YURI KOCHIYAMA, RIGHTS ACTIVIST WHO BEFRIENDED MALCOLM X
Her granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama confirmed the death.
Mrs. Kochiyama, the child of Japanese immigrants who settled in Southern California, knew discrimination well by the time she was a young woman. During World War II she spent two years in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in Arkansas, a searing experience that also exposed her to the racism of the Jim Crow South.
A few years after the war, she married William Kochiyama, whom she had met at the camp, and the couple moved to New York in 1948. They spent 12 years in public housing in Manhattan, in the Amsterdam Houses on the Upper West Side, where most of their neighbors were black and Puerto Rican, before moving to Harlem.
The couple had become active in the civil rights movement when Mrs. Kochiyama met Malcolm X for the first time at a Brooklyn courthouse in October 1963. He was surrounded by supporters, mostly young black men, when she approached him. She told him she wanted to shake his hand, to congratulate him, she recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 1996.
“I admire what you’re doing,” she told him, “but I disagree with some of your thoughts.”
He asked which ones.
“Your harsh stand on integration,” she said.
He agreed to meet with her later, and by 1964 Mrs. Kochiyama and her husband had befriended him. Early that year Malcolm X began moving away from the militant Nation of Islam, to which he belonged, toward beliefs that were accepting of many kinds of people. He sent the Kochiyamas postcards from his travels to Africa and elsewhere.
One, mailed from Kuwait on Sept. 27, 1964, read: “Still trying to travel and broaden my scope since I’ve learned what a mess can be made by narrow-minded people. Bro. Malcolm X.”
The following February, Mrs. Kochiyama was in the audience at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan waiting to hear Malcolm X address a new group he had founded, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, when there was a burst of gunfire. She ran toward the stage.
“I just went straight to Malcolm, and I put his head on my lap,” she recalled. “He just lay there. He had difficulty breathing, and he didn’t utter a word.”
A powerful photograph of her holding him accompanied an article about the assassination in the March 5, 1965, issue of Life magazine.
Mrs. Kochiyama was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara on May 19, 1921, in San Pedro, Calif. An outgoing student in high school, she played sports and wrote for the school newspaper. She said in interviews that she was mostly unaware of political issues until her father, Seiichi, was taken into custody by the F.B.I. shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Although ill, Mr. Nakahara, a successful fish merchant, was held and interrogated for several weeks before being released on Jan. 20, 1942. He died the next day. By the spring, the rest of the family was among the 120,000 Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps across the country.
In the 1980s, the Kochiyamas sought government reparations for Japanese-Americans who had been interned. In 1988, Congress approved a plan to pay $20,000 to each of the estimated 60,000 surviving internees.
Besides her granddaughter Akemi, her survivors include a daughter, Audee Kochiyama-Holman; three sons, Eddie, Jimmy and Tommy; eight other grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Another son, Billy, died in the 1970s, and a daughter, Aichi, died in 1989.
Her husband died in 1993. He had been interned in Arkansas before he joined the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became one of the most decorated units in American military history.
In the 1960s and ’70s, the sofa in the Kochiyamas’ apartment was regularly occupied by activists in need of a place to sleep. Years later, Mrs. Kochiyama helped organize campaigns to free activists and others whom she believed had been wrongly imprisoned, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther and radio journalist sentenced to death in the killing of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. In 2012, his sentence was reduced to life without parole.
Mrs. Kochiyama, who never graduated from college, read constantly and widely. On Tuesday, her granddaughter Akemi opened for the first time a journal of favorite quotations that Mrs. Kochiyama had collected and given to her several years ago.
“There were so many different writers and thinkers,” said Akemi Kochiyama, who is pursuing a doctorate in cultural anthropology. “It’s Emerson, it’s Keats and Yeats and José Marti. It’s political thinkers. It’s Marcus Garvey. It’s everything.”
Mrs. Kochiyama was an inspiration herself. For its 2011 album “Cinemetropolis,” the Seattle hip-hop group Blue Scholars composed a song about her. The refrain: “When I grow up I want to be just like Yuri Kochiyama.”
KARLHEINZ BöHM, ACTOR-TURNED-HUMANITARIAN
His death, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, was announced by Menschen für Menschen (“People for People”), an organization he founded in 1981 to aid Ethiopia and ran for many years.
Mr. Böhm became a matinee idol in his country in the 1950s playing a young Emperor Franz Josef of Austria in a costume drama trilogy about the odd, tragic life of Elisabeth of Bavaria, known as “Sissi” to her family and later, to her country, as Empress Elisabeth. Romy Schneider had the title role.
The movies — “Sissi” (1955), “Sissi, the Young Empress” (1956) and “Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress” (1957) — typecast Mr. Böhm.
“I don’t know how many princes, counts, kings and emperors I could have played,” he said in a 1991 interview.
To break the mold, he took a leading role in “Peeping Tom,” a 1960 psycho-horror film by the British director Michael Powell. But the film, widely condemned for what was considered its pornographic depiction of murder, disgusted Mr. Böhm’s fans and effectively ended Mr. Powell’s career.
“Peeping Tom” told the story of Mark Lewis, an outwardly sweet-natured but sexually repressed young man who uses a hidden camera to film every step of the process as he tracks, traps and kills his victims. By capturing the fear in their faces, it emerges in the plot, Lewis is recreating the torture he suffered as a child at the hands of his father, an experimental psychologist who tested — and filmed — the boy’s responses to frightening experiences (lizards and other surprises) he had introduced.
Re-evaluated in later years, the film is now considered by many critics to be a masterpiece of the horror genre. But at the time, it did little for the career of Mr. Böhm, who left Europe to work in the United States.
Mr. Powell said he had selected Mr. Böhm to star in “Peeping Tom” because he thought Mr. Böhm might know what it was like to be the son of an overbearing father. Mr. Böhm’s father, Karl Böhm, was an orchestra conductor whose career thrived during the Hitler era and who was known to give the Nazi salute when taking the podium.
Karlheinz Böhm, the only child of Karl Böhm and Thea Linhard, a German soprano, was born on March 16, 1928, in Darmstadt, Germany. He spent the war in a Swiss boarding school and studied philosophy at the University of Graz in Austria. Although his parents arranged for him to take piano lessons at an early age, he found his deeper interest was in acting.
He got his start in the movies in 1948 as assistant to the director Karl Hartl on “The Angel With the Trumpet,” in which he also had a bit part.
After “Peeping Tom,” Mr. Böhm — who was sometimes credited as Carl or Karl Boehm — appeared as Jacob Grimm in the film “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” (1962) alongside Claire Bloom and Laurence Harvey, and as Beethoven in two episodes of the NBC program “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”
In the 1970s he worked with the cult director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, appearing in “Effi Briest,” based on the novel by Theodor Fontane, and “Martha” a German made-for-television psychodrama, both from 1974.
Mr. Böhm founded Menschen für Menschen after making a trip to Ethiopia and, as he described it, experiencing an epiphany: that with people starving, filmmaking could wait.
“If you think how many lives you could save,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur quoted him as saying, “a single one is more important than the greatest success you could ever have on a stage.”
Menschen für Menschen has raised money for emergency aid, including famine relief; for improvements in agriculture, water supplies, education and medical care, and for efforts to abolish female genital mutilation, a tradition in some cultures.
In 1991 Mr. Böhm married Almaz Teshome, an Ethiopian archaeologist. Ms. Teshome, his fourth wife, survives him, as do their two children and five children from his previous marriages, including the actress Katharina Böhm, his daughter.)
Mr. Böhm was made an honorary Ethiopian citizen in 2001.
“I didn’t come as a stranger to show them what they have to do to get out of their poverty,” he told The Guardian that year. “I tried to find out what the people are missing, and how they can help themselves. My heart has become deeply Ethiopian in the deepest sense of the word. I don’t live only for myself any more, but I live for other people.”
KAREN DeCROW, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN
The cause was melanoma, said her longtime friend Rowena Malamud, who is president of the Greater Syracuse chapter of NOW. Ms. DeCrow was the group’s current vice president.
Ms. DeCrow was a writer, a lawyer and a tireless campaigner for women’s rights. Her causes were national but also local. In the early 1970s, she represented a 7-year-old girl who wanted to play Little League baseball but was being denied.
“Over my dead body will girls ever play Little League baseball,” a coach told her at the time. “If one of them ever struck out a boy, he would be psychologically scarred for life.”
The girl played, but Ms. DeCrow was not done with sports. As president of NOW from 1974 to 1977, she fought off pressure from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to limit the reach of Title IX, the federal law passed in 1972 that bans sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal money. The law, which was strengthened in 1975 to ensure equal access to sports, has been widely credited with revolutionizing women’s athletics.
“I just hope all that playing and practicing won’t keep women out of the library, studying, learning, getting ready to take advantage of Title VII, the really important federal law, the one that prohibits job discrimination,” Ms. DeCrow told The New York Times in 1997.
Not all of her campaigns were successful. The Equal Rights Amendment, which would make discrimination against women unconstitutional, has yet to pass, but not for lack of effort by Ms. DeCrow. During the 1970s and ’80s, she crisscrossed the United States in support of it and had scores of debates with Phyllis Schlafly, one of its most prominent opponents.
Ms. DeCrow was born Karen Lipschultz on Dec. 18, 1937, in Chicago, the oldest of two daughters of a businessman and a former ballet dancer who stopped working outside the home after she married. Ms. DeCrow attended Chicago public schools. As a teenager, she sent short stories to top magazines, hoping to be published. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1959 with a degree in journalism.
She struggled to find appealing work after college, finally accepting a job as fashion editor at Golf Digest, though she had little interest in fashion or golf. She went on to work for other magazines and for publishing houses.
In 1967, after a brief first marriage, she was living in Syracuse with her second husband, Roger DeCrow, a computer scientist, and working in a small publishing house when she and some of her female colleagues realized that they were being paid less than their male counterparts. She decided to join the nascent group NOW and then formed a chapter in Syracuse and became president of it.
“I wasn’t a feminist,” she told The Times in 1975. “I just wanted more money.” By 1968, she was serving on the board of the national group.
As president she served without pay, the last NOW president to do so. “I joined NOW on an issue of pay,” she said. “Of course, now I don’t get any pay at all.”
Ms. DeCrow ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Syracuse in 1969 while attending the Syracuse University School of Law in her early 30s. She graduated in 1972, the only woman in her class, she told interviewers.
In 1988 Ms. DeCrow was a co-founder of World Women Watch, dedicated to combating sex discrimination worldwide. In 2009 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Both of her marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by a sister, Claudia Lipschultz.
For several years, Ms. DeCrow wrote for The Syracuse Post-Standard and its website. She published several books, including two in the early 1970s, “The Young Woman’s Guide to Liberation” and “Sexist Justice — How Legal Sexism Affects You.”
In 2008, she told The Syracuse Post-Standard that she was cautiously pleased with the progress women had made.
“I am lucky enough to have been involved in a movement that really moved,” she said. “But then, are we done? No, we’re not done.”
An earlier version of a web summary for this article misstated the surname of the former president of the National Organization for Women. She was Karen DeCrow, not Crow.SOURCE
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