Annie Lee Cooper

In honor of Black History Month, every day The Cardinal will feature a prominent person who has contributed to society.


Denyse Lopez-Hernandez, Staff Writer

Annie Lee Cooper, the American civil rights activists was born on June 2, 1910 and died at age 100 on November 24, 2010. She was involved in the 1965 Selma voting rights movement.  In January 1965, Cooper stood in line for hours outside the Dallas County Courthouse to register to vote until Sheriff Jim Clark ordered her to vacate the premises. Clark prodded Cooper in the neck with a billy club until Cooper turned around and hit the sheriff in the jaw, knocking him down. Deputies then wrestled Cooper to the ground as Clark continued to beat her repeatedly with his club.  Cooper was charged with “criminal provocation” and was escorted to the county jail, and then held for 11 hours before being allowed to leave. She spent the period of her incarceration singing spirituals. Some in the sheriff’s department wanted to charge her with attempted murder. Following this incident, Cooper became a registered voter in her home state.