Monthly Archives: July 2012




Quick Facts

The International Day of Friendship is annually held on July 30 to celebrate friendships worldwide.


International Day of Friendship

International Day of Friendship 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

International Day of Friendship 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The International Day of Friendship is a United Nations (UN) day that promotes the role that friendship plays in promoting peace in many cultures. It is observed on July 30 each year.

The UN has a special day to promote the concept of friendships across diverse backgrounds and cultures. ©

What do people do?

To mark the International Day of Friendship, the UN encourages governments, organizations, and community groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that promote solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Public life

The International Day of Friendship is a UN observance and not a public holiday.


In 2011, the UN proclaimed the International Day of Friendship with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The UN wanted for the day to involve young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.

International Day of Friendship Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sat Jul 30 2011 International Day of Friendship United Nations observance
Mon Jul 30 2012 International Day of Friendship United Nations observance
Tue Jul 30 2013 International Day of Friendship United Nations observance
Wed Jul 30 2014 International Day of Friendship United Nations observance
Thu Jul 30 2015 International Day of Friendship United Nations observance

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Published: July 27, 2012

  • Thelma Glass, the last surviving member of a black women’s group that in 1955 organized a yearlong bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., after the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, died on Tuesday. She was 96.

David Campbell/Alabama State University

Thelma Glass in 2003.

Her great-niece Marcia Young confirmed that Ms. Glass died in Montgomery.

Ms. Glass, a professor of geography at Alabama State University, was the secretary of the Women’s Political Council, which leapt to action within hours of Ms. Parks’s arrest on Dec. 1, 1955. The women’s group, realizing that three-quarters of the bus riders in Montgomery were black, called on blacks to boycott the buses to put pressure on the city, the state and the bus company to stop forcing them to ride in the back and surrender their seats to white passengers.

The group urged people to walk or car-pool instead of taking the bus, and Ms. Glass was among those who drove others to work and helped pass out fliers to alert the community to the boycott.

By Monday, Dec. 5, the buses were empty.

“When the first bus came by with nobody on it, I couldn’t believe it,” Ms. Glass told The Montgomery Advertiser in 2005. As bus after bus rumbled past without a soul on board, she grew more and more delighted. “It’s a feeling of such happiness and accomplishment that you just can’t quite explain,” she said.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. helped lead the boycott, and thousands participated. For the transit system, it was a swift kick in the pocketbook. Whites retaliated, sometimes with violence, sometimes with arrests and fines for offenses like conspiring to interfere with a business. Dr. King was jailed. The civil rights movement was energized.

“We didn’t have time to sit still and be scared,” Ms. Glass said.

In November 1956 the Supreme Court ruled that Alabama’s laws allowing segregation on the buses were unconstitutional. In December, the boycott ended.

Thelma McWilliams was born in Mobile, Ala., on May 16, 1916. Her father was a hotel cook and her mother a homemaker who sometimes helped her husband. Education was a high priority, and Ms. McWilliams graduated as valedictorian from Dunbar High School in Mobile at age 15. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University and a master’s from Columbia, both in geography. She taught geography at Alabama State for 40 years, and an auditorium there is named for her.

In 1942 she married Arthur Glass, who also taught at Alabama State. Mr. Glass died in 1983.

On July 20, just a few days before her death, Professor Glass attended a black tie gala at the university, clad in an elegant gown.





Published: July 24, 2012

Sherman Hemsley, the bantamweight comic actor who portrayed the scrappy, nouveau riche George Jefferson on the hit CBS sitcom “The Jeffersons,” died on Tuesday at his home in El Paso. He was 74.

CBS, via Photofest

Carroll O’Connor, left, as Archie Bunker and Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson on “All in the Family.”

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Sherman Hemsley in 2004.

His death was confirmed by his agent, Todd Frank. He did not specify a cause.

The Jeffersons were introduced as Archie Bunker’s Queens neighbors on “All in the Family” in 1971. George was conceived as a black version of Archie, as distrustful of white people as Archie was of black people (and almost everyone else). Although George’s wife, Louise, was frequently seen, George himself was mentioned but did not appear on camera until 1973: he was said to be unwilling to set foot in a white family’s house. (In reality, Mr. Hemsley was unavailable until then. Mel Stewart was seen as George’s brother, Henry, until Mr. Hemsley joined the cast.)

The character of George Jefferson proved so popular that a spinoff series was developed. “The Jeffersons” made its debut in January 1975; in the opening episode, George, the owner of a successful dry-cleaning business; his wife, whom he called Weezy (played by Isabel Sanford, who was 20 years Mr. Hemsley’s senior); and their son, Lionel (Mike Evans), leave Queens and, in the words of the show’s memorable theme song, are “movin’ on up” to Manhattan’s fashionable Upper East Side — to “a deluxe apartment in the sky.” The show was an immediate success, finishing fourth in the 1975 Nielsen ratings.

High-strung and irrepressible, George Jefferson quickly became one of America’s most popular television characters, a high-energy, combative black man who backed down to no one — something that had rarely been seen on television. At the same time, however, he was vain, snobbish and bigoted (“honky” was one of his favorite epithets directed at whites), and flaunted his self-regard like a badge. Each week, his wife or their irreverent maid, Florence (played by Marla Gibbs), would step up to scuttle his wrongheaded schemes or deflate his delusions of grandeur.

Florence: It just occurred to me why your hair keeps falling out.

George: Why?

Florence: You ain’t got nothing up there for it to root in!

“The Jeffersons” was a hit until it left the air in 1985. And the reclusive Mr. Hemsley, who tended to avoid the Hollywood spotlight, established himself as one of television’s most popular stars, if also one of the least accessible.

Sherman Alexander Hemsley was born in Philadelphia on Feb. 1, 1938. He dropped out of Edward W. Bok Technical High School in the 10th grade to join the Air Force and was stationed in Asia after the Korean War. He returned to Philadelphia after his discharge and, while working at the post office, attended Philadelphia’s Academy of Dramatic Arts in the evening.

In 1967, encouraged by the actor and director Robert Hooks, Mr. Hemsley moved to New York to pursue an acting career. He joined the Negro Ensemble Company, studied with the renowned actor and director Lloyd Richards (later dean of the Yale School of Drama) and performed with Vinnette Carroll’s Urban Arts Corps. He also appeared in Off Broadway productions. In one — a double bill of “Old Judge Mose Is Dead” and “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl” (1969) — he drew praise from The New York Times, which called him “an actor whose instinct for the comic line and the comic gesture, even the comic lift of an eyelash, is wholly natural and just about perfect.”

Mr. Hemsley’s big break came a year later when he was cast in the Broadway musical “Purlie.” When Norman Lear was looking for an actor to play Archie Bunker’s neighbor, he remembered seeing Mr. Hemsley in that show.

“The cocky energy of the guy was totally in sync with the offstage image we had created of George,” Mr. Lear later said.

Mr. Lear traced Mr. Hemsley to San Francisco, where he was appearing onstage in the musical “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” and offered him the role of George Jefferson.

A year after “The Jeffersons” left the air, Mr. Hemsley returned to television in “Amen,” a sitcom set in a black Baptist church in Philadelphia. He starred as Deacon Ernest Frye, a character every bit as caustic and blustery as George Jefferson. In the opening episode, he tells an overweight pastor: “God gave each of us a temple. You have torn yours down and put up a Pizza Hut.” The show ran on NBC from 1986 to 1991.

The popularity of reruns of “The Jeffersons” on Nick at Nite and TV Land in the 1990s spurred a renewed interest in the show’s stars. In the ’90s and early 2000s Mr. Hemsley, Ms. Sanford (who died in 2004) and Ms. Gibbs were frequent guests on prime-time shows. Mr. Hemsley in particular seemed to show up on almost every sitcom with a primarily black cast, among them “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “The Wayans Brothers” and “The Hughleys,” on which he and Ms. Gibbs both had recurring roles. He also starred as a con man in the short-lived UPN comedy “Goode Behavior” in the 1996-97 season. His most recent appearance was on the Tyler Perry sitcom “House of Payne” in 2011 — as George Jefferson.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.

At the height of his popularity on “The Jeffersons,” rumors surfaced that Mr. Hemsley was a temperamental loner, as arrogant and difficult as the character he played. The actors he worked with tended to disagree. “I’m here to tell you it’s a lie,” Clifton Davis, his co-star on “Amen,” said of the rumors. “He’s very shy, and he’s not on an ego trip.”

Mr. Hemsley laughed at the suggestion that his personality was in any way similar to George Jefferson’s. “I’m nothing like him,” he said in 1996. “I don’t slam doors in people’s faces, and I’m not a bigot. I’m just an old hippie. You know — peace and love.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 26, 2012

An obituary on Wednesday about the actor Sherman Hemsley misspelled the given name of the founder of the Urban Arts Corps, with which he performed early in his career. She was Vinnette Carroll, not Vinette. The obituary also described incorrectly the occupation of George Jefferson, the character Mr. Hemsley played on the television shows “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” He owned a dry-cleaning business, not a cleaning business.




NASA, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Sally Ride communicating with ground controllers during the six-day space mission of the Challenger in 1983. More Photos »


Published: July 23, 2012

Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died on Monday at her home in San Diego. She was 61.

Associated Press

Dr. Ride with fellow crew members at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida before an October 1984 flight aboard the Challenger.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, her company, Sally Ride Science, announced on its Web site.

Dr. Ride, a physicist who was accepted into the space program in 1978 after she answered a newspaper ad for astronauts, flew on the shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983, and on a second mission in 1984. At 32, she was also the youngest American in space.

She later became the only person to sit on both panels investigating the catastrophic shuttle accidents that killed all astronauts on board — the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Columbia crash in 2003.

Dr. Ride was finishing studies at Stanford University — she had degrees in physics and astrophysics (and also English) — and looking for a job when she saw NASA’s advertisement. She looked at the qualifications and said, “I’m one of those people,” she told The New York Times in 1982.

She applied, and made the cut.

“The women’s movement had already paved the way, I think, for my coming,” she said.

By the time she began studying laser physics at Stanford, women had already broken through into the physics department, once a boys’ club. And when she applied to the space program, NASA had already made a commitment to admit women.

But there were still rough spots. Speaking to reporters before the first shuttle flight, Dr. Ride — chosen in part because she was known for keeping her cool under stress — politely endured a barrage of questions focused on her sex: Would spaceflight affect her reproductive organs? Did she plan to have children? Would she wear a bra or makeup in space? Did she cry on the job? How would she deal with menstruation in space?

The CBS News reporter Diane Sawyer asked her to demonstrate a newly installed privacy curtain around the shuttle’s toilet. On “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson joked that the shuttle flight would be delayed because Dr. Ride had to find a purse to match her shoes.

At a NASA news conference, Dr. Ride said: “It’s too bad this is such a big deal. It’s too bad our society isn’t further along.”

The Soviets had already sent two women into space. When one came aboard a space station, a male cosmonaut welcomed her by saying the kitchen and an apron were all ready for her.

In her early days at NASA, Dr. Ride trained in parachute jumping, water survival, weightlessness and the huge G-forces of a rocket launch. She learned to fly a jet plane. She also switched from physics to engineering and helped in the development of a robotic arm for the space shuttle. The Challenger commander, Robert L. Crippen, chose her for the 1983 mission in part because of her expertise with the device. She was part of a crew of five that spent about six days in space, during which she used the arm to deploy and retrieve a satellite.

At Cape Canaveral, many in the crowd of 250,000 that watched the launching wore T-shirts that said, “Ride, Sally Ride” — from the lyrics of the song “Mustang Sally.”

The next day, Gloria Steinem, editor of Ms. magazine at the time, said, “Millions of little girls are going to sit by their television sets and see they can be astronauts, heroes, explorers and scientists.”

When the shuttle landed, Dr. Ride told reporters, “I’m sure it was the most fun that I’ll ever have in my life.”

Her next mission, in 1984, lasted about eight days. She was on the roster for another shuttle flight before the Challenger blew up on Jan. 28, 1986, 73 seconds after taking off from Cape Canaveral. But the program was immediately suspended, and she retired the next year.

As a member of the panel appointed by President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident, Ms. Ride gained a reputation for asking tough questions. The panel learned from testimony and other evidence that there had been signs of trouble on earlier Challenger flights, but that they had been dismissed as not critical. Dr. Ride told a colleague it was difficult not to be angered by the findings.

One witness was Roger Boisjoly, an engineer who had worked for the company that made the shuttle’s rocket boosters and who had been shunned by colleagues for revealing that he had warned his bosses and NASA that the boosters’ seals, called O-rings, could fail in cold weather. The Challenger had taken off on a cold morning.



Related in Opinion

After his testimony, Dr. Ride, who was known to be reserved and reticent, publicly hugged him. She was the only panelist to offer him support. Mr. Boisjoly, who died in January, said her gesture had helped sustain him during a troubled time.

In 2003, after sitting on a shuttle-disaster panel for the second time, Dr. Ride said in an interview with The Times that part of the problem at NASA was that people had forgotten some of the lessons learned from the Challenger accident. The panel had months earlier expressed its conviction that the disintegration of the shuttle Columbia over Texas was triggered when a chunk of foam insulation fell off the external fuel tank and gashed the leading edge of the wing.

But she also said: “I flew the shuttle twice. It got me home twice. I like the shuttle.”

In 1987, Dr. Ride led a study team that wrote a report advising NASA on the future direction of the space program. The team recommended an outpost on the Moon, though not a “race to Mars.” But Mars should still be the “ultimate objective,” the group said. In the report, Dr. Ride wrote that a lunar outpost would combine “adventure, science, technology and perhaps the seeds of enterprise.” She also noted darkly that the United States had “lost leadership” to the Soviet Union in a number of aspects of space exploration.

The same year, Dr. Ride retired from NASA and became a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford. In 1989, she became a professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego.

She also developed a passion for trying to interest young people, especially girls, in science, math and technology. She wrote six science books for children, including one that explained how to make a sandwich in space. (She advised eating it fast, before it floated away.)

In 2001 she started a company, Sally Ride Science, to “make science and engineering cool again,” as she put it, by providing science-oriented school programs, materials and teacher training.

Dr. Ride was known for guarding her privacy. She rejected most offers for product endorsements, memoirs and movies, and her reticence lasted to the end. At her request, NASA kept her illness secret.

In 1983, writing in The Washington Post, Susan Okie, a journalist and longtime friend, described Dr. Ride as elusive and enigmatic, protective of her emotions.

“During college and graduate school,” Dr. Okie wrote, “I had to interrogate her to find out what was happening in her personal life.”

Dr. Okie quoted Dr. Ride’s younger sister, the Rev. Karen Scott, a Presbyterian minister, as saying, “ ‘Closeness’ is not a word that is often used to describe relationships in our family.” Dr. Ride always needed to be in control, her mother told Dr. Okie.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, President Obama said Dr. Ride had been “a national hero and a powerful role model.”

“She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools,” he said. “Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve.”

Sally Kristen Ride was born on May 26, 1951, in Encino, part of Los Angeles. Her father was a political science professor at Santa Monica College, and her mother worked as a volunteer counselor at women’s correctional facility. Both parents were elders in the Presbyterian Church.

From an early age, Dr. Ride gravitated toward math and science. She was strong-willed and athletic, and became so obsessed with playing football in the street that her parents pushed her into tennis lessons because it was a safer sport. She was soon playing in tournaments.

Dr. Ride attended Westlake School for Girls, a prep school in Los Angeles. Dr. Okie was her schoolmate, and wrote that she and Dr. Ride, both on scholarship, felt out of place among the actors’ daughters and “Bel Air belles” at the school. Dr. Ride did not have to work hard for good grades, called herself an underachiever and refused to feign interest if she was bored in class. But it was at Westlake that Dr. Ride found a mentor and friend in Elizabeth Mommaerts, a science teacher whom she described as “logic personified.” A great enthusiast for research, Dr. Mommaerts invited her favorite students, Dr. Ride among them, to her home to sample French food and wine and to hear stories about her life in Europe.

(Later, in graduate school, Dr. Ride was devastated to learn that Dr. Mommaerts had committed suicide. When she was chosen to be an astronaut, the one person she wanted most to call was Dr. Mommaerts, she told Dr. Okie. “And I can’t,” she said.)

After graduating from high school in 1968, Dr. Ride attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania but quit after three semesters. She was homesick for California and was considering a career in tennis. She practiced for several hours a day, and also began taking physics courses at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1970, she enrolled at Stanford as a junior. She played tennis for Stanford, became the team’s No. 1 women’s singles player and was nationally ranked. She taught at summer tennis camps, and at one of them she met Billie Jean King, who urged her to quit college and become a professional tennis player. She did not take that advice.

Years later, when a child asked her what made her decide to be a scientist instead of a tennis player, she laughed and said, “A bad forehand.”

She received bachelor’s degrees in physics and English in 1973 (her specialty was Shakespeare), a master’s degree in physics in 1975 and a Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1978, all from Stanford. Her graduate work involved X-ray astronomy and free-electron lasers.

In 2003, Dr. Ride told The Times that stereotypes still persisted about girls and science and math — for example the idea that girls had less ability or interest in those subjects, or would be unpopular if they excelled in them. She thought peer pressure, especially in middle school, began driving girls away from the sciences, so she continued to set up science programs all over the country meant to appeal to girls — science festivals, science camps, science clubs — to help them find mentors, role models and one another.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been reluctant to use my name for things,” she said. “I haven’t written my memoirs or let the television movie be made about my life. But this is something I’m very willing to put my name behind.”

Dr. Ride married a fellow astronaut, Steven Hawley, in 1982. They decorated their master bedroom with a large photograph of astronauts on the moon. They divorced in 1987. Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy; her mother, Joyce; and her sister, Ms. Scott, who is known as Bear. (Dr. O’Shaughnessy is chief operating officer of Dr. Ride’s company.)

Dr. Ride told interviewers that what drove her was not the desire to become famous or to make history as the first woman in space. All she wanted to do was fly, she said, to soar into space, float around weightless inside the shuttle, look out at the heavens and gaze back at Earth. In photographs of her afloat in the spaceship, she was grinning, as if she had at long last reached the place she was meant to be.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 25, 2012

Because of an editing error, an obituary on Tuesday about Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, referred incorrectly to the death of Roger Boisjoly, an engineer who testified about the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger before a panel that included Dr. Ride. Mr. Boisjoly died in January of this year, not in February. The obituary also misstated the name and the location of the Southern California high school Dr. Ride attended. It was Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles, not Westlake High School in Beverly Hills.





Published: July 23, 2012

  • Simon Ward, a car dealer’s son who gave moviegoers an enduring image of Winston Churchill as a callow aristocrat, playing the British bulldog in Richard Attenborough’s 1972 film, “Young Winston,” died on Saturday in London. He was 70.

Columbia Pictures

Simon Ward in “Young Winston,” the 1972 movie directed by Richard Attenborough.

His death was announced by his family. No cause was given, though Mr. Ward had been receiving medical treatment since May 2011, when illness forced him to drop out of rehearsals for a London stage production of Shaw’s “Pygmalion.”

Mr. Ward’s piercing good looks and archetypical Englishness made him Hollywood’s go-to British actor for a time, the Hugh Grant of the early ’70s. Following the success of “Young Winston,” in which the previously little-known Mr. Ward played opposite Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, he was cast in leading roles in “Hitler: The Last Ten Days” (1973), with Alec Guinness, and “The Three Musketeers” (1973), as the dashing but doomed Duke of Buckingham, opposite Charlton Heston, Oliver Reed and Faye Dunaway.

In 1975, he starred with Mr. Hopkins again in “All Creatures Great and Small,” a television movie based on the writing of the veterinarian James Herriot. Recently, he played Bishop Stephen Gardiner in the BBC historical fiction series The Tudors (seen in the United States on Showtime).

A mixture of earnest ingenuousness and wry, self-deprecating humor characterized Mr. Ward’s remarks in the dozens of interviews he gave over the years, and “Young Winston” was far and away the movie he was asked about the most. In a 2002 interview, he described the fine line he tried to walk in preparing for the role:

“I did an awful lot of research for the part,” he said, “and they used to run old newsreels in the mornings after I’d been in makeup. It was always of ‘old Winston,’ obviously, but I think I learned an awful lot from them, which helped. We didn’t want an imitation, and I didn’t want to be thought of as thinking I was him. Neither did I want to be regarded as an expert. But when I was doing the publicity tour for the film, that’s what naturally happened. Everybody seemed to want to talk about Dresden.”

Before being cast to play his country’s greatest modern leader — during Churchill’s daring adventures in the Boer War and in the Sudan, and before he became a politician — Mr. Ward had been cast in only two films, both of them horror movies. He played an unethical pharmacist in one and a serial killer in the other. But he described the experience as great training, especially for the opportunity to work with the British horror star Peter Cushing, who gave the young, self-described self-serious actor excellent advice about the trade:

“Our first scene was rather argumentative — we were coming in rather smartly with lines, shouting at each other,” Mr. Ward said. During a break, he recalled, Mr. Cushing came over and said in a kindly whisper. “ ‘Now you do know, dear boy, that at the end of every line, leave a very tiny gap so they can get the scissors in.’ ” If not for that, he said, “I wouldn’t have known anything about them having to cut and splice the film.”

Simon Ward was born on Oct. 19, 1941, to a working-class family in Beckenham, Kent. His father sold cars at a local dealership. He joined the National Youth Theater at 13 and later trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he met and shared a room with Mr. Hopkins, who became a friend. His big break came in 1967, when he had the lead role in Joe Orton’s play “Loot.”

He is survived by his wife, Alexandra, and their three daughters: Claudia Ward, the actress Sophie Ward and Kitty McIntyre, who is married to the British comedian Michael McIntyre.

In interviews, Mr. Ward made frequent references to his lifelong lack of ambition. “I’ve never desperately wanted anything — neither fame nor riches,” he said. A drama teacher, he said, once told him he needed to decide what he really wanted as an actor, because “until you do, you will always be a bloody awful actor.” And, Mr. Ward added, “There’s a terrible truth in that.”

Friends said he was bitterly disappointed at having to drop out of “Pygmalion” last year, because it was one the first times in his career that instead of playing a typical aristocrat, he was to play a typical (if caricatured) working-class man. He was cast as Eliza Doolittle’s father, Alfred.





Published: July 27, 2012

  • Lupe Ontiveros, a Mexican-American character actress who struggled through Hollywood typecasting to play memorable roles in television and film and become a model of perseverance for Latino actors, died on Thursday in Whittier, Calif. She was 69.

ABC, via Photofest

Lupe Ontiveros on “Desperate Housewives” in 2004.

A son, Nicholas Ontiveros, said the cause was liver cancer.

Ms. Ontiveros worked steadily throughout a career of more than 35 years in roles as disparate as a murderous fan in “Selena” and a domineering mother in “Real Women Have Curves,” which brought her a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002. She was nominated for an Emmy as Eva Longoria’s suspicious mother-in-law in the ABC series “Desperate Housewives.”

In “Selena,” released in 1997, Ms. Ontiveros was so credible as the killer of the popular Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla, played by Jennifer Lopez, that for years the singer’s fans would hiss at her when she walked into a public place.

“There were people who would stop her and say things,” the actor Edward James Olmos said. “She’d explain she felt the same way they did.”

As an actor, Mr. Olmos said, “she had this incredible ability to make you believe.”

Ms. Ontiveros’s signature role became that of the Hispanic maid, which she figured she had played more than 150 times in television and films, like James L. Brooks’s “As Good as It Gets” and Steven Spielberg’s “Goonies.”

That she was repeatedly cast in the role mostly reflected Hollywood stereotyping and the lack of variety in roles offered to Latino actors, she said.

“They don’t know we’re very much a part of this country and that we make up every part of this country,” she told The New York Times in 2002. “When I go in there and speak perfect English, I don’t get the part.”

Putting on a Spanish accent was part of acting for Ms. Ontiveros, who was born Guadalupe Moreno to Mexican immigrants on Sept. 17, 1942, in El Paso. Her parents owned two restaurants and a tortilla factory in El Paso, gave their only child dance and piano lessons, and sent her to Texas Woman’s University, where she majored in psychology and social work.

Ms. Ontiveros was working as a social worker when her artistic leanings led her to pursue acting in the 1970s.

Along with Mr. Olmos, she was a cast member of “Zoot Suit,” which in 1979 was the first Mexican-American production to come to Broadway. In 1985, she became a founder of the Latino Theater Company in Los Angeles.

Ms. Ontiveros pined for roles that would showcase her talents, she said in interviews. She wished to play a judge, or perhaps Hispanic heroines like the 17th-century Mexican poet and nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, or the union organizer Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers. But more often than not she was offered the maid.

Ms. Ontiveros, who stood 4 feet 11 inches, infused many of her parts with humor and held her own next to stars like Jack Nicholson, as she did in a scene in “As Good as It Gets,” in which Mr. Nicholson’s obsessive-compulsive misanthrope Melvin tells her off and slams the door in her face, leaving her stunned.

Only Ms. Ontiveros’s ambition and dedication kept her going, said Alex Nogales, another friend, who heads the National Hispanic Media Coalition and sent young Latino actors to her for advice. She was also an advocate for the hearing-impaired — a constituency that includes two of her three sons — and persuaded the producers of “Maya & Miguel,” an animated PBS series in which she voiced the grandmother, to incorporate American Sign Language in one episode.

“She never stopped trying,” Mr. Nogales said. “In a way we feel we failed her by not banging those doors down. In our community she was an icon.”

With characteristic saltiness, Ms. Ontiveros once said, “I’ve made chicken salad” out of chicken manure. But she did not regret playing so many maids, she said, because it allowed for steady work and for portraying working people with dignity. She narrated the 2005 documentary “Maid in America.”

“I’m proud to represent those hands that labor in this country,” she told The Times.

“I’ve given every maid I’ve portrayed soul and heart.”

Ms. Ontiveros, who lived in Pico Rivera, Calif., is survived by her husband, Elias Ontiveros Jr.; her sons Nicholas, Alejandro and Elias, and two granddaughters.





Published: July 25, 2012

  • Chad Everett, the lean, handsome actor who mended broken hearts as well as broken bones as Dr. Joe Gannon on the television drama “Medical Center” in the 1970s, died on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.

CBS, via Photofest

Chad Everett on the case in “Medical Center.”

The cause was lung cancer, his daughter Kate Thorp said.

Tall and chisel-cheeked with crystal-blue eyes, Mr. Everett acted in more than three dozen television series and films, including having leading roles in two other prime-time series in the 1980s and ’90s, “The Rousters” and “McKenna.”

But he was best known as the soft-spoken surgeon who soothes the worries of his patients, their families and his colleagues in “Medical Center,” set in a fictitious teaching hospital in Los Angeles. It was broadcast on CBS from 1969 to 1976.

“Understatement is apparently a highly salable commodity on TV,” The Washington Post wrote in a 1975 article about male stars. “Chad Everett, a big-city type, seldom stoops to histrionics as he lethargically makes his rounds on ‘Medical Center.’ ”

In a 1969 episode, O. J. Simpson played a bedeviled college football star who Dr. Gannon suspects suffers from serious mental problems. The doctor persists in his efforts to determine the cause of the player’s erratic behavior.

“Mr. Everett was effective as the surgeon, neither drooling in excessive compassion nor being argumentatively tough,” the critic Jack Gould wrote of the episode in The New York Times.

Mr. Everett was far less reserved in other roles. In the 1983 NBC series “The Rousters,” set in a carnival that travels around the West, he played a rough-and-tumble bouncer and peacekeeper. His character had a difficult time convincing strangers that he was called Wyatt Earp (named for his great-grandfather, the famous gunfighter). That year Mr. Everett also appeared in the ABC mini-series “Malibu,” as a fading tennis professional.

In “McKenna,” on ABC in the 1994-95 season, he played Jack McKenna, who runs an outdoor tour business for often troublesome customers.

“He did his own stunts — horseback riding, river rafting ” Mr. Everett’s daughter said. “At one point they were rafting with a live bobcat on the raft.”

In 2006, Mr. Everett portrayed a closeted gay police officer in an episode of “Cold Case” on CBS.

His movie career included small roles in the 1998 remake of “Psycho” and David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” (2001). He had a leading role in “Airplane II: The Sequel” (1982), playing a dotty engineer who builds the first commercial space shuttle to the moon, a spacecraft so flimsy its terrified passengers are doomed.

Raymon Lee Cramton was born in South Bend, Ind., on June 11, 1937, to Ted and Virdeen Hopper Cramton. (He changed his professional name, his sister said, because he was tired of explaining, “Raymon, no ‘D’, Cramton, no ‘P’.”) The family later moved to Dearborn, Mich., where his father worked as an auto parts salesman.

After graduating from high school, Mr. Everett attended Wayne State University, where he began acting in stage productions. He then went to Hollywood, where, after securing several small roles, he signed a contract with MGM.

Mr. Everett married Shelby Grant, an actress, in 1966; she died last year. Besides his daughter Kate, he is survived by another daughter, Shannon Everett; his sister, Deannie Elliott; and six grandchildren.

In 1982, six years after his run on “Medical Center,” Mr. Everett told United Press International that he was glad to have moved on to new roles. “As I travel around the country,” he said, “people are beginning to think of me as an actor rather than as Gannon.”


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Phil Armitage / University of Colorado

Black Holes Might Form Like Planets

July 27, 2012 | Astronomers have plenty of evidence for small and large black holes, but have had little luck tracking down the mid-sized variety. One team of researchers suggests the search has been focused on the wrong places all along. > read more

Galaxy Zoo’s Odd Black Holes

July 26, 2012 | Citizen scientists are helping astronomers understand how galaxies and their resident supermassive black holes grow. > read more

Andromeda Galaxy’s Odd Double Core

July 24, 2012 | A new study simulating stars as they orbit a black hole might provide the best explanation for how our nearest spiral galaxy neighbor grew its lopsided nucleus. > read more


Evening sky in mid-August

Sky & Telescope illustration

Tour August’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

June 22, 2012 | Mark your calendars for the night of Saturday, August 11th, when the Perseid meteor shower will peak. Stay up late to catch the risings of Jupiter and Venus, or just enjoy Mars and Saturn low in the evening twilight. > read more


September 2012 S&T

September 2012 S&T

Sky & Telescope September 2012

July 23, 2012 | Sky & Telescope‘s September 2012 issue is now available to digital subscribers. Some print subscribers may have already received it, and it’s officially on-sale at newsstands starting September 1st. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Looking west-southwest as twilight fades

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

July 27, 2012 | In twilight this week, watch the shrinking triangle of Saturn, Spica, and Mars. And the bright summer Moon moves low through Scorpius and Sagittarius. > read more

SkyWeek Television Show
View SkyWeek as seen on PBS click here to watch this week’s episodeSponsored by Meade Instruments

July 23 - 29, 2012 Powered by TheSkyX from Software Bisque

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White Mississippi Church to Black Couple: You Can’t Tie Knot Here

by  Zachary Conn  on July 27, 2012

It’s been more than 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously called Sunday morning at 11 “the most segregated hour of Christian America.” Although many congregations have since integrated – or at least no longer actively oppose the idea – some still haven’t gotten the message.

Just ask Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson of Jackson, Miss. They say a predominantly white church refused to marry them on Saturday because of their race.

The couple had sent out invitations and printed programs announcing that the ceremony would be held at First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs. But the church’s pastor, Rev. Stan Weatherford, called them on Friday to say that wouldn’t be possible.

“He had people in the sanctuary that were pitching a fit about us being a black couple,” Te’Andrea told the Jackson-area NBC affiliate. The Wilsons were not members of the congregation but had regularly attended services there.

Congregants threatened the pastor that if he married the couple “they would vote him out the church,” Charles Wilson said.

Weatherford decided it would be best for everyone if he performed the ceremony at a different church nearby in Crystal Springs, a small town of 5,000 residents a half-hour outside of Jackson.

“I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church and I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea,” Weatherford said.

Weatherford said he was surprised by the opposition voiced by what he termed a small minority of the congregation. No African-American had ever been married at the church, which was established in 1883, “so it was setting a new precedent and there are those who reacted to that,” he said.

Church officials now say they welcome any race into their congregation and will hold internal discussions on how to respond should this particular issue reoccur.

To Charles Wilson, the First Baptist Church’s behavior flies in the face of true Christian values. “I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christian and didn’t stand up,” he said.

His wife agreed. She was “brought up in the church to love and care for everybody,” regardless of race.

This isn’t the first time racial strife has struck Crystal Springs.

In 1966, Eddie James Stewart was reportedly the victim of a racially motivated killing while in the custody of the town’s police. They claimed he was shot during an escape attempt.

In 1999, Dan M. Gibson, then-mayor of Crystal Springs, spoke at a gathering of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) during a failed run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. The CCC, at the time seeking a “mainstream” image, is directly descended from the White Citizens Councils that bitterly resisted integration in the 1950s and 1960s.

Nor is the First Baptist Church the only Deep South congregation recently caught keeping Jim Crow on life support.

Earlier this month, a Winfield, Ala., church courted controversy by advertising an “Annual Pastors Conference” with “all white Christians invited.” Rev. William C. Collier defended his event’s racial exclusivity to the Birmingham-area TV station. “We don’t have the facilities to accommodate other people. We haven’t got any invitations to black, Muslim events. Of course we are not invited to Jewish events and stuff.”

“Of course,” indeed. Rev. Collier’s Church of God’s Chosen is affiliated with the racist, anti-Semitic Christian Identity movement, which claims Jews are “the devil’s spawn,” and whites the true biblical chosen people.


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Why the Voter ID Faceoff in Pennsylvania Is Crucial

Brentin Mock reports on ten voters who will attempt to show in court that the law has a clear and racially biased impact on Pennsylvanians’ right to vote.

Life, Love and Risk: A Moment at the International AIDS Conference

Jamilah King went searching for answers to why we all take such risks in pursuit of connection. She didn’t find them, but she kept bumping up against love.

Harlem’s Hue-Man Hopes the Past Is Prologue for Black Booksellers

Jasmine Johnson talks to the owner of one of the nation’s most well-known black bookstores about her next steps.

Food Stamps, Poor-Shaming and the Very Scary 2012 Farm Bill Why we can’t afford to have moralistic debates about the choices desperate parents make as they try to feed their families.

I’m Here: Showing Support for Immigrant Women and Their Human Rights A new Tumblr campaign urges allies to show their support for migrant women. And you can join. Here’s how.

Why Our Vision of America’s Future Must Count People of Color’s Needs It would be best to build an agenda for the country based on who and what we want to be, rather than on who and what we fear.

Welcome to’s New Commenting SystemWe’ve made a few changes which will make the experience more rich, encouraging respectful debate and making it easier to share your thoughts with your broader networks. So chime in!

Progress on Condom Use Among Youth Slows, Drops Among Black TeensAfter a decade of squabbling over sex ed and access to condoms, a federal health study shows a trend line suddenly inching in the wrong direction.

Study Links ‘Racial Resentment’ and Voter ID SupportRace and racism continue to determine your attitudes towards voter ID—and whether you can even get one.

Barbara Walters Flew to Zimmerman but Declined to Interview Him Due to His Demands Barbara Walters reveals she rejected demands made by Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman in exchange for an interview.

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Everyone by now knows about the tragic July 20, 2012 mass shooting that occurred at a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. Everyone decries the horrific act.

Violence is American as cherry pie.

Lynchings. Genocide. Misogynistic rape. Child abuse.

Add in guns and the deaths escalate.

The culture of violence in America is as old as this nation’s history. America’s violent love affair with guns and how a gun loving nation raised on a culture of might-makes-right, shoot-first-ask-questions-later, and last-man-standing view continues to keep the world’s highest death by gun rate at the top of the list. Many Americans have an “Over my dead body”, and “From my cold dead hands”, mentality when it comes to guns.

But, everyone has to admit and acknowledge the elephant in the room.

The culture of fear and the use of killing not just to solve society’s problem offenders, but also problems on a personal level as well.

Fear of the Other. Fear of what has been done to the Other. Fear that what goes round, come round. Fear that payback is just waiting around the corner, and the reality that payback’s a bitch.

Fear that someone will take from them not just their lives or property—but also their station in life, their privilege, their status quo. “I got mine, and don’t you dare even think about getting yours”. “I want all the best for me and mine, but to hell with the rest—even if they are my fellow U.S. citizens”. “Medical care, better schools, better jobs, the best housing—for me and mine—but God forbid if you (my despised Other) should get ahead and have the audacity to be on the same economic level with me”.

The following article by Roger Moore (“Bowling for Columbine”) addresses the madness of America’s gun culture and asks the question, “Why us?” as well as what will Americans do about the gun loving culture in which they live.


It’s the Guns – But We All Know, It’s Not Really the Guns

Michael Moore – July 25, 2012

Since Cain went nuts and whacked Abel, there have always been those humans who, for one reason or another, go temporarily or permanently insane and commit unspeakable acts of violence. There was the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who during the first century A.D. enjoyed throwing victims off a cliff on the Mediterranean island of Capri. Gilles de Rais, a French knight and ally of Joan of Arc during the middle ages, went cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs one day and ended up murdering hundreds of children. Just a few decades later Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula, was killing people in Transylvania in numberless horrifying ways.

Bill Day / (click to view more cartoons by Day)

In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are – the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.

And now the Aurora shooter last Friday. There have always been insane people, and there always will be.

But here’s the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn’t count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.

That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined. Considering that the people of those countries, as human beings, are no better or worse than any of us, well, then, why us?

Both conservatives and liberals in America operate with firmly held beliefs as to “the why” of this problem. And the reason neither can find their way out of the box toward a real solution is because, in fact, they’re both half right.

The right believes that the Founding Fathers, through some sort of divine decree, have guaranteed them the absolute right to own as many guns as they desire. And they will ceaselessly remind you that a gun cannot fire itself – that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Of course, they know they’re being intellectually dishonest (if I can use that word) when they say that about the Second Amendment because they know the men who wrote the constitution just wanted to make sure a militia could be quickly called up from amongst the farmers and merchants should the Brits decide to return and wreak some havoc.

But they are half right when they say “Guns don’t kill people.” I would just alter that slogan slightly to speak the real truth: “Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people.”

Because we’re the only ones in the first world who do this en masse. And you’ll hear all stripes of Americans come up with a host of reasons so that they don’t have to deal with what’s really behind all this murder and mayhem.

They’ll say it’s the violent movies and video games that are responsible. Last time I checked, the movies and video games in Japan are more violent than ours – and yet usually fewer than 20 people a year are killed there with guns – and in 2006 the number was two!

Others will say it’s the number of broken homes that lead to all this killing. I hate to break this to you, but there are almost as many single-parent homes in the U.K. as there are here – and yet, in Great Britain, there are usually fewer than 40 gun murders a year.

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.

So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.

My liberal compatriots will tell you if we just had less guns, there would be less gun deaths. And, mathematically, that would be true. If you have less arsenic in the water supply, it will kill less people. Less of anything bad – calories, smoking, reality TV – will kill far fewer people. And if we had strong gun laws that prohibited automatic and semi-automatic weapons and banned the sale of large magazines that can hold a gazillion bullets, well, then shooters like the man in Aurora would not be able to shoot so many people in just a few minutes.

But this, too, has a problem. There are plenty of guns in Canada (mostly hunting rifles) – and yet the annual gun murder count in Canada is around 200 deaths. In fact, because of its proximity, Canada’s culture is very similar to ours – the kids play the same violent video games, watch the same movies and TV shows, and yet they don’t grow up wanting to kill each other. Switzerland has the third-highest number of guns per capita on earth, but still a low murder rate.

So – why us?

I posed this question a decade ago in my film ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn’t seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.

This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:

1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of. It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer. Maybe we would take better care of each other (here’s a good example of what I mean).

Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here if you’d like to watch it or share it for free with others. All we’re lacking here, my friends, is the courage and the resolve. I’m in if you are.


©2012 Michael Moore

Michael Moore is the Oscar and Emmy-winning director of “Roger & Me,” “Bowling for Columbine,” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which also won the top prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and went on to become the highest grossing documentary of all time.

Reach Moore at his Web site is


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Many people do not realize the gravity of hepatitis, the various types that occur, how devastating this disease is to millions worldwide who suffer from it, nor of the vaccine available to protect them from hepatitis:  vaccines for both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, but none yet for Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, nor Hepatitis E.

Knowledge of hepatitis and its effects on those who have this disease helps to dispel myths , fears and misunderstandings of a silent killer that takes its toll on families, communities and nations.



Quick Facts

World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year to raise awareness of hepatitis and encourage prevention and treatment.


World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day 2012 THEME: “It’s Closer Than You Think”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

World Hepatitis Day 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

World Hepatitis Day is annually held on July 28 to promote awareness of hepatitis, a disease that affects the liver.

One way of preventing hepatitis is to get a vaccine against the disease before travelling ©

What do people do

Organizations such as the United Nations and the World Hepatitis Alliance work with individuals and community groups to promote awareness raising campaigns worldwide about hepatitis. Information about World Hepatitis Day is usually distributed via social media, newspapers, posters, and through the World Health Organization (WHO) website.


Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver and can be caused by different things. One of the most common causes of chronic (long-term) hepatitis is viral infection. According to the World Hepatitis Alliance, about 500 million people are currently infected with chronic hepatitis B or C and 1 in 3 people have been exposed to one or both viruses.

The World Hepatitis Alliance first launched World Hepatitis Day in 2008. Following on, the UN declared official recognition of this event in 2010.


There is a different theme for World Hepatitis Day each year. Past themes included “Get tested” and “This is hepatitis”.

World Hepatitis Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu Jul 28 2011 World Hepatitis Day United Nations observance
Sat Jul 28 2012 World Hepatitis Day United Nations observance
Sun Jul 28 2013 World Hepatitis Day United Nations observance
Mon Jul 28 2014 World Hepatitis Day United Nations observance
Tue Jul 28 2015 World Hepatitis Day United Nations observance

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Published: July 19, 2012

  • Sylvia Woods, whose eponymous Harlem soul-food restaurant was frequented by local and national politicians, international celebrities, tourists, epicures and ordinary neighborhood residents, died on Thursday at her home in Westchester County, N.Y. She was 86.

Louis Lanzano/Associated Press

Sylvia Woods in a dining room at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem in New York City in 1999.

Her family announced the death, citing no cause. Its statement said Ms. Woods had been ill with Alzheimer’s disease for the last few years.

Her death came a few hours before she was to receive an award from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a reception at Gracie Mansion commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sylvia’s Restaurant. There was a moment of silence before the award presentation; a family friend accepted it on her behalf.

Sylvia’s Restaurant opened on Aug. 1, 1962 — with six booths and 15 stools — at Lenox Avenue near 127th Street, offering soul-food staples like ribs, hot cakes, corn bread and fried chicken. The immense popularity of its dishes earned Ms. Woods the sobriquet the Queen of Soul Food.

A culinary anchor and the de facto social center of Harlem, Sylvia’s has served the likes of Roberta Flack; Quincy Jones; Diana Ross; Muhammad Ali; Bill Clinton; Jack Kemp; Robert F. Kennedy; and, besides Mr. Bloomberg, Mayors Edward I. Koch and David N. Dinkins, who was partial, Ms. Woods said, to the chicken, candied yams, collard greens and black-eyed peas with rice.

Busloads of tourists from as far away as Japan routinely descend on the place.

Spike Lee used the restaurant as a location for his 1991 film “Jungle Fever.”

Sylvia’s inspired two cookbooks by Ms. Woods, “Sylvia’s Soul Food: Recipes From Harlem’s World Famous Restaurant” (1992; with Christopher Styler) and “Sylvia’s Family Soul Food Cookbook: From Hemingway, South Carolina, to Harlem” (1999; with Melissa Clark).

The daughter of a farming couple, Van and Julia Pressley, Sylvia Pressley was born in Hemingway on Feb. 2, 1926; her father died when she was a baby.

The first thing she cooked as a girl, she recalled, was a pot of rice on the family’s wood stove. But the rice burned after Sylvia ran out to play and left it to cook on its own, a fact she withheld from her mother. A switching ensued.

“I got punished,” Ms. Woods told The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., in 1999, “but not for burning it — for telling a lie.”

Sylvia met her future husband, Herbert Deward Woods, when she was 11 and he was 12 and both were working in the fields, picking beans under the blazing sun.

As a teenager, Sylvia moved to New York to join her mother, who had gone there for work. She found work herself, in a hat factory in Queens. In 1944, she married Mr. Woods, who had come North to claim her.

In the 1950s, Ms. Woods began work as a waitress at Johnson’s Luncheonette in Harlem; because she had grown up poor in the Jim Crow era, the day she first set foot in the place was the first time she had been inside a restaurant anywhere.

In 1962, with help from her mother, who mortgaged the family farm, Ms. Woods bought the luncheonette and renamed it Sylvia’s. Three decades ago, Gael Greene, the food critic of New York magazine, wrote a laudatory article on Sylvia’s, sealing the restaurant’s success.

Over time, Sylvia’s expanded to seat more than 250; it is the cornerstone of a commercial empire that today includes a catering service and banquet hall and a nationally distributed line of prepared foods.

Ms. Woods, known for her effusive warmth in greeting customers, ran the business until her retirement at 80.

“I keep pressing on,” she told The New York Times in 1994. “I can’t give up. I’ve been struggling too long to stop now.”

Mr. Woods, her self-effacing but stalwart partner in the venture, died in 2001. Survivors include her sons, Van and Kenneth; her daughters, Bedelia Woods and Crizette Woods; 18 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

A major factor in Sylvia’s enduring appeal, Ms. Woods learned firsthand, was the time-honored conservatism of its cooking. Toward the end of the 20th century, in deference to an increasingly health-conscious public, Ms. Woods chose to supplement the menu with lighter fare.

“We had lots of salads and stuff,” she told The Philadelphia Daily News in 1999. “And it went to waste. When people come here, they got in their mind what they want.”

Douglas Martin contributed reporting.





Published: July 17, 2012

  • William Raspberry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist for The Washington Post who for 39 years in more than 200 newspapers brought a moderate voice to social issues, including race relations — sometimes to the ire of civil rights leaders — died on Tuesday at his home in Washington. He was 76.

Julia Ewan/The Washington Post, via Associated Press

William Raspberry in 2004.

The cause was prostate cancer, said Kris Coratti, a spokeswoman for The Post.

Mr. Raspberry wrote his column for The Post from 1966 to 2005. Initially under the title “Potomac Watch,” and later under his own name, it steered clear of Washington’s power brokers to focus on street violence, drug abuse, criminal justice, poverty, parenting, education and civil rights, often quoting ordinary people he interviewed and asserting his belief in individual responsibility in dealing with social issues.

“Words matter,” he wrote in a 1993 column about the raw lyrics of rap music. “And because I know words matter, I wish my children, and kids younger than my children, would get back to innocent, hopeful lyrics. I wish their music was more about love and less graphically about intercourse. I wish their songs could be less angry and ‘victimized’ and more about building a better world.”

His writing could spur controversy. In a column about violence in the streets of Washington in 1993, shortly after a shooting at an elementary school, Mr. Raspberry drew criticism for calling for federal troops to restore order.

“If we can deploy American soldiers in Mogadishu to protect the Somali people from violent ‘warlords,’ ” he wrote, “is it beyond reason to deploy a few hundred troops here, at least until the streets are calm enough for ordinary law enforcement to take over?”

Mr. Raspberry defied conventional labels. In 1974, Time magazine wrote that he had “emerged as the most respected black voice on any white U.S. newspaper.”

“Neither a Pollyanna nor a raging militant,” Time continued, “he considers the merits rather than the ideology of any issue. Not surprisingly, his judgments regularly nettle the Pollyannas and militants.”

N.A.A.C.P. officials were nettled by a 1989 column in which Mr. Raspberry criticized civil rights leaders, accusing them of dwelling on racism rather than pressing for practical solutions to the problems faced by blacks.

“I don’t underestimate either the persistence of racism or its effects. But it does seem to me that you spend too much time thinking about racism,” he wrote. “It is as though your whole aim is to get white people to acknowledge their racism and accept their guilt. Well, suppose they did: What would that change?”

“Well, quite a lot, as a matter of fact,” replied Roger Wilkins, a former colleague of Mr. Raspberry’s at The Post and later publisher of the N.A.A.C.P. journal, The Crisis, writing in Mother Jones magazine in 1989. “The issue isn’t guilt. It’s responsibility.”

“Like it or not,” Mr. Wilkins continued, “slavery, the damage from legalized oppression during the century that followed emancipation and the racism that still infects the entire nation follow a direct line to ghetto life today.”

To which Mr. Raspberry responded, “Just for the hell of it, why don’t we pretend the racist dragon has been slain already — and take that next step right now?”

Mr. Raspberry won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1994.

That year, the National Association of Black Journalists presented him with its lifetime achievement award. “Raspberry’s clarity of thought and his insistence on speaking the truth as he sees it — even when others disagree — have kept his column fresh, unpredictable and uncommonly wise,” the citation said.

William James Raspberry was born on Oct. 12, 1935, in the small Mississippi town of Okolona, where, he said, “we had two of everything — one for whites and one for blacks.” His parents, James and Willie Mae Raspberry, were teachers.

Mr. Raspberry graduated from Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) in 1958 with a degree in history. But his reporting career had already started in his freshman year with a summer job at The Indianapolis Recorder, a weekly newspaper primarily for African-Americans.

In 1962, after serving as a public information officer in the Army, Mr. Raspberry was hired by The Post as a teletypist. But when an editor spotted his writing talent, he was promoted to reporter and was soon covering civil rights issues and turmoil in black communities. His reporting on the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles earned him the Capital Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award.

The next year he began writing a column on local issues. It moved to the paper’s op-ed page in 1970.

Mr. Raspberry married Sondra Patricia Dodson in 1966. Besides his wife, he is survived by his mother, who is 106; two daughters, Patricia Raspberry and Angela Raspberry Jackson; a son, Mark; a foster son, Reginald Harrison; a sister; and a brother.

Mr. Raspberry taught journalism at Duke University for more than 10 years. He retired from The Post in 2005 and afterward organized an educational foundation for low-income families in his Mississippi hometown, financing it out of his own pocket.

In one of his last columns, he returned to his theme of individual responsibility, declaring that “father absence is the bane of the black community.”

“What is happening to the black family in America,” he wrote, “is the sociological equivalent of global warming: easier to document than to reverse, inconsistent in its near-term effect — and disastrous in the long run.”

Even though Mr. Raspberry “often wrote about race, he nevertheless transcended race,” Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Post, said in a telephone interview in June. “He made sense of the issues that roiled the community.”





Published: July 16, 2012

  • NASHVILLE — Kitty Wells, who was on the verge of quitting music to be a homemaker when she recorded a hit in 1952 that struck a chord with women and began opening doors for them in country music, died on Monday at her home in Madison, Tenn. She was 92.

Les Leverett Archives

Kitty Wells’s 1952 “Honky Tonk Angels” resonated with women.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Dolly Parton, left, with Kitty Wells at a 1993 awards show.

The cause was complications of a stroke, said her grandson John Sturdivant Jr.

Ms. Wells was an unlikely and unassuming pioneer. When she recorded “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” she was a 33-year-old wife and mother intending to retire from the business to devote herself to her family full time. The only reason she made the record, she told the weekly newspaper Nashville Scene in 1999, was to collect the union-scale wage ($125) that the session would bring.

“I wasn’t expecting it to make a hit,” she said. “I just thought it was another song.”

But Ms. Wells’s record proved to be much more than just “another song.” It was a rejoinder to Hank Thompson’s No. 1 hit “Wild Side of Life,” a brooding lament in which the singer blames a woman he picks up in a bar for breaking up his marriage, and it became her signature song.

“Honky Tonk Angels” resonated with women who had been outraged by Mr. Thompson’s record, which called into question their morals and their increasing social and sexual freedom. At a time when divorce rates were rising and sexual mores changing in postwar America, the song, with lyrics by J. D. Miller, resounded like a protofeminist anthem.

“As I sit here tonight, the jukebox playin’/The tune about the wild side of life,” Ms. Wells sings, she reflects on married men pretending to be single and causing “many a good girl to go wrong.” She continues:

It’s a shame that all the blame is on us women

It’s not true that only you men feel the same

From the start most every heart that’s ever broken

Was because there always was a man to blame.

The NBC radio network banned Ms. Wells’s record, deeming it “suggestive,” and officials at the Grand Ole Opry would not at first let her perform it on their show. The Opry eventually relented, in part because of the song’s popularity and Ms. Wells’s nonthreatening image.

Ms. Wells “sang of ‘Honky Tonk Angels,’ but no one would have ever mistaken her for one,” Mary A. Bufwack and Robert K. Oermann wrote in the book “Finding Her Voice: Women in Country Music, 1800-2000.” “She was always proper, always dignified,” they added. “She dressed in prewar gingham instead of pantsuits, flamboyant Western garb or satin costumes.”

Sung in a gospel-inflected moan and backed by a crying steel guitar, Ms. Wells’s record spent six weeks at the top of the country charts and crossed over to the pop Top 40. The song’s success not only made her the biggest female country music star of the postwar era, it also persuaded record executives in Nashville to offer recording contracts to other women. (Music labels had not thought female singers were worth the investment.)

Ms. Wells became a model for generations of female singers, from Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton to Iris DeMent. The renowned song publisher Fred Rose anointed her the Queen of Country Music.

Muriel Ellen Deason was born in Nashville on Aug. 30, 1919. Her father, a brakeman for the Tennessee Central Railroad, played guitar and sang folk songs after the fashion of Jimmie Rodgers. Ms. Wells grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and singing gospel music.

She learned to play the guitar at 14 and made her singing debut on the radio in 1936. She married Johnnie Wright the following year and worked briefly in a group with her new husband and his sister. When Mr. Wright formed the singing duo Johnny and Jack with Jack Anglin in the late ’30s, Ms. Wells, at that point performing under her married name, was the featured “girl singer” in their show.

She appeared on some of the biggest radio hoedowns of the day, including “Louisiana Hayride” and the weekly Grand Ole Opry broadcast. As the Little Rag Doll she worked as a disc jockey, playing records and selling quilt pieces on KWKH in Shreveport, La. Mr. Wright suggested that she adopt the stage name Kitty Wells, drawn from an old folk ballad made popular by the Pickard Family.

Ms. Wells recorded for RCA Victor in 1949, but all of her major hits were made after that for the Decca label and produced by Owen Bradley. Several of her early records were duets with country stars like Red Foley and Webb Pierce. During her 27-year recording career she placed 84 singles on the country charts, 38 of them in the Top 10.

Family was important to Ms. Wells and her husband. Early on they incorporated their children into their touring revue. They also recorded with them.

Mr. Wright, Ms. Wells’s husband of more than 70 years died last year. She is survived by a son, Bobby, and a daughter, Sue Wright Sturdivant; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Ruby, died in 2009.

Ms. Wells had her own syndicated television show in 1968 and made a country-rock album with members of the Allman Brothers and the Marshall Tucker Band in 1974. She was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1991 the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presented Ms. Wells with a lifetime achievement award. Only two other performers in country music, Hank Williams and Roy Acuff, had previously received that honor.





Published: July 16, 2012

  • Jon Lord, the keyboardist of the pioneering British hard-rock band Deep Purple, died on Monday in London. He was 71.

Press Association, via Associated Press

Jon Lord in 1969.

The cause was a pulmonary embolism, said his manager, Bruce Payne. Mr. Lord announced last year that he had cancer.

In songs from the late 1960s and early ’70s like “Smoke on the Water,” “Hush” and the epic “Child in Time,” Deep Purple laid much of the groundwork for heavy metal, drawing a blunter and fiercer sound out of the blues-based riffs common in the British invasion’s first wave.

Mr. Lord’s Hammond B-3 organ — with its signal routed through a Marshall amplifier to give it a distorted tang — was key to Deep Purple’s style. It locked into formation with Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar, Roger Glover’s bass and Ian Paice’s drums, forging catchy lines like the four-note motif of “Smoke on the Water” that helped the band sell tens of millions of albums around the world.

But Mr. Lord did more than pound out chords. His fast, wandering solos reflected a lifelong interest in lyrical classical music, and in the band’s early years he composed several large-scale pieces for the group, including “Concerto for Group and Orchestra,” which was recorded with the Royal Philharmonic in London in 1969.

Born in Leicester, England, on June 9, 1941, Mr. Lord studied classical piano from a young age and became a fan of piano rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis as well as jazz organists like Jimmy Smith. After moving to London in 1959, he played in various jazz, blues and pop groups throughout the 1960s, until in 1968 the first incarnation of Deep Purple was formed in Hertford.

After its first singer, Rod Evans, left in 1969, the group recruited Ian Gillan, who had the vocal prowess to match the band. In the early 1970s the group released a string of hit albums, including “Deep Purple in Rock,” “Machine Head” and the live “Made in Japan.”

Mr. Lord remained in the group despite numerous personnel changes until it finally disbanded in 1976. He then formed Paice, Ashton and Lord, a short-lived group with Deep Purple’s drummer and the singer Tony Ashton, and joined an early version of the band Whitesnake. Deep Purple reunited in 1984, and Mr. Lord stayed until 2002; since then he has continued his composing career and collaborated with musicians including Anni-Frid Lyngstad of Abba.

He is survived by his wife, Vicky, and two daughters, Amy Cherrington and Sara Lord. His first marriage to Judith Feldman ended in divorce.

In a recent interview, Mr. Lord demonstrated how he tailored the organ’s sound for Deep Purple.

“Lovely a sound as it was, it wasn’t quite giving me what I wanted,” he said. “I could hear another sound in my head — something harder, something more throaty.”

“You tap straight in and put it through a straight speaker,” he added, “and you get a beast.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 20, 2012

An obituary on Tuesday about Jon Lord, the keyboardist with the rock band Deep Purple, referred incorrectly to Ian Gillan, who became the band’s lead singer in 1969. He sang on the album “Jesus Christ Superstar” shortly after he joined Deep Purple, not before.





Published: July 15, 2012

  • Celeste Holm, the New York-born actress who made an indelible Broadway impression as an amorous country girl in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!,” earned an Academy Award as the knowing voice of tolerance in “Gentleman’s Agreement” and went on to a six-decade screen and stage career, frequently cast as the wistful or brittle sophisticate, died early Sunday at her apartment in Manhattan. She was 95.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Celeste Holm in 2011.

Associated Press

Celeste Holm in a benefit circus show at Madison Square Garden in 1951.

Film Forum Photofest

Celeste Holm, left, and Bette Davis in “All About Eve” in 1950.

Her death was announced by Amy Phillips, a great-niece. Ms. Holm had a heart attack at Roosevelt Hospital in New York last week while being treated there for dehydration, but she was taken home on Friday.

Ms. Holm was 25 and had already appeared in at a number of Broadway productions, including William Saroyan’s “Time of Your Life,” when she was cast as Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!,” the period musical that reinvented the form. Her character’s shining moment was the twangy lament “I Cain’t Say No,” about Annie’s inability to resist men’s romantic advances. The role made her a star, and she played the lead in the musical comedy “Bloomer Girl” the next year.

Hollywood soon called, and in her third film she hit the jackpot. “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947), starring Gregory Peck, was based on Laura Z. Hobson’s novel about a journalist pretending to be Jewish in order to expose the depth and scope of American anti-Semitism. Ms. Holm was cast as a witty, worldly fashion editor who saw through hypocrisy. “And some of your other best friends are Methodists,” her character reminded one self-congratulating man, “but you never bother to say that.” Her performance garnered her the Oscar for best supporting actress.

Her film career flourished. She played a fellow psychiatric patient of Olivia de Havilland’s character in “The Snake Pit” (1948). She earned two additional Oscar nominations, for portraying a French nun in “Come to the Stable” (1949) and a playwright’s well-meaning wife in “All About Eve” (1950), the classic drama about the New York theater world.

If her best-known roles shared one quality, aside from Ms. Holm’s signature sparkle, it was that her characters rarely got the guy. The fashion editor lost out to the rich girl in “Gentleman’s Agreement.” As a smart magazine photographer in “High Society” (1956), Ms. Holm was ignored by her reporter colleague (Frank Sinatra), who had eyes for a society bride (Grace Kelly) instead. In “The Tender Trap” (1955) she married at the end of the film, only because her 33-year-old character felt she was so old that she had to settle or be alone forever. Even in “A Letter to Three Wives” (1949), as the voice of a suburban femme fatale, the man she ran away with went back to his wife.

Between movie roles Ms. Holm returned to the stage, appearing in eight Broadway shows in the 1950s and ’60s. She filled in for Gertrude Lawrence in “The King and I” and for Angela Lansbury in “Mame” and played the title role in “Anna Christie.” When she was 73, she charmed audiences and critics, after a 12-year absence, as a theatrical agent revisiting a long-ago romance with John Barrymore by having a fling with Barrymore’s ghost in “I Hate Hamlet” (1991). It was her last Broadway role.

She spent her last years estranged from much of her family. In 2002, her two sons set up a trust that provided living expenses for their mother. When she remarried in 2004, she and her new husband, Frank Basile, went to court in an attempt to overturn the trust. This led to a long legal battle, which created serious financial problems for Ms. Holm.

Celeste Holm was born in Brooklyn on April 29, 1917, the only child of Theodor Holm, an insurance adjuster for Lloyd’s of London, and Jean Parke Holm, an artist. (She was of Norwegian descent on her father’s side and in 1977 was knighted by King Olav V of Norway.) She grew up in Manhattan, around Gramercy Park, and spent summers at the family farm in Hackettstown, N.J. (where she continued to live as an adult); she liked to say that she won the “Oklahoma!” role because she told Richard Rodgers she was adept at hog-calling.

Interested in acting since childhood, she studied at the University of Chicago and began working in summer stock and community theater in the 1930s.

She made her Broadway debut at 21 in “Gloriana” (1938), a British historical play. After “Oklahoma!” brought her to public attention, she made her film debut in “Three Little Girls in Blue” (1946), a musical set in 1902 Atlantic City, as the title characters’ man-crazy cousin.

She acted in television films and made guest appearances on series throughout much of her career, but she never had a hit series of her own. “Honestly, Celeste!,” about a Midwestern teacher who became a New York City reporter, lasted only a few months in 1954. Later she played the White House chaperon of the first daughter on “Nancy” (1970-71) and the grandmother in the family adventure “Promised Land” (1996-99). In the 1980s she had a recurring role as an imposing widow on the nighttime soap “Falcon Crest.” She is also remembered as the fairy godmother in the 1965 television version of “Cinderella.”

In 1987 she played Ted Danson’s mother in the film “3 Men and a Baby.” She was last seen on the screen in “Alchemy,” a 2005 romantic comedy that starred Tom Cavanagh and Sarah Chalke. But she had completed two other films by the time of her death: “Driving Me Crazy,” a romantic-comedy road movie that also features Mickey Rooney, and “College Debts,” another comedy. Neither has yet been released. She also continued to perform in theater and cabaret at least into her late 80s.

Ms. Holm married five times. Three relatively brief marriages — to Ralph Nelson (1938-39), an actor and director; Francis E. H. Davies (1940-45), an auditor; and A. Schuyler Dunning (1946-52), an airline executive — all ended in divorce. She married the actor Wesley Addy in 1961. They were together until his death in 1996. In 2004 she married Mr. Basile, a singer more than 45 years her junior, and surprised friends with the news at a party at Sardi’s, the theater-district restaurant. He survives her, as do her sons, Theodor Nelson, an information technology pioneer, and Daniel Dunning. Her other survivors include three grandchildren.

Asked in 2007 how the art of acting had changed during the 70 years since she began her career, Ms. Holm told a writer for The Star-Ledger: “Truth is still truth. That’s what people go to theater for. To see our version of truth.”




By Emily Langer, Published: July 19The Washington Post

Vincent R. Mancusi, the prison warden whose iron-fisted command of Attica Correctional Facility in Upstate New York failed to prevent the bloody inmate insurrection there in 1971, one of the most dramatic confrontations in American criminal justice, died July 5 at his home in Springfield. He was 98.His death, of cancer, was confirmed by his daughter Judith Haase. Mr. Mancusi moved to Northern Virginia after his retirement from Attica. His removal had been one of the demands made by inmates who staged the revolt in the maximum-security prison on Sept. 9, 1971. Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller (R) refused to accede, and Mr. Mancusi stepped down in 1972.

(AP / NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY SUPERVISION ) – Vincent R. Mancusi, the superintendent of the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York during the bloody insurrection there in September 1971, died July 5 at his home in Springfield.

Within hours of the siege, New York’s correctional services commissioner, Russell G. Oswald, assumed control from Mr. Mancusi. After failed negotiations with the prisoners, more than 1,000 armed law enforcement officers were called in. The four-day standoff ended with a hasty government crackdown in which 29 prisoners and 10 prison employees died amid a storm of tear gas and bullets. The final death toll reached 43.So wanton was the shooting that one state prosecutor described it as “a turkey shoot.” A state commission investigating the incident wrote that “with the exception of Indian massacres in the late 19th century,” the incident was “the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War.”

The inmates of Attica, who were rioting largely because of poor living conditions and the alleged racism of white correctional officers, became symbols of the prison reform movement. In the social unrest of the early 1970s, the word “Attica” became a rallying cry for anyone resisting the establishment.

In Sidney Lumet’s 1975 film “Dog Day Afternoon,” set in Brooklyn and based on a real incident, a bank robber played by Al Pacino memorably tries to rile the crowd of onlookers by chanting: “At-ti-ca! At-ti-ca! At-ti-ca!”

At the time of the revolt, Mr. Mancusi was 57 and had climbed the ranks of the New York state penal system to his post at Attica in 1965. He oversaw policy at the prison, while the deputy superintendent presided over day-to-day operations.

Mr. Mancusi lived in a brick house on the grounds of the prison, where inmates were contained by 30-foot walls and 14 gun towers. One inmate, Frank Smith, told a reporter years later that he ironed the warden’s shirts, cleaned linens for the Mancusi household and received in payment a box of cigarettes at Christmas.

Such an arrangement was not unusual for correctional officers of Mr. Mancusi’s era. He was, in essence, an old-school warden and became known at Attica for his “cage approach” to criminal justice, the New York Times reported during the uprising. The method proved ineffective, and ultimately explosive, as the civil rights and the prisoners’ rights movements took hold.

Herman Schwartz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who served as the first intermediary between the Attica prisoners and law enforcement, said in an interview that Mr. Mancusi “was not responsible for the overcrowding, which is one of the worst things that can happen in a prison because it scares everyone.”


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Cheney in Times Square

Wicked Delicate Films

AMA Addresses Light Pollution

July 16, 2012 | The American Medical Association has released a report detailing several possible health concerns related to nighttime light exposure. But some lighting researchers worry the conclusions are more alarmist than is warranted. > read more

Discovery Channel Telescope Celebrates First Light

July 20, 2012 | After seven years of construction, Lowell Observatory’s Discovery Channel Telescope is about to come online. The DCT team expects the state-of-the-art 4.3-meter scope to breathe new life into the storied observatory and allow astronomers new views of comets, stars, and deep-space objects. > read more

Ancient Spiral Galaxy Discovered

July 18, 2012 | An ancient spiral galaxy offers another tantalizing clue to how nature might create these grand designs. > read more

Do-It-Yourself Space Science

July 19, 2012 | A California startup seeks to democratize space research by putting a tiny, custom-built satellite into orbit — and letting the public decide how to use it. > read more

Seeing “Dark” Galaxies

July 17, 2012 | After years of failure, astronomers have finally succeeded in imaging primeval clouds of gas like those that existed before there were stars. > read more


Jupiter's occultation on July 15, 2012

Vlad Dumitrescu

Jupiter’s Disappearing Act

July 18, 2012 | Skywatchers across the Eastern Hemisphere looked on as the King of Planets briefly ducked behind the Moon on July 15th. > read more

Tour July’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

May 30, 2012 | This month, you can see a pair of planets before sunrise and another pair after sunset. In each case, one of them is situated near a bright star. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Evening twilight view

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

July 20, 2012 | Mars is closing in on Saturn and Spica at dusk, as the waxing Moon passes by them this week. > read more

SkyWeek Television Show
View SkyWeek as seen on PBS click here to watch this week’s episodeSponsored by Meade Instruments

July 16 - 22, 2012 Powered by TheSkyX from Software Bisque

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Beasts of the Southern Wild was recently released to theaters in America on July 15, 2012. I plan to see this movie in the coming week, as I have been awaiting its release for quite a while.

In the meantime, here is an article on the film (in addition to other posted links) and how the separation of Black Americans from their land is a rarely addressed issue in this nation’s mistreatment of its Black citizens. How once upon a time Black citizens were very close to and a part of the land, and not just during slavery. As the author states:  “Urbanization has been black Americans’ most recent trend, but it is not our historical norm. Thinking of ourselves exclusively as city dwellers helps us forget one of the greatest crimes committed against us: the systematic separation of black folks from their land“.

This urbanization had its origins during the Great Migration when thousands of Blacks left the American South and journeyed to the great urban metropolises of the North:  New, York, NY; Chicago, IL; Gary, IN, Detroit, MI, to name just a few.

But, the author of the article also points out that in their desire for freedom, enslaves wanted their place in the Sun:  “There they were free from the clutches of their oppressors and free to form communities of their own. If you think of the people of the Bathtub as having formed that kind of maroon culture, then you see that  — appearances notwithstanding—Hushpuppy is nobody’s little pickaninny. She’s the heroine of the film, an itty bitty warrior girl fighting to maintain her way of life. That hair isn’t a sign of neglect, but a mighty display of her power.”

Many Blacks, enslaved and recently freed, wanted a world they could call their own, where they could call the shots, and be at no man–or woman’s— mercy.

Whether that land was out in the West, in the North, in the East, or if that land rested in a community known as the Bathtub. The history of forcibly taking Black citizens from their land is as old as this country. It seeks to disinherit and dispossess Black citizens from their right to own the ground they stand on.

In the play A Raisin in the Sun, as Lena Younger stated to her her son Walter Lee Younger:  “It make a mighty big difference to a man when he walks around on floors that belong to him.”

And it is not just the owning of land but having a space that you can go home to for peace, refuge, and yes dignity, against the outside world. Something that you can proudly proclaim of:  “I worked this place, this land, with my own hands. That tree I planted and nurtured. That garden I planted and tilled with these hands and grew food to feed my family and myself. That area, damaged by wind, rain, flood, and blistering sun, I repaired, and made new again.”

In little Hushpuppy there resides the resilience and indomitable will to shout that she is a part of this world, and she will not be waved, crushed nor erased away by the dismissive hands and minds of a world that wishes to render her invisible.


An Unexpected, Enduring Lesson From ‘Beasts of the  Southern Wild’

New Orleans-based writer Jarvis DeBerry argues that the film helps illustrate one of America’s greatest crimes: the systematic separation of black folks from their land.

How Students of Color Fit Into Higher Ed’s Shifting Ecostystem [Infographic]

More and more people are seeking degrees, but the devil is in the details. Black enrollment in for-profit schools has shot up 218 percent. Hatty Lee illustrates who goes where.

We Are More Than Workers and Consumers in the Food System

Yvonne Yen Liu interviews a former warehouse worker and a slow food advocate to discuss how healthy food and fair jobs can restore humanity to the food system.

Does Joe Arpaio Racially Profile? A Federal Court Will Decide  Immigrant rights groups say they’ve long known the answer.

Minnesota Voter ID Amendment Draws Youth Activists Minnesota’s voter ID is creating a new generation of activists fighting for social justice. Miracle Randle is one of them.

Why Our Vision of America’s Future Must Count People of Color’s Needs It would be best to build an agenda for the country based on who and what we want to be, rather than on who and what we fear.

Sheriff Arpaio Tells George Lopez to Call Him a ‘Fat Motherf**ker’ to His FaceWhat Joe Arpaio is demanding after George Lopez goes off on the Sheriff.

What’s in Your Wallet? Predatory Lending, ApparentlyCapitol One Bank has deceptively sold needless add-on products to credit card holders who are unemployed or have poor credit, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Judge Terminates Detained Mom’s Rights, Allows Missouri Couple to AdoptA juvenile court judge terminated a Guatemalan woman’s rights to her 5-year-son because they believe she abandoned her child when she was imprisoned after a 2007 immigration sting.

Young Asian Fan Recreates Beyoncé’s ‘Countdown’ Shot for Shot Ton is a big fan of Beyonce and to prove it, he made this absolutely incredible video, recreating Bey’s “Countdown” video.

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