IN REMEMBRANCE: 1-12-2014

FRANKLIN McCAIN, WHO FOUGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AT ALL-WHITE LUNCH COUNTER

By

JAN. 10, 2014

        

Franklin McCain in 2010. Lynn Hey/Associated Press

Franklin McCain, who helped fuel the civil rights movement in 1960 when he and three friends from their all-black college requested, and were refused, coffee and doughnuts at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., died on Thursday in Greensboro. He was 73.

The cause was respiratory complications, his son Franklin Jr. said.

Mr. McCain was one of the so-called Greensboro Four, who sat down at lunch counter stools at an F. W. Woolworth store on Feb. 1, 1960, fully expecting that they would not be served. When they were not, they came back the next day, and the next, and the next.

As word of the protest spread, others, in ever-growing numbers, joined them. By the end of the fifth day, more than a thousand had arrived. And on July 25, the store relented and made the lunch counter available to all.

It was not the first such sit-in. After the Supreme Court’s order to desegregate the public schools in 1954, activists tried to integrate lunch counters in Oklahoma City, Baltimore and other cities on the periphery of the segregated South. There had been similar efforts in the Deep South, particularly in Orangeburg, S.C., in 1955 and ’56 and in Durham, N.C., in 1957.

Mr. McCain, second from left, at a sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960. United Press International

But the Greensboro episode, by most estimations, had the widest impact, inviting national publicity and inspiring a heightened level of activism among college students and other youths. Later that year, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the most effective civil rights groups, was born in Southern black colleges.

Others soon imitated the Greensboro campaign in more than 55 cities and towns in 13 states. Only some were successful, but their cumulative effect was to contribute to the momentum that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned segregated restaurants with interstate operations, as Woolworth had.

The Woolworth sit-in could be traced to the fall of 1959, when Mr. McCain and three other freshmen at the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in Greensboro would get together to bat around issues of the day as “elementary philosophers,” as Mr. McCain put it in an interview for “My Soul Is Rested,” a 1977 oral history of the civil rights movement by Howell Raines, a former executive editor of The New York Times.

Mr. McCain said a large question kept arising in their late-night sessions: “At what point does a moral man act against injustice?”

On Sunday night, Jan. 31, 1960, they decided to act. Bolstering one another’s courage, they resolved that they would sit down on lunch-counter stools the next day and stay there until they were served.

“Well, you know, that might be weeks, that might be months, that might be never,” one of the four, Ezell Blair Jr., now known as Jibreel Khazan, recalled saying. The other two students were Joseph McNeil and David Richmond. Mr. Richmond died in 1990.

Yolande Betbeze Fox protesting segregationist store policies in New York in June 1960. Neal Boenzi/The New York Times

The next afternoon, they walked a mile to the Woolworth at Elm and Market Streets, arriving about 3:20. They bought some school supplies and waited for their receipts as proof of purchase. They later recalled chafing at how eagerly the store had taken their money for merchandise while refusing it at the lunch counter, directing them instead to a basement hot dog stand.

“We wonder why you invite us in to serve us at one counter and deny service at another,” Mr. McCain recalled saying. “If this is a private club or private concern, then we believe you ought to sell membership cards and sell only to persons who have a membership card. If we don’t have a card, then we’d know pretty well that we shouldn’t come in or even attempt to come in.”

That, he recounted, “didn’t go over too well.” But as he sat waiting for a doughnut that he knew would never come, Mr. McCain felt oddly empowered.

“The best feeling of my life,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2010, was “sitting on that dumb stool.”

“I felt so relieved,” he continued. “Nothing has ever happened to me before or since that topped that good feeling of being clean and fully accepted and feeling proud of me.”

Mr. McCain described the scene to Mr. Raines. A police officer paced, patting a club in his hand, but without provocation he seemed powerless to act. A black dishwasher derided “the rabble-rousers” as potentially hurting black people. Some whites uttered racial epithets, but others whispered encouragement.

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Students held a sit-in at a lunch counter for a sixth day of protests at Woolworth’s. United Press International.

One white woman said that she was proud of the young men and that she wished they had acted 10 years earlier. At that moment, Mr. McCain later said, he discarded any concept he had of racial stereotypes.

Franklin Eugene McCain was born on Jan. 3, 1941, in Union County, N.C., and raised in Washington. In a biography prepared for the PBS documentary “February One” in 2010, Mr. McCain said he had grown up being taught what he called “the big lie” — that if he behaved and studied hard, all opportunities would be open to him.

At North Carolina A&T, he earned a degree in chemistry and biology. He went on to work as a chemist and sales representative for the Celanese Corporation for nearly 35 years. He was active in civil rights organizations and served on the boards of his alma mater; his wife’s alma mater, Bennett College, a historically black college for women in Greensboro; and the governing body for the 17-campus University of North Carolina system.

His wife, the former Bettye Davis, died in 2013. In addition to his son Franklin Jr., his survivors include two other sons, Wendell and Bert, and six grandchildren.

In 2010, the building that housed Woolworth became the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Part of the lunch counter became an exhibit in the Smithsonian.

Years earlier, on Feb. 1, 1980, all of the Greensboro Four returned for a re-enactment of their historic action. A black vice president of Woolworth was there to serve them. Because of the flurry of celebration and the crush of reporters, the guests of honor never got to eat.

“Twenty years ago I could not get served here,” Mr. McCain said. “I come back today and I still can’t get served.”

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REV. VINCENT J. TERMINE, PASTOR WHO FOUGHT RACISM IN HIS PARISH

By

JAN. 9, 2014

The Rev. Vincent J. Termine, a Roman Catholic priest who helped revive a dying parish in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, in the 1960s and ’70s, then angered members of his predominantly white flock when he let black youths from another neighborhood participate in organized basketball at the church, died on Dec. 26 in Johns Island, S.C., where he had lived since 2009. He was 93.

His death was confirmed by his brother, John.

Father Termine’s parish, Most Precious Blood, was in serious disrepair and its elementary school had just lost its teaching order of nuns when he was transferred there in 1967. Over the next decade he led a drive to raise more than a million dollars to rebuild the church. He also recruited a new teaching order of nuns for the school.

The racial tensions flared in the midst of those efforts, in the mid-1970s, after Gerard Papa, a community-minded Brooklyn lawyer, organized a basketball league, known as the Flames, to bring together Italian-American boys from the suburban-style homes of south Brooklyn and blacks and Hispanics from the projects.

Rev. Vincent J. Termine

Father Termine (pronounced TER-mine) agreed to let them use his church as their home base so that they would qualify to compete in Catholic Youth Organization tournaments. (Lacking a basketball court, the church offered its bingo hall for use as one.)

The decision angered many parishioners. At the Flames’ first practice session, bat-wielding white toughs menaced the black players whom Father Termine had welcomed to his church, on Bay 47th Street.

By his account, Father Termine resolved the dispute by going to a Brooklyn social club, where he knew he could find the father of one of the bat-wielding toughs — “a local, ah, man of respect,” as he described him to Robert Lipsyte, then a columnist for The New York Times, in 1994.

“He stormed into the back room,” Mr. Lipsyte wrote, relating Father Termine’s account. “Cards and chips flew as he roared — (‘I can be dramatic when necessary’) — about Jesus and justice.”

Father Termine said the neighborhood man gave him his personal pledge of safe-conduct for the Flames. There were no further incidents.

The Flames were one of the few racially integrated basketball squads in the city while they played in C.Y.O. games under the banner of Most Precious Blood Church from the mid-’70s until the late ’90s. In 1997, two years after Father Termine retired, C.Y.O. officials barred them from competition after the new pastor at Precious Blood declined to continue sponsoring them, saying he had a new ‘‘vision’’ for his church’s sports program.

Mr. Papa contested the decision in a civil suit, but was unsuccessful.

Vincent Joseph Termine was born in Brooklyn on March 4, 1920, one of five children of Charles Termine, a bus dispatcher, and his wife, Mary. He lived and worked in Brooklyn almost all his life.

After graduating magna cum laude from St. John’s University and receiving his religious training at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, on Long Island, Mr. Termine was ordained in 1944 and began the first of many pastoral assignments in Brooklyn.

He served as assistant pastor at the Church of St. Michael-St. Edward in Fort Greene, as chaplain at the old Raymond Street Jail, and at the Cumberland Hospital. He was assigned to St. Rocco’s Church in Park Slope, Saint Mark Church in Sheepshead Bay, the tuberculosis hospital in Manhattan Beach; St. Blaise Church in Crown Heights (now the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Blaise), and, as Catholic chaplain, to the city Sanitation Department’s Brooklyn operations.

The refurbished Most Precious Blood Church reopened in 1976, and weekly attendance began to grow.

Father Termine remained a resident of Brooklyn — he had a home in Coney Island — until he moved to South Carolina to be closer to family members. In addition to his brother John, a physician and medical researcher, he is survived by another brother, Charles Termine, a surgeon.

Father Termine was something of throwback to another era. He “seems to have come from old black-and-white movies,” Mr. Lipsyte wrote in his 1994 column, “a burly 74-year-old with Bible stories and wicked winks and knobby hands that have snatched away dice in back alleys and paddled whole classrooms and hacked through teenage rumbles.

“He started clubs for kids, and when they didn’t show up he stomped into pool rooms and candy stores and dragged them to the church,” Mr. Lipsyte wrote. “He bought Ping-Pong tables with his own money. He gave confession in parked cars, bars and once in the freezer of a butcher shop. His mother had advised him to ‘Nag, nag, nag,’ because sooner or later the kids would remember the message, and that someone cared enough to keep delivering it to them. Father Termine still thinks it is good advice.”

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CARTER CAMP, LEADER IN WOUNDED KNEE UPRISING

By

JAN. 8, 2014

On Dec. 29, 1890, United States cavalry, in the last battle of the American Indian wars, massacred as many as 350 Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Three generations later, Carter Camp, a 32-year-old Indian militant, retaliated.

On the night of Feb. 27, 1973, he led the first wave of armed, self-styled warriors in an operation to seize Wounded Knee, which had become a town on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The invaders, carrying a list of grievances against the federal government, seized the trading post, cut the telephone lines, ran the Bureau of Indian Affairs police out of town and took 11 hostages.

“We were pretty sure that we were going to have to give up our lives,” Mr. Camp said in an interview for the PBS program “American Experience” in 2009.

A caravan of 200 cars carrying Indians and their supporters followed, beginning a 71-day, gunshot-punctuated standoff that some applauded as a show of new assertiveness by long-downtrodden Indians and that others deplored as criminal.

Carter Camp, center, in Wounded Knee, S.D., during a 71-day standoff in 1973. William Kunstler, the radical lawyer, is at left. Associated Press

By the time it was over, two Indians had been shot to death and a federal marshal was paralyzed. He later died. Mr. Camp was convicted of abducting, confining and beating four postal inspectors during the siege and served three years in prison.

He went on to spend decades fighting for Indian rights and died at 72 on Dec. 27 in White Eagle, Okla., the headquarters of the Ponca tribe, of which he was a member. The cause was kidney and liver cancer, his brother Craig said.

Carter Camp’s dream was to regain the vast lands his people had lost through unfair and broken treaties. But he started by aiming his sights lower, leading a campaign in 1970 to change the way federal money for Indian education was allocated on the Ponca reservation. He became state leader of the American Indian Movement, or AIM, which was organized in 1968 in Minneapolis as a defender of American Indian sovereignty. In 1972, he helped lead an AIM caravan from the West Coast to Washington, where “red power” advocates occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs building.

During the Wounded Knee occupation the next year, alongside the AIM leaders Dennis Banks and Russell C. Means, Mr. Camp was the spokesman who presented the group’s demands to the government, among them that the government honor 371 broken treaties and that it end what the group called corrupt tribal governments. Mr. Camp rejected an offer of leniency if the protesters left immediately.

“We decided that the Indian people were more important to us than jail terms,” he was quoted as saying in “The Road to Wounded Knee” (1974), by Robert Burnette and John Koster.

When the Indians finally did end their occupation, Mr. Camp was one of the leaders who signed the agreement. Mr. Banks did not.

In August 1973, Mr. Camp was elected chairman of AIM but within weeks was ejected from the organization after being accused of shooting another AIM leader, Clyde Bellecourt, in the stomach. News accounts and histories say Mr. Camp was angry that Mr. Bellecourt had accused him of being a paid informer for the F.B.I. Charges were dropped after Mr. Bellecourt and a witness refused to testify.

The episode precipitated swirls of speculation. In his 1983 book, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” Peter Matthiessen said Mr. Camp had called Mr. Bellecourt a coward because he refused to carry a gun. Others suggested that the F.B.I. had planted the rumor that Mr. Camp was an informer to damage AIM’s credibility.

Bruce E. Johansen, the author of “Encyclopedia of the American Indian Movement” (2013), wrote that Mr. Bellecourt had tried to salvage Mr. Camp’s reputation but that Mr. Means had insisted he be expelled.

Carter Augustus Camp was born in Pawnee, Okla., on Aug. 18, 1941. He graduated from Haskell Institute, a high school for Indians in Lawrence, Kan. (It became Haskell Indian Nations University.) He then joined the Army and served in Western Europe. After his discharge, he worked in a factory in Los Angeles, serving as shop steward for the electrical workers’ union.

Mr. Camp returned to Oklahoma to be close to his roots, literally. “We believe the soil and every plant contains the dust of our ancestors,” he once said.

In recent years, Mr. Camp had fought against garbage companies’ using Indian lands for disposal; a proposed pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Canada; and a bar catering to motorcyclists near his reservation. He protested a re-enactment of the Lewis and Clark expedition, calling it a remembrance of the extermination of his people.

In addition to his brother, Mr. Camp is survived by another brother, Dwain; his wife, Linda; his sons Kenny, Jeremy, Victorio, Mazhonaposhe and Augustus; his sister, Casey Camp-Horinek; 24 grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Mr. Camp helped organize annual sun dances conducted by Leonard Crow Dog, the spiritual leader of the Wounded Knee occupiers. Participants, who may not eat or drink, dance around a cottonwood tree from sunrise to sunset.

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RUN RUN SHAW, CHINESE-MOVIE GIANT OF THE KUNG FU GENRE

By JONATHAN KANDELL

JAN. 6, 2014

        

Run Run Shaw in 1978 with his wife and daughter. Mr. Shaw and his older brother were movie pioneers in Asia, producing and sometimes directing films and owning cinema chains. Central Press, via Getty Images

Run Run Shaw, the colorful Hong Kong media mogul whose name was synonymous with low-budget Chinese action and horror films — and especially with the wildly successful kung fu genre, which he is largely credited with inventing — died on Tuesday at his home in Hong Kong. He was 106.

His company, Television Broadcasts Limited, announced his death in a statement.

Born in China, Mr. Shaw and his older brother, Run Me, were movie pioneers in Asia, producing and sometimes directing films and owning lucrative cinema chains. His companies are believed to have released more than 800 films worldwide.

After his brother’s death in 1985, Mr. Shaw expanded his interest in television and became a publishing and real estate magnate as well. For his philanthropy, much of it going to educational and medical causes, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and showered with public expressions of gratitude by the Communist authorities in Beijing.

Mr. Shaw enjoyed the zany glamour of the Asian media world he helped create. He presided over his companies from a garish Art Deco palace in Hong Kong, a cross between a Hollywood mansion and a Hans Christian Andersen cookie castle. Well into his 90s he attended social gatherings with a movie actress on each arm. And he liked to be photographed in a tai chi exercise pose, wearing the black gown of a traditional mandarin.

Asked what his favorite films were, Mr. Shaw, a billionaire, once replied, “I particularly like movies that make money.”

Run Run Shaw was born Shao Yifu in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, on Nov. 23, 1907. As a child, he moved to Shanghai, where his father ran a profitable textile business. According to some Hong Kong news media accounts, Run Run and Run Me were English-sounding nicknames the father gave his sons as part of a family joke that played on the similarity of the family name to the word rickshaw.

Evincing little interest in the family business, Run Run and Run Me turned instead to entertainment. The first play they produced was called “Man From Shensi,” on a stage, as it turned out, of rotten planks. As the brothers often told the story, on opening night the lead actor plunged through the planks, and the audience laughed. The Shaws took note and rewrote the script to include the incident as a stunt. They had a hit, and in 1924 they turned it into their first film.

After producing several more movies, the brothers decided that their homeland, torn by fighting between Nationalists and Communists, was too unstable. In 1927 they moved to Singapore, which was then part of British colonial Malaya.

Besides producing their own films in Singapore, the brothers imported foreign movies and built up a string of theaters. Their business boomed until the Japanese invaded the Malay Peninsula in 1941 and stripped their theaters and confiscated their film equipment. But according to Run Run Shaw, he and his brother buried more than $4 million in gold, jewelry and currency in their backyard, which they dug up after World War II and used to resume their careers.

With the rise of Hong Kong as the primary market for Chinese films, Run Run Shaw moved there in 1959, while his brother stayed behind looking after their Singapore business.

In Hong Kong, Run Run Shaw created Shaw Movietown, a complex of studios and residential towers where his actors worked and lived. Until then, the local industry had turned out 60-minute films with budgets that rarely exceeded a few thousand dollars. Shaw productions ran up to two hours and cost as much as $50,000 — a lavish sum by Asian standards at the time.

Mr. Shaw went on to plumb the so-called dragon-lady genre with great commercial success. Movies like “Madame White Snake” (1963) and “The Lady General” (1965) offered sexy, combative, sometimes villainous heroines, loosely based on historical characters. And by the end of the 1960s, he had discovered that martial-arts films in modern settings could make even more money.

His “Five Fingers of Death” (1973), considered a kung fu classic, was followed by “Man of Iron” (1973), “The Shaolin Avengers” (1976) and many others. Critics dismissed the films as artless and one-dimensional, but spectators crowded into the theaters to cheer, laugh or mockingly hiss at the action scenes. To ensure that his films were amply distributed, Mr. Shaw’s chain of cinemas grew to more than 200 houses in Asia and the United States. “We were like the Hollywood of the 1930s,” he said. “We controlled everything: the talent, the production, the distribution and the exhibition.”

Other Hong Kong producers, directors and actors called Mr. Shaw’s methods iron-fisted. In 1970, Raymond Chow, a producer with Mr. Shaw’s company, Shaw Brothers, left to form his own company, Golden Harvest, which gave more creative and financial independence to top directors and stars.

Mr. Chow’s biggest success, and Mr. Shaw’s most notable loss, was his decision to bankroll Bruce Lee. Mr. Lee initially approached Shaw Brothers, which turned down his demand for a long-term contract of $10,000 per film. Golden Harvest then offered Mr. Lee creative control and profit-sharing.

“The Big Boss,” better known as “Fists of Fury” (1971), was Mr. Lee’s first film with Golden Harvest, and it broke all Hong Kong box-office records. Other big-name actors and directors flocked to Golden Harvest, breaking Shaw Brothers’ virtual monopoly.

But Run Run Shaw had already expanded beyond the film industry. His investments in the new phenomenon of Asian television were to prove even more lucrative than his movie productions. In 1972 he began Television Broadcasts (TVB), and he soon gained control of 80 percent of the Hong Kong market. TVB churned out 12 hours of its own programming a day, much of it soap operas and costume dramas that riveted Chinese television viewers on the mainland and throughout Southeast Asia.

As his fortune grew, Mr. Shaw donated generously to hospitals, orphanages and colleges in Hong Kong, for which he was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974 and awarded a knighthood in 1977. In 1990 he donated 10 million pounds to help establish the Run Run Shaw Institute of Chinese Affairs at Oxford University, where his four children had studied. In 2004 he established the Shaw Prize, an international award for research in astronomy, mathematics and medicine.

As Hong Kong’s days as a British colony dwindled, Mr. Shaw stepped up his philanthropy in China. He contributed more than $100 million to scores of universities on the mainland and raised money in support of Chinese victims of floods and other natural disasters. Chinese leaders toasted him for his generosity at banquets in Beijing.

Mr. Shaw’s philanthropy did not extend to the United States, but he was once viewed as a white knight in New York. In 1991, when Macy’s was on the verge of bankruptcy, he bought 10 percent of its preferred shares for $50 million, becoming one of the largest shareholders in R. H. Macy & Company.

The investment had a personal aspect. Ten years earlier, Mitchell Finkelstein, the son of Macy’s chief executive, Edward S. Finkelstein, had married Hui Ling, a Shaw protégée who appeared in many of his movies. Mr. Shaw met the older Finkelstein at the wedding, and they became friends.

In later years, the aging mogul himself seemed in need of help to keep his media empire intact. Concerned with the rise of cable and satellite television, he sold a 22 percent stake in TVB to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in 1993.

Mr. Shaw had intended to maintain control over his media business by balancing his one-third share in TVB against Mr. Murdoch’s 22 percent and the 24 percent held by Robert Kuok, one of Hong Kong’s richest entrepreneurs. But the balance of power shifted when Mr. Murdoch sold his equity to Mr. Kuok shortly afterward. Then, in 1996, in Hong Kong’s first case of a hostile takeover, Mr. Kuok forced Mr. Shaw to sell him his shares in TVE, the lucrative publishing, music and real estate subsidiary of TVB. The deal reduced Mr. Shaw’s TVB stake to 23 percent.

Mr. Shaw’s business situation was also hindered by his inability to groom credible successors. His sons, Vee Meng and Harold, were at one time heavily involved in the family enterprises, but their relationship with him had become strained.

Mr. Shaw’s first wife, Wong Mee Chun, died in 1987. He married Mona Fong, a former singer and actress, in 1997. She survives him. Other survivors include his sons and two daughters, Dorothy and Violet, also from his first marriage.

Even after turning 90, Mr. Shaw maintained a powerful presence in the Hong Kong film world through his control of Shaw Studios. But a newer generation of independent producers came to dominate the Hong Kong market with their own violent brand of police and gangster films.

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HALTON C. ARP, ASTRONOMER WHO CHALLENGED BIG BANG THEORY

By

JAN. 6, 2014

        

Halton C. Arp in 2005. His dogged promotion of an unorthodox theory led to exile from his peers. Jean-Pierre Jans

Halton C. Arp, a provocative son of American astronomy whose dogged insistence that astronomers had misread the distances to quasars cast doubt on the Big Bang theory of the universe and led to his exile from his peers and the telescopes he loved, died on Dec. 28 in Munich. He was 86.

The cause was pneumonia, said his daughter Kristana Arp, who said he also had Parkinson’s disease.

As a staff astronomer for 29 years at Hale Observatories, which included the Mount Wilson and Palomar Mountain observatories in Southern California, Dr. Arp was part of their most romantic era, when astronomers were peeling back the sky and making discovery after discovery that laid the foundation for the modern understanding of the expansion of the universe.

But Dr. Arp, an artist’s son with a swashbuckling air, was no friend of orthodoxy. A skilled observer with regular access to a 200-inch telescope on Palomar Mountain, he sought out unusual galaxies and collected them in “The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies” (1966), showing them interacting and merging with loops, swirls and streamers that revealed the diversity and beauty of nature.

But these galaxies also revealed something puzzling and controversial. In the expanding universe, as discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1929, everything is moving away from us. The farther away it is, the faster it is going, as revealed by its redshift, a stretching of light waves — like the changing tone of an ambulance siren as it goes past — known as a Doppler shift.

Dr. Arp found that galaxies with radically different redshifts, and thus at vastly different distances from us, often appeared connected by filaments and bridges of gas. This suggested, he said, that redshift was not always an indication of distance but could be caused by other, unknown physics.

The biggest redshifts belonged to quasars — brilliant, pointlike objects that are presumably at the edge of the universe. Dr. Arp found, however, that they were often suspiciously close in the sky to relatively nearby spiral galaxies. This suggested to him that quasars were not so far away after all, and that they might have shot out of the nearby galaxies.

If he was right, the whole picture of cosmic evolution given by the Big Bang — of a universe that began in a blaze of fire and gas 14 billion years ago and slowly condensed into stars, galaxies and creatures over the eons — would have to go out the window.

A vast majority of astronomers dismissed Dr. Arp’s results as coincidences or optical illusions. But his data appealed to a small, articulate band of astronomers who supported a rival theory of the universe called Steady State and had criticized the Big Bang over the decades. Among them were Fred Hoyle of Cambridge University, who had invented the theory, and Geoffrey Burbidge, a witty and acerbic astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Arp survived both of them.

“When he died, he took a whole cosmology with him,” said Barry F. Madore, a senior research associate at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, Calif.

Halton Christian Arp was born on March 21, 1927, in New York City, the only son of August and Anita Arp. His father was an artist and his mother ran institutions for children and adolescents. Halton grew up in Greenwich Village and various art colonies and did not go to school until fifth grade. After bouncing around public schools in New York, he was sent to Tabor Academy, on Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts, a prep school for the United States Naval Academy.

After a year in the Navy, he attended Harvard, where he majored in astronomy. He graduated in 1949 and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in 1953 at the California Institute of Technology, which had started an astronomy graduate program to prepare for the advent of the 200-inch telescope.

At Harvard, he became one of the best fencers in the United States, ultimately competing in world championship matches in Paris in 1965. Cutting a dashing figure, he would adopt a fencer’s posture when giving talks. “He would strut across the stage and then strut back, as if he were dueling,” Dr. Madore said.

Dr. Arp married three times. He is survived by his third wife, Marie-Helene Arp, an astronomer in Munich; four daughters, Kristana, Alissa, Andrice and Delina Arp; and five grandchildren.

Dr. Arp became a staff astronomer at the Hale Observatories after stints as a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science and Indiana University. His breakthrough occurred, as he recalled, on a rainy night at Palomar in 1966, when he decided to investigate a chance remark by a colleague that many of his peculiar galaxies had radio sources near them in the sky. Looking them up in the Palomar library, he realized that many of those radio sources were quasars that could have been shot out of a nearby galaxy, an idea first explored by the Armenian astronomer Victor Ambartsumian a decade earlier.

“It is with reluctance that I come to the conclusion that the redshifts of some extragalactic objects are not due entirely to velocity causes,” Dr. Arp wrote in a paper a year later.

He combed the sky for more evidence that redshifts were not ironclad indicators of cosmic distance, knowing that he was striking at the heart of modern cosmology. He turned out to be an expert at finding quasars in suspicious places, tucked under the arm of a galaxy or at the end of a tendril of gas.

One of the most impressive was a quasarlike object known as Markarian 205, which had a redshift corresponding to a distance of about a billion light years but appeared to be in front of a galaxy only 70 million light years away.

The redshift controversy came to a boil in 1972, when Dr. Arp engaged in a debate, arranged by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with John N. Bahcall, a young physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study. Timothy Ferris described the event in his book “The Red Limit” (1977): “When the debate was over, it was difficult not to be impressed with Arp’s sincerity and his love for the mysterious galaxies he studied, but it was also difficult to feel that his case had suffered anything short of demolition.”

As Dr. Arp’s colleagues lost patience with his quest, he was no longer invited to speak at major conferences, and his observing time on the mighty 200-inch telescope began to dry up. Warned in the early 1980s that his research program was unproductive, he refused to change course. Finally, he refused to submit a proposal at all on the grounds that everyone knew what he was doing. He got no time at all.

Dr. Arp took early retirement and joined the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics near Munich, where he continued to promote his theories. He told his own side of the redshift story in a 1989 book, “Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies.

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AMIRI BARAKA, POLARIZING POET-FOUNDER OF BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT

Amiri Baraka Dead

January 9, 2014 | 03:49PM PT

Amiri Baraka, the militant man of letters and tireless agitator whose blues-based, fist-shaking poems, plays and criticism made him a provocative and groundbreaking force in American culture, died Thursday at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, N.J. He was 79 and had been hospitalized since last month.First published in the 1950s, Baraka crashed the literary party in 1964, at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village, when “Dutchman” opened and made instant history at the height of the civil rights movement. The play, published when Baraka was still known as LeRoi Jones, was a one-act showdown between a middle class black man, Clay, and a sexually daring white woman, Lula, ending in a brawl of murderous taunts and confessions.

“Charlie Parker. All the hip white boys scream for Bird,” Clay says. “And they sit there talking about the tortured genius of Charlie Parker. Bird would’ve not played a note of music if he just walked up to East 67th Street and killed the first 10 white people he saw. Not a note!”

“From Amiri Baraka, I learned that all art is political, although I don’t write political plays,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist August Wilson once said.

Perhaps no writer of the 1960s and ’70s was more radical or polarizing than the former LeRoi Jones, and no one did more to extend the political debates of the civil rights era to the world of the arts. He inspired at least one generation of poets, playwrights and musicians, and his immersion in spoken word traditions and raw street language anticipated rap, hip-hop and slam poetry. The FBI feared him to the point of flattery, identifying Baraka as “the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the Pan-African movement in the United States.”

Baraka transformed from the rare black to join the Beat caravan of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to leader of the Black Arts Movement, an ally of the Black Power movement that rejected the liberal optimism of the early ’60s and intensified a divide over how and whether the black artist should take on social issues. Scorning art for art’s sake and the pursuit of black-white unity, Baraka was part of a philosophy that called for the teaching of black art and history and producing works that bluntly called for revolution.

“We want ‘poems that kill,’” Baraka wrote in his landmark “Black Art,” a manifesto published in 1965, the year he helped found the Black Arts Movement. “Assassin poems. Poems that shoot guns/Poems that wrestle cops into alleys/and take their weapons leaving them dead/with tongues pulled out and sent to Ireland.”

He was as eclectic as he was prolific: His influences ranged from Ray Bradbury and Mao Zedong to Ginsberg and John Coltrane. Baraka wrote poems, short stories, novels, essays, plays, musical and cultural criticism and jazz operas. His 1963 book “Blues People” has been called the first major history of black music to be written by an African-American. A line from his poem “Black People!” — “Up against the wall mother f—–” — became a counterculture slogan for everyone from student protesters to the rock band Jefferson Airplane. A 2002 poem he wrote alleging that some Israelis had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks led to widespread outrage.

He was denounced by critics as buffoonish, homophobic, anti-Semitic, a demagogue. He was called by others a genius, a prophet, the Malcolm X of literature. Eldridge Cleaver hailed him as the bard of the “funky facts.” Ishmael Reed credited the Black Arts Movement for encouraging artists of all backgrounds and enabling the rise of multiculturalism. The scholar Arnold Rampersad placed him alongside Frederick Douglass and Richard Wright in the pantheon of black cultural influences.

The Cuban revolution, the assassination in 1965 of Malcolm X and the Newark riots of 1967, when the poet was jailed and photographed looking dazed and bloodied, radicalized him. Jones left his white wife (Hettie Cohen), cut off his white friends and moved from Greenwich Village to Harlem. He renamed himself Imamu Ameer Baraka, “spiritual leader blessed prince,” and dismissed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a “brainwashed Negro.” He helped organize the 1972 National Black Political Convention and founded the Congress of African People. He also founded community groups in Harlem and Newark, the hometown to which he eventually returned.

The Black Arts Movement was essentially over by the mid-1970s, and Baraka distanced himself from some of his harsher comments — about Dr. King, about gays and about whites in general. But he kept making news. In the early 1990s, as Spike Lee was filming a biography of Malcolm X, Baraka ridiculed the director as “a petit bourgeois Negro” unworthy of his subject. In 2002, respected enough to be named New Jersey’s poet laureate, he shocked again with “Somebody Blew Up America,” a Sept. 11 poem with a jarring twist.

“Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed,” read a line from the poem. “Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day?”

Then-Gov. James E. McGreevey and others demanded his resignation. Baraka refused, denying that “Somebody Blew Up” was anti-Semitic (the poem also attacks Hitler and the Holocaust) and condemning the “dishonest, consciously distorted and insulting non-interpretation of my poem.”

SOURCE

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

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