Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book Review: A Century and Some Change

Title A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name
Author Ann N Cooper
Rating ****
Tags non-fiction, memoirs, autobiography, blacks, african americans, aging 

Ann Nixon Cooper became famous when Barack Obama mentioned her in his speech the night he was elected the first black President of the United States. She voted for him at the age of 106. This book is the story of her life before that event. She was born a black (the term she preferred for her race) woman in 1902, one of eight children born to a tenant farmer and his wife near Shelbyville, TN. Her mother could read, one of the few in the area who could, and Ann remembers people coming round their house so her mother could read letters for them. Her mother died, though, when Ann was 11, and she went to live with her aunt in Nashville. There wasn't money for her to go to college, and she worked for two years until she married a dentist, A. B. Cooper, at age twenty. They moved to Atlanta where they lived the rest of their lives. He died in 1967, after their four children were grown. She lived until December 21st, 2009, outliving three of her children and some of her grand- and great-grandchildren.

The book is a valuable record for historians. Mrs. Cooper was remarkable in that her great age spanned so much change, especially so for a black woman. She addresses segregation and its difficulties. She was a woman of the middle class, and knew so many black leaders, including the King family, Andrew Young, Atlanta's first black mayor Maynard Jackson and its first female black mayor Shirley Franklin. She was active in many civic organizations, including starting Atlanta's first black Boy Scout troop.

The book is also a treasure because of the many photos included, which make the story more real and personal.

I wish I could have known this vibrant and vital woman.



Contributor – Bates, Karen G
Publication Atria (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 224 pages
Publication date 2010
ISBN 1439158878 / 9781439158876

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

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