All That’s Black: Annie Lee Cooper

Annie Lee Cooper, Activist:

 

“I try to be nonviolent, but I just can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing all over again if they treat me brutish like they did this time.”

Photo Credit: Danny Lyon

Born on June 2, 1910, Annie Lee was one of ten children, by the seventh grade, Annie had dropped out of school to live with an older sister in Kentucky.

In 1962, Annie returned to her Selma, AL home, to care for her elderly mother. Upset by the fact that, although she registered to vote in Pennsylvania and Ohio, she was unable to vote in Alabama, Annie joined the Civil Rights Movement.

Her attempt to register to vote in 1963, resulted in her losing her nursing job. She found work as a clerk at a motel. In 1965, Annie waited hours outside of the Dallas County Courthouse to register to vote, until Sheriff Jim Clark ordered her to leave. Clark continued to poke Annie in the neck with his billy club until Annie, frustrated and upset, turned around and hit him in the jaw, knocking him to the ground.

Deputies wrestled her to the ground where Clark beat her with his club. Annie was arrested and charged with “criminal conduct” and held for 11 hours before being allowed to leave. Some in the sheriff’s department wanted to charge her with attempted murder. Annie did eventually register to vote and died at the age of 100 in Selma, Al.

By Aprille’ Morris & Emily Burke

Edited By Keshav Kant

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