December 06, 2003

Addie Byrd Byers, 97, a Savannah, Ga., educator who challenged a policy that kept black children out of the city's library's, died Tuesday in Savannah.

Ms. Byers sought to help black children gain access to Savannah libraries in the 1950s and 1960s after a librarian claimed they weren't allowed to visit because the children "never asked."

"I told the members of the library board that the black community didn't ask to pay taxes, either," she said in a 1985 interview with the Savannah Morning News.

Ms. Byers' outspokenness made her a pillar in the black community. She was awarded the NAACP's Freedom Award in 1985, was elected to the Georgia Democratic Executive Committee and became the first black woman on the Chatham-Effingham-Liberty Regional Library board.

"If I have done anything along the way [to help civil rights], I did it with all the sincerity of my heart because it was the right thing to do," Ms. Byers said after receiving the NAACP award.

Cecil Cornish, 94, a rodeo performer in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame who entertained audiences with a bull that jumped through fire and a horse that feigned a broken leg, died Thursday in Enid, Okla.

Mr. Cornish traveled throughout the United States and Canada for 35 years performing in rodeos.

He began his rodeo career in the early 1920s and pushed the boundaries of trick riding and performing. He also trained horses, including Roy Rogers' horse Trigger and horses used in the movie Ben Hur, said his son, Wayne Cornish.

His greatest trick horse was Smokey, who learned to act as if it had a broken leg, Wayne Cornish said.

"Dad would go back and act like he was going to shoot him, and Smokey would convince him that he could make it back," he said. "The two would head off and Smokey would act like he was limping."

Danger, Mr. Cornish's Brahma bull, awed crowds by leaping over cars and through fire.

John Hottowe, 80, an elder in the Makah Indian tribe who helped preserve tribal songs and pushed for renewal of his people's whaling tradition, died last week in Neah Bay, Wash. He was 80.

The son of a Czech immigrant and a Makah mother, Mr. Hottowe served in the Navy in World War II. After the war, he returned to his home and began expanding his knowledge of Makah history and Pacific Northwest tribal culture.

Mr. Hottowe also worked with other Northwest tribes and taught tribal culture classes at community college.

"He was very instrumental in keeping the culture alive for many of the tribes in the Northwest," said Makah elder Ed Claplanhoo.

In the 1990s, Mr. Hottowe and other tribal elders advocated a return to ceremonial whaling. With federal approval but opposition from some conservation groups, Makah whalers killed a gray whale on May 17, 1999.

Mary Pinkett, 72, a former union leader who was the first black woman elected to the New York City Council, died Thursday in New York.

Ms. Pinkett served on the council for 28 years, representing the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, parts of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Ms. Pinkett "a pioneer in New York City politics."

"She served the people of Brooklyn with compassion, dedication and a fiery sense of purpose for nearly 30 years," he said in a statement issued Thursday.

Ms. Pinkett, a former president of Social Service Employees Union Local 371, was elected to the council in November 1973 and served on the Civil Service and Labor Committee.

John H. Hannah Jr., 64, chief judge for the U.S. Eastern District of Texas, died Thursday in Tyler, Texas, of an apparent heart attack.

President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Hannah to the federal bench in 1994. He had been chief judge for the Eastern District since 2001.

Democratic Gov. Ann Richards named Judge Hannah the Texas secretary of state in January 1991. One of his projects in that post was working on a new ethics law for state officials.

Judge Hannah was elected to the Texas Legislature in 1966 and served three terms. He served as Angelina County district attorney from 1973-75. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed him U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, a post he held until 1981.

David Hemmings, 62, a British actor who became one of the screen icons of the 1960s with roles in films such as Blow Up, died of a heart attack on a Romanian movie set Wednesday. He was 62.

Mr. Hemmings collapsed shortly after shooting scenes for the movie Samantha's Child, agent Liz Nelson said.

Mr. Hemmings was enjoying a renaissance in his acting career after a couple of decades behind the camera directing and producing TV shows such as the A-Team and Airwolf. An appearance in Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning Gladiator in 2000 led to a flood of offers, including the critically acclaimed Last Orders with Michael Caine in 2001 and most recently The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Sean Connery this year.

But it was roles in films including Roger Vadim's science-fiction romp Barbarella in the 1960s that defined him for a generation. His international breakthrough came when he auditioned for the role of the fashion photographer in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blow Up.

The film, in which Mr. Hemmings' character believes he may have witnessed a murder, won the Cannes Film Festival's Golden Palm award in 1967. Scenes in which Mr. Hemmings photographed a model, played by Vanessa Redgrave, have often been ranked among the sexiest moments captured on film.

Mr. Hemmings' boyish good looks were also put to use in the 1967 musical Camelot, Charge of the Light Brigade in 1968, and Alfred the Great in 1969.

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.