Woman voter born just a generation after slavery makes history


A 106-YEAR-OLD wheelchair-bound Atlanta resident was at the centre of world media attention yesterday when she was mentioned prominently in Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

Ann Nixon Cooper was "born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin," said Mr Obama, capturing something of the historic nature of his victory.

Ms Cooper had been interviewed ahead of the election by CNN, saying she could remember a time not long ago when she was barred from voting because of her race. "I ain't got time to die," she said as she cast her vote for Obama.

A community leader in Atlanta, Ms Cooper had arrived at the Fulton County government centre in a wheelchair, helped by two caregivers. Born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, in 1902, she grew up in Nashville with uncles and an aunt who worked as a domestic for wealthy whites.

She married Albert Cooper, a dentist, in Nashville in 1922, and the couple moved to Atlanta.

Three of Ms Cooper's four children have died; her surviving daughter is 83. She has 14 grandchildren living and many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

The home she shared with her late husband in Atlanta had been a meeting point for many of the city's black cultural figures, including singer Nat King Cole.