IN REMEMBRANCE: 8-31-2014

WILLIAM GREAVES, A DOCUMENTARIAN AND PIONEERING JOURNALIST

William Greaves making his experimental and long-neglected 1968 film, “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One.” Credit John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive — Getty Images

His daughter-in-law Bernice Green confirmed his death.

Mr. Greaves was well known for his work as a documentarian focusing on racial issues and black historical figures. In his later years he was equally known for his most uncharacteristic film, “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One.” Made in 1968, it mixed fact and fiction in a complex film-within-a-film structure that made it a tough sell commercially, and it waited almost four decades for theatrical release. When it finally had one, in 2005, it was warmly praised as ahead of its time.

Mr. Greaves (rhymes with “leaves”) gained national recognition as a co-host and later executive producer of “Black Journal,” a monthly hourlong National Educational Television newsmagazine that made its debut in 1968 in response to a call by the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to expand coverage of black affairs. It was the only nationally telecast series devoted to black issues in the 1960s.

William Greaves, 2nd right, Don Fellows and Patricia Ree Gilbert filming “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One.” Credit Jerry Pantzer

“By the acid test of professional and perceptive journalism, ‘Black Journal’ has earned its rightful niche as a continuing and absorbing feature of television’s output,” the television critic Jack Gould wrote in The New York Times in 1969. “Mr. Greaves is simply covering a story that should be covered and covering it with distinction.”

In 1970, “Black Journal” won an Emmy in the “magazine-type programming” category.

Later that year, Mr. Greaves left the program to pursue projects developed by his own production company. (He was replaced by Tony Brown, and the program was later renamed “Tony Brown’s Journal.”)

“The Fighters,” a feature-length documentary Mr. Greaves produced and directed about the 1971 Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight, was released theatrically in 1974. Writing in The Times, Vincent Canby called it “a first-rate film of its unprepossessing kind.”

He went on to write, produce or direct films including the well-received PBS documentaries “Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice” (1989) and “Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey” (2001), as well as explorations of contemporary political and cultural issues like “Black Power in America: Myth or Reality?” (1986) and “That’s Black Entertainment” (1989). His work won awards at numerous festivals.

William Garfield Greaves was born in Harlem on Oct. 8, 1926, one of seven children of Garfield Greaves, a taxi driver and minister, and the former Emily Muir. He won a scholarship to the Little Red Schoolhouse in Greenwich Village and later graduated from Stuyvesant High School.

His education continued at the City College of New York. Between 1944 and 1952 he tried his hand at boxing, dancing, songwriting and acting. He joined the American Negro Theater shortly after high school and, for a time, vied for roles with Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier.

He appeared on Broadway in “Finian’s Rainbow” (1947) and “Lost in the Stars” (1949) and in a few movies, among them “The Fight Never Ends” (1948), an independent production starring the boxing champion Joe Louis, and “Lost Boundaries” (1949), a Hollywood film about race relations. In 1948, he was accepted as a member of the Actors Studio, but he decided to forgo a promising acting career and became involved in production.

“I became infuriated by the racially degrading stereotypes that white film producers threw up on American screens,” he wrote in 1969. “It became clear to me that unless we black people began to produce information for screen and television there would always be a distortion of the ‘black image.’ ”

In 1950 he began working with Louis de Rochemont, a noted documentary filmmaker and the producer of “Lost Boundaries.” From 1952 to 1963 he lived in Canada and worked for the National Film Board of Canada as a writer, editor and producer.

He married Louise Archambault in August 1959. She survives him, as do their three children, David, Taiyi and Maiya Greaves; two brothers, Theodore and Donald; a sister, Ruth Evadne Brooks; three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Mr. Greaves produced short films for the United Nations and the United States Information Agency before forming his production company, in 1964. He first attracted attention as a filmmaker with “Still a Brother: Inside the Black Middle Class,” an examination of the barriers facing upwardly mobile blacks, which he produced for National Educational Television in 1968.

Around the same time he wrote, produced, directed and edited “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One.” An experimental layers-of-reality work, it involved two actors performing a scene in Central Park while being filmed by a crew that was itself being filmed by another crew, all of the action presided over by Mr. Greaves himself.

He was unable to find a distributor, and except for screenings in Paris and New York in 1980 it languished for more than 20 years. It was finally shown at the Brooklyn Museum and the Sundance Film Festival in the ’90s, but it was not seen in movie theaters until it opened, to glowing reviews, in 2005.

Manohla Dargis of The Times, while acknowledging that the film was in some ways dated, called it “highly entertaining and, at moments, revelatory about filmmaking as a site of creative tension between individual vision and collective endeavor.”

Other filmmakers took notice, among them Steven Soderbergh, who as executive producer (with the actor Steve Buscemi) helped Mr. Greaves complete a belated sequel, “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 ½” (2005). They are now available as a two-DVD set from the Criterion Collection.

In his later years, when asked about his achievements as a chronicler of black history and black life, Mr. Greaves was proud but modest. “I thought I was going to be a hurricane, but I ended up a becoming merely a single raindrop,” he once said. “Hopefully there are other raindrops of similar mind.”

Peter Keepnews and Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

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JOHN A WALKER JR., RINGLEADER OF SPY FAMILY

John A. Walker Jr., left, with a marshal in 1985, pleaded guilty to leading an espionage ring that sold codes to the Soviets. Credit Bob Daugherty/Associated Press

His death, at the prison medical center, was confirmed by Chris Burke, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons.

Mr. Walker was a Navy communications specialist when he began spying for the Soviets at the height of the Cold War in 1967. After his arrest in May 1985, the government said he had led one of the most damaging spy operations in American history. All four members of it were convicted.

Mr. Walker worked alone initially and by most accounts without an ideological motive. Stationed in Norfolk, Va., and struggling financially, he first sold the Soviets information that allowed them to read encrypted messages, initiating the transaction by walking into the Soviet Embassy in Washington. By the 1970s, he had brought in Jerry A. Whitworth, a Navy radioman who was a close friend. Mr. Whitworth passed Mr. Walker classified Navy cryptographic data that American officials said the Soviets were particularly eager to receive.

In 1980, when Mr. Walker learned that his older brother’s car radio business was failing, he encouraged him to find a job with a Navy contractor to gain access to documents. The brother, Arthur, did just that.

John Walker persuaded his son, Michael, a clerk with a fighter squadron in Virginia Beach and later on the aircraft carrier Nimitz, to smuggle secret documents under his jacket, including some Michael had saved from shredding.

“My father was pleased and said it looked like we were on a roll,” Michael Walker said in court. “He told me to go ahead, keep it up.”

How much each man was paid was not always clear, but Mr. Whitworth admitted in court to receiving $332,000.

Among the information the men provided were descriptions of changes made to American submarines that helped the Soviets make improvements to their own submarines. Some of the encrypted information allowed the Soviets to track American submarine and ship movements.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Walker retired from the Navy and became a private investigator. He often wore disguises and traveled the world collecting secret information and forwarding it to his buyers.

In August 1977, he traveled to Hong Kong to meet Mr. Whitworth, who was in port as a sailor on the aircraft carrier Constellation. Days later, Mr. Walker met with Soviet agents. Intelligence sources said at the time that the speed of the apparent exchanges suggested the Soviets regarded the information as highly valuable and timely.

“They were not doing that just to get something to research,” an intelligence source who requested anonymity told The New York Times in 1985. “They’re getting it because they want to use it immediately. They were clearly trying to mount a major effort to read United States communications. There’s no other reason to try to get that kind of access.”

John Anthony Walker Jr. was born on July 28, 1937, in Washington, the second of three sons. His father, John Sr., was a publicist for Warner Bros. who drank heavily. When the father’s career began failing, the Walkers moved to his hometown, Scranton, Pa. But John Sr. eventually left his wife and family, and John Jr. dropped out of his Catholic high school to enlist in the Navy. His family said he had joined after turning himself in for trying to burglarize a business.

As part of his plea deal in the spy case, Mr. Walker agreed to cooperate with investigators, in part to get his son a more lenient sentence. Michael Walker was sentenced to 25 years and released in 2000. John and Arthur Walker were given life sentences, and Mr. Whitworth was sentenced to 365 years.

Arthur Walker died in July in the same prison medical center where John Walker died. Complete information on John Walker’s survivors was not immediately available.

John and Arthur’s spy activities were reported to the authorities by John Walker’s former wife, Barbara Crowley, who said later that she had not realized that her son had also been involved. She and Mr. Walker divorced in the 1970s.

In 2008, Mr. Walker published “My Life As a Spy: One of America’s Most Notorious Spies Finally Tells His Story,” in which he attributed his actions in part to his belief that the Cold War was “a farce” and that his sharing the information would cause no harm. He did ask that his family and “the nation” forgive him for “the danger I would have caused if actual war had developed between the United States and the Soviet Union.”

The Walker case inspired several other books and documentaries. It also prompted changes in how the Defense Department protected information. Soon after the ring was exposed, rules were imposed reducing the number of people with access to secret military information by 10 percent.

In June 1986, John C. Wagner, the special agent in charge of the Norfolk F.B.I. office, who supervised the arrest of John Walker, told The New York Times Magazine, “We’re still trying to find out just how it was possible that a relatively low-ranking sailor, motivated only by money, was able to run a successful spy ring for nearly two decades.”

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SKYWATCH: ENJOY EARTHSHINE, SECRETS OF A DISTANT BLACK HOLE, AND MORE

LATEST NEWS

Distant Black Holes Spin Clocked
A new measurement could be the farthest back in time astronomers have ever reached when measuring a black holes spin.

Resolving the Pleiades Distance Problem
A new measurement, made using radio interferometry, argues that the distance to the Pleiades star cluster measured by ESA’s Hipparcos satellite really is wrong – and that ground-based astronomers had it right all along.

OBSERVING HIGHLIGHTS

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, August 29 – September 6
The Moon is coming back into the evening sky. Look for the waxing crescent low in the west-southwest in twilight, as shown at lower right. Can you make out Spica twinkling beneath it?

Earthshine, the Moon’s Darker Side
With a subtle beauty all its own, the earthshine we see glowing in the lunar night invites us to consider Earth’s many connections to the Moon.

COMMUNITY

Voyager 2 at Neptune: A Silver Anniversary
NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft swept past Neptune exactly 25 years ago, revealing that this distant blue-hued planet is far more dynamic and unique that expected.

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HATEWATCH: AFA JUMPS THE SHARK: ‘ALS CHALLENGE KILLS BABIES’

AFA Jumps the Shark: ‘ALS Challenge Kills Babies’

By David Neiwert on August 21, 2014 – 9:19 am

In recent weeks, it has seemed as if the American Family Association—already listed by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group—has been on a mission to transform its public image from that of ordinary family-values advocates to a pack of wild-eyed radicals foaming at the mouth about their perceived enemies.

AFA spokesperson Bryan Fischer has been leading the way. In recent weeks on his radio program, Fischer has:

  • Declared it will be “the end of America” if Congress does not impeach President Obama.
  • Denounced anyone who uses the word “racist,” then insisted that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are “racists.”
  • Sided with radical Islamists in Iraq in calling Obama a “devil worshiper.”
  • Suggested on Twitter that accepting homosexuality leads to people to commit acts of necrophilia.
  • Said that LGBT people are inherently disqualified from holding public office.
  • Written an article in which he wonders if Robin Williams will go to heaven and insults Williams’s mother’s belief system (she was a Christian Scientist, Fischer says, and that is “a counterfeit form of religion that is neither Christian nor scientific”)

It’s not just Fischer, though. A couple of AFA analysts recently decried the recent editorial direction of Archie Comics, saying they now promoted “the occult and homosexuality.”

But as absurd as all these declarations might be, Fischer may not be the only one from AFA making such spurious claims. Kevin McCullough, a fellow AFA pundit who contributes at the organization’s commentary site, The Stand, recently published the following headline and article:
AFA-ALS Challenge copyThe ALS Challenge is a wildly popular fundraising stunt for the ALS Association in which people are encouraged to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads, record it on social media and then challenge other people to otherwise join them or make a donation to the association.

The stunt has become an Internet sensation, with participants including movie stars, pop singers and politicians, as well as a wide range of others. It has also inspired some moments of accidental low comedy on the Web.

But according to McCullough, the fun and frivolity is overshadowed by his view that “this very challenge is contributing to the on going destruction of human life – intentionally.”

The ALS association is actively now funding embryonic stem cell research and admitting that they likely will continue to do so in the future.

The funding of embryonic stem cell research means that children are created and at their earliest stages of life they are destroyed so that the stem cells (from usually the base of the brain) can be harvested to perform tests with.

Embryonic stem cell research has proven zero percent effective in combating diseases like ALS and other neurological degenerative diseases.

Stem cell research has proven to be a controversial issue for years, with many conservative Christians, including the Southern Baptist Convention, viewing it as akin to abortion. The embryos used for the research are  fertilized in the laboratory, and there has never been a baby born or created in such conditions.

The ALS Association also claims to have produced substantial scientific research that, contrary to the AFA’s claims, indicates progress toward finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the progressive and fatal neuromuscular malady commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

ALS afflicts about 30,000 Americans, with about 5,600 new cases diagnosed annually. More than 5,000 people die each from the disease. The ALS Association reports that so far more than $31 million has been raised by the ice-bucket challenge.

SOURCE

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES: AUGUST 30, 2014

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES

Quick Facts

The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is annually observed on August 30.

Local names

Name Language
International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances English
Día Internacional de las Víctimas de Desapariciones Forzadas Spanish
היום הבינלאומי של נפגעי כפויים היעלמויות Hebrew
اليوم الدولي لضحايا الاختفاء القسري Arabic
강제 실종의 피해자의 날 Korean
Internationaler Tag der Verschwundenen German

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The United Nations (UN) observes the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30 each year.

Mothers at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, holding photos of their children, who are victims of enforced disappearance.

©iStockphoto.com/jcarillet

What do people do?

On August 30 each year, organizations such as the UN and Amnesty International play an active role in raising awareness that enforced disappearance is a crime and should not be used as a tool to deal with situations of conflict. Many activists openly share personal stories, via the media or public event, about victims of enforced disappearances and the impact that these disappearances have on their families and communities.

Public life

The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is a UN observance and not a public holiday.

Background

Enforced disappearance is used as a strategy to spread terror within the society. It occurs when people are arrested, detained or abducted against their will and when governments refuse to disclose the whereabouts of these people. Enforced disappearance is a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world.

In December 2010, the UN officially declared that it would annually observe the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30 each year, starting from 2011.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Tue Aug 30 2011 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Thu Aug 30 2012 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Fri Aug 30 2013 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Sat Aug 30 2014 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Sun Aug 30 2015 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Tue Aug 30 2016 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Wed Aug 30 2017 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Thu Aug 30 2018 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Fri Aug 30 2019 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Sun Aug 30 2020 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance

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INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTS: AUGUST 29, 2014

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTS

Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day against Nuclear Tests is annually observed on August 29. The day raises awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and a closer approach to eliminating the use of those weapons.

Local names

Name Language
International Day against Nuclear Tests English
Día Internacional contra las Pruebas Nucleares Spanish
היום בינלאומי נגד ניסויים גרעיניים Hebrew
باليوم الدولي لمناهضة التجارب النووية Arabic
국제 일 핵 실험에 대한 Korean
Internationaler Tag gegen Nuklearversuche German

International Day against Nuclear Tests 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

International Day against Nuclear Tests 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day against Nuclear Tests brings public awareness and education about the effects of global nuclear weapon tests. The day aims to end nuclear testing and to promote peace and security.

International Day against Nuclear Tests

International Day Against Nuclear Tests aims to educate and bring awareness about the effects of nuclear testing.

©iStockphoto.com/endopack

What do People Do?

The International Day against Nuclear Tests aims to raise people’s awareness on the need to prevent nuclear catastrophes to avert devastating effects on humankind, the environment and the planet. Many people use the day as an opportunity to share their perspective on the issue of nuclear weapons and testing.  Different organizations may host educational and public activities to bring awareness of the use of nuclear weapons and the dangers involved with nuclear weapons testing and usage.

Public Life

The International Day against Nuclear Tests is a global observance but it is not a public holiday.

Background

The history of nuclear testing began on July 16, 1945, when an atomic bomb was used at a desert test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the United States. More than 2000 nuclear tests were carried out worldwide between 1945 and 1996. Nuclear weapons tests are generally broken into different categories reflecting the test’s medium or location:

  • Atmospheric tests.
  • Underwater tests.
  • Underground tests.

Over the years, there have been calls to ban nuclear test to ensure the protection of people’s lives and the environment around them. The UN approved a draft resolution in late 2009 for an international day against nuclear tests to raise public awareness about the threats and dangers of nuclear weapons.  It was also hoped that UN’s member states would move towards the idea of nuclear disarmament.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests was declared to be annually held on August 29, which marks the closing of one of the world’s largest nuclear test sites (in Kazakhstan) in 1991. The day is devoted to enhancing public awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions. It also promotes the need for a nuclear weapon-free world. The day’s first official observance was marked for August 29, 2010.

International Day against Nuclear Tests Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sun Aug 29 2010 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Mon Aug 29 2011 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Wed Aug 29 2012 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Thu Aug 29 2013 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Fri Aug 29 2014 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Sat Aug 29 2015 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Mon Aug 29 2016 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Tue Aug 29 2017 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Wed Aug 29 2018 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Thu Aug 29 2019 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Sat Aug 29 2020 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance

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INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE SLAVE TRADE AND ITS ABOLITION: AUGUST 23, 2014

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE SLAVE TRADE AND ITS ABOLITION

Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is held on August 23 each year to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade.

Local names

Name Language
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition English
Día Internacional del Recuerdo de la Trata de Esclavos y de su Abolición Spanish
היום בינלאומי לזיכרון של סחר העבדים וביטולו Hebrew
اليوم الدولي لإحياء ذكرى تجارة الرقيق وإلغائها Arabic
국제 노예 제도의 희생자 기억의 날 및 대서양 노예 무역 Korean
Internationaler Tag der Erinnerung an den Sklavenhandel und seine Abschaffung German

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is annually observed on August 23 to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade. It gives people a chance to think about the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of slave trade.

UN International Day for the remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

The UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition reminds people of the tragedy of slave trade.

©iStockphoto.com/Erik Kolstad

What do people do?

Each year the UN invites people all over the world, including educators, students and artists, to organize events that center on the theme of this day. Theatre companies, cultural organizations, musicians and artists take part on this day by expressing their resistance against slavery through performances that involve music, dance and drama.

Educators promote the day by informing people about the historical events associated with slave trade, the consequences of slave trade, and to promote tolerance and human rights. Many organizations, including youth associations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, actively take part in the event to educate society about the negative consequences of slave trade.

Public life

The UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is a United Nations observance worldwide but it is not a public holiday.

Background

In late August, 1791, an uprising began in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that would have a major effect on abolishing the transatlantic slave trade. The slave rebellion in the area weakened the Caribbean colonial system, sparking an uprising that led to abolishing slavery and giving the island its independence. It marked the beginning of the destruction of the slavery system, the slave trade and colonialism.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in many countries, in particular in Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and in Senegal on August 23, 1999. Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reminds the international community about the importance of commemorating this day. This date also pays tribute to those who worked hard to abolish slave trade and slavery throughout the world. This commitment and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.

Symbols

UNESCO’s logo features a drawing of a temple with the “UNESCO” acronym under the roof of the temple and on top of the temple’s foundation. Underneath the temple are the words “United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”. This logo is often used in promotional material for the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sun Aug 23 1998 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Mon Aug 23 1999 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Wed Aug 23 2000 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Thu Aug 23 2001 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Fri Aug 23 2002 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sat Aug 23 2003 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Mon Aug 23 2004 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Tue Aug 23 2005 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Wed Aug 23 2006 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Thu Aug 23 2007 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sat Aug 23 2008 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sun Aug 23 2009 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Mon Aug 23 2010 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Tue Aug 23 2011 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Thu Aug 23 2012 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Fri Aug 23 2013 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sat Aug 23 2014 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sun Aug 23 2015 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Tue Aug 23 2016 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Wed Aug 23 2017 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Thu Aug 23 2018 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Fri Aug 23 2019 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sun Aug 23 2020 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 8-24-2014

TERENCE TODMAN, AN ENVOY TO 6 NATIONS

Terence A. Todman became the senior African-American member of the Foreign Service during his four decades in diplomacy. Credit Frank Johnston/The Washington Post, via Getty Images

The State Department announced the death.

In 1990, Mr. Todman was awarded the title “career ambassador,” the State Department’s equivalent of a four-star general in the Army. For years he was the highest-ranking African-American in the Foreign Service. Jet magazine called him “the Jackie Robinson of diplomacy.”

He was ambassador to Chad, Guinea, Costa Rica, Spain, Denmark and Argentina, and assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration.

The son of a grocery clerk and a laundress, he served in the Army before and during the time it was racially integrated in the 1940s and joined the State Department when the only place to eat near its Virginia training center was segregated. He demanded that it be integrated, and for the rest of his career lobbied for more blacks in the diplomatic corps.

He sharply criticized the State Department for almost automatically sending black diplomats to Africa or the Caribbean as what he called “ghetto” assignments. After serving as ambassador to Chad in the early ’70s, he threatened to quit if he was again assigned to Africa, he told The Nation magazine in a 1996 interview.

He continued in Africa as ambassador to Guinea, but his assignment after that, in 1974, was Costa Rica. He was the first black American ambassador to a Latin American country. He said in an oral history that he felt he was “breaking out of this ridiculous mold.”

In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said Mr. Todman “was known for his outspokenness and his advocacy for equality during a time of segregation, when few minorities could be found at any level in the State Department.”

Mr. Todman’s forthright approach was apparent in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan considered appointing him ambassador to South Africa. Mr. Todman, who was ambassador to Denmark at the time, said at a news conference that he could accept the job only if Mr. Reagan’s policy toward South Africa “finds credibility with the South Africans, with the people of Southern Africa and with the rest of the world.”

He added, “I don’t think we’re at that stage yet.”

Mr. Todman later said he was quoted out of context. Mr. Reagan found another black career Foreign Service officer for the post, Edward J. Perkins.

As the State Department’s chief Latin American strategist in the Carter administration, Mr. Todman helped to negotiate the treaty that led to Panama’s assuming ownership of the Panama Canal, as well as agreements with Cuba that included setting up regular diplomatic channels between Havana and Washington. He was the first American diplomat in 16 years to visit Havana.

He tried to walk a fine line between the Carter White House’s aggressive push for human rights and workable relations with countries being criticized for abuses. At the time he assumed office in the spring of 1977, Brazil, Argentina and several other Latin American countries had refused American aid because of the criticism. He strongly argued that it was wrong to punish an entire country because its rulers behaved badly.

When people were dying of waterborne diseases in Paraguay, for example, he persuaded policy makers in Washington that going ahead with aiding water purification efforts was more important than worrying about whether the country’s dictator, Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, would claim credit.

In February 1978 he gave a speech urging patience with the often fitful efforts by Latin American nations to improve human rights. The New York Times called the speech “a direct attack on the State Department’s human rights activists.” He was replaced as assistant secretary.

But President Jimmy Carter named him ambassador to Spain, one of the most prestigious diplomatic postings and one usually given to political appointees. He was the first black to head one of the most important missions, known as Class One embassies. In Spain, Mr. Todman negotiated the use of naval and air bases and helped the country become a member of NATO.

Terence Alphonso Todman was born on St. Thomas on March 13, 1926, one of 13 siblings. He attended Inter-American University of Puerto Rico for a year until he was drafted into the Army. He served in Japan, where he helped to organize that country’s first postwar election. He returned to Inter-American and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, then went on to Syracuse University, where he earned a master’s degree in public administration.

He passed the written State Department test, but, he recalled, the officer who interviewed him expressed worry that his West Indian accent was not “100 percent American.” On the basis of another interview, he was hired anyway. He said in the oral history that at the time he joined the State Department, the only blacks he saw were secretaries and messengers.

His early posts included the United Nations, Lebanon and Tunisia. From 1965 to 1969 he was deputy chief of mission in Togo, before becoming country director for East African Affairs.

His first ambassadorship was Chad, from 1969 to 1972. His last was Argentina, from 1989 to 1993.

Mr. Todman is survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Doris Weston; his sons, Terence Jr. and Michael; his daughters, Patricia Rhymer Todman and Kathryn Todman Browne; a brother; and six grandchildren.

Mr. Todman generally worked behind the scenes, but generated headlines in 1991 by publicly criticizing Argentine government officials for demanding bribes. He also criticized what he said were bureaucratic roadblocks hindering American investment there.

Negotiating, he once said, is “the art of letting someone else have your way.”

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JOHN BLAKE JR., VERSATILE JAZZ VIOLINIST

John Blake Jr. taught at several music conservatories and mentored many musicians.

The cause was complications of multiple myeloma, said Charlotte Blake Alston, his sister.

Mr. Blake was highly regarded for the energy and clarity of his playing, and for carving out a space for the violin in the realms of post-bop and jazz-funk.

Early in his career he worked with the avant-garde saxophonist Archie Shepp, appearing on his albums “The Cry of My People” and “Attica Blues.” He came to greater prominence in bands led by the saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. and the pianist McCoy Tyner. Both later appeared on Mr. Blake’s own albums; he released five on the Gramavision label, starting with “Maiden Dance” in 1984.

Reviewing him that year in The New York Times, Jon Pareles noted that “where some jazz violin solos could easily be played as horn lines, Mr. Blake deploys violinistic slides, tremolos and doublestops not as special effects, but as flexible, vocalistic shadings.”

John Edward Blake Jr. was born in Philadelphia on July 3, 1947, and began his training on violin at 9. He studied music at West Virginia University, after which did postgraduate work in Montreux, Switzerland, focusing partly on traditional East Indian music.

In addition to Ms. Alston, his sister, Mr. Blake, who lived in Philadelphia, is survived by his wife of 38 years, Barbara Irene Blake; a son, the drummer Johnathan Blake; two daughters, Beverly Woodson and Jennifer Watson; another sister, Vivian Blake Carson; two brothers, Alan and Elliot; and six grandchildren.

Mr. Blake taught at several music conservatories and mentored many musicians outside the classroom, including the prominent jazz violinist Regina Carter; he produced her 2010 album “Reverse Thread” (E1 Music).

Mr. Blake’s most recent release, also in 2010, was “Motherless Child” (ARC Music), an album of hymns and spirituals arranged for his quartet and the Howard University vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue. Among its tracks is an instrumental version of the traditional spiritual “City Called Heaven,” with a stark, commanding prelude on solo violin.

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JAY ADAMS, WHO REVOLUTIONIZED SKATEBOARDING

Jay Adams in a West Los Angeles swimming pool in 1976. Credit Glen E. Friedman, all rights reserved

Allen Sarlo, a lifelong friend of Adams’s who was with him in Mexico, said Adams spent Thursday surfing and went to bed complaining of chest pain. Adams, who had a history of drug trouble but had recently been sober, had a heart attack that night and died early Friday morning, Sarlo said.

To skateboarders, Adams was an evolutionary figure. He came from a generation of surfers for whom skateboarding was sidewalk surfing. They infused it with aggression and attitude, coining phrases like “get radical” and creating foundational maneuvers that paved the way for stars like Tony Hawk.

“Jay embodied our culture and our lifestyle all in one,” said Christian Hosoi, a professional skater and a friend of Adams’s.

But Adams also embodied darkness and excess: His competitive skate career lasted only a few years before it was derailed by addiction and jail time.

Jay J. Adams (his middle name was simply the letter J) was born in Santa Monica, Calif., on Feb. 3, 1961. He never knew his father. When he was 3, his mother began a 14-year relationship with Kent Sherwood, who worked at a local surf shop and later ran a surfboard rental business in the Venice section of Los Angeles. Sherwood raised Adams as his son.

“I got him in the water when he was 4,” Sherwood said in an interview.

Adams was a fixture at local beaches by the time he was in the first grade. Sometime in the late 1960s, he paddled up to the surfboard designer and builder Jeff Ho and complimented his surfing style.

“It really took me aback because in that time you didn’t see little kids in the water,” Ho said in an interview.

That was the beginning of a lifelong friendship that put Adams on the path to fame — not as a surfer but as a skateboarder.

When Adams was growing up in Southern California, there was not much of a distinction between people who surfed and people who skated. In the 1970s, when Ho opened a shop called Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions, Adams became a member of a surf team that traveled to local competitions and, by extension, a member of the shop’s skate team as well.

At the time, organized skateboarding, such as it was, was a cross between acrobatics and ballet, with tricks like rolling handstands and twirling 360s similar to what figure skaters did in the Olympics.

Ho’s Zephyr team, which became known as the Z-Boys, had an aggressive, surf-influenced style in which the skaters lowered their bodies and, as if riding a wave, did hard turns into embankments and walls.

That style became the standard after a 1975 skateboard contest in Del Mar, Calif., when the arrival of Adams and the Zephyr team more or less ended the era of skateboarding as gymnastics.

“It took off; everybody started skating like that,” said J. Grant Brittain, a photographer who was a spectator at the contest.

A few years later, Adams, along with Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta and others, started to unleash himself on empty swimming pools. Skateboarders had experimented with empty pools as far back as the early ’60s, but with the advent of urethane wheels, which got more traction than the clay wheels they replaced, Adams’s generation was able to go faster and higher and ultimately out of the pool.

Over a two-year period, Adams and the other skaters laid the foundations for vertical skateboarding.

“Every week was a month, and every month was a year; things just really progressed,” Glen E. Friedman, a fellow skater who photographed the era, said in an interview.

Through sponsors and endorsement deals, Adams made some money and achieved some fame. But as skateboarding faded in the early 1980s, he became a heavy drug user and began a long run of legal trouble.

He cleaned up for a time but then became addicted to heroin and landed in jail several times from the late 1990s until the late 2000s.

The 2001 documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” directed by Peralta, revived Adams’s legend and brought him a new generation of fans. He continued to have troubles with drugs and the law but became a Christian in jail and recently became sober.

His survivors include his wife, Tracy Hubbard Adams, as well as a son, Seven, and a daughter, Venice, from previous relationships.

A few months ago, several of the Z-Boys, including Adams, Alva and Peralta, met for a reunion dinner at Hostaria del Piccolo, a restaurant near Venice Beach. Two busboys, realizing they were hosting the Z-Boys, were awed.

“Years ago we would have been kicked out of a restaurant like that,” Peralta said, “and here they are: ‘Thank you for choosing us.’ ”

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DON PARDO, THE VOICE OF ‘SNL’

Don Pardo in 1992. He was the announcer for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for 38 seasons. Credit Al Levine/NBC Universal, via Associated Press

His daughter Dona Pardo confirmed the death.

Mr. Pardo, whose career began in the radio age, continued on “SNL” through the end of its most recent season, in May.

While not many people knew his face, practically every American knew his voice for more than half a century. Mr. Pardo was with “SNL” for 38 seasons, beginning with its first episode, in October 1975, missing only Season 7, and for many years he had been the announcer on the widely watched game shows “The Price Is Right” and “Jeopardy!”

For many viewers of “Saturday Night Live,” the names of scores of stars — from Chevy Chase to Eddie Murphy to Tina Fey — were first heard in Mr. Pardo’s sonorous baritone, which announced the cast each week at the end of the opening skit.

“Every year the new cast couldn’t wait to hear their name said by him,” Lorne Michaels, the show’s creator, said on Monday night.

That voice was validation for many stars.

“The moment you said my name was the height of my career,” Maya Rudolph told Mr. Pardo in a video tribute when he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dominick George Pardo was born on Feb. 22, 1918, in Westfield, Mass. (It was George Washington’s birthday, the source of his middle name.) His father, also named Dominick, a bakery owner, and his mother, Viola, were immigrants from Poland. Mr. Pardo’s eventual first name resulted from his wanting to distinguish himself from his father.

“They used to call me Nicky, and I didn’t like that,” he said in an oral history he recorded in 2006 for the Archive of American Television. “So when I got into radio, I took up Dom.” That, though, didn’t stick. “People would always say ‘Don,’ ” Mr. Pardo continued. “I said, the heck with it; I’ll be Don.”

Mr. Pardo became interested in oratory and theater while a student at Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut, and in 1938, while living in Providence, R.I., he began working with local troupes, among them the 20th Century Players, which performed on WJAR, the NBC affiliate in Providence. After about a year, the station manager offered him a job as an announcer for $30 a week — a pay cut from his job at Brown & Sharpe, a machine tool manufacturer, but his new bride, Catherine Lyons, told him to take it anyway.

In 1944, Mr. Pardo and a friend, Hal Simms, who would also become a top radio and TV announcer, made a fateful weekend trip to visit the NBC studios in New York. When Mr. Pardo stopped by to thank Patrick J. Kelly, the supervisor of announcers, for arranging the tour, he ended up with a job offer. He started with the studios’ night staff on June 15, 1944, working from 6 p.m. to signoff, 2 a.m.

Mr. Pardo joined NBC just as it was experimenting with television programming. One day in 1946, the boss came in and asked if he knew anything about baseball. He and another announcer wound up calling three televised baseball games.

Mr. Pardo called the games as a radio announcer would, following the maxim never to allow any dead air. It proved to be a poor mix with a new medium in which viewers could see the action. In his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Mr. Pardo recalled that one reviewer had dismissed his efforts saying, “He doesn’t know the game, and he wouldn’t shut his mouth.”

Mr. Pardo shuttled between radio and television for a time until an assignment he received in 1956 proved to be a keeper: the original “The Price Is Right,” hosted by Bill Cullen. The show’s popularity made the Pardo voice famous, and the occasional on-air mention by Mr. Cullen began to attach a name to that voice.

It was on “The Price Is Right” that he developed, by necessity, his distinctive elongated delivery. Part of his job, he explained, was to describe the merchandise being offered on the show before contestants tried to guess its price.

Mr. Pardo in 1945. He began his career at NBC a year earlier, first as a radio announcer. Credit NBCUniversal

“The cameras are moving so slowly, and that’s the way I had to describe it: slowly,” he said. “Those cameras were large then. You want to make sure you describe what the camera is on.”

The show, based in New York, switched to ABC in 1963, but Mr. Pardo chose to stay with NBC, where he had duties besides “The Price Is Right.” He was, for instance, the first to tell viewers of WNBC in New York that President John F. Kennedy had been shot, breaking into a “Bachelor Father” episode to do it.

Mr. Pardo’s decision to stay at NBC left him available to be the announcer for a new show, “Jeopardy!,” which made its debut in 1964. A trivia show in which contestants tried to provide the questions after seeing the answers, “Jeopardy!” was hosted by Art Fleming, who made a point of thanking Mr. Pardo by name in each episode, lifting him even further out of announcer anonymity.

The original “Jeopardy!” (a syndicated version with Alex Trebek has been broadcast since 1984) ran until 1975, again a serendipitous endpoint because “Saturday Night Live” began that same year. The show’s creator, Mr. Michaels, who was born the year that Mr. Pardo started at NBC, 1944, saw Mr. Pardo, with his radio-age voice, as a strait-laced counterpoint to the wackiness of “SNL.”

“It couldn’t have been a more different culture,” Mr. Michaels said. “But it was perfect for us.”

Mr. Pardo botched the very first opening, calling the Not Ready for Prime-Time Players the “Not for Ready Prime-Time Players.” But the misstep was forgotten, and Mr. Pardo became a signature part of the show, not just announcing the cast, musical guest and host but also introducing “Weekend Update” and playing an integral role in other bits. He missed Season 7 after Mr. Michaels had stepped away from the show temporarily.

Mr. Pardo, who had a lifetime contract with NBC, retired in 2004, but he continued to do “SNL” even though he had moved to Arizona after his wife died in 1995. For years he flew to New York each week. In recent seasons he recorded his material in Tucson.

He had countless odd moments and memorable encounters. In 1976, he appeared in a Frank Zappa performance on “SNL.” In 1984, he had a voice cameo in the Weird Al Yankovic song “I Lost on Jeopardy.” He was in the Woody Allen movie “Radio Days” in 1987 and a guest star on a 2009 episode of “30 Rock.”

In addition to his daughter Dona, Mr. Pardo is survived by two other daughters, Paula and Katherine, two sons, David and Michael; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Mr. Michaels said it was too soon to make a decision on a successor to Mr. Pardo. But he said “Saturday Night Live” would surely present a tribute to him in the coming season.

“It was a happy accident and in some great way our lives intertwined,” Mr. Michaels said. “It was always exciting. Whatever montage we did to open the show, whatever pictures we used, it didn’t really come alive till you heard him say it.”

Correction: August 22, 2014
An obituary on Wednesday about Don Pardo, the longtime announcer for “Saturday Night Live,” misstated, at one point, the year that show began. As the obituary correctly noted elsewhere, it was 1975, not 1976.

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