Andrew L. Cooper III
Cooper grew up in Evanston, Ill. and graduated from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., Turner Theological Seminary (Interdenominational Theological Center) in Atlanta, and Northwestern University in his home town. While in Atlanta, he served as a chaplain at Morris Brown College. Cooper was ordained into the ministry of the United Church of Christ in 1963 and became pastor of First Congregational Church in Anniston, a church founded by the American Missionary Association for newly emancipated African-Americans after the conclusion of the Civil War. While in Anniston, he also worked for a community development board.
In early 1968, the Anniston congregation voted to merge with a nearby Presbyterian church, and Cooper briefly served as the first pastor of the united congregation. Shortly thereafter, Birmingham's First Congregational Christian, also supported in its early years by the AMA, called him to its pulpit. Two years after assuming leadership, Cooper oversaw the congregation's construction of an educational/fellowship building adjoining its sanctuary, which was built in 1952. Further, Cooper expanded upon the social witness work of his predecessor, Harold D. Long, by starting a daycare operation at the church, which was administered by the Jefferson County Council for Economic Opportunity; this lasted until 1980.
Cooper served a decade before resigning; he was replaced by James L. Myers, a former president of Daniel Payne College. After leaving First Church, then-Alabama governor George Wallace appointed him Deputy Commissioner of Prisons, making him the first African-American to serve in that capacity.
Cooper now resides in Hampton, Georgia, outside Atlanta, and works with a drug rehabilitation agency.