Remembering Tennessee Representative Barbara Cooper

Barbara Cooper

The National Jobs For All Network mourns the death last October of our Board member, Barbara Cooper, a Tennessee state representative for the Memphis area.  At 93, Rep. Cooper was the oldest state representative in the United States.

Rep. Cooper was the host and lead organizer of the NJFAN-sponsored Memphis Jobs for All Town Hall Meeting that brought together a diverse group of community and trade union leaders to plan a movement for Jobs for All in Tennessee. The dialogue and speeches at that meeting covered a wide range of topics: from job creation to contracts for minority-owned businesses; raising wages; securing transportation to work; and jobs for ex-felons.

“Barbara Cooper was a strong defender of people‘s rights,” according to Logan Martinez, NJFAN Outreach Coordinator who worked closely with Rep.
Cooper on the Memphis Town Meeting and other projects. “Barbara was always ready to step in to help.   It was a special privilege and an honor to have known Barbara Cooper.” Logan recalls that Rep. Cooper secured the endorsement by the Organization of Black State Legislators of HR 1000, the Jobs for All Act, for which NJFAN served as chief consultant.

Kevin Bradshaw, President of the Memphis West Tennessee Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, has this to say about Barbara:

“Rep. Barbara Cooper was a drum major for labor unions. She believed in working people. Barbara was accessible and strived to always serve the people. She believed everyone deserved to be treated fairly. As a hard worker herself, she stayed on top of the issues facing the people of Memphis. She strongly supported jobs for everyone and was the leading force in the Memphis Jobs for All Town Hall meeting in 2018.  Rep. Barbara Cooper worked for the unity of the people of Memphis to make the world a better place.”

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