Jose "Pepe" Siderman, 90, who fled his native Argentina...

Deaths Elsewhere

April 15, 2002

Jose "Pepe" Siderman,

90, who fled his native Argentina during the military regime's "Dirty War" and who later won a landmark human rights case against the South American nation, died Wednesday in Los Angeles.

A former businessman, Mr. Siderman was kidnapped and tortured by Argentina's military government, which also looted his family's property and assets valued at more than $25 million.

Mr. Siderman was one of the survivors of the brutal period of military rule that began in 1976 and claimed more than 10,000 lives. Most of the victims disappeared without a trace.

After moving to the United States, Mr. Siderman and his family pursued a legal fight that culminated in 1996, when the Argentine government agreed to a reported $6 million settlement.

Lawyers representing Mr. Siderman, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, won a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that allowed the case against Argentina to proceed in U.S. federal courts. The appeals panel rejected Argentina's claims of immunity.

The case also added to the voluminous documentation of the seven-year Dirty War and its political underpinnings. Many of Argentina's military men at the time were admirers of Adolf Hitler and Germany's Nazi regime.

William A. Stewart,

71, a linguist who was one of the first to champion the concept that black English is sufficiently different from standard English to be considered a separate language, died March 25 in New York of congestive heart failure.

Mr. Stewart put forward his ideas about black English, or "Ebonics," in the early 1960s, when most scholars ignored the notion of a black vernacular. He believed that black English was as distinct a language as French or German and that it should be embraced by schools with low-achieving black youngsters as a bridge to teaching them standard English.

A descendant of Scottish missionaries, Mr. Stewart was born in Honolulu and grew up in California able to speak English, Spanish, Portuguese and Hawaiian.

In 1960, while working as a linguist at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, he also tutored young black children who were having difficulty learning to read and, with colleague Joan Baratz, taped the children's conversations. They produced a series of readers that incorporated their nonstandard English expressions. Using the primers, the children quickly learned to read.

In 1968, they formed the Education Study Center in Washington, which was devoted to helping inner-city children learn to read by building on the black English they spoke at home. They distributed their primers to several Roman Catholic schools in the Washington area, planning to switch the students over to standard English texts as soon as the children began to read. A hailstorm of protest quickly engulfed the project.

In 1973, Mr. Stewart won a National Science Foundation grant to study the evolution of Gullah, a Creole dialect that he believed gave rise to black English. Gullah was spoken largely by rural blacks living in coastal regions from South Carolina to Florida. He documented many of its features, such as the distinction between He busy (meaning "He is busy at the moment") and He be busy (meaning "He is always busy").

These peculiarities had been widely seen by educators as evidence of ignorance or linguistic carelessness, but Mr. Stewart demonstrated that Gullah speakers adhered to rules of speech as logical as those in standard English.

Barry Took,

73, a shining light of postwar British comedy who put together the team that became Monty Python's Flying Circus, died of cancer March 31 in London.

Mr. Took's long career included stints as a stand-up comic, radio and television scriptwriter, broadcasting executive and film critic. The British radio shows he wrote include Educating Archie, Bootsie and Snudge and Round the Horne, the last a collaboration with Marty Feldman that still has a cult following and has sold thousands of audiotapes.

It was as comedy adviser to British Broadcasting Corp. in 1969 that Mr. Took had perhaps his largest impact. He assembled six young comic talents, including John Cleese and Graham Chapman, and proposed a comedy show.

A BBC executive originally christened the show Baron von Took's Flying Circus, alluding to Mr. Took's bossy manner. After months of discussing other names - including Owl Stretching Time - it became Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Several British newspapers noted that Mr. Took's death went relatively unnoticed because of the voluminous coverage of the death of the Queen Mother. The Times of London suggested that he might have appreciated the irony.

"Timing was his comic hallmark," it said.

Henry J. Kasperowicz,

84, whose work for Allen B. DuMont Laboratories in Passaic, N.J., resulted in one of the early patents for a color television tube, died March 31 in his home in Vista, Calif.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.