Monthly Archives: July 2009


#1 R&B Song 1968   “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye


Born:   Sherman Garnes (the Teenagers), 1940




1946   The King Cole Trio featuring Nat King Cole charted with “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,” reaching #3 R&B and #11 pop. It was their twelfth hit, all but one of which reached the Top 5. The “failure” was a B-side titled: “I Realize Now,” which only made #9.



1956   The Cadillacs drove into Detroit for a three-day performance at the Motorama, while in New York, Clyde McPhatter made his last appearance with the Drifters at the Apollo Theater.


1959   An obscure group called the Parliaments had their first single, the beautiful, plaintive ballad “Lonely Island” issued on the Flipp label. Though the record went nowhere, the New Jersey doo-wop group would develop into one of the funkiest aggregations to ever storm a stage, Parliament/Funkadelic, with brain trust George Clinton at the helm just as he was on that “Lonely Island” debut.


1985   The Mary Jane Girls peaked at #7 pop for three straight weeks (#3 R&B) with the infectious dance hit “In My House,” which was written and produced by Rick James.



1991   Diana Ross showed another side of  her talents when she filled in for a British disc jockey on BBC-Radio 1 in London for a week.


1996   The Fugees with lead vocalist Lauryn Hill reached #1 in England with “Killing Me Softly,” a remake of Roberta Flack’s hit from 1973. A week later it became the first single to reach #1 in Germany in its first week on the charts. In contrast, it never made the U.S. pop or R&B Top 100 lists, though it did reach #2 in pop airplay.


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#1 R&B Song 1975:   “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” Major Harris


Born:   Billy Butler (the Enchanters), 1945; Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson), 1958




1979   Chuck Berry performed at the White House by the special request of President Carter. A month later (July 10), he was sentenced to four months in jail for income tax evasion.


1980   Joan Armatrading hit the Top 200 albums with her fifth and bigest success, Me, Myself, I. It reached #28. Though she had charted twelve times on the album Top 200, Joan never had a single on the R&B charts. Lack of commercial product was her eventual undoing in America.



1980   Bob Marley and the Average White Band performed at the Summer of ’80 Garden Party at the Crystal Palace Concert Bowl in London.


1993   Chuck Berry was among those who attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.


1993   Prince, who turned thirty-five today, decided to celebrate by changing his name to a symbol that doesn’t exist on a computer keyboard. The press began calling him the Artist Formerly Known  as Prince. (Maybe they should have just referred to him as $).


1997   New Edition’s “One More Day” charted en route to #22 R&B and #61 pop. It would be the last of twenty-five R&B hits for the quintet since starting in 1983.

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 Michael Jackson:  A Sister’s Tribute

Michael Jackson, Magic & Social Change
Michael Jackson Pictures

  SISTER ANGELA’S NOTEWe will surely miss the talent that Michael Jackson shared with the world.  I was taking my daughter and her best friend…
SISTERMAIL Most of the letters received were in response to a stage performance at the BET Awards show, which…


Women’s Hip-Hop Film: Say My Name   The film stars recording artists Erykah Badu, Dr. Roxanne Shante (from “Roxanne’s Revenge”), Monie Love, MC Lyte, Rah Digga,…


Talented Muslim Female Artists Unite
Daeyah presents Sisterhood “The Mixtape,” a collaborative mixture of sounds, rhythms, hearts, and soul from a strong network… 
Does Disney’s First Black Princess Overcome Stereotypes?

If you have a little girl, you probably know about the newest Disney Princess:  Tiana.  Even though she’s starring in a film, The Princess and the Frog,… 

Queen Ifrica Teaches Self-Love and Respect
Queen Ifrica, born in Spanishtown, but raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica has “officially and professionally” been making music since 1998…


African Queens
Do you know your history?  Before there was a King of Pop, Queen Ifrica, and the Disney princesses, there were queens in Africa who ruled …



Pick Your Favorite Natural Style! Public Service Announcement
Real Sisters Rising promotes economic empowerment.

The Williams Sisters Do It Again
They are unstoppable forces in tennis, individually and together as sisters….TOOLS FOR SURVIVAL
3 Reasons Women Make Great Entrepreneurs
 “As more people are looking at alternative forms of income, we are seeing more and more women make the leap…


The Black Star Project:  Devastating  Facts About Black Males
Only strong, organized, committed and courageous Black parents can stop this genocide.  Not the police.  Not teachers.  Not schools… I Love Me!

Quirky Black Girls
Because Audre Lorde looks different in every picture ever taken of her.  Because Octavia Butler didn’t care.  Because…


56 Year-Old Wins Bodybuilding Championship
Known as the “Fitness Warrior,” Wendy Ida is a championship bodybuilder who did not begin  training until after age 40…   
Look for new entrepreneurship training and business development opportunities coming soon…



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The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

Indigenous cultures across the planet are recognized on International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Illustration based on artwork from © Niedzieski/Nicolette Neish/Victor Maffe

What do people do?

People from different nations are encouraged to participate in observing the day to spread the UN’s message on indigenous peoples. Activities may include educational forums and classroom activities to gain an appreciation and a better understanding of indigenous peoples. Events may include messages from the UN secretary general and other key leaders, performances by indigenous artists, and panel discussions on reconciliation.

Public life

The UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is a United Nations day of observance but it is not a public holiday.


The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is celebrated on August 9 each year to recognize the first UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations meeting in Geneva in 1982. On December 23, 1994, the UN General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People should be observed on August 9 annually during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.
In 2004 the assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014). The assembly also decided to continue observing the International Day of Indigenous People annually during the second decade. The decade’s goal was to further strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous peoples in areas such as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and social and economic development.
In April 2000, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution to establish the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council. The forum’s mandate is to discuss indigenous issues related to culture, economic and social development, education, the environment, health and human rights.


Artwork by Rebang Dewan, a Chackma boy from Bangladesh, was chosen as the visual identifier of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It has also been seen on material to promote the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. It features two ears of green leaves facing each other and cradling a globe resembling planet earth. Within the globe is a picture of a handshake (two different hands) in the middle and above the handshake is a landscape background. The handshake and the landscape background are encapsulated by blue at the top and bottom within the globe.
For this occasion, Rebang Dewan’s artwork is often seen together with a pale blue version of the UN logo with the words “We the peoples” written in the middle. The logo is set on a darker blue background. The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material UN events. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents people in the world.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Wed Aug 9 1995 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Fri Aug 9 1996 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Sat Aug 9 1997 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Sun Aug 9 1998 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Mon Aug 9 1999 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Wed Aug 9 2000 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Thu Aug 9 2001 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Fri Aug 9 2002 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Sat Aug 9 2003 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Mon Aug 9 2004 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Tue Aug 9 2005 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Wed Aug 9 2006 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Thu Aug 9 2007 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Sat Aug 9 2008 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Sun Aug 9 2009 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Mon Aug 9 2010 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Tue Aug 9 2011 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Thu Aug 9 2012 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Fri Aug 9 2013 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Sat Aug 9 2014 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  
Sun Aug 9 2015 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People United Nation day  

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UNFPA: World Population Day

go to

Plan to Observe World Population Day

On 11 July 2009, people around the world will be observing the 20th World Population Day in different ways. This year’s theme is chance to build awareness of the importance of educating girls to a wide range of development issues, including poverty, human rights and gender equality.


There are many ways to promote this theme:

  • Consider inviting local celebrities to help spread the message.
  • Organize events to generate widespread attention about the importance of girls’ education.
  • Spark discussion with seminars, conferences and debates. Host essay and poster contests.
  • Work with community groups to create plays and soap operas.

Encourage women and girls to speak or write about the impact of education in their own life. The messages can come to life when different people from different circumstances share their own experiences and knowledge. A full list of suggested activities is available to inspire your own planning.

Download the Version That Is Right for You

Ready-to-print posters

If you do not need to change the text, send the PDF files in the appropriate language to a local printer. If you need 500 or fewer posters, instruct the printer to make digital prints on a Canon Fiery or similar color printer (ask the printer to use recycled paper and a minimum weight of 100 lb. text). If you’d like to have posters larger than A3, let your printer know that the image is a vector graphic and can be scaled up to any size required.

Join the Anti-Poverty Movement English PDF Français PDF Español PDF Arabic PDF

When girls stay in school, poverty has no chance English PDF Français PDF Español PDF Arabic PDF

Customize posters to your language

If you need to change the text to another language, make sure that the font, font size, color and placement are exactly the same as in the posters provided. After adding the text to your chosen image, save the inDesign files as print-quality (highest) PDF files. The files below include both posters.

English ZIP file Arabic ZIP file

Create print ads in newspapers/magazines

The poster designs will work best as full-page ads. If a publication can only print black and white, tell them it is OK to convert the designs to grayscale. If the ad is smaller than full-page, make sure that the secondary (smaller) text is still legible.

Online banners

To link to the World Population Day page on this website, choose the banner ad from those below, and link to

Fight Poverty: Educate Girls


FIGHT POVERTY: Educate Girls

Investing in Women is a Smart Choice

No one knows yet what the full scale of this global economic crisis will look like. We do know that women and children in developing countries will bear the brunt of the impact.
What started as a financial crisis in rich countries is now deepening into a global economic crisis that is hitting developing countries hard. It is already affecting progress toward reducing poverty.
Policy responses that build on women’s roles as economic agents can do a lot to mitigate the effects of the crisis on development, especially because women, more than men, invest their earnings in the health and education of their children. Investments in public health, education, child care and other social services help mitigate the impact of the crisis on the entire family and raise productivity for a healthier economy.

Protect the gains achieved

Investments in education and health for women and girls have been linked to increases in productivity, agricultural yields, and national income — all of which contribute to the achievement of the MDGs. Investments by governments worldwide have raised school enrolment rates, narrowed the gender gap in education, brought life-saving drugs to people living with AIDS, expanded HIV prevention, delivered bed nets to prevent malaria, and improved child health through immunization.
Previous Year’s Posters

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International Day of Cooperatives

French | Spanish | Chinese | Russian | Arabic
(Additional unofficial translations: Italian| Portuguese)

The United Nations recognizes and reaffirms the role of cooperatives in economic, social and cultural development and in the achievement of social policy objectives as shown in various resolutions specific to cooperatives and the bi-ennial publication of the Secretary-General’s report on the role of cooperatives in social development.
In resolution 47/90 of 16 December 1992, the General Assembly proclaims “the first Saturday of July 1995 to be International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the establishment of the International Cooperative Alliance, and decides to consider the possibility of observing an international day of cooperatives in future years …”

How to celebrate International Day?

Co-operatives around the world celebrate the Day in many different ways. Below are examples of some of the activities organised by co-operatives around the world:

  • The messages of the ICA and United Nations are translated into local languages and widely disseminated to co-operators, media, government officials at all level.
  • Co-operatives use newspapers and radio programmes to create awareness on their movements and contributions.
  • Co-operative Fairs, exhibits, contests, and campaigns are held.
  • Meetings with government officials, United Nations agencies and other partner organisations are held.
  • Co-operatives partner with community agencies to champion economic, environmental, social and health challenges (blood drives, tree planting, etc.)
  • Cultural events are sponsored – theatre, concerts, etc.




4 July 2009
Theme:“Driving Global Recovery through Cooperatives”
This year’s International Day theme focuses on recovery rather than crisis.  It aims to highlight the role that cooperatives have in not only promoting economic growth, but also in promoting ethical values – values which have been severely challenged during the financial and food crisis. It underlines that cooperatives can effectively contribute to global economic recovery and that they will  do so in respect of the Cooperative Values and Principles which guide their operations. 

The theme also allows stakeholders to address the response of the cooperative movement to crisis – financial, food, values. However, it is key to be reminded that cooperatives serve their members needs in both good and bad times whether it be economically, socially and/or culturally. They are not tools to address crisis, but a sustainable form of enterprise that outlives crisis and drives recovery.


Previous Messages from the United Nations Secretary General:

2008: 14th International Day of Cooperatives Confronting Climate Change through Cooperative Enterprise”
[English] (pdf) [Français] (pdf) [Español] (pdf) [Arabic] (pdf) [Chinese] (pdf) [Russian] (pdf)

2007: 13th International Day of Cooperatives “Cooperative Values and Principles for Corporate Social Responsibility
[English] [French]

2006: 12th International Day of Cooperatives “Peace-Building through Cooperatives”
[English] [French] [Spanish]

2005: 11th International Day of Cooperatives “Microfinance is OUR business: Cooperating out of poverty”

2004: 10th UN International Day of Cooperatives “Co-operatives for Fair Globalisation: Creating Opportunities for All”
[English] [French]  

2003: 9th UN International Day of Cooperatives “Co-operatives Make Development Happen!: The contribution of co-operatives to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals
[English] [French]  

2002: 8th UN International Day of Cooperatives “Society and Co-operatives: Concern for Community”
[English] [French]  

2001: 7th UN International Day of Cooperatives “The Co-operative Advantage in the Third Millennium”

2000: 6th UN International Day of Cooperatives “Co-operatives and Employment Promotion”

1999: 5th UN International Day of Cooperatives “Public Policy and Co-operative Legislation”
[English] [French]

1998: 4th UN International Day of Cooperatives “Cooperatives and the Globalization of the Economy”

1997: 3rd UN International Day of Cooperatives “The Co-operative Contribution to World Food Security

1996: 2nd UN International Day of Cooperatives “Co-operative Enterprise: Empowerment for People-centred Sustainable Development”

1995: 1st UN International Day of Cooperatives “The ICA Centennial and the Next 100 Years of International Co-operation”




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Writers Guild of America

Judi Ann Mason

Published: July 18, 2009
Judi Ann Mason, whose precocious success as a playwright brought her to network television as one of the first female African-American sitcom writers and one of the youngest television writers of any race or either sex, died on July 8 in Los Angeles. She was 54.
The cause was a ruptured aorta, the Writers Guild of America, West, said in a news release.
Ms. Mason was just 19 and a student at Grambling State College in Louisiana when she wrote “Livin’ Fat,” a comedy about a struggling black family in a Southern city whose members find their lives changed and values challenged when one of them accidentally discovers a cache of stolen money from a bank robbery.
The play was produced off Broadway in 1976 by the Negro Ensemble Company, but even before that, it won a comedy award sponsored by the Kennedy Center and the television producer Norman Lear. Mr. Lear then hired her as a writer for the series “Good Times,” a broad comedy spinoff of “Maude” about the family of Maude’s former housekeeper, Florida Evans. It starred Esther Rolle, John Amos and Jimmie Walker.
Ms. Mason went on to write for a number of popular television series, including “Sanford,” a vehicle for Redd Foxx that was a sequel to “Sanford and Son”; “A Different World,” the “Cosby Show” spinoff set at a black college; the popular prime-time soap “Beverly Hills 90210”; and “I’ll Fly Away,” a dramatic series set in the 1950s South that focused on a successful white lawyer (Sam Waterston) and the black woman (Regina Taylor) who cares for his children.
For the movies, Ms. Mason was a writer of “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” starring Whoopi Goldberg.
She was also a playwright whose works received several Off Broadway productions, including “The Daughters of the Mock,” and “Jonah and the Wonder Dog.” Her 1977 play, “A Star Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hole in Heaven,” about a small-town Southern girl and the life she will leave behind if she takes a college scholarship, focused on the conflict between the opportunities afforded young blacks by the civil rights movement and the cultural values that were consequently diminished. It was the first winner of the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Award for plays about the African-American experience.
“Miss Mason fills her play with laughter, but her exploration of loss and gain is as serious as it is in any of the works about the ’60s being written by a growing number of black playwrights,” D. J. R. Bruckner wrote in The New York Times about a 1987 production of the play. He added: “Miss Mason has created captivating characters and given them wonderful lines to express familiar emotions.”
Ms. Mason was born on Feb. 2, 1955, but sources differ on her birthplace, citing either Shreveport, La., or nearby Bossier City. She is survived by a daughter, Mason Synclaire Williams; a son, Austin Barrett Williams; and three siblings.
“She was an exuberant, very positive character,” said Theodore Mann, the artistic director of Circle in the Square Theater, a friend of many years who said the biggest influence on Ms. Mason’s work was Tennessee Williams. “She used to quote him. When she was angry, she’d quote the mother’s line from ‘Glass Menagerie’: ‘Go to the moon, you selfish dreamer!’ ”
Published: July 17, 2009
Walter Cronkite, who pioneered and then mastered the role of television news anchorman with such plain-spoken grace that he was called the most trusted man in America, died Friday at his home in New York. He was 92.
July 18, 2009    
Walter Cronkite Is Dead at Age 92


Walter Cronkite on the air in the early 1960s. For decades on CBS, he signed off with his signature “And that’s the way it is.” More Photos »

The cause was complications of dementia, said Chip Cronkite, his son.
From 1962 to 1981, Mr. Cronkite was a nightly presence in American homes and always a reassuring one, guiding viewers through national triumphs and tragedies alike, from moonwalks to war, in an era when network news was central to many people’s lives.
He became something of a national institution, with an unflappable delivery, a distinctively avuncular voice and a daily benediction: “And that’s the way it is.” He was Uncle Walter to many: respected, liked and listened to. With his trimmed mustache and calm manner, he even bore a resemblance to another trusted American fixture, another Walter — Walt Disney.
Along with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC, Mr. Cronkite was among the first celebrity anchormen. In 1995, 14 years after he retired from the “CBS Evening News,” a TV Guide poll ranked him No. 1 in seven of eight categories for measuring television journalists. (He professed incomprehension that Maria Shriver beat him out in the eighth category, attractiveness.) He was so widely known that in Sweden anchormen were once called Cronkiters.
Yet he was a reluctant star. He was genuinely perplexed when people rushed to see him rather than the politicians he was covering, and even more astonished by the repeated suggestions that he run for office himself. He saw himself as an old-fashioned newsman — his title was managing editor of the “CBS Evening News” — and so did his audience.
“The viewers could more readily picture Walter Cronkite jumping into a car to cover a 10-alarm fire than they could visualize him doing cerebral commentary on a great summit meeting in Geneva,” David Halberstam wrote in “The Powers That Be,” his 1979 book about the news media.
As anchorman and reporter, Mr. Cronkite described wars, natural disasters, nuclear explosions, social upheavals and space flights, from Alan Shepard’s 15-minute ride to lunar landings. On July 20, 1969, when the Eagle touched down on the moon, Mr. Cronkite exclaimed, “Oh, boy!”
On the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Mr. Cronkite briefly lost his composure in announcing that the president had been pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Taking off his black-framed glasses and blinking back tears, he registered the emotions of millions.
It was an uncharacteristically personal note from a newsman who was uncomfortable expressing opinion.
“I am a news presenter, a news broadcaster, an anchorman, a managing editor — not a commentator or analyst,” he said in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor in 1973. “I feel no compulsion to be a pundit.”
But when he did pronounce judgment, the impact was large.
In 1968, he visited Vietnam and returned to do a rare special program on the war. He called the conflict a stalemate and advocated a negotiated peace. President Lyndon B. Johnson watched the broadcast, Mr. Cronkite wrote in his 1996 memoir, “A Reporter’s Life,” quoting a description of the scene by Bill Moyers, then a Johnson aide.
“The president flipped off the set,” Mr. Moyers recalled, “and said, ‘If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.’ ”
Mr. Cronkite sometimes pushed beyond the usual two-minute limit to news items. On Oct. 27, 1972, his 14-minute report on Watergate, followed by an eight-minute segment four days later, “put the Watergate story clearly and substantially before millions of Americans” for the first time, the broadcast historian Marvin Barrett wrote in “Moments of Truth?” (1975).
In 1977, his separate interviews with President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel were instrumental in Sadat’s visiting Jerusalem. The countries later signed a peace treaty.
“From his earliest days,” Mr. Halberstam wrote, “he was one of the hungriest reporters around, wildly competitive, no one was going to beat Walter Cronkite on a story, and as he grew older and more successful, the marvel of it was that he never changed, the wild fires still burned.”
Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was born on Nov. 4, 1916, in St. Joseph, Mo., the son of Walter Leland Cronkite Sr., a dentist, and the former Helen Lena Fritsche. His ancestors had settled in New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony that became New York. As a boy, Walter peddled magazines door to door and hawked newspapers. As a teenager, after the family had moved to Houston, he got a job with The Houston Post as a copy boy and cub reporter. At the same time, he had a paper route delivering The Post to his neighbors.
“As far as I know, there were no other journalists delivering the morning paper with their own compositions inside,” he wrote in his autobiography.
When he was 16, Mr. Cronkite went with friends to Chicago for the 1933 World’s Fair. He volunteered to help demonstrate an experimental version of television.
“I could honestly say to all of my colleagues, ‘I was in television long before you were,’ ” he said in an interview with CBS News in 1996.

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Frank McCourt in 2005 in a classroom at Stuyvesant High School in New York, where he taught creative writing.



Published: July 19, 2009
Frank McCourt, a former New York City schoolteacher who turned his miserable childhood in Limerick, Ireland, into a phenomenally popular, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, “Angela’s Ashes,” died in Manhattan on Sunday. He was 78 and lived in Manhattan and Roxbury, Conn. 


A Storyteller Even as a Teacher (July 20, 2009)

Review: ‘Angela’s Ashes’ (September 17, 1996)

The cause was metastatic melanoma, said Mr. McCourt’s brother the writer Malachy McCourt.
Mr. McCourt, who taught in the city’s school system for nearly 30 years, had always told his writing students that they were their own best material. In his mid-60s, he decided to take his own advice, sitting down to commit his childhood memories to paper and producing what he described as “a modest book, modestly written.”
In it Mr. McCourt described a childhood of terrible deprivation. After his alcoholic father abandoned the family, his mother — the Angela of the title — begged on the streets of Limerick to keep him and his three brothers meagerly fed, poorly clothed and housed in a basement flat with no bathroom and a thriving population of vermin. The book’s clear-eyed look at childhood misery, its incongruously lilting, buoyant prose and its heartfelt urgency struck a remarkable chord with readers and critics.
“When I look back on my childhood, I wonder how I survived at all,” the book’s second paragraph begins in a famous passage. “It was, of course, a miserable childhood: The happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.
“People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and all the terrible things they did to us for 800 long years.”
“Angela’s Ashes,” published by Scribner in 1996, rose to the top of the best-seller lists and stayed there for more than two years, selling four million copies in hardback. The next year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for biography and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Two more installments of his life story followed: “ ’Tis” (1999), which described his struggle to gain a foothold in New York, and “Teacher Man” (2005), an account of his misadventures and small victories as a public-school teacher. Both, although best sellers, did not achieve anything like the runaway success of Mr. McCourt’s first book, which the British director Robert Parker brought to the screen in 1999.
Not to be outdone, Mr. McCourt’s younger brother Malachy, an actor, brought out two volumes of his own memoirs: “A Monk Swimming” (1998), which also made the best-seller list, and “Singing Him My Song” (2000). Then, when it seemed that the McCourt tale had been well and truly told, Conor McCourt, Malachy’s son, gathered the four brothers, got them talking and filmed two television documentaries, “The McCourts of Limerick” and “The McCourts of New York.”
It was “Angela’s Ashes” that loomed over all things McCourt, however, and constituted a transformative experience for its author.
Speaking to students at Bay Shore High School on Long Island in 1997, he said, “I learned the significance of my own insignificant life.”
Born in New York
Francis McCourt was born Aug. 30, 1930, on Classon Avenue on the edge of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where his Irish immigrant parents had hoped to make a better life. It was not to be, largely because his father, Malachy, usually spent his scant laborer’s earnings at the local bar. Beaten, the family returned to Limerick when Frank was 4, and the pattern repeated itself.
Three of Mr. McCourt’s six siblings died in early childhood. The family’s circumstances were so dire, he later told a student audience, that he often dreamed of becoming a prison inmate so that he would be guaranteed three meals a day and a warm bed. At home, the staple meal was tea and bread, which his mother jokingly referred to as a balanced diet: a solid and a liquid.
Published: July 15, 2009
Sam Church, a burly, bearded coal miner from the hollows of West Virginia who led the United Mine Workers of America during a tumultuous time when the union was growing more democratic while its numbers were dwindling, died Tuesday in Bristol, Tenn. He was 72 and lived in Pennington Gap, Va.
July 16, 2009    

Tim C. Cox/Bristol Herald-Courier, via Associated Press

Sam Church in 1987.


He died after a long illness, said his wife, Patti.
Mr. Church, who had been vice president of the United Mine Workers, succeeded to the presidency in November 1979 when Arnold R. Miller resigned because of poor health.
He inherited a struggling union. Before becoming president in 1972, Mr. Miller had led an insurrectionist movement called Miners for Democracy that ousted a dictatorial leader, W. A. Boyle. Mr. Boyle, known as Tony, was later sentenced to life in prison for ordering the killings, in 1969, of Joseph A. Yablonski, a former opponent, and Mr. Yablonski’s wife and daughter.
The union faced serious difficulties under Mr. Church. It was a time of factionalism and wildcat strikes; efforts to unionize mines that were opening in the West were failing. With its membership shrinking, from 400,000 in his heyday to 160,000 by the end of the ’70s, the union was left representing miners producing less than half of the nation’s coal.
Mr. Church was president until November 1982, based at the union headquarters in Washington. (It is now in Fairfax, Va.) He was credited with ending the era of wildcat strikes, lobbying for improved mine-safety regulations and negotiating benefits for victims of black-lung disease.
But he also negotiated a contract that was rejected by the membership in 1981. A 72-day strike followed. The ultimate settlement raised union pay above $100 a day, added dental insurance and extended pension rights to the widows of miners.
Mr. Church’s bid for a full five-year term as president failed in 1982 when he lost to Richard L. Trumka. Mr. Trumka is now secretary-treasurer of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Mr. Church remained active with the union and returned home to Virginia, where he went back to the mines as an underground electrician.
Born in Matewan, W.Va., on Sept. 20, 1936, Samuel Morgan Church Jr. was one of eight children of Samuel and Helen Cook Church. His father was a coal miner who became a barber after his foot was crushed while working in the mine.
Mr. Church’s first marriage ended in divorce. Besides his wife of 31 years, the former Patti Page, he is survived by his son from his second marriage, Nathaniel; three children from his first marriage, Samuel 3rd, Melissa Lawson and Suzanne Church; two sisters, Barbara and Patricia; his brother Gary; and six grandchildren.
When he was 8, Mr. Church’s family moved to Virginia. Young Sam was a shoeshine boy, then a pinsetter at a bowling alley, for 5 cents a game. That was the start of his union activities.
“There was a head pinsetter who got 7 cents, so the rest of us said we were going on strike if we didn’t get 7 cents, too,” Mr. Church told The New York Times in 1979. “The boss said he’d do it to keep the lanes open, and then the next day he fired us and got in new kids at 5 cents.”
In 1951, Mr. Church took a job at a sugar plant in Baltimore. Fourteen years later, he returned to Virginia and worked for the Clinchfield Coal Company. He rose through union ranks until 1975, when Mr. Miller asked him to join the staff at headquarters.
Mr. Church’s maternal grandfather, Wirt Cook, was the superintendent of a coal mine in West Virginia in the early 1900s.
“I always kidded him,” Patti Church said on Wednesday, “that one chromosome and he would have been the company guy.”
Published: July 18, 2009
Tom Wilkes, an art director, photographer and designer whose posters for the Monterey Pop Festival and album covers for the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, George Harrison and others helped illustrate the age of rock ’n’ roll, died on June 28 in Pioneertown, Calif., in the high desert east of Los Angeles. He was 69.
July 18, 2009    

Courtesy of Katherine Wilkes Fotch

Tom Wilkes in 1967.



Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises, top, second top and bottom

Mr. Wilkes’s covers include, from top: the Rolling Stones’s “Beggars Banquet”; Dave Mason’s “Alone Together”; George Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh”; Neil Young’s “Harvest”; and Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs & Englishmen.”



The cause was a heart attack, said his daughter, Katherine Wilkes Fotch. Mr. Wilkes suffered from primary lateral sclerosis, a progressive neuromuscular disease.
Mr. Wilkes was an art director for a small advertising firm in his hometown, Long Beach, Calif., and taking on occasional freelance work designing album covers when he was hired by Lou Adler, the manager of the Mamas and the Papas, to create imagery for what was then a new idea: a rock ’n’ roll music festival.
Officially billed as the First Annual Monterey International Pop Festival, the event took place over three days in June 1967, two years before Woodstock. It attracted about 200,000 people, with performers like Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, the Who, the Byrds and Otis Redding, among many others.
Mr. Wilkes’s memorable poster images included the Greek god Pan, playing the panpipes and wearing a psychedelic necktie. Another shows a shapely woman photographed as a silent film star, wearing a strikingly loopy tie — it has a photograph of another woman on it — that has been painted around her neck, and her suggestively clad figure is set against a pattern of snail-like swirls.
His work at the festival landed him a job as art director for A&M Records, where he designed album covers for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66, Claudine Longet and Phil Ochs, but it was as a freelancer that he created his most enduring work.
Mr. Wilkes’s visual style was hard to nail down; working often with a partner, Barry Feinstein, he was known for tailoring his imagery to an idea of the music.
For the Rolling Stones, he created a controversial cover for the album “Beggars Banquet,” using a photograph of a toilet stall with the name of the band prominent on a wall filled with graffiti. The record label initially refused to release the cover, and replaced it with a fake invitation to a dinner. Mr. Wilkes’s version was released later.
For Dave Mason’s “Alone Together,” Mr. Wilkes photographed Mr. Mason wearing a top hat and a long-tailed coat against a backdrop of canyon rocks. For Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs & Englishmen,” he placed a photograph of the long-haired Mr. Cocker flexing his right bicep within an illustration of a mirror frame. For George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” he depicted the former Beatle as if he were a woodsman in a fairy tale, surrounded by reclining trolls.
Only hours before Janis Joplin’s fatal drug overdose in 1970, Mr. Wilkes photographed her for the album “Pearl,” colorfully dressed and coiffed and looking remarkably relaxed and happy. He photographed Eric Clapton, sitting in a chair in a white suit, for his first solo album, and for Neil Young’s “Harvest,” he created the typescript title over a red sun set against a wheat-colored background.
The cover for the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of the Who’s rock opera “Tommy,” featuring close-up images of gleaming silver pinballs, two with embedded golden eyeballs, won a 1973 Grammy Award for Mr. Wilkes’s company, Wilkes and Braun.
Thomas Edward Wilkes was born in Long Beach on July 30, 1939. His father, Edward, managed a company that sold vending machines. His grandfather, a sign painter, was the source of his artistic interest. He went to art school, his daughter said, at the Art Center School in Los Angeles (now the Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena).
Mr. Wilkes was married and divorced three times. In addition to his daughter, Ms. Wilkes Fotch, who lives in Orange, Calif., he is survived by a brother, Dennis, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and three grandchildren.
Mr. Wilkes had gotten to know the Rolling Stones when he designed some of the graphics for their 1967 album, “Flowers.” In an interview on Wednesday Ms. Wilkes Fotch said that after “Flowers,” her father and the Stones were hanging out in London, talking about what would be suitable for the cover of “Beggar’s Banquet.”
“They went to some god-awful pub, and my dad went to the bathroom, and someone had written ‘Rolling Stones’ in red lipstick over the toilet,” she said. “That’s where they shot it.”

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