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.
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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