Fannie Wilson Cooper

Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists

Biography of Fannie Wilson Cooper, 1884-1980

By Danielle Hoskins
PhD Candidate
University of Iowa

Fannie Wilson Cooper was born Fannie Robinson in Pickens, Mississippi in 1884 to parents Griffith Amos Robinson and Isabell (Marshall) Robinson. She attended Walden College in Nashville, Tennessee, and Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, before moving to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She first married Dr. Cornelius Monroe Wilson in 1905, and the couple moved to Des Moines in 1913. Both Fannie and her husband Cornelius were interested in civil rights and African-American racial pride, and both were involved in clubs and organizations in Des Moines. Fannie was an avid supporter of woman's suffrage and civic engagement, joining the Iowa Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, the Des Moines Suffrage Club and later, the Des Moines chapter of the League of Women Voters. Through her suffrage work and through similar social circles, she met and became friends with fellow suffragist, Sue M. Brown, a leading clubwoman in Des Moines and fellow Worthy Matron of the Princess Oziel Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. After Dr. Wilson's death in 1916, Fannie married I.S. Johnson, and then Olin Cooper, who died in 1966. Fannie Wilson Cooper continued to be involved in Des Moines clubs until late in her life, and she died at 95 in 1980.


Gwendolyn Fowler papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

“Keokuk News,” Iowa State Bystander, Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, October 31, 1913.

“Reception Given Mrs. Tillman,” Iowa State Bystander, Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, August 15, 1913.

“Women's Suffrage in Iowa: An Online Exhibit,” Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, 2011.


digitized photo of Fannie Wilson Cooper from the Iowa Women's Archives:


Related Writings in Database

View works by

View works about


back to top