooper's story doesn't boast the groundbreaking events or distinctive voice of her most famous forerunners-ie, the Delany Sisters' Having Our Say-this volume will capture readers with tales of Cooper's mother, who had been taught to read by white plantation owners, and stories about her husband, who was a successful Atlanta dentist during the 1930s and '40s. A spry, inspirational figure, active and alert into her second hundred years, Cooper's world is also animated by extensive photographs that complete the feel of a particularly thorough and well-written family scrapbook that's also a testament to life well-lived in difficult times.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

At 106 years old, Cooper went to the early voting polls in Atlanta and proudly cast her vote for the first black president of the U.S.; something she didn’t think she’d live to see. On election night, President-elect Obama thanked her publicly in his acceptance speech. In this engaging memoir, Cooper recalls her life before her recent fame. She grew up in a tenant-farming family of eight children in rural Tennessee. After her mother died and the children were divided among relatives, Cooper went off to Nashville and later married a dentist and moved to Atlanta. She recalls her life of raising four children, involvement in social and civic activities, and friendships with prominent families, including that of Martin Luther King Jr. She recounts years of struggle and progress on racial issues in Atlanta and the nation, along with changes in fashion and social mores. Widowed after 45 years of marriage, she maintained an active social and family life, eventually surviving three of her four children. Photographs add to this portrait of a long and active life well lived. --Vanessa Bush

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This book is very easy to read.
Mona Lisa
Well worth a read if you enjoy a light-touch biography with a distinctive voice and unique life story to tell.
Stephanie
Reading the book was like sitting in her living room and listening to her life's story.
mkeillor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John F. Baker Jr. on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about Mrs. Ann Nixon Cooper's extraordinary life. The book is filled with wonderful photos of Mrs. Cooper, her family, and prominent African Americans. I first met Mrs. Cooper in 1996, when she was 94 years young through doing genealogical research for my book The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family's Journey to Freedom (also published by Atria Books). Mrs. Cooper shared information about her early years when, after the death of her parents, she had been raised by her aunt Joyce Washington Nixon who was born a slave on Wessyngton Plantation during the Civil War. Mrs. Cooper recounted many wonderful stories. I told her that a book should be written about her life, and she admitted that she had often heard that suggestion. Who knew then that a book would be written when she was 107 years old! Karen Grisby Bates did an outstanding job in telling Mrs. Cooper's story. Since I knew Mrs. Cooper personally, when I read the book it was as if I was sitting in her lovely home attentively listening to her. Although Mrs. Cooper had told me many things about her family history and early life as a youth in Nashville, there were many fascinating stories that I had never heard before. Mrs. Cooper was already a celebrity in Atlanta and in the eyes of all her family and friends who knew and loved her before November 2008 when she became a part of American history. Now thanks to this book, everyone will know what an interesting life she lived more than a century before President Barack Obama called her name.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jane in Atlanta on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book- I read it in 2 days. This is a fast and simple read that really sounds like it is straight from her memory. One of the best things about the book is that there are many photos also in the book- by the time I got through it, I really felt I knew a lot about her. This is not a thought provoking book- it's not a "Guns, Germs and Steel" type book- it is just what it says- a book of this fine lady's memories. Because her husband was a dentist, they lead a good life, even with the areas of discrimination that was so prevalent during her lifetime. However you can also see why she lived so long. She has such a positive, fun attitude- she truly focuses on the best life has to offer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Walker Momon on February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was pleasantly surprised to read the life of Ms. Cooper. In many ways, she filled in some historical gaps and made me feel as if I was there. A lot of what she experienced happened in my lifetime. What I also realized was there were many eye-witnesses into the life of MLKing, Nat King Cole and other celebreties, and gentle giants or unsung sheros who helped to shape and form the socio-economic climate for blacks in Atlanta. She lived in the locality where I lived, so her conversation was like speaking to my neighbor even though I never met her. After reading this book, I realized again that the power of "ONE" is extraordinary!

Carmen Walker (Atlanta)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beldini VINE VOICE on June 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If your grandmother told you her life story, it would be this book. Interesting more becuase of the times she lived in than her actual experiences, the book is light and easy to read, but not particularly memorable. There's a sweetness to it that makes it charming, but I demand a little more from my books than surface charm. There are better biographies of people with the same experiences, and richer history in a number of other sources.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KIM on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
No one with a heart can knock a woman who has lived to 107 years of age. That's what is most remarkable about the author's story. Her history as recalled in this book is simply told and is a tale that many Blacks(a term the author prefers to African Americans) have told- one of segregation, second class citizenry,and discrimination.
It is a quick read and includes many pictures of her life.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name by Ann Nixon Cooper is the most delightful, yet feisty journey through time. In the beginning I was so tickled to read, "My family still teases me that when the newly elected president of the United States called, I was on an outing with friends. Well, who knew?" and she went on to clearly let all know that just because she is over 100 years old does not mean that she is sitting home twiddling her thumbs with nothing to do. Then on page 6 (very early into the book) she states, "Don't get me wrong, now. That was plenty exciting, But I'd had a life before CNN and the rest "discovered" me." And what a life she has had.

Ann Nixon Cooper was born on January 9, 1902 in Tennessee, but moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1922. She gives a very candid account of her childhood and provides many photos that support her biography. Her story of tattooing her initials on her arm with acid (long before tattoos were popular) was hilarious. She lost her mother at a young age and life changed at that point. Her father was a hard working man and did what he had to do for the best interest of his children. Ann went to live with her Aunt and Uncle in Nashville who had really nice things. Her Aunt was related to plantation descendants of The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation and that is how Ann was interviewed for the book of that same name.

Ann was attractive, dressed nice, a good listener could dance and play cards (like my own mother). I delighted in the lighthearted history lesson on white silk stockings costing $1.75 during that time and school lunch was 15 cents. Ann missed lunches in order to save up for the stockings that she so badly wanted.
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