Ten Stars is a nonfiction narrative—part biography, part oral history—of the life story of Gary Cooper, an African American born in the depths of Jim Crow to an Alabama family that challenged the rule of segregation. The Cooper extended family, described in interludes at points within the book, has made a national mark in politics, arts, education, health care, and the military. Graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1958 as one of three African Americans in a class of 1,500, Cooper went on to become the U.S. Marines' first black commander of a combat infantry company in Vietnam. He later became the Corps' first black general from Infantry, an Alabama state legislator and governor's cabinet official, an Air Force civilian four-star who promoted the Tuskegee Airmen, and the first black U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica.
If I had to point to one guy that helped me integrate blacks into Notre Dame, I’d have to say Gary Cooper.
—Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, president of the University of Notre Dame, 1952–1987
With a few more like General Cooper, this country would be able to reach one of its highest ideals—social equality and justice for all.
—Benjamin Hooks, president of the NAACP, 1977–1992
, a comprehensive biography of General Gary Cooper, is a fresh portrayal of race in America.
—Julia Cass, co-author of Black in Selma: The Uncommon Life of J.L. Chestnut Jr.
A remarkable journey by a remarkable man. Kendal Weaver's talented writing weaves the story of Gary Cooper and his family—from the horrors of Jim Crow to his racial milestone in Vietnam and heights few men reach. Cooper's multifaceted and extraordinary life, skillfully described in this first biography, mark a series of historical achievements.
—Morris Dees, founder, Southern Poverty Law Center
A well-written, accurate, and inspiring presentation of General J. Gary Cooper’s life and that of his family. Weaver tells this remarkable story so very well that it deserves to be widely read and appreciated—nowhere more so than in Cooper’s hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
—Michael Thomason, Lagniappe Weekly
Secretary Cooper brought the Tuskegee Airmen into the mainstream of Air Force and Department of Defense thought, by recognizing that the Tuskegee Airmen is not a ‘black’ thing. It’s an ‘Air Force’ thing!
—Albert J. Edmonds, Air Force Major General