Monthly Archives: July 2012

IN REMEMBRANCE: 7-22-2012

SYLVIA WOODS, FOUNDER OF FAMED HARLEM SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT

By

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.

SOURCE

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WILLIAM RASPBERRY, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING COLUMNIST

By

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.”

SOURCE

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KITTY WELLS, COUNTRY SINGER

By BILL FRISKICS-WARREN

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.

SOURCE

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JON LORD, KEYBOARDIST WITH DEEP PURPLE

By

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.

SOURCE

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CELESTE HOLMS, WITTY CHARACTER ACTRESS

By

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.”

SOURCE

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VINCENT MANCUSI, ATTICA PRISON WARDEN

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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SKYWATCH: LIGHT POLLUTION MIGHT AFFECT OUR HEALTH, JUPITER’S DISAPPEARING ACT, AND MORE

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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

Observing

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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COLORLINES: ‘BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD’ AND BLACK LAND

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.

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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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HATEWATCH: THE ASTONISHING BIGOTRY AND PARANOIA OF RUSSELL PEARCE

The Astonishing Bigotry and Paranoia of Russell Pearce

by  Leah Nelson  on July 18, 2012

Former Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce, the author of his state’s draconian anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, is notorious for making outrageous claims about the supposed dangers posed by immigrants – both documented and not.

In major speeches at least, Pearce usually tries to maintain some modicum of decency. In private (or at least semi-private), his taste has long been known to run even more extreme than he lets on. That’s likely one reason he became, last November, the first sitting state senate president in the U.S. and the first ever Arizona state legislator to be defeated in a recall election.

Now, a series of E-mails – released to a coalition of civil rights organizations that filed a public records request with the state of Arizona – shows just how deep his loathing of immigrants runs.

The documents contain evidence of deep-seated bigotry and paranoia – and an affinity for numerous racist organizations. The E-mails are replete with “facts” drawn from Rense, a racist and anti-Semitic website that bemoans the alleged “Jewish dominance of America”; myths promulgated by immigrant-bashing former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, a birther who resigned after years of being called out by progressive organizations (including the SPLC) for promulgating debunked nativist conspiracy propaganda; and statistics produced by the National Policy Institute, a racist “think tank” whose mission statement says it aims “to elevate the consciousness of whites, ensure our biological and cultural continuity, and protect our civil rights.”

The E-mails include articles by xenophobes like Pat Buchanan and Frosty Wooldridge; and talking points produced by NumbersUSA, the grassroots arm of a network of organizations conceived by John Tanton, racist architect of the modern anti-immigration movement. In several instances, Pearce endorsed anti-immigrant conspiracy theories popular among nativists and border vigilantes.

To those who have followed Pearce’s many gaffes and outright demonstrations of bigotry over the years, none of this should be a surprise. He once sent supporters an article from the neo-Nazi National Alliance website. And he maintained a close friendship with J.T. Ready for more than a year after the latter was outed as a prominent member of the National Socialist Movement, the country’s largest neo-Nazi group. Ready killed himself in May, but not before fatally shooting his girlfriend, her daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend and 15-month-old baby girl.

The following is a sample of the E-Mails Pearce sent. He appears to have quoted heavily and sometimes without attribution from various sources. Hatewatch has made a careful effort to separate his own comments from those of others, but it is possible that some comments attributed to Pearce were plagiarized from other sources.

April 6, 2006

“Today, conditions are probably as bad or worse than they ever have been on the border. What we find is a mass invasion of historic proportions: individuals running through backyards, breaking down fences, slaughtering cattle, cutting their dogs’ throats if they bark, and terrifying people. Men and women who live on the border walk around armed. Women accompany their children to the bus stop with a gun in their purse in the heaviest cross-corridors.”

June 20, 2006

“Lies and more lies as [people who oppose Pearce’s anti-immigration initiatives] attempt to turn this country over to law breakers. They continue to invent arguments, while the whole issue is about ‘illegal’ aliens and giving them rights they don’t deserve and reserved for U.S. Citizens and the trying to give the left political power, it is complete political corruption.”

Dec. 14, 2006:

“Factual is not racial. Realism is not racism. The new definition of a racist is anyone winning an argument with a liberal, minority, pacifist, bible banger, or moron.”

Jan 29, 2007:

“The United States faces the greatest internal threat to its existence since the Civil War. It faces disintegration of its culture; of its language; of its cohesiveness as a nation of free people. It faces massive infusion of unrelenting poverty; of crime; of diseases; of civil violence; of corruption at all levels; and worst of all, the United States faces balkanization that will destroy the fabric of its ability to function as a peaceful nation.”

“One look at Los Angles with its Mexican-American mayor shows you [former Mexican President] Vicente Fox’s general Varigossa [the correct spelling of the Los Angeles mayor’s name is Antonio Villaraigosa] commanding an American city.”

“Can we maintain our social fabric as a nation with Spanish fighting English for dominance? It’s like injecting yourself with cancer cells to see what will happen. It’s like importing leper colonies and hope we don’t catch leprosy. It’s like importing thousands of Islamic jihadists and hope they adapt to the American Dream.”

“Tough, nasty illegals and their advocates grow in such numbers that law and order will not subdue them. They run us out of our cities and states. They conquer our language and our schools. They render havoc and chaos in our schools. I’m stunned at the speed of this invasion. I’m further stunned that most American don’t see it or deny it or ignore it. We are much like the Titanic as we inbreed millions of Mexico’s poor, the world’s poor and we watch our country sink.”

June 30, 2009

“NO JOBS!! NO FREE STUFF!! NO SANCTUARY POLICIES!! NO MORE IGNORING THE DAMAGE, THE COST, THE CRIME, THE DEATHS, THE JOBS TAKEN, THE WAGES LOWERED, THE HEALTHCARE CRISIS, THE EDUCATIONAL IMPACT OF OVER 20% OF K – 12 ARE NON-ENGLISH SPEAKERS, AND MOST WILL LEAVE ON THEIR OWN. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. INSTEAD OF BLAMING THE FEDS CLEAN UP OUR ACT AND TAKE THE HANDCUFFS OFF FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DO OUR JOB???”

May 16, 2011

“IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET: A JOB, A DRIVER’S LICENSE, SOCIAL SECURITY CARD, WELFARE, FOOD STAMPS, CREDIT CARDS, SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE, FREE EDUCATION, FREE HEALTH CARE, A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE, THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRYS [sic] FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DONT GET ENOUGH RESPECT.”

SOURCE

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“April 6, 2006

“Today, conditions are probably as bad or worse than they ever have been on the border. What we find is a mass invasion of historic proportions: individuals running through backyards, breaking down fences, slaughtering cattle, cutting their dogs’ throats if they bark, and terrifying people.”

Sounds like what Black Americans experienced when racist mobs of Whites went on bloodbath lynching rampages:

“Jan 29, 2007:

“The United States faces the greatest internal threat to its existence since the Civil War. It faces disintegration of its culture; of its language; of its cohesiveness as a nation of free people. It faces massive infusion of unrelenting poverty; of crime; of diseases; of civil violence; of corruption at all levels. . . .”

America already has its “cohesiveness as a nation of free people” assailed and nearly annihilated, when after the Civil war the Ku Klux Klan and other racist Whites all across America attacked the newly freed Blacks both in and outside of the South:

The “unrelenting poverty” that occurred as a result of white supremacy. Poverty that affected both Blacks and poor Whites, because so many poor Whites saw themselves up there with the rich White man and woman–both of whom exploited the fears and racist venom of the poor Whites who were suffering from degradation right along with their fellow Black citizens. Poor Whites who took their rage out on defenseless Blacks, because those poor Whites had not the guts or backbone to challenge the ruling class of Whites:

File:Farm Security Administration sharecropper photo of Mrs. Handley and some of her children in Walker County, Alabama. - NARA - 195926.tif

Diseases that ran rampant because of racist policies:  pellagra, hookworm infestation, and syphilis.

The “civil violence” this nation committed against her Black citizens:

-gerrymandering; restrictive racial covenants; Jane Crow segregation; “separate but unequal schools”; trampling on the 13TH, 14Th, and 15TH Amendments. Murdering Black citizens who exercised their civic duty to vote.

The “corruption at all levels” evident in returning Black GIs who could not get a loan to buy a home anywhere they wanted to, but White GIs had no problem obtaining loans to buy homes and move to the suburbs.

And “crime” which manifested itself in the double standard of sexualized gendered racism where a Black man who looked at a White woman was lynched or received death in the electric chair, but a White man who raped a nine-year-old Black girl received no prison sentence nor was he lynched for committing such a heinous crime.

“. . . .the United States faces balkanization that will destroy the fabric of its ability to function as a peaceful nation.”

Heads up, Pearce. America has already experienced “Balkanization”. Ask the Native Americans how it feels to have their cultures, language and traditions decimated when Europeans came to this country to conquer and destroy:

“Kill the Indian, save the man.” Captain R.H. Pratt

“Tough, nasty illegals and their advocates grow in such numbers that law and order will not subdue them. They run us out of our cities and states. They conquer our language and our schools. They render havoc and chaos in our schools. I’m stunned at the speed of this invasion.”

Back to the Native Americans. I’m sure they can recite volumes of “nasty illegals and their advocates” who grew with such overwhelming numbers bringing with them guns, germs, and steel to annihilate the original people of this hemisphere. Ask the original people how they feel when their cultures, language and traditions were decimated when Europeans came to this country to conquer and destroy:

“Smallpox epidemic ravages Native Americans on the northwest coast of North America in the 1770s.

During the 1770s, smallpox (variola major) eradicates at least 30 percent of the native population on the Northwest coast of North America, including numerous members of Puget Sound tribes. This apparent first smallpox epidemic on the northwest coast coincides with the first direct European contact, and is the most virulent of the deadly European diseases that swept over the region during the next 80 to 100 years. In his seminal work, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence, historian Robert Boyd estimates that the 1770s smallpox epidemic killed more than 11,000 Western Washington Indians, reducing the population from about 37,000 to 26,000.

By the 1850s, when the first EuroAmerican settlers arrived at Alki Point and along the Duwamish River, diseases had already taken a devastating toll on native peoples and their cultures. During the 80 year period from the 1770s to 1850, smallpox, measles, influenza, and other diseases had killed an estimated 28,000 Native Americans in Western Washington, leaving about 9,000 survivors. The Indian population continued to decline, although at a slower rate, till the beginning of the twentieth century when it reached its low point.”

SOURCE

The sad thing is that people like Pearce are nothing new. People like Pearce never went away.

They simply morphed themselves into those who speak as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal, for those who silently believe in their ravings.

America has been dishing out hate, venom, and cruelty for centuries.

How she could ever think that she would get off scot-free in the long run was delusion at its worst.

The chickens most certainly are coming home to roost, and they are mad and angry birds of prey.

As for illegal aliens–businesses that do everything they can to hire undocumented workers are the real monsters who are destroying this nation.

They would rather pay an undocumented laborer $2-$3 a day for the same work they would pay an American citizen for pay commensurate with their skills.

They would rather pit undocumented workers, poor and working class Blacks and Whites against each other, and throw out lies that all of the mentioned groups have it in for the shrinking middle class, all the while through the decades tearing apart and undermining unions.

It is the rich elite, big businesses and prime and some subcontractors who have added to this problem of undocumented workers who come to this country. The rich elite that fights tooth and nail against organized workers who want to better life for themselves. The rich and elite who benefit from the use of divide and conquer.

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THE GUARDIAN: AMERICAN, BLACK AND UNEMPLOYED: PEOPLE’S PANEL

The British-based newspaper, The Guardian, is looking for Black Americans to give their responses on how they have been affected by the high unemployment rate in the Black community in the U.S., and how Black Americans have addressed this issue in their lives. At present, the unemployment rate for Black Americans is 14.4%, compared to the national average of  7.2%. The questionnaire is for the paper’s weekly “People’s Panel” series.

If you are interested, the following article provides more information on what you need to do.

At the end of the article, a link to the questionnaire is provided.

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American, black and unemployed: people’s panel

The jobless rate among black Americans is well above the national average. Tell us your experience with race and finding work.

  • Chitrangada Choudhury
  • guardian.co.uk,             Tuesday 10 July 2012 15.01 EDT
US-unemployment-blacks-community-African-Americans

Military vet Roger Porter of Detroit gets resume counselling in late June. Figures released last week show unemployment rates in the African American community at 14.4%. Photograph: Paul Sancya/AP

The latest US government figures show that unemployment among the black community not just remains the highest in the country but has now risen to 14.4% – double that of rates among whites.

As our Washington correspondent Ewen MacAskill recently reported, those rates are stunningly high in some urban pockets: Las Vegas has the highest rate, 22.6%; the Los Angeles metro area, 21.1%; Chicago, 19.1%; and Detroit, 18.1%.

As part of our people’s panel, we are asking for your experiences as an African American looking for work. Has race impacted your search, and do you feel empowered to address any problems? Where have you found support, if any? Will the economy and unemployment affect your decision on whether to vote and whom to vote for in the upcoming presidential elections?

Finally, if you are an employer, how does race affect your hiring decisions? To participate, fill out this form by 9pm ET on Thursday, 19 July, and we’ll publish selected responses.

TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY, CLICK  HERE.

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 7-15-2012

MARIA COLE, JAZZ SINGER AND WIFE OF NAT KING COLE

By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK

Published: July 13, 2012

Maria Cole, a jazz singer who performed with Count Basie and Duke Ellington in the 1940s and who was married to Nat King Cole for 17 years until his death in 1965, died on Tuesday in Boca Raton, Fla. She was 89.

Brian Calvert/Associated Press

Nat King Cole and Maria Cole in 1960. They married in 1948.

The cause was stomach cancer, her daughter Timolin Cole Augustus said. Mrs. Cole was also the mother of the Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole.

Mrs. Cole grew up in genteel circumstances in North Carolina, then left college in Boston to pursue a jazz career, moving to New York and joining Benny Carter’s band. She performed with Count Basie and Fletcher Henderson before Ellington heard a recording of her throaty, resonant voice in the mid-1940s and hired her as a vocalist for his band, Duke Ellington’s Orchestra. In 1946 she began appearing solo at Club Zanzibar in Harlem as an opening act for the Mills Brothers.

One night the Nat King Cole Trio had substituted for the Mills Brothers, and as Mr. Cole stood backstage and glimpsed her as she sang, he was smitten. He divorced his first wife, Nadine, and they were married in 1948 by Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the congressman, at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

“Nat wanted to improve himself,” Mrs. Cole told The Boston Globe in 1989. “I wanted to help him improve. What he needed, I had. What I needed, he had. That’s why our marriage worked.”

Mrs. Cole paused her career to raise their five children and travel with her husband as his career flourished. His string of hits included “Unforgettable,” “Candy” and “Mona Lisa,” and he became the first black host of a national variety show on television, “The Nat King Cole Show,” which ran from 1956-57. On tour they risked and sometimes encountered racial violence in the Jim Crow South; Mr. Cole was attacked onstage in Alabama in 1956.

Before Mr. Cole died of lung cancer, at 45, Mrs. Cole had returned to singing, recording songs with her husband with Capitol Records, according to her family. Her best-known solo album, “Love Is a Special Feeling,” was released in 1966.

Marie Frances Hawkins was born in Boston on Aug. 1, 1922. Her father, Mingo Hawkins, was a postal worker; her mother, Caro Saunders, died in childbirth when Ms. Hawkins was 2. Ms. Hawkins and her sister Charlotte were sent to North Carolina to live with their aunt, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, who founded the Palmer Memorial Institute, a prestigious black preparatory school near Greensboro. She graduated from the institute in 1938.

Ms. Hawkins returned to Boston to attend a clerical college but began working with a jazz orchestra by night and soon dropped out to pursue her love of music in New York, much to the chagrin of her family, who thought jazz an inappropriate vocation for a proper young lady.

In 1943 she married Spurgeon Ellington (no relation to Duke Ellington), a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black unit of the Army Air Corps in World War II. He died during a training flight.

After Mr. Cole’s death, Mrs. Cole continued to record and perform, once on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” She also was the host of a talk show in Chicago and Los Angeles. A subsequent marriage ended in divorce.

In addition to her daughters Timolin and Natalie, and her sister Charlotte, Mrs. Cole is survived by another daughter, Casey Cole Hooker; and six grandchildren.

SOURCE

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RICHARD D. ZANUCK, PRODUCER OF BLOCKBUSTERS

By

Published: July 13, 2012

Richard D. Zanuck, the once-spurned son of the legendary Hollywood producer Darryl F. Zanuck who carved out his own career as a frequently honored producer, running up more than $2 billion in grosses and, by producing “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989, becoming the only son to duplicate a father’s best-picture Oscar, died on Friday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 77.

Zade Rosenthal/Columbia Pictures

Richard D. Zanuck, left, and Albert Finney on the set of “Big Fish,” one of six films directed by Tim Burton that he produced.

The cause was a heart attack, Jeff Sanderson, his publicist, said.

Richard Zanuck’s successes rivaled those of his father, who co-founded 20th Century Fox, won three best picture Academy Awards and later fired his son in a studio shake-up. The younger Mr. Zanuck produced or helped produce movies like Steven Spielberg’s first feature film, “The Sugarland Express,” in 1974 and the director’s first blockbuster, “Jaws,” the next year.

In a statement, Mr. Spielberg said Mr. Zanuck “taught me everything I know about producing.”

David Brown, an urbane New Yorker with whom Mr. Zanuck produced the two Spielberg films, also worked with him in producing “The Sting” in 1973. Reuniting Paul Newman, Robert Redford and the director George Roy Hill after their 1969 box office hit “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting” won the best movie Oscar, though Mr. Zanuck and Mr. Brown (the husband of the Cosmopolitan magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown) were not listed as its producers.

Mr. Zanuck produced six movies directed by Tim Burton, including this year’s “Dark Shadows,” starring Johnny Depp as a heartsick vampire. They also collaborated on “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005), Mr. Burton’s reimagining of “Planet of the Apes” (2001), and “Alice in Wonderland” (2010). “Alice” has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide.

As a boy Mr. Zanuck had the run of 20th Century Fox, where his father reigned as one of the most powerful Hollywood moguls. Richard attended his first Academy Awards ceremony at age 7.

In high school and college, he worked in a different department at Fox every summer. In 1962, when Mr. Zanuck was still in his 20s, his father defied charges of nepotism and made him Fox’s production chief. Under Richard, the studio won 159 Oscar nominations, and three movies — “The Sound of Music,” “Patton” and “The French Connection” — were named best picture.

Darryl Zanuck, a cigar-chomping Midwesterner who never made it to high school and waved a polo mallet to reinforce a conversational point, fired his son in 1970 after a studio shake-up. The father was trying to save his own job, unsuccessfully. Richard Zanuck’s resentment lasted almost until his father’s death, in 1979.

“It was different from the usual father-son relationship,” Mr. Zanuck told The New York Times in 2003. “But I was able to patch everything up before my father died.”

Richard — soft-spoken, Stanford-educated and comfortable on a California beach — went on to his productive collaboration with Mr. Brown after a brief stop at Warner Brothers.

Richard Darryl Zanuck was born in Los Angeles on Dec. 13, 1934. His mother was the silent film star Virginia Fox. As a youngster, Richard was made to sell copies of The Saturday Evening Post to teach him the value of hard work. “Of course,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 2010, “my dad did have a chauffeur take me to pick up the papers.”

To show he cared about his son, Darryl Zanuck bused studio executives to Richard’s ballgames so that they could cheer on his son, as if they were extras in a sports movie. Personalities like Orson Welles were regular visitors to the Zanuck home.

Richard, who excelled in sports in high school and continued running five miles a day into his 70s, served in the Army as a lieutenant after his graduation from Stanford. His father, meanwhile, had been fired by Fox in 1956 and moved to Paris to become an independent producer. The elder Zanuck, who had a wide reputation for womanizing, had affairs with three French actresses in succession but failed to advance their careers, as he had suggested he might.

Darryl Zanuck arranged for his son to produce his first film, the murder mystery “Compulsion” (1959), at age 24. It won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for the ensemble work of Welles, Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman.

In 1962, Fox, still struggling, rehired Darryl Zanuck as president. But because he did not want to abandon his romantic interests in Paris, he asked his son to give him a list of possible candidates to run the West Coast studio. Richard Zanuck presented him with a piece of paper with one word on it, “Me.”

His father went for it. “I have always considered that one of the gutsiest moves,” Mr. Zanuck said of his father’s decision. The son kept his father up-to-date by trans-Atlantic telegram.

Mr. Zanuck moved to Warner Brothers to be executive vice president and there collaborated with Mr. Brown on such box office hits as “The Exorcist” and “Blazing Saddles.” In 1971, the two men formed the Zanuck/Brown Company.

After they split up in 1988, Mr. Zanuck started the Zanuck Company. That year it made “Driving Miss Daisy,” which was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four, including best picture. It cost $5 million to make and grossed more than $100 million.

Mr. Zanuck’s first two marriages ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, Lili Fini Zanuck, with whom he produced the 2000 Oscar ceremony; his sons Harrison and Dean, who have produced movies; and nine grandchildren.

Mr. Zanuck was a hands-on producer, going to the set every day and watching the day’s work every night. Mr. Spielberg recalled that while filming “Jaws” in 1974, he and Mr. Zanuck were in a boat off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts as they watched the movie’s mechanical shark sink to the bottom of the sea. As Mr. Spielberg recalled, “Dick turned to me and smiled” and said, ‘Gee, I hope that’s not a sign.’ ”

SOURCE

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DARA SINGH, BOLLYWOOD STAR AND WRESTLER

By HARESH PANDYA

Published: July 14, 2012

Dara Singh, a popular professional wrestler who parlayed his fame, physique and stouthearted image into a thriving Bollywood film career as India’s first action hero, died on Thursday at his home in Mumbai. He was 83.

Divyakant Solanki/European Pressphoto Agency

Fans of the veteran Bollywood actor Dara Singh held portraits of him during his funeral in Mumbai, India, on Thursday.

Strdel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Singh with his son Vindoo in Mumbai in 2011.

The cause was a heart attack, said his doctor, R. K. Agarwal.

His death set off a wave of mourning nationwide. Thousands followed the body in a procession to his cremation on Thursday afternoon. India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, called Dara Singh a “self-educated son of the soil” who had been “an inspiration and icon to many generations in our country.” In a Twitter message, the Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan called Mr. Singh “our very own Superman.”

Mr. Singh, a household name in India, rode that renown to win a seat in India’s upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, serving from 2003 to 2009 as a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Many likened him to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-governor of California.

Though never deemed more than an average actor, Mr. Singh nevertheless commanded a mass following in Hindi cinema’s black-and-white era as a hero who, while championing what was right and good with rippling muscles, was also every inch the gentleman. He vowed never to play a bad character.

Dara Singh Randhawa was born into a Sikh farming family on Nov. 19, 1928, in a village in the northern province of Punjab, near the Pakistan border. Brawny even as a child, he was encouraged to pursue traditional Indian-style wrestling and did so with spectacular success, winning tournaments across India and earning a reputation for flooring opponents with ridiculous ease.

In the 1950s and ’60s, the British wrestling historian Charles Mascall ranked Mr. Singh as the 10th-greatest heavyweight wrestler of all time.

He became the Commonwealth Champion in 1959 and, in 1968, world champion when he defeated the American wrestler Lou Thesz.

Mr. Singh was at the pinnacle of his prowess and fame as a wrestler when he started working in films in the 1950s. His massive physique and noble image made him ideal for characters that epitomized masculine strength and pride and heroic virtues. Among his Hindi cinema hits were “King Kong,” “Samson” and “Tarzan Comes to Delhi.” The popular Bollywood actress Mumtaz appeared with him in 16 films.

Mr. Singh, who appeared in nearly 150 movies, later switched to character roles. He was also involved with Punjabi films as an actor, director and producer.

For all his film work, he may be best remembered in India for a television role, that of the mythical monkey god Hanuman in the popular series “Ramayana,” an adaptation of the Hindu epic.

Mr. Singh, who married twice, is survived by three sons and three daughters.

Some Indians saw him as a man who transcended any narrow characterization, whether wrestler or actor.

“He had star quality, all right,” Vir Sanghvi, a former editor of The Hindustan Times, wrote in a blog post on Friday. “But he had much more to offer. He represented an Indian ideal of goodness through strength. His persona — like his real-life personality — was straightforward: he was a good guy, who never did anything dirty or devious and who used his strength to protect the weak and to fight evil. In that sense, he was the first Indian superhero.”

SOURCE

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SKYWATCH: AURORAS LIKELY THIS WEEKEND, PLUTO’S NEW MOON, AND MORE

News
Pluto and its five moons

NASA / STScI / M. Showalter & others

Pluto’s Moons: Five and Counting

July 11, 2012 | When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reaches Pluto in three years, it’ll have one more object to check out: a tiny fifth moon discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope. > read more

Impossibly Aligned Galaxies

July 9, 2012 | Astronomers have found an alignment of galaxies along our line of sight that’s so rare, it ought to be impossible. Is it just luck — or does it tell us something more? > read more

Titan’s Latest Twist: A Hidden Ocean

July 3, 2012 | Saturn’s biggest moon already boasts a dense atmosphere, vast dune fields, and lakes full of hydrocarbons. Now scientists have evidence for a deep ocean beneath its icy crust. > read more

Exoplanet Hunters Dim the Lights

July 12, 2012 | Scientists have devised a new way to dim starlight’s blinding glare, a technique that improves on existing technologies to allow astronomers a clearer view of exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. > read more

Observing

2011 aurora

NASA / Zoltan Kenwell

Auroras Likely July 14-15

July 13, 2012 | Strong auroras are likely this weekend at high latitudes and possible at middle latitudes. > read more

Sunspot 1520 Rolls Into View

July 10, 2012 | The Sun’s spottiness continues with a giant magnetic blotch stretched just below its equator. > read more

July 15th’s Occultation of Jupiter

July 13, 2012 | Lucky skywatchers in Europe and northern Asia can watch a waning crescent Moon slide over Jupiter and its Galilean satellites in the hours before and after Sunday morning’s dawn. > 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

Community

Sunset at Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory’s Pro-Am Initiative

July 10, 2012 | If you’re a serious stargazer with good gear, a passion for observing, and some free time, a team of astronomers at Lowell Observatory hope to hear from you. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

Dawn view

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

July 13, 2012 | Mars continues to advance toward Saturn and Spica in the evening sky. And Jupiter and Venus shine higher in the dawn. > read more

SkyWeek Television Show
View SkyWeek as seen on PBS click here to watch this week’s episodeSponsored by Meade Instruments July 9 - 15, 2012 Powered by TheSkyX from Software Bisque

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