His great-aunt Pearl Madison, the household matriarch, helped discovered a burial insurance coverage firm within the Twenties, an necessary business within the Black neighborhood, and later helped discovered a funeral residence. His father, often known as A.J., was the longtime secretary-treasurer of the mixed enterprise, the Christian Benevolent Funeral Dwelling and Burial Affiliation.

Gary Cooper’s first marriage, to Charlesetta Ferrill, with whom he had three kids, led to divorce. A second marriage, to Gloria Giles, additionally led to divorce. In 1991, he married Beverly Martin. She survives him. Along with his daughter Joli Claire, so do his different kids, Patrick Charles Cooper and Gladys Shawn Cooper; seven grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; a sister, Dominque Cooper; and a brother, Algernon J. Cooper Jr., a former aide to Robert F. Kennedy.

Two different siblings, who led outstanding lives, died earlier: Mario Cooper, a nationwide Democratic operative, who raised consciousness of AIDS within the Black neighborhood, in 2015, and Peggy Cooper Cafritz, a collector and champion of Black artists, in 2018.

In 1974, Normal Cooper was elected as a Democrat to the Alabama Legislature; he was the primary African American from Cell to serve within the state’s Home of Representatives since Reconstruction. A pragmatist in Montgomery, the state capital, he fashioned an alliance with Gov. George Wallace, the arch-segregationist, by agreeing to be one in all his ground leaders within the Home. Within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, he blocked a invoice to fund the retirement of a probate choose in Cell County — the identical official who saved separate license books for Black and white marriages — till the choose agreed to finish the racist observe.

Normal Cooper served till 1978, when he resigned to turn into commissioner of the State Division of Pensions and Safety.

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