Ann Louise Nixon Cooper was born on January 9, 1902 in Shelbyville, Tennessee, where she attended school. After the death of their mother, she and her six siblings were separated and an aunt raised Cooper. In 1922, Ann Nixon married Albert Berry Cooper, a young dentist in Nashville, Tennessee. They moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where they started a family while her husband established his highly successful dental practice. Cooper has been a homemaker for most of her life, working briefly in 1923 as a policy writer for the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. Cooper and her husband counted as their 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.
As an active Atlantan, Cooper has worked to improve conditions in the African American community for much of her adult life. For more than fifty years, she 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, taught community residents 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.
As a centenarian, Cooper is the oldest member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Links, Inc. and has been a member of the Utopian Literary Club since 1948.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, has seen presidents come and go in her lifetime and has outlived most of them. On a sunny fall morning, she left her weathered but well-kept Tudor home in Atlanta, Georgia, to vote early — this time for Barack Obama.
The African-American centenarian remembers a time not long ago when she was barred from voting because of her race. Now she hopes to see the day that Obama is elected as the nation’s first black president.
“I ain’t got time to die,” Cooper said with a smile.
“Even if he didn’t win, I was happy for him just to be nominated,” said the former socialite. “The first black president — isn’t that something, at 106 years old?”