Annie Lee Cooper

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Annie Lee Cooper
Born (1910-06-02)June 2, 1910
Selma, Alabama
Died November 24, 2010(2010-11-24) (aged 100)
Selma, Alabama
Nationality African-American
Occupation Civil rights activist
Known for Selma Voting Rights Movement

Annie Lee Cooper (June 2, 1910 - November 24, 2010) was an African-American civil rights activist in the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement who is best known for punching Selma Sheriff Jim Clark.


Annie Lee Cooper was born in Selma, Alabama on June 2, 1910. By the seventh grade, Cooper dropped out of school, and moved to Kentucky to live with an older sister.[1]

In 1962, Cooper returned to her hometown to participate in the civil rights movement. In January 1965, she 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 knocked the sheriff in the jaw. Deputies then wrestled Cooper down as Clark continued to beat her repeatedly with his club.[2] Cooper was charged with "criminal provocation" and was escorted to the county jail, and then held for 11 hours before being allowed to leave. Some in the sheriff's department wanted to charge her with attempted murder.[3] Following this incident, Cooper became a registered voter in her home state.[1]

On June 2, 2010, Annie Lee Cooper became a centenarian. Reflecting on her longevity, she stated, "My mother lived to be 106, so maybe I can live that long, too."[1] On November 24, 2010, Cooper died at the Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma, Alabama.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2014 film Selma, Cooper was portrayed by Oprah Winfrey.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Woman known for run-in with sheriff turns 100 today". Montgomery Advertiser (Gannett Company). June 2, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ Bernstein, Adam (June 7, 2007). "Ala. Sheriff James Clark; Embodied Violent Bigotry". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Annie Lee Cooper, civil rights legend, dies". Selma Times-Journal. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Rivera, Zayda (20 June 2014). "Oprah Winfrey to play Annie Lee Cooper in civil rights drama 'Selma'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 20 June 2014.