Annie Lee Cooper – Black History Month

Caden Oh

Annie Lee Cooper was a black woman who did not have the education that many of us have. She was born in Selma, Alabama on 1910. By the time she was in the 7th grade, she had dropped out of school and moved to Kentucky, to live with one of her 10 siblings. When became 52, she returned back to Alabama to care for her elderly mother.

She then realized, she was able to vote in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but she wasn’t allowed to vote in her home state, Alabama. As she started participating in the civil rights movement, she lost her job as a resting home nurse. When she was lined up at the Dallas County Courthouse for long hours, trying to register to vote, a Sheriff named Jim Clark told her to leave the area. When she refused, she was hit on the neck with a metal baton. She would not stand by and get hit, so she punched him right across the jaw.  The other officers wrestled her down and repeatedly beat her with the baton.  She was then charged with criminal provocation, and attempted murder. Annie was put in the county jail for 11 hours, and during those 11 hours, she was singing spiritual songs, and word of her predicament was passed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   He brought up her situation, wanting to vote and being beaten so badly for it, in one of his speeches.  Shortly after this incident, she was allowed to vote in Alabama, marking the first time votes for black and African American women were allowed in the state.

On November 24, 2010, five months after she turned 100, she passed away.