Monthly Archives: August 2016


International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

The United Nations (UN) observes the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30 each year.

Mothers at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, holding photos of their children, who are victims of enforced disappearance.

What Do People Do?

On August 30 each year, organizations such as the UN and Amnesty International play an active role in raising awareness that enforced disappearance is a crime and should not be used as a tool to deal with situations of conflict. Many activists openly share personal stories, via the media or public event, about victims of enforced disappearances and the impact that these disappearances have on their families and communities.

Public Life

The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is a UN observance and not a public holiday.


Enforced disappearance is used as a strategy to spread terror within the society. It occurs when people are arrested, detained or abducted against their will and when governments refuse to disclose the whereabouts of these people. Enforced disappearance is a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world.

In December 2010, the UN officially declared that it would annually observe the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30 each year, starting from 2011.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Tue Aug 30 2011 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Thu Aug 30 2012 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Fri Aug 30 2013 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Sat Aug 30 2014 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Sun Aug 30 2015 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Tue Aug 30 2016 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Wed Aug 30 2017 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Thu Aug 30 2018 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Fri Aug 30 2019 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance
Sun Aug 30 2020 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances United Nations observance

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International Day Against Nuclear Tests

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day against Nuclear Tests brings public awareness and education about the effects of global nuclear weapon tests. The day aims to end nuclear testing and to promote peace and security.

International Day against Nuclear Tests
International Day Against Nuclear Tests aims to educate and bring awareness about the effects of nuclear testing.

What do People Do?

The International Day against Nuclear Tests aims to raise people’s awareness on the need to prevent nuclear catastrophes to avert devastating effects on humankind, the environment and the planet. Many people use the day as an opportunity to share their perspective on the issue of nuclear weapons and testing.  Different organizations may host educational and public activities to bring awareness of the use of nuclear weapons and the dangers involved with nuclear weapons testing and usage.

Public Life

The International Day against Nuclear Tests is a global observance but it is not a public holiday.


The history of nuclear testing began on July 16, 1945, when an atomic bomb was used at a desert test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the United States. More than 2000 nuclear tests were carried out worldwide between 1945 and 1996. Nuclear weapons tests are generally broken into different categories reflecting the test’s medium or location:

  • Atmospheric tests.
  • Underwater tests.
  • Underground tests.

Over the years, there have been calls to ban nuclear test to ensure the protection of people’s lives and the environment around them. The UN approved a draft resolution in late 2009 for an international day against nuclear tests to raise public awareness about the threats and dangers of nuclear weapons.  It was also hoped that UN’s member states would move towards the idea of nuclear disarmament.

Licorne test, 1971, French Polynesia. Photo: The Official CTBTO Photostream Licorne test, 1971, French Polynesia. Photo: The Official CTBTO Photostream


The International Day against Nuclear Tests was declared to be annually held on August 29, which marks the closing of one of the world’s largest nuclear test sites (in Kazakhstan) in 1991. The day is devoted to enhancing public awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions. It also promotes the need for a nuclear weapon-free world. The day’s first official observance was marked for August 29, 2010.

International Day against Nuclear Tests Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Sun Aug 29 2010 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Mon Aug 29 2011 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Wed Aug 29 2012 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Thu Aug 29 2013 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Fri Aug 29 2014 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Sat Aug 29 2015 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Mon Aug 29 2016 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Tue Aug 29 2017 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Wed Aug 29 2018 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Thu Aug 29 2019 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance
Sat Aug 29 2020 International Day against Nuclear Tests United Nations observance

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Joyce Carol Thomas in 2004. (Mike Kepka/The San Francisco Chronicle)

August 23, 2016

Joyce Carol Thomas, a National Book Award-winning author who drew on her own experiences in writing books for children and young adults that accented her rural African American heritage, died Aug. 13 at a hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. She was 78.The cause was complications from liver disease, which she developed as a result of a tainted blood transfusion years ago, said her sister, Flora Krasnovsky.After beginning her writing career as a poet and playwright, Ms. Thomas published her first novel for young readers, “Marked by Fire,”in 1982. Set in her home town of Ponca City, Okla., the book introduces a memorable and resilient character, Abyssinia Jackson, who appears in several subsequent books and becomes something of a mythic figure.

Ms. Thomas grew up working in the Oklahoma cotton fields, and as a child was burned on her leg and bore the scar for the rest of her life, her sister said. Abyssinia shares a similar background.

Born in a cotton field in the midst of a brush fire, she was scarred on her face and, according to a local healing woman, “marked for unbearable pain and unspeakable joy.”

Abyssinia possesses a remarkable singing voice until she is rendered mute by a sexual assault by a church elder — a scene that mirrored a trauma experienced by one of Ms. Thomas’s childhood friends. The novel then chronicles Abyssinia’s struggle to regain her voice and her dignity.

“Miss Thomas writes with admirable simplicity and finds a marvelous fairy tale quality in everyday happenings,” playwright Alice Childress wrote in the New York Times in 1982. “Her people move through troubled times but never fail to celebrate sweeter days with church suppers and the joyous sound of gospel singers.”

“Marked by Fire”was quickly recognized as a modern classic of young people’s literature. It won both the National Book Award and the American Book Award and became a part of classroom studies throughout the country. It was later made into a musical play, “Abyssinia.”

Ms. Thomas carried the story forward in two sequels, “Bright Shadow” (1983) and “Water Girl” (1986). (“Bright Shadow” won the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Book Award for outstanding children’s books by African American writers.)

In 2001, after publishing several other books for children, Ms. Thomas returned to the story of Abyssinia — by then a doctor known as Abby Jackson-Jefferson — in “House of Light,” a novel directed more toward adults.

Although she had lived in California since she was 10, Ms. Thomas found a never-ending source of literary inspiration in the rural fields and small towns of her native Oklahoma. She sought to draw portraits of black life different from stories in modern urban settings or in the time of slavery.

“I know of black boys and girls who squirm uncomfortably in their desks at the two-dimensional, unrelenting portrayal of young people as either victims of slavery or perennial do-ragwearers hanging out on a stoop next to a garbage can,” she told the African American Review in 1998. “There are black American stories somewhere between slavery and ghetto that also deserve telling.”

Joyce Carol Haynes was born May 25, 1938, in Ponca City. She often missed school while working in the fields with her family.

“Every year when we went out to pick cotton in Red Rock, the women told stories at night to entertain us,” she told the African American Review. “My mother, who was the lead teller, specialized in really scary stories … The interesting thing is that nobody told the same story twice. Nobody was allowed to.”

In 1948, the family moved to Tracy, Calif., where Ms. Thomas again worked in the fields, picking tomatoes alongside Mexican-born farm laborers from whom she learned to speak Spanish. As a child, she seemed to have an innate awareness of racial injustice, her sister recalled, even in the subtle form of pink-skinned dolls.

“When she and I were children, every year we would get dolls for Christmas,” Krasnovsky said. “She would give hers to me and say, ‘They don’t look like us.’”

Ms. Thomas worked as a telephone operator, married and began raising children before graduating from San Jose State University in 1966. She studied French and Spanish in graduate school at Stanford University, receiving a master’s degree in 1968, her sister said.

For more than 20 years, Ms. Thomas taught in high schools, community colleges and universities, including San Jose State. From 1989 to 1995, she was an English professor at the University of Tennessee.

She published poetry and had several plays produced in the 1970s, but she did not have a major breakthrough until she began writing for younger readers. Among her more than 20 books, Ms. Thomas adapted stories by author Zora Neale Hurston for children and collaborated on several books with illustrators Floyd Cooper and Brenda Joysmith.

In 2003, Ms. Thomas edited and contributed to “Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone,”a book of essays for young people about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared segregated public schools unconstitutional.

Two of Ms. Thomas’s collections of poetry for children, “Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea”(1993) and “The Blacker the Berry,”published in 1997 and with different illustrations in 2008, received Coretta Scott King Awards. The title poem of the latter book contains these lines:

“Day couldn’t dawn without the night,” she wrote in the title poem of “The Blacker the Berry.” “Colors, without black, couldn’t sparkle quite so bright.”

Ms. Thomas’s marriages to Joe Harris, Gettis L. Withers and Roy T. Thomas Jr. ended in divorce. In addition to her sister, survivors include a daughter from her first marriage; two sons from her second marriage; a son from her third marriage; seven granddaughters; and two great-granddaughters.

When Ms. Thomas was 11 and her sister 10, they taught a California neighbor’s children to read. The neighbor turned out to be a grand wizard in the Ku Klux Klan, Krasnovsky said, but the children got along with no trouble.

“People will do horrible things to other people, and there is no way to explain it away,” Ms. Thomas told the Tulsa World in 2009. “So I write about these things as a kind of warning, to tell young people there is a darkness in the world … I know that life can be ugly, but it also can be beautiful.”




To say he was a giant in journalism is an understatement.

George Curry during press conference unveiling AIDS in Black Face: 25 Years of an Epidemic on June 5, 2006, at the Open Society Institute in New York City
George Curry during press conference unveiling AIDS in Black Face: 25 Years of an Epidemic on June 5, 2006, at the Open Society Institute in New York City Tim Grant/WireImage for BET Productions

They’re taking George Curry back to Alabama for burial. I assume that’s what he wanted. He died suddenly of a heart attack the other day in suburban Washington, D.C.

Alabama—where we were both born, that made us the butt of many jokes because we always regarded “Sweet Home Alabama” with mixed emotions, as do many other Bamas.

Alabama—with its “Heart of Dixie” motto we both loathed; its hard racism, harsh Jim Crow laws, snarling Gov. George Wallace; Birmingham’s bullhorn-bearing Police Commissioner Bull Connor; the Ku Klux Klan; the list goes on—was difficult for African Americans. It is the state that stymied George and me and others in our ambitions, denying us quality education (but we got it anyway), a place we both fled to fulfill our dreams of becoming journalists.

Alabama—George and I detested its history but dearly appreciated our black communities; his in Tuscaloosa, mine in Montgomery—which comforted, nurtured, sustained and protected us in our youth, until we could escape its stifling clutches. Our Alabama backgrounds made us extremely sensitive to the ills of society.

George and I met and became fast friends in the 1970s when we were reporters—he at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I with the New York Times, based in Chicago. We both had a strong passion for the profession, as well as for the national black community and covering its issues. We were among the optimists who held out hope in those days as we fought to integrate the newsrooms of daily newspapers and television and radio stations.

When I became the first black editor at the Times in 1977, I was surprised by the reaction and excitement among black journalists across the country, especially in the Midwest and East, where most of us worked. They celebrated my promotion as a sign of hope that doors would swing open for them; if the mighty New York Times did it, their companies surely would follow.

Black colleagues in Kansas City—Lewis Duiguid, Jeanne Fox, Gerald Jordan, et al.; and in St. Louis—Bob Joiner, Ken Cooper, Sheila Rule, Gerald Boyd, Ellen Sweets, Linda Lockhart and George, among others—threw parties and dinners for me. From the beginning, George was one of my most ardent supporters and toughest competitors. We were both active in different worlds—big-city, mainstream media versus education and the black press.

George and his colleagues founded the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists and a workshop to train aspiring high school journalists in conjunction with the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Those efforts predated formation of the National Association of Black Journalists, as did local associations in a few other cities, including Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C.

The death of George Curry last Friday shook the media world. I am still shaking. To say he was a giant is an understatement. He was a trench fighter who savored the combat. We engaged in many disagreements, as he did with other friends and colleagues. But with a grin, quirky laugh and handshake, there was never any bitterness. Mere friendly, if serious, disagreement. And he was a pure, true journalist: fair, courageous and honest.

As if a prelude to his own death, he discussed his concern about the deteriorating relations within his large family earlier this month in an article for the Baltimore Afro under the headline, “Even Funerals Are Not Family Reunions Anymore.” He told of serious divides within his family and joked that “funerals have become our family reunions.” He vowed that, “As long as I have breath in me, I am going to try and get my family back together.”




Sonia Rykiel, who died yesterday aged 86, liberated women with her provocative designs, modern approach to colour and sense of humour

Sonia Rykiel in Paris in 2010.
Sonia Rykiel in Paris in 2010. Photograph: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Sonia Rykiel, who died yesterday at the age of 86, defined the whole idea of French chic in all its sexy, sassy, nonchalant, slightly arrogant glory. In many ways she took up where Coco Chanel left off, giving women permission to be gamine, boyish and free. It is no coincidence that her first shop at the epicentre of Paris’s lefty, arty bohemian scene on Rue de Grenelle in St Germain, opened in May 1968, the same year the students were storming the barricades.

Hers was an altogether new attitude for a designer, one she shared with Mary Quant in London, who had been busy making hot pants and mini skirts during the same period, designed so that women weren’t restricted by their clothes. “1968 was the beginning of the hippie movement in fashion,” she told W magazine in 1997. “That movement made fashion change completely. It was not necessary to be always dressed up. You could be dressed the way you wanted – it was absolute freedom.”

Sonia Rykiel with fashion students in 1982.
Sonia Rykiel with fashion students in 1982. Photograph: Pierre Guillaud/AFP/Getty Images

For Rykiel, femininity was about being at one with your sexuality, but not defined by it. Her knitwear moved with the body, not against it. Her trademark stripes – often with disco Lurex knitted into them – were sporty and fun. She never took clothes too seriously; rather, they were there to service a woman’s life. Her knitwear was never encumbered with padded shoulders, she made folky quilted jackets long before Isabel Marant, and she liked to (literally) turn clothes inside out and expose the seams. She was also the first designer to make clothes for a mass-market mail order company – Les 3 Suisses in France – and the company went on to collaborate with La Redoute in 1995 and H&M in 2009. In many ways, she was one of the first to recognise that fashion designers needed to climb down from their ivory towers and offer affordability in fashion.

When the company also started selling lingerie, erotica and sex toys on Rue de Grenelle in 2002, Rykiel’s daugher, Nathalie said: “My mother strove to liberate women. [Forty] years ago, she told them to ditch their bras under her little poor-boy sweaters. She told them to embrace liberty. Now we are being provocative in another way.” It didn’t translate quite so well when it crossed the channel. English women were still not quite so liberal and unfettered as their French sisters.

Sonia Rykiel with her knitwear collection in 1988.
Sonia Rykiel with her knitwear collection in 1988. Photograph: FACELLY/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

It was, of course, quintessentially French. The first garment she made was a maternity dress for herself: a sweater dress (although she didn’t actually knit) that showed off her pregnancy in all its glory. She revelled in the female body and wanted to accentuate its curves – not to make women feel self-conscious but so they could say: “This is who I am. Aren’t I sexy and powerful!” Unlike the harder sexual appeal of a Saint Laurent sheer blouse with a tuxedo suit, Rykiel’s sexuality came from a woman’s perspective. These were clothes to make women feel sensual and natural. The true French woman would wear a Rykiel skinny rib jumper without a bra. It would be like a second skin.

A model on the Sonia Rykiel catwalk in 2004.
A model on the Sonia Rykiel catwalk in 2004. Photograph: Tiago Petinga/EPA

In 1971, Rykiel launched her first slogan sweater with the word “SENSUOUS” emblazoned across it. It summed up her attitude perfectly – as well as that of her loyal followers who had found a kindred spirit in this bohemian French woman with her cloud of red hair and her smoky grey eyes.




Carmel Dagan, Staff Writer

August , 2016

Steven Hill Law and order Dead

Courtesy of CBS

August 23, 2016 | 09:33AM PT

Steven Hill, who starred for years as District Attorney Adam Schiff on “Law & Order” and decades earlier played the leader of the Impossible Missions Force before Peter Graves on TV’s “Mission: Impossible,” died Tuesday in Monsey, N.Y., his daughter Sarah Gobioff told The New York Times.

He was also a top character actor in films of the 1980s and early ’90s including “Rich and Famous,” “Yentl,” “Garbo Talks” and Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle “Raw Deal”; “Legal Eagles,” in which he would, as in “Law & Order” a few years later, play the New York district attorney; “Heartburn”; “Brighton Beach Memoirs”; “Running on Empty”; “White Palace”; “Billy Bathgate”; and “The Firm.”

Hill played Schiff from the show’s first season in 1990 until 2000, when Hill resigned; within the show Schiff was said to have accepted a position coordinating commemorations of the Holocaust Project and goes on to work with Simon Wiesenthal. Replacing Schiff as D.A. was Dianne Wiest’s Nora Lewin.

The Schiff character was reportedly based in part on the former real-life, long-serving New York D.A., Robert Morgenthau. Schiff was formerly quite liberal in his youth, mostly replaced now with a political pragmatism that sees him fear angering one political constituency or another and thus frequently suggesting a plea bargain to appease all sides.

While Hill was often said to be the last remaining member of the original cast of “Law & Order” to leave the show, this was not quite true by a technicality, as another actor, Roy Thinnes, had played the D.A. in the very first episode of the series; Hill’s Schiff came on in episode two.

Hill was twice nominated for Emmys for playing Adam Schiff on “Law & Order,” in 1998 and 1999.

“Steven was not only one of the truly great actors of his generation, he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met,” “Law & Order” creator and executive producer Dick Wolf said. “He is also the only actor I’ve known who consistently tried to cut his own lines. He will be missed but fortunately he can be seen ubiquitously on ‘Law & Order’ reruns.”

In a 1996 profile of the actor, the New York Times said: “Legal vagaries aside, Mr. Hill is a law-and-order man. ‘There’s a certain positive statement in this show,’ he says (of ‘Law & Order’). ‘So much is negative today. The positive must be stated to rescue us form pandemonium. To me it lies in that principle: law and order.’ Personally, Mr. Hill says, he is no plea bargainer. ‘But our stories are about real life, and that’s how life is today,’ he says. ‘We plea bargain all over the place.’”

On the first season of “Mission: Impossible” in 1966, Hill played Dan Briggs, who initially led the IMF force; while most viewers remember fondly the tape that plays at the onset of each episode and begins by saying “Good Morning Mr. Phelps” — the character later played by Peter Graves — and details the assignment that must be accomplished, the device was used from the beginning of the series, only the recording said, “Good morning, Mr. Briggs.”

Steven Hill was an Orthodox Jew whose faith required that he depart the set on Friday by 4 p.m. in order to ensure that he make it home by sundown and the onset of the Sabbath; he was unavailable until the end of the Sabbath at sundown on Saturdays. The producers of “Mission: Impossible” were fully aware of these requirements, which were explicitly spelled out in the actor’s contract, but the pause in the production schedule each week proved unworkable in practice, generating increasing resentment on both sides. Thus, as the first season progressed, the producers simply utilized Hill less and less. This conflict over religious observance was not the only source of tension. After the actor climbed through dirt tunnels and climbed rope ladders for the episode “Snowball in Hell,” Hill balked at performing similar duties in the next episode, and the producers shot around him. Briggs’ presence in the five remaining episodes of the season was kept to a minimum. Line producer Joseph Gantman later told Patrick J. White, author of the 1991 book “The Complete ‘Mission: Impossible’ Dossier,” that he simply had not understood what had been agreed to with regard to Hill’s religious requirements: “If someone understands your problems and says he understands them, you feel better about it. But if he doesn’t care about your problems, then you begin to really resent him. Steven Hill may have felt exactly the same way.”

Without any explanation within the storyline of the series, Hill’s Dan Briggs was replaced by Peter Graves’ Jim Phelps at the beginning of the second season.

Since Adam Schiff had only a couple of scenes in most episodes of “Law & Order,” hewing to Hill’s religious requirements did not pose much of a logistical problem in that series.

Nevertheless in the wake of the conflict that arose over his role on “Mission: Impossible,” Hill left acting from 1967 until 1978. He moved to a Jewish community in Rockland County, New York, writing and working in real estate.

In 1986, at a time when his career was revitalized, Hill told the New York Times: “I don’t think an actor should act every single day. I don’t think it’s good for the so-called creative process. You must have periods when you leave the land fallow, let it revitalize itself.” A decade later, in a profile in the Times, he painted a far less cheerful picture of his past: “‘What we have here is a story of profound instability and impermanence,’ he says of his own career.”

In 1978 he ended the 11-year drought with a role in NBC’s Martin Luther King Jr. miniseries “King,” in which Hill played Stanley Levison, a close friend of King’s who was a leader of the Communist Party.

He returned to features with supporting roles in Claudia Weill’s “It’s My Turn” (1980), starring Jill Clayburgh and Michael Douglas; Peter Yates’ “Eyewitness” (1981), starring William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Plummer and James Woods; George Cukor’s “Rich and Famous” (1981), starring Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen; Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl” (1983), in which he played the rabbi; Arthur Hiller’s “Teachers” (1984); “Garbo Talks,” in which he played the estranged husband of Anne Bancroft’s character; 1986 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle “Raw Deal,” in which he played a Mafia boss for laughs; Ivan Reitman’s 1986 “Legal Eagles,” starring Robert Redford; Mike Nichols’ “Heartburn” (1986), in which he played the father-in-law of Meryl Streep’s character; and “Brighton Beach Memoirs” (also 1986).

In 1986 family drama “On Valentine’s Day,” written by Hill’s friend Horton Foote, the actor played “an anguished, deranged man living in a small town in Texas in the early years of the century,” in the words of the New York Times.

In Sidney Lumet’s “Running on Empty” (1988), Hill got lucky: — playing the father of a longtime fugitive portrayed by Christine Lahti, he was in the film’s key scene. Roger Ebert said: “Questioning the very foundations on which they have built their lives… leads to the movie’s emotional high point, when the Lahti character calls up her father (Steven Hill) and arranges to meet him for lunch. Long ago, she broke his heart. She disappeared from his life for years. Now she wants her parents to take Danny, so that he can go to music school. She will lose her son, just as her father lost her. It’s ironic, and it’s very sad, and by the end of the scene we have been through a wringer.”

In its review of 1990’s “White Palace,” starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader as unlikely lovers, the New York Times said: “Steven Hill, once again pressed into service to play an all-purpose patriarch, this time presides over a large Thanksgiving dinner in a prosperous household and makes a speech about the needs of the working class, which presents (Sarandon’s) Nora with her only opportunity for a memorable line. ‘Mister,’ she says, ‘I am the working class.’ “

In Robert Benton’s 1991 E.L. Doctorow adaptation “Billy Bathgate,” Hill memorably played a loyal henchman to Dustin Hoffman’s mobster Dutch Schultz, while in Sydney Pollack’s adaptation of John Grisham’s “The Firm,” he played FBI Director F. Denton Voyles.

Presumably supporting roles allowed both Hill and his respective directors the logistical freedom to work around his Sabbath schedule.

After a 1995 TV movie, Hill did not earn a screen credit for five years, until “Law & Order” came along.

Solomon Krakovsky was born in Seattle, Washington, to Russian Jewish immigrants, but was interested in theater even while young. He served in the Navy Reserve from 1940-44.

He was a founding member of Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio, joining Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Julie Harris among the 50 successful applicants (out of some 700 interviewed) to be accepted, and made his Broadway debut in 1946 in the Ben Hecht play “A Flag Is Born,” which counted Marlon Brando among its stars and advocated for the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people in the ancient land of Israel; a few years later he was in the original cast of the enormously successful “Mister Roberts,” starring Henry Fonda, with Hill playing Stefanowski. Also in 1948 he appeared in “Sundown,” staged by Elia Kazan; in 1950 he appeared in Ibsen’s “The Lady From the Sea.” Hill was also in the original cast of Clifford Odets’ “The Country Girl.”

Hill started on television early in the history of the medium, appearing in several segments of the “Actors Studio” episodic anthology series in 1949. He soon appeared on other anthology series, such as “The Magnavox Theatre,” “Schlitz Playhouse,” “Lux Video Theatre,” “Goodyear Playhouse,” “Studio One in Hollywood” and “Playhouse 90.”

Hill received the Sylvania Television Award for dramatic actor of the year in 1954.

A bit later he appeared on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Untouchables” and “Dr. Kildare.”

The actor made his movie debut in the 1950 film noir “A Lady Without Passport,” starring Hedy Lamarr and John Hodiak, and appeared in film noir “Storm Fear,” directed by Cornel Wilde and written by Horton Foote; John Cromwell’s “The Actress” (1958), starring Kim Stanley; and “Kiss Her Goodbye” (1959) with Elaine Stritch.

In 1960 he starred in the CBS TV movie “Dillinger” as Melvin Purvis.

Everything changed with Hill’s 1961 starring role on Broadway as the older Sigmund Freud in the Henry Denker play “A Far Country.”

Appearing in the play — in which a patient screams at Freud, “You are a Jew!” — profoundly affected Hill. “In the pause that followed I would think, ‘What about this?’ I slowly became aware that there was something more profound going on in the world than just plays and movies and TV shows. I was provoked to explore my religion,” he told John Sobiski for the online essay “Steven Hill: Hollywood’s Most Talented Curmudgeon.”

A rabbi inspired him to adhere to strict Orthodox Judaism, which included observing the Sabbath without fail. This stricture effectively ended the actor’s stage career, as he would be unavailable for Friday night or Saturday matinee performances, and also made most potential film roles unlikely or impossible, most notably “The Sand Pebbles,” according to Sobiski.

There were some film roles in the years after Hill became observant, including John Cassavetes’ 1963 “A Child Is Waiting,” in which he starred with Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland and Gena Rowlands, and 1965’s Sydney Pollack-directed “The Slender Thread,” starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft.

Hill was twice married, the first time to Selma Stern, to whom he was married from 1951 until their divorce in 1964.

He is survived by his second wife, Rachel, whom he married in 1967; five children by her; and four by Stern.




Not Forgotten: Aaliyah, Whose Soaring Career Was Cut Short by a Tragedy

Aaliyah performing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2001. Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The princess of R&B released her first album at 15 and helped pioneer a new sound with chart-topping hits before her death at 22.

She was the princess of R&B, a Grammy-nominated singer and actress whose glassy vocals against synthetic soundscapes pioneered a new genre. But she was also a girl next door, a teenager with her own street style who rose above the vulgarity of other stars.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton died 15 years ago along with eight other passengers of a small airplane that crashed in the Bahamas. She was 22, but she had already reached a level of fame few could achieve in a lifetime.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Detroit, Aaliyah was raised for stardom. At 11, she sang on stage with Gladys Knight. True to its title, her debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” was released when she was 15. It was produced by the R&B giant R. Kelly and included chart toppers like “Back and Forth” and “At Your Best (You Are Love).” It went platinum, selling more than a million copies. In one of her more gossip-provoking moments, it was widely reported that she had secretly married R. Kelly, who was in his late 20s. Their marriage was annulled.

At the beginning of her senior year of high school in 1996, she released her second album, “One in a Million,” with help from the star producer-songwriter duo Timbaland and Missy Elliot. Timbaland’s trademark fusion of hip-hop and electronic music featured twitchy, complex syncopated beats and start-stop rhythms that complemented Aaliyah’s precocious, sultry voice. That album sold two million copies.

The collaboration with Timbaland took her to new heights in 1998 with “Are You That Somebody,“ recorded for the “Dr. Dolittle” soundtrack. The song, which the critic Simon Reynolds called “the most radical pop single” of the year, earned Aaliyah the first of her five Grammy Award nominations.

In The Times, Kelefa Sanneh wrote, “Where most divas insist on being the center of the song, she knew how to disappear into the music, how to match her voice to the bass line — it was sometimes difficult to tell one from the other.”

Aaliyah’s acting career took off in 2000 with a lead part in “Romeo Must Die.” Her hit single on the soundtrack, “Try Again,” earned her another Grammy nomination. She also had a title role in the film “Queen of the Damned,” which was released after her death.

Aaliyah died on her way back to Miami from Abaco Island, where she had finished working on the video for her latest album’s third single, “Rock the Boat,” directed by Hype Williams.

Read the obituary “Aaliyah, 22, Singer Who First Hit the Charts at 15”

Read the review “A Pioneer, Briefly, Of a New Sound”



CreditHulton Archive/Getty Images

Not Forgotten: Friedrich Nietzsche, a Renegade Philosopher Whose Ideas Endured

Emmett Till, Whose Martyrdom Launched the Civil Rights Movement

August 28, 2016 10:35 AM ET


A family photo shows Emmett Till in Chicago, about six months before he was killed in August 1955 while visiting relatives in Mississippi.

Emmett Louis Till was born on July 25, 1941, on Chicago’s South Side and was nicknamed Bobo because of his fun-loving, cheerful disposition while growing up in the segregated middle-class neighborhood. When he was 14 he went to Mississippi to spend the summer with his cousins, and his mother gave him his father’s signet ring as a gift.

On Aug. 24, 1955, after an exhausting day of picking cotton in the scorching Delta sun, Till and his cousins went to a local store run by a poor white couple in their 20s, Roy and Carolyn Bryant. Ms. Bryant was working alone in the store when Till went in to buy bubblegum. It is not clear what happened inside, but soon afterward Ms. Bryant stormed out, presumably to get a pistol from her car parked outside. Till, unaware of the danger, whistled, and his cousins, now panicked, quickly drove him away.

Ms. Bryant later claimed that Till had flirted with her on a dare. The details would later change depending on when she told the story.

Four days later, around 2:30 a.m., Ms. Bryant’s husband, Roy, and his half brother J. W. Milam pounded on the door of the Wright family home where Till was staying with a pistol. Bryant announced that they were “looking for the boy that did the talking.” Forcing their way in, according to a PBS documentary about Till, they roused Till from sleep, marched him to their car and sped away.

Till’s disfigured body was found three days later, “the most celebrated race-sex case since Scottsboro was born,” the journalist William Bradford Huie wrote in Look magazine. His body was so mutilated that it could be identified only by the silver signet ring, still on his finger.

“Someone is going to pay for this,” Till’s mother wailed, according to an American National Biography web page about her. She demanded that her son’s body be returned to Chicago for an open-coffin funeral. “I wanted the world to see,” she said.

Till’s body, unembalmed, was displayed publicly for four days. People left in tears. Some fainted.

The murder became a rallying point for the nascent civil rights movement. The Rev. Jesse Jackson called it the movement’s “Big Bang.”

“More than 100,000 people saw his body lying in that casket,” he told The New York Times in 2003.

The Bryant brothers were found not guilty. After the acquittal, they kissed their wives, lit cigars and posed for pictures. And later, protected from double jeopardy, they boasted about how they had murdered Till.

Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, turned to the federal government to no avail. She tried to meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but he refused. J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the F.B.I. at the time, declined to make the killing a federal case.

“There has been no allegation made,” he said, “that the victim Emmett Till has been subjected to the deprivation of any right or privilege which is secured and protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

The Till case became emblematic of a history of violence toward African-Americans and of the country’s legacy of white supremacy. It provoked international outrage and pressure on political leaders in the United States. Young black Americans grasped the precariousness of their own lives, and figures like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and many others were galvanized to press the fight on the front lines. Ms. Till Mobley became a teacher and civil rights activist herself, as did many whites.

As Mr. Jackson said, “Emmett’s murder broke the emotional chains of Jim Crow.”

Read the article “Mississippi Jury Acquits 2 Accused in Youth’s Killing”

Read the article “Racial Issues Stirred by Mississippi Killing”


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Exoplanet Found Around Proxima Centauri

Sky & Telescope
Astronomers have discovered a planet in the habitable zone of the closest star to the Sun.

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Could a Spacecraft Make it to Proxima Centauri?

Sky & Telescope

Dust and gas between stars pose a threat to spacecraft en route from Earth to Proxima Centauri – and scientists are seriously considering the problem now that the prospect of interstellar travel is no longer sci-fi.

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The Return of Stereo B?

Sky & Telescope

Feared lost for almost two years, NASA’s Stereo B solar observatory is now back in (tentative) contact with mission control.

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Retrograde Rock “Niku” Defies the Orbital Trend

Sky & Telescope

The discovery of trans-Neptunian object 2011 KT19 in a strange orbit deepens a key mystery in the outer solar system.

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Of Dwarf Galaxies and Voids

Sky & Telescope

Living in voids might be tangentially responsible for three small galaxies’ recent flurries of starbirth.

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, August 26 – September 3

Sky & Telescope

In addition to this weekend’s Venus-Jupiter conjunction, you might also try for much fainter Mercury to the pair’s lower left. Also, say hi to the Double Cluster in Perseus.

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Venus and Jupiter at Dusk

Sky & Telescope
The two brightest planets – Venus and Jupiter – are performing the next few evenings: look after dusk on August 27th to see the pair less than half a degree apart!

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Polarized Light: From Blue Sky to Egg Nebula

Sky & Telescope

Bees see polarized light and use it to navigate to honey. Learn how you can use it to crack the Egg Nebula.

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Tour August’s Sky: Planets Aplenty

Sky & Telescope

Download or play Sky & Telescope‘s astronomy podcast, and you’ll get a guided tour of the night sky.

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S&T‘s Guide to the 2017 Total SOlar Eclipse

Sky & Telescope

We’ve assembled the resources to help you prepare for the coast-to-coast total solar eclipse — check back often as we continue to update this page!

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Hatewatch Staff

August 25, 2016

Trump plans to counter view that he’s racist; Judges challenges Kobach plans; ‘Whites only’ rules still rule in California town; and more.


Washington Post: Inside Donald Trump’s new strategy to counter the view of many that he is ‘racist.’

Talking Points Memo: Ann Coulter goes to war with Trump just as her new book extolling him hits the stands.

The Spectator (UK): In shacking up with the alt-right, Trump may be empowering a movement he doesn’t understand.

Media Matters: On CNN, a Trump supporter says Clinton is a bigot because her surrogates call Trump a racist.

Think Progress: Judges challenge Kansas’ Kris Kobach’s attempts to keep 50,000 people from voting.

Right Wing Watch: Phyllis Schlafly is angry about non-English resources for survivors of Louisiana flooding.

Daily Kos: Sen. Mark Kirk says President Obama is behaving like ‘the drug dealer in chief.’

CNN: Georgia’s Newton County fighting attempts to build mosque, Muslim cemetery.

Salon: Harassment targeting ‘Ghostbusters’ star Leslie Jones exposes the ugliness driving the ‘alt right.’

Raw Story: New residents stunned to find out their cute California community still has ‘whites only’ ownership rules.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Man who poured boiling water on gay couple sentenced to 40 years in prison.

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Colorlines At Facing Race 2016

The entire Colorlines team is participating in Facing Race, the nation’s largest racial justice conference in Atlanta, GA this year. We look forward to seeing you there!


Khalid Was the ‘Fun’ Uncle

People around the nation are mourning Khalid Jabara, the Arab-American man slain this month by a racist next-door neighbor with a violent past. Here, his sister in law, Jenna, tells Colorlines about his role in the family and why his parents are not leaving their home. 

Native Protestors Call on U.N. in Fight Against Pipeline

The North Dakota Access Pipeline would violate human rights, claim protestors with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Donald Glover on Why ‘Atlanta’ Has an All-Black Writing Staff

“I wanted to show White people, you don’t know everything about Black culture,” Glover told Vulture.


WATCH Gold Medalist Boxer Claressa Shields’ Rise to Power in ‘T-Rex: Her Fight For Gold’

Jon Stewart to Larry Wilmore: ‘You Gave Voice to Underserved Voices’

New Short Documentary Explores Life of Philando Castile

‘Good Morning America’ Host Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air

#POCMedalWatch: Athletes of Color Carry USA to Overwhelming Victory

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International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is annually observed on August 23 to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade. It gives people a chance to think about the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of slave trade.

UN International Day for the remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
The UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition reminds people of the tragedy of slave trade.
© Uliannikov

What Do People Do?

Each year the UN invites people all over the world, including educators, students and artists, to organize events that center on the theme of this day. Theatre companies, cultural organizations, musicians and artists take part on this day by expressing their resistance against slavery through performances that involve music, dance and drama.

Educators promote the day by informing people about the historical events associated with slave trade, the consequences of slave trade, and to promote tolerance and human rights. Many organizations, including youth associations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, actively take part in the event to educate society about the negative consequences of slave trade.

Public Life

The UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is a United Nations observance worldwide but it is not a public holiday.


In late August, 1791, an uprising began in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that would have a major effect on abolishing the transatlantic slave trade. The slave rebellion in the area weakened the Caribbean colonial system, sparking an uprising that led to abolishing slavery and giving the island its independence. It marked the beginning of the destruction of the slavery system, the slave trade and colonialism.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in many countries, in particular in Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and in Senegal on August 23, 1999. Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reminds the international community about the importance of commemorating this day. This date also pays tribute to those who worked hard to abolish slave trade and slavery throughout the world. This commitment and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.


UNESCO’s logo features a drawing of a temple with the “UNESCO” acronym under the roof of the temple and on top of the temple’s foundation. Underneath the temple are the words “United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”. This logo is often used in promotional material for the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Mon Aug 23 2010 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Tue Aug 23 2011 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Thu Aug 23 2012 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Fri Aug 23 2013 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sat Aug 23 2014 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sun Aug 23 2015 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Tue Aug 23 2016 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Wed Aug 23 2017 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Thu Aug 23 2018 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Fri Aug 23 2019 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance
Sun Aug 23 2020 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition United Nations observance

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Mammy’s Cupboard (founded in 1940). Roadside restaurant built in the shape of a mammy archetype, located at 555 US Highway 61 south of Natchez, Mississippi. The Mammy was built by Henry Gaude (pronounced go-day) in 1939-40. Gaude had a gas station, and wanted to capitalize on the current craze at the time for Gone With the Wind. He built a roadhouse in the shape of a mammy. The Mammy stands at 28′-0″ high. The skirt holds a dining room and a gift shop and is made out of brick, the earrings are horseshoes. The statue holds a serving tray while smiling.  Mammy’s Cupboard has been through several renovations, the exterior having been repaired and the interior renovated. The original Mammy was much darker in color, but, during the Civil Rights Movement, her skin was considerably lightened.

The original restaurant owner was a tour guide for Natchez antebellum slave plantation mansions and felt that people would love seeing this effrontery to the womanhood of Black women. It remains a family-owned restaurant that is primarily open for lunch.

The restaurant tagline states:  “Humble restaurant serving lunch classics & homemade pie in a unique building shaped like a woman.”

The present owner of the Mammy is stated as saying: “There is honor in everything you do and for those who have young people. You have a crying child. Who are they going to run to? Nine times out of ten, they are going to run to the mammy… I want people to look at her and see that.”


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Brian Hicks Email

This image, from the AFRO-AMERICAN , was published on June 6, 1951 and shows the crowd inside the federal courthouse, but outside the courtroom, where Judge J. Waites Waring and two others were hearing the Briggs v. Elliott school case. Provided

This image, from the AFRO-AMERICAN , was published on June 6, 1951 and shows the crowd inside the federal courthouse, but outside the courtroom, where Judge J. Waites Waring and two others were hearing the Briggs v. Elliott school case. Provided


They were on a pilgrimage, Judge Waties Waring later said, searching for “a little whiff of freedom.”

On May 28, 1951, hundreds of black South Carolinians crowded the intersection of Broad and Meeting streets, struggling to get inside Charleston’s federal courthouse. Many of them had arrived in battered old jalopies three hours before the 10 a.m. hearing.

Most would never make it beyond the hallways.

At least they would be nearby when the federal court took up what The News and Courier called the nation’s first trial of segregation, Briggs v. Elliott.

That case was the country’s first step in a long march toward desegregation, and it started in part because of one little boy’s long walk to school in Clarendon County.

Harry Briggs was simply mad that his son — Harry Jr. — and other black children had to walk miles to school while the state provided buses for white children. That led him to join an NAACP lawsuit that eventually changed the nation.

And ruined his family’s life.

Harry Briggs Jr. died this month in New York at the age of 75, his place in history largely forgotten.

That is a shame. His plight not only brought all those people to Charleston on a warm spring morning. It also brought a nation together.

Segregation forever?

Briggs v. Elliott began in 1947 as a lawsuit asking the Clarendon County School Board to provide bus service for black students.

Harry Briggs Sr., a World War II veteran, was not particularly leading the charge for desegregation; alphabetical order put his name atop the lawsuit.

And made him a target.

His boss at the filling station fired him on Christmas Eve because he wouldn’t take his name off the petition. His wife lost her job at a local motel for the same reason.

Briggs tried farming, but local stores wouldn’t sell him seed. Even young Harry received threats.

The leader of the Clarendon movement, the Rev. Joseph A DeLaine, fared even worse. He not only lost his job, his home was burned and he barely escaped a drive-by shooting.

South Carolina did not cotton to change easily.

But then, a lot was at stake. By that May 1951 morning when the trial began, the case had taken on a much greater significance.

U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring had persuaded the NAACP lawyer — a young Thurgood Marshall — to expand the case and challenge the legality of the 1896 Supreme Court decision that established “separate but equal” as the law of the land.

During the trial, one state official predicted South Carolina would eliminate public schools before it allowed the races to mix in classrooms.

History books

The fight culminated three years later with the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in schools.

By then the Briggs family was on its way out of South Carolina.

Harry Briggs Jr. never studied in a desegregated classroom, never became a preacher as he’d once hoped, and rarely received any recognition for his role in one of the most historical events of the 20th century.

The New York Times wrote a nice obituary for him last week, in which his brother, Nathaniel, noted that the family never wanted attention.

Especially, you must assume, the kind they got.

The plaintiffs in Briggs v. Elliott should be celebrated in classrooms today, immortalized in history books. And some state officials should be forced to read those books.

On the first day of trial in 1951, Clarendon County school officials urged the court to give them more time to equalize services.

Today, you can hear those pleas echoed in the lawsuit between the state and its smallest rural school districts — a case that has dragged on for 23 years.

Perhaps if more people remembered Harry Briggs Jr., it wouldn’t be that way.

Reach Brian Hicks at



By Wire News

| August 20,2016

AP file photo From left, Linda Brown Smith, Harry Briggs Jr., Ethel Louise Belton Brown and Spottswood Bolling Jr. speak at a news conference in 1964. Briggs’s parents originated the lawsuit that put an end to public school segregation.

Harry Briggs Jr., whose parents originated the pivotal lawsuit that struck down public school segregation in 1954, but whose name was relegated by fate to a forgotten legal footnote, died Aug. 9 in the Bronx, New York City. He was 75.

The cause was complications of cancer, his wife, Helen, said.

Briggs’ parents were furious that 8-year-old Harry and his fellow black students in Clarendon County, South Carolina, were forced to walk as far as 10 miles to attend classes while whites were bused at public expense to their own segregated school.

With Harry Briggs Sr. listed alphabetically as the lead plaintiff, the local chapter of the NAACP filed suit in 1949 against the school district in a case argued by Thurgood Marshall, who would become the first black justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

When it reached the Supreme Court, Briggs v. Elliott was merged with four similar cases and became known collectively as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The NAACP lawyers argued that segregation itself, and the concept of “separate but equal” schools for blacks and whites, violated the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” guarantee.

Why did Brown — the Rev. Oliver L. Brown, who stood in for his daughter, Linda, a third-grader, on the legal papers — instead of Briggs wind up being immortalized as a benchmark in civil rights jurisprudence?

Historians have attributed the naming convention to a scheduling quirk involving the five lawsuits, although there has been some speculation that Tom C. Clark, a Supreme Court justice from Texas, gave Brown prominence, figuring that advancing a case from Kansas, instead of one from South Carolina, would make it appear less like the court was singling out the South.

Reversing the court’s 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, the justices ruled unanimously on May 14, 1954, that “in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate, but equal’ has no place” because “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

By then, Linda Brown was already in junior high school, which in Topeka had been integrated earlier. She became a teacher, and was instrumental in reopening the Kansas case and proving that the city’s schools were still segregated. She also began a foundation with her sister, Cheryl, to campaign for educational equity.

The Briggs family’s fate was more biblical. Having stirred the racial status quo in Summerton, they inherited the wind.

Even before the lawsuit was filed, Harry Briggs’ parents lost their jobs because they had signed a petition in 1947 calling on Clarendon County School Board 22 to supply school buses for black students. Theirs were the first two names on the petition, which was organized by the Rev. Joseph A. DeLaine, the principal of the all-black Scott’s Branch School. Harry’s was third. Their request was rejected.

“He had this job at the gas station for so many years, and they told him if he don’t take his name off the petition, they would fire him,” Briggs said of his father in a 1985 interview for the PBS documentary “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years (1954-65).”

Harry Sr., a Navy veteran who had served in the South Pacific in World War II, was fired on Christmas Eve as an attendant at the Sinclair gas station owned by the mayor of Summerton, H. C. Carrigan. Harry’s mother, the former Eliza Gamble, was discharged as a chambermaid at a local motel.

Briggs v. Elliott (R.W. Elliott was the chairman of the school district board) became so locally infamous that young Harry was warned away from white neighborhoods and lost his paper route. Even the family cow was supposedly served with a summons for wandering into an all-white cemetery.

“They banded together to correct the injustice of unequal education,” Nathaniel Briggs, Harry Jr.’s youngest brother, said Tuesday. “Lots of people paid the price in reprisals.”

Harry Briggs Jr. was born on Feb. 10, 1941, in Summerton. He walked the 5 miles to a wooden schoolhouse, which had 12 rooms, one for each grade. (When the coal supply was depleted, he and his classmates were assigned to chop wood.)

In addition to his wife, the former Helen Mack, with whom he lived in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, and his brother, Nathaniel, he is survived by two children from an earlier marriage, Patricia Briggs-Perry and Audra Briggs; two sons, Ronald Junious and Gregory Junious; and a sister, Catherine Smith.

Briggs once said that he had wanted to be a preacher, but even with a $1,000 scholarship, he never enrolled in college. His father, having failed at farming when merchants refused to sell him seed, moved to Florida in 1957. The family followed — except for Harry Jr., who, still in his teens, went to New York, in 1960.

“I think, sometimes, he just lost sight of the dream,” Nathaniel Briggs, a former Ford Motor Co. worker who now lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, said of his brother. “The petition and the lawsuit kind of broke up the family.”

In New York, Harry Jr. worked as a short-order cook at Woolworth’s on 42nd Street, parked cars for an auto rental agency and then got a job as a guard at the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center and Madison Square Garden. He retired in 2008 because of illness.

In 1991, Briggs v. Elliott was celebrated in “Separate but Equal,” a television film starring Sidney Poitier as Thurgood Marshall; Cleavon Little as his deputy, Robert L. Carter; and Burt Lancaster as John W. Davis, the lawyer for South Carolina who defended segregation.

In 2004, Harry’s parents, DeLaine (whose house was burned down after the petition campaign) and Levi Pearson, a farmer who filed an earlier, unsuccessful, lawsuit against the school board, were posthumously awarded Congressional Gold Medals for their roles in desegregation.

Nathaniel Briggs said that except for the unwanted notoriety, his brother never really got much from the successful lawsuit himself. He graduated from high school without attending an integrated class. But Harry Jr. had no regrets that Harry Sr. had pursued the case.

“What he did, a lot of people didn’t do it,” Harry Jr. said in the PBS interview. “A lot of people like other people had their jobs, farming and everything else. My father, he did all the suffering. He was really proud and made me feel proud, too.”

In Summerton today, 95 percent of the students in the public school system are black and 95 percent in the predominant private school are white.




Jack Riley, right, being comforted by Bob Newhart in an episode of “The Bob Newhart Show.” Credit CBS, via Photofest

Jack Riley, who played a sour, self-absorbed patient on “The Bob Newhart Show” and also voiced a character on Nickelodeon’s animated series “Rugrats,” died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 80.

His death was announced by his representative, Paul Doherty, who did not provide the cause.

Besides portraying Elliot Carlin, a client of the psychologist played by Bob Newhart on the 1970s sitcom, he provided the voice for the absent-minded dad Stu Pickles on “Rugrats” and its spinoff, “All Grown Up!” Mr. Riley also appeared in the Mel Brooks films “Silent Movie,” “High Anxiety,” “History of the World: Part I” and “Spaceballs.”

He reprised the Carlin character on “ALF” and “St. Elsewhere,” and played a character very much like Carlin on “Newhart,” a subsequent series by Mr. Newhart in the late 1980s.

Mr. Riley also voiced commercials and made guest appearances on numerous TV series including “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Night Court” and “Seinfeld.”

He was born on Dec. 30, 1935, in Cleveland. There was no immediate information on survivors.




August 17, 2016

Arthur Hiller, who received an Oscar nomination for directing the blockbuster romantic tragedy “Love Story” during a career that spanned dozens of popular movies and TV shows as well as several career lows, died Aug. 17 in Los Angeles. He was 92.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he served as president from 1993 to 1997, announced the death but did not provide a cause. He also was a past president of the Directors Guild of America.The Canadian-born, dauntingly prolific Mr. Hiller ascended during the era of live television, and his versatility and workmanlike skill brought him a great deal of Hollywood work in TV and then film. A lot of it was middling, although New York Times movie critic Vincent Canby placed less of the blame on Mr. Hiller than the material he had to work with.

He called Mr. Hiller “a director who makes intelligent films when the material is right . . . and terrible ones when the writers fail.”

He singled out as some of Mr. Hiller’s stronger work “The Americanization of Emily” (1964), starring James Garner as an admiral’s aide who refuses combat duty during World War II, and “The Hospital” (1971), with George C. Scott as a physician who confronts a convoluted bureaucracy. Both were written by Paddy Chayefsky, a master of dark satire.

Indeed, Mr. Hiller told the Los Angeles Times that “The Americanization of Emily” was “the only one of my films I can sit through and not want to redo while I’m watching it.”

The theme — “Don’t make war seem so wonderful that kids want to be heroes” — appealed to him as a military veteran. But he also put up a fight to make the film in black and white at a time when color was the norm. The war had been covered in black and white, through newsreels and newspapers, and he wanted to keep that feel. “We had a struggle, because television was already demanding color,” he said. “But we won.”

“Love Story” (1970), with Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal as star-crossed Ivy League lovers, overshadowed much of his career. Although widely dismissed as treacle — it was based on the Erich Segal’s best-selling novel — it proved to be one of the most popular movies of the era. The film reduced thousands of moviegoers to tears and created a national catch phrase: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Decades later, Mr. Hiller recalled that the film almost did not get made because Paramount studios was in dire financial shape and executives wanted to cancel the project. Production boss Robert Evans loved the script and allowed Mr. Hiller to proceed — if he would spend only $2 million. The director brought the film in $25,000 under budget, then insisted on spending $15,000 for memorable scenes in the Boston snow.

Between 1970 and 1990, he directed nearly two dozen feature films of widely varying quality.

Among his best films were Neil Simon’s “The Out-of-Towners” (1970), starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis as Ohioans who encounter the worst of New York, and Simon’s comic portmanteau “Plaza Suite” (1971) set in New York’s fashionable Plaza Hotel.

Other solid features included Mr. Hiller’s “The In-Laws” (1979) with Alan Arkin as a dentist and Peter Falk as his wildly unpredictable prospective relation, and “Silver Streak” (1976), a comic thriller with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. Less successful was the comedy “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” (1989), about a deaf man (Wilder) and blind man (Pryor) who together solve a murder.

He also helmed the lackluster movie version of the musical “Man of La Mancha” (1972) with Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren, and “W.C. Fields and Me” (1976), with Rod Steiger as the comedic actor and Valerie Perrine as his mistress.

Performances by Steve Martin and Charles Grodin could not save the underwhelming sad-sack comedy “The Lonely Guy” (1984), nor could Al Pacino salvage “Author! Author!” (1982), about a playwright with many domestic complications. He also directed “The Babe” (1992) with John Goodman as baseball great Babe Ruth.

Mr. Hiller once explained his choice of scripts, saying, “I prefer them with good moral values, which comes from my parents and my upbringing. . . . Even in my smaller, lesser films, at least there’s an affirmation of the human spirit.”

Arthur Hiller was born in Edmonton, Alberta, on Nov. 22, 1923. His parents ran a Yiddish school and theater, and as a youngster he helped create the sets and perform in small roles. At 11, he donned a fake beard for a part.

After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, he received a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Toronto. Then, he later told the Toronto Star, “I had one of those moments where I thought, what am I doing? I want to be an artist!”

He joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in 1949, advancing rapidly from directing public affairs programs to dramas. In 1955, he went to Hollywood to direct live drama for NBC and went on to direct episodes of “Gunsmoke,” “Perry Mason,” “Route 66” and many other series.

He movie debut was a tepid story of young love, “The Careless Years” (1957), starring Dean Stockwell. With rare exception, his subsequent films were of a decidedly mixed bag and included “Miracle of the White Stallions” (1963), a Disney film with Robert Taylor; the romantic comedy “Promise Her Anything” (1965) with Warren Beatty and Leslie Caron; and the war film “Tobruk” (1967) with Rock Hudson.

His career wound down with the comic debacles of “Carpool” (1996) with Tom Arnold, “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn” (1997) with O’Neal; and “National Lampoon’s Pucked” (2006) with Jon Bon Jovi.

Mr. Hiller’s wife of 68 years, Gwen Pechet, died in June. They had two children. A complete list of survivors could not immediately be determined.

In 2002, the Academy presented him with its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

“I feel comfortable in comedy with dramatic and social overtones,” he once said. “I like to devote myself entirely to a film, which leaves me little time for anything but sleep. My mind goes over 101 issues every minute. I take the problems home after work, and they are never over until the film is finished. I could retire, but I work because I really love making movies.”





Fyvush Finkel

AP Photo/Michael Schmelling

August 14, 2016 | 06:19PM PT

Fyvush Finkel, an Emmy Award-winning actor who is best known to contemporary audiences for his roles on “Picket Fences” and “Boston Public” but who spent most of his early career on Gotham’s Lower East Side performing in the Yiddish theater, died Sunday in his Manhattan home. He was 93.

His son, Ian, confirmed the news to the New York Times, and said Finkel had been suffering from heart problems.

While Finkel was popular in his niche stage community, he broke out into the mainstream in 1964 with the national production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” in which he played Mordcha the innkeeper; in 1981 he took on the role of Tevye the milkman in a national touring production. Soon thereafter he landed a part in “Little Shop of Horrors” Off Broadway and won an Obie Award for his work in the New York Shakespeare Festival revival of “Cafe Crown.”

On the bigscreen, Finkel had a breakout performance in the 1990 Sidney Lumet pic “Q&A” as a corrupt attorney. He also appeared in “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “For Love or Money” and “Nixon.”

In 2009 Finkel appeared in the opening scene of best picture nominee “A Serious Man.” He played a Treitle Groshkover, known as a “Dybbuk” in Jewish lore — the wandering soul of a dead person that enters the body of a living person and controls his or her behavior.

In 2011 he starred in Philip R. Garrett’s film “The Other Men in Black,” playing a grandfather who recounts stories of Hasidic life.

But Finkel was best known to TV auds as public defender Douglas Wambaugh in “Picket Fences,” for which he was twice Emmy nominated, winning in 1994. He soon became a favorite of “Fences” creator David E. Kelley, who also cast him in “Boston Public” as an eccentric high school teacher.

Two years after “Picket Fences” ended its run, Finkel was cast in a remake of the ABC skein “Fantasy Island,” but the show was canceled after 13 episodes.

One of Finkel’s first television appearances was in a 1977 episode of Telly Savalas cop drama “Kojak.”

Born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrant parents, Finkel was given the English first name of Philip but quickly became known as Fyvush, the Yiddish equivalent.

He took to the stage at age 9. Over the years he refined his act as a singer, dancer and comedian in the Jewish theater as well as a standup comedian. When not working in Manhattan, he would often head upstate to the Catskills resorts, part of the Borscht Belt.

Finkel was married to Trudi Lieberman for 61 years until her death in 2008. Survivors include two sons: Ian, a musical arranger and xylophone virtuoso, and Elliot, a concert pianist.




CreditAssociated Press

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