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Still looking ahead

Victory spotlight shines on 106-year-old voter

Ann Nixon Cooper shared a laugh with her caregiver, James Davis, before being interviewed at her Atlanta home yesterday. Ann Nixon Cooper shared a laugh with her caregiver, James Davis, before being interviewed at her Atlanta home yesterday. (John Bazemore/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / November 6, 2008
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ATLANTA - At age 106, Ann Nixon Cooper doesn't usually stay awake past midnight. But on Election Night she had special reason to do so: She was waiting for Barack Obama to mention her name.

Cooper, one of the oldest voters for the nation's first black president, had been tipped off by the Obama campaign that she would be mentioned in his victory speech. Toward the end, she got her moment.

Obama introduced the world to a woman who "was born just a generation past slavery . . . when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons: because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin."

"Tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America: the heartache and the hope, the struggle and the progress, the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed, 'Yes we can,' " he said.

Yesterday, Cooper beamed as she greeted reporters at her southwest Atlanta home.

Cooper first registered to vote on Sept. 1, 1941. She didn't vote for years, instead deferring to her husband, Dr. Albert B. Cooper, a prominent Atlanta dentist, who "voted for the house." Her husband died in 1967. Cooper has outlived three of her four children. On Oct. 16, she voted early for the Illinois senator, who called to thank her after reading a news article about her.

"I feel nothing but relief that things have changed as much as they have," said Cooper, who turns 107 in January. "After a while, we will all be one. That's what I look forward to."

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