December 22, 2009

USA: Centenarian Voter From Obama Victory Speech Dies

. NEW YORK, NY / CBS News / December 22, 2009 By Pete Combs, CBS News Reporter Ann Nixon Cooper, the 107-year-old Atlanta woman whose name President Obama invoked when he gave his historic election speech last year, died Monday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. Then President-elect Obama called Cooper an example of "the heartbreak and the hope," noting that she'd lived long enough to remember when African-Americans weren't able to vote and to finally be able to vote for and elect the country's first black president. AP Photo/John Bazemore Atlanta City Councilman Ivory Young, whose district includes Cooper's Hunter Hills home, said that he met her when running for office in 2001 and he found her stories about Atlanta history mesmerizing. "I knocked on her door, and she answered the door and invited me in and I was at her house the entire afternoon," Young said. "Her words if you spent any time with her could have a profound impact on you. She had you glued. She could really bring a story to life." Young said that Cooper invited him when he was campaigning during this last election, too. He said from the first time he met her, she made clear what she expected from her elected representatives and what she expected city hall to do for Atlanta. "I really feel like I lost a friend," he said. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young recounted Cooper's legendary vibrancy, noting that she had taught senior citizens aerobics until she was 100. He told how he danced with her at her 104th birthday party, chuckling at the memory of how she outperformed him. "When I was tired, she stayed out on the floor and did the electric slide," the former ambassador to the United Nations said. "I never saw her angry with anybody, and she lived a loving life." Cooper had not been up to par since she fell and broke her hip about a year ago, Andrew Young said. He had hoped that she would make her 108th birthday on Jan. 9, but he thought that Cooper was content to pass on. "We won't miss her because we'll never forget her," he said. [rc] Copyright ©2009 CBS Interactive Inc.