Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Faith Over Fear": The Movie

There has to be a Spike Lee script in this:

Ann Nixon Cooper, the 106-year-old woman Barack Obama invoked in his Tuesday night speech, is now a centenarian celebrity, giving interviews and repeating what she told CNN last month: "I ain't got time to die 'cause I've got to see a black president," now adding that it was a "victory of faith over fear."

The widow of an Atlanta dentist, Mrs. Cooper knew Martin Luther King Jr. as a boy and years later a Morehouse College student named Spike Lee, who hoped to become a filmmaker.

In his Grant Park speech, Obama cited her vote as symbolic of the meaning of his election:

"She 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 color of her skin.

"And 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.

"At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

"When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

"When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

"She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that 'We Shall Overcome.' Yes we can.

"A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

"And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change."

Now Mrs. Cooper herself has written the final scene for the movie. "I would be very proud," she says, "if I could just meet him and shake his hand."

Lights, camera, action.

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