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Overlooked No More: Jay Jaxon, black designer and pioneer of French couture

“No one knew his real name was Eugene,” Hardy added.

Eugene Jackson was born August 30, 1941. His father, Sidney Jackson, worked for the Long Island Railroad as a track conductor and his mother, Ethel Rena-Jackson, was a housekeeper. The house was traditional and strict, although Eugene was more outspoken than his three older siblings, a trait he retained throughout his life.

“He was a little different from the rest of us in that he responded and expressed his opinion,” his sister Arlene Patterson said in a telephone interview.

As a teenager, Jaxon moved in with a family who lived nearby, helping with childcare while attending high school. The family frequently made clothes at home, using fabrics and patterns from bustling Jamaica Avenue. Jaxon enthusiastically joined in, said Rachel Fenderson, who has curated several Jaxon exhibitions and written a book about him.

Jaxon received a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in Manhattan in the early 1960s. He attended New York University law school for about a year with the intention of becoming a lawyer, but decided he was over. interested in clothing and enrolled in a costume design course at the Fashion Institute of Technology, also in Manhattan. Before long, with the money he saved by working as a bank teller, he enrolled full-time.

There he met fellow minds like designer Stephen Burrows, a classmate. In an interview, Burrows said that Jaxon “knew more about fashion than almost anyone I knew at the time” after years of reading fashion magazines. He was also familiar with high-end clothing stores in Manhattan.

During this time, Jaxon was dating her first boyfriend, hairstylist Kenneth Battelle, who chose to only be known by his first name. Battelle’s affluent clientele included philanthropists like Bunny Mellon; some of his chic clients have become Jaxon’s first clients.

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The lonely death of a literary pioneer: Charles Saunders, 73

It was Mr. Kirksey’s responsibility to prepare a short biography of Mr. Saunders for the Zoom Memorial.

Charles Robert Saunders was born July 3, 1946 in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and raised there and in Norristown, Pennsylvania. In 1968 he graduated from Lincoln University in West Philadelphia with a BA in Psychology.

The following year he moved to Canada to avoid the draft and became a teacher. At the Zoom Memorial, Janet LeRoy recalled the first time she saw him, when she was a student at Carleton University in Ontario in the 1970s and saw him through a door, talking to his students. His physical stature – he was around 6ft 4in tall – made a distinct impression, as did his afro and dashiki top.

“He looked like he left the ‘The Mod Squad’ TV show,” she says.

Three years later, she finally met him while they were both teaching at Algonquin College. They became quick friends.

“He was a giant man, but he had such a soft and sweet voice,” she said. “We could talk about the deepest, darkest moments of our lives, and Charles would find a way to say something that made us both laugh.”

At one point, Mr. Saunders moved to Nova Scotia, and in 1989 he began working for The Daily News, editing and occasionally writing, including on issues facing the black community.

“He was so calm,” Mr. Tattrie, speaking at the Zoom Memorial, recalled being in the newsroom. “He would never draw attention to himself. But you noticed it. You could just say that there was a depth in him, a richness, that you don’t find in a lot of other people.

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Pioneer Wisconsin judge Shirley Abrahamson dies at 87

Shirley Abrahamson, a tireless jurist known for her activist voice and sharp dissent who served as the first woman on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and later his first female chief justice, died on December 19 in Berkeley, Calif. 87 years old.

Her son, Daniel, said the cause was pancreatic cancer.

Justice Abrahamson spent 43 years on the bench, including 19 as Chief Justice. She has long been the only woman on the court, but when she retired in 2019 and moved to California, five of the seven judges were women. There are now six.

At Judge Abrahamson’s retirement ceremony, her friend Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, said in a video tribute: “As a lawyer, professor of law and judge, she has inspired legions to follow her path, to constantly strive to make the legal system truly egalitarian and accessible to all who inhabit our beautiful land.

Justice Ginsburg passed away in September.

In opinions, speeches and articles, Judge Abrahamson has often written about the rights that state constitutions grant to citizens – such as protections against unreasonable search and seizure – but the federal constitution does not.

“The new federalism,” she wrote in the SMU Law Review in 1982, “describes the willingness of state courts to assert themselves as ultimate arbiters on issues of the individual rights of their citizens based on their own law, in particular the state constitution.

She was perhaps best known for her dissensions, like the one in State v. Mitchell, a 1992 case in which the court ruled that the increased sentence a defendant could receive for a hate crime was unconstitutional. (The United States Supreme Court reversed the decision.)

“Bigots are free to think and express themselves as they wish, except that they cannot engage in criminal acts to promote their beliefs,” Judge Abrahamson wrote. “The state’s interest in punishing bias-related criminal behavior is only about protecting equal rights and preventing crime, not suppressing freedom of expression.”

She also opposed the divided court decision in 2015 to end the investigation into whether Gov. Scott Walker illegally coordinated with Tory groups during the campaign to recall him three years earlier. .

“Lest the length, convoluted analysis, and exaggerated rhetoric of the majority opinion obscure its effect, let me make it clear,” Judge Abrahamson wrote. “Majority opinion adopts an unprecedented and erroneous interpretation of Wisconsin’s campaign finance law and the First Amendment.”

Judge Abrahamson had acquired a national reputation by then. In 1979, she was one of many female lawyers considered by President Jimmy Carter as possible replacements for Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. (who ultimately remained on the bench until 1990).

In 1993, Justice Abrahamson was on the shortlist to succeed Justice Byron R. White. President Bill Clinton chose Justice Ginsburg.

“She felt incredibly honored – and thought it was a lot of fun – just to have seen her name floated around as someone maybe envisioned,” Daniel Abrahamson said in an interview. “She expressed neither surprise nor regret that she did not get the nod.

Shirley Schlanger was born on December 17, 1933 in Manhattan. His father, Leo, and his mother, Ceilia (Sauerteig) Abrahamson, ran a grocery store.

At 6 years old, Shirley declared her intention to be a lawyer. She would later say that having immigrant parents – both from Poland – taught her to believe that “this country was open” and “that no door was closed”.

After graduating from Hunter College High School and New York University, she married Seymour Abrahamson and accompanied him to Indiana University, Bloomington, where she received her law degree in 1956 and he obtained a doctorate. in genetics.

The couple then moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where they studied under law professor J. Willard Hurst, a pioneer in the field of legal history. She graduated with a degree in legal history from the university’s law school in 1962 and was quickly hired as the first female lawyer in what was then known as La Follette, Sinykin, Doyle & Anderson, where she has become a renowned partner.

A general lawyer, she was best known as a tax lawyer. While working at the firm, she helped draft the City of Madison Equal Opportunity Act and served as a local chapter director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1967 to 1974.

She was appointed to the court by Governor Patrick Lucey, a Democrat, in 1976, and was elected for 10-year terms in 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009. As a senior member of the court, she became Chief Justice in 1996.

After being sworn in by William H. Rehnquist, the Chief Justice of the United States, she told the 1,200 people gathered at the State Capitol: “It is my prerogative as the new Chief Justice of the United States. State to start with a momentous announcement: The Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings are tied. You will come home in time for the second half. “

Judge Abrahamson helped make the court more accessible. During her tenure, she held her administrative meetings in public and supported an educational program that brings high school students to court to hear arguments.

Janine Geske, who served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the 1990s, recalled the scholarship of Judge Abrahamson’s long opinions (“each of them is a class of law”) and the excellence it demanded of his colleagues.

“When I first came to court and circulated my first opinion,” Ms. Geske said in an interview, “I received a four-page single-spaced note telling me that she was not. was not strong enough. I remember panting and feeling bad, but learned that what interested her was to strengthen an opinion even when she was in defense. Some other judges did not accept this.

Indeed, in 2015 the court’s Conservative majority, with which she was in growing conflict, voted to replace her as chief justice with Patience Roggensack. They took the step after voters approved a constitutional amendment that ended the practice of requiring the chief justice to be the longest-serving member on duty.

“I publicly stated that I recommended the change because age doesn’t necessarily mean shine or cuteness,” said William Callow, an opponent of Judge Abrahamson who served with her on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1977. to 1992, to the Capital Times in 2016.

Judge Abrahamson has brought an action to block implementation of the amended law. A federal judge dismissed his lawsuit; she appealed but dropped the lawsuit at the end of 2015, believing the lawsuit would take too long. She pledged to remain “independent, impartial and non-partisan, and to help the justice system improve.”

She retired a year after being diagnosed with cancer.

In addition to her son, she is survived by a grandson and a sister, Rosalind Sarlin. Her husband died in 2016.

Judge Abrahamson was known for the long hours she devoted to her job, which had resulted in her dining at her desk, speaking engagements, and dining with friends and colleagues. Her determination was noted by her husband, who spent time in Japan studying the effects of radiation on survivors of the atomic bomb detonation in the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“Everything I leave for him in the fridge when I leave,” Professor Abrahamson told The Associated Press in 1996. “is usually there when I get home seven months later.”

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Plus size fashion pioneer Nancye Radmin dies at 82

Nancye Radmin, a plus size fashion pioneer who for two decades ran an upscale chain of stores, The Forgotten Woman, who served a group of women who had otherwise been overlooked by haute couture, died on December 8 in his home in Lakeland, Florida. She was 82 years old.

The death was confirmed by his son Brett Radmin.

For most of her life, Mrs Radmin has revolved around a size 8 and preferred to wear fine fabrics like cashmere and jacquard. But by her second pregnancy, in 1976, she had gained 80 pounds and was 16 years old. her size.

“Fat,” she told Newsweek in 1991, “was the F-word of fashion.”

“Absolutely nothing fancy was available,” she added. “I just knew I wasn’t the only fat woman in New York City.

With $ 10,000 she borrowed from her husband, Mrs. Radmin set out to start her own business – a boutique filled with the kind of high-end clothes she wanted to wear.

In 1977, she opened the Forgotten Woman at 888 Lexington Avenue on the fashionable Upper East Side. The store’s name referred to its clientele, women who wore sizes larger than most manufactured fashion designers – and, perhaps, a culture that ignored them too.

Prices were steep: a faux Persian lamb fur coat from Searle was $ 595, and an iridescent pink silk Kip Kirkendall dress was $ 1,850.

By 1991, it had 25 stores across the country, with annual sales of $ 40 million.

“People forget that the older, taller woman usually leads a dressy social life,” she told the New York Times in 1983. “She’s the mother of the bride, she goes to formal dinners with her. prosperous husband and she can take pearls. and bright colors that could overwhelm a petite woman.

Plus size clothing typically starts at size 14, and today the average size for women’s clothing in the United States is between 14 and 16. The plus size women’s clothing market was valued at $ 9.8 billion. dollars in 2019, according to market research firm Statista.

But in the late 1970s, the concept of plus size fashion was an anomaly. Yet Ms. Radmin’s store spoke directly to the burgeoning idea of ​​bodily acceptance, a product of the women’s liberation movement of that decade.

“If you look at the history of fashion for taller women, it was either invisible, ghettoized, or incredibly obnoxious,” Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, associate professor of history at the New School in New York City, said at the conference. ‘a telephone interview. “The Forgotten Women as an attractive, upscale plus size clothing store was a radically inclusive concept at the time from the perspective of fat women who deserved to see themselves as fashionable women who deserved to shop. trip.”

Ms Radmin reached out to the makers of Seventh Avenue, many of whom called her the ‘Crazy Nancye’, to have some of her favorite clothes made for plus sizes.

She also urged designers to create more plus size clothing. Some, like Oscar de la Renta, took a bit of convincing, but even he created evening dresses for his stores, just like Geoffrey Beene, Bob Mackie and Pauline Trigère.

The Forgotten Women stores had a “Sugar Daddy Bar” for the male companions of shoppers to entertain, stocked with Korbel champagne, tea sandwiches and miniature muffins. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Roseanne Barr, Nell Carter and Tyne Daly have shopped there. Stores have been strategically opened in shopping streets like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to show shoppers they are just as entitled to spend the money as their skinny counterparts.

“We wanted the customer to feel important and unhindered,” said Dane O’Neal, who worked in the chain’s merchandising.

Nancye Jo Bullard was born on August 4, 1938 in Nashville to Joe and Jane (Johnson) Bullard. She grew up on her father’s farm in Cochran, Georgia, where he harvested peanuts and cotton. Her mother was a registered nurse.

Even as a child, Nancye was enterprising, selling peanuts around the corner to earn extra money.

She attended Middle Georgia College (now Middle Georgia State University), but left before graduating to travel. She then worked as a secretary and moved to New York City in the late 1960s.

In 1967, she met Mack Radmin, a widower 23 years her senior who worked in the kosher meat trade. She converted to Judaism for him (she had been raised in Southern Baptist) and they were married in 1968.

Ms. Radmin often called the early years of her marriage her “Barbie doll days,” as she weighed 110 pounds, wore a size 4, and spent a lot of time shopping and dining in Manhattan.

Mr. Radmin died in 1996. Besides her son Brett, she is survived by another son, William Kyle Radmin; two sisters, Michelle Moody and Cheryle Janelli; and four grandchildren.

In 1989, Ms. Radmin sold part of the Forgotten Woman channel to venture capitalists. In 1998, the forgotten woman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The remaining nine stores were closed at the end of that year.

By this time, department stores had established themselves in the plus size market and started selling clothing in more sizes.

Mrs. Radmin didn’t think much of it. “I have no competition,” she told People magazine in 1988. “I only have imitators.”

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Chicago sports pioneer Jeannie Morris dies at 85

The marriage ended in divorce, and in 1960 she married Johnny Morris, a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, whom she had also met on the Santa Barbara campus.

Ms Morris’s first break from sports came after her husband retired from the Bears in 1967 and became a local sports host. When asked by the Chicago American newspaper if he wanted to write a column, he declined, but said his wife was a writer and should be hired.

She got the job, but her signature did not reflect her name. Rather, by societal norms of the time, “Mrs. Johnny Morris ”wrote a weekly column,“ Football is a woman’s game, ”which was published in the women’s pages of the newspaper before moving to the sports section of The American and, later, the Chicago Daily News. Eventually his signature changed to Jeannie Morris.

As the wife of a bear, she had a lot to talk about.

“It’s because I’ve lived 10 years of a footballing life that most people don’t see,” she told The Athletic in her last interview, shortly before her death. “There was a subculture. There were good stories in the subculture.

In 1969, Ms. Morris joined Mr. Morris at Chicago TV station WMAQ, where they began a long career as a popular local media couple. Very early on, the station marketed her as a soft-news reporter. An advertisement in the Chicago Tribune in 1970 promoted her “feminine view of the world of sport”, through which she said that viewers met “the greatest personalities in sport, their families and their friends.”

She would soon prove herself as a field reporter, covering and producing Chicago sports news and stories.

“She was my first reporter,” Morris said in a telephone interview. “A lot of times I had to give her tough jobs, but I knew she was up to it.” He added: “She was competitive – as competitive as I am – and we were a good team.”

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Lucille Bridges, mother of civil rights pioneer, dies at 86

When she and Ruby arrived at school for Ruby’s first day of school, she recalls, there were a large number of Federal Marshals and protesters in attendance. Some of the protesters shouted, “Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to fit in,” and threw eggs and tomatoes at Ms Bridges and her daughter, she said. But the marshals prevented them from being beaten.

Ruby Bridges said Wednesday that she doesn’t remember her mom and dad telling her anything other than that she was going to a new school. “They didn’t try to explain to me what I was about to get into,” she said. “But I just think it’s because it would be difficult for a parent to prepare their kids to enter an environment like this, so they didn’t try.

Lucille Bridges recalled in the 2016 interview that two city police officers blocked their way as she tried to escort her daughter through the school gates, saying they couldn’t enter. She remembered two of the marshals saying, “The US president said we can. “

The marshals who took Ruby to and from school were heavily armed, keeping a machine gun in the car they were driving. “And that’s how we lived it for a whole year,” said Lucille Bridges.

The NAACP supported Lucille and Abon Bridges for several years as they lost their jobs when the school’s integration made headlines, and friends from their all-black neighborhood took turns guarding their homes.

Lucille Bridges, who loved to garden, moved from New Orleans to Houston because of Hurricane Katrina, her daughter said. She stayed in Houston to have access to better healthcare and returned to New Orleans about five years ago.

Later in her life, Ms. Bridges did not harbor ill will against the protesters. “All these people calling us names, you just have to blame it on their ignorance and keep going,” she said. “Be yourself, and God will bring you through.”

Lucille Bridges is survived by six children, numerous grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

“Study, listen to what their teachers are telling them, and their mothers and fathers,” Lucille Bridges advised the children in the 2016 interview. “Once they are educated, they can be anyone. that they wanted to be: doctors, lawyers or whatever. But you have to have this education and I would like them to just listen to my story so that they know how hard it was for my kids to go to school.

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AIDS pioneer Dr. Joyce Wallace dies at 79

Dr. Joyce Wallace, a Manhattan internist who treated prostitutes for AIDS, sometimes brought prostitutes home with her when they had nowhere to go.

Once, when his son, Ari Kahn, was around 12 years old, Dr Wallace, who had to go to the hospital to see his patients, left him at home with a prostitute who was HIV positive and undergoing drug withdrawal. ‘heroin. It was not clear who should take care of whom. Ari ended up making pizza for both of them. Upon her return, Dr. Wallace took the prostitute to a drug rehab center; the woman eventually overcame her addiction and got a job at a research foundation that Dr. Wallace had created.

“On the one hand, it was extremely irresponsible,” Kahn said of the incident in an interview. On the other hand, he said, it was typical of his mother’s extraordinary capacity for empathy, and she helped a lot of people.

Dr. Wallace died on October 14 in a Manhattan hospital. She was 79 years old.

Mr. Kahn said the cause was a heart attack.

Dr. Wallace was not a conventional mother. She was not a conventional doctor either. Among the first to report the deadly disease known as AIDS, she tried to stop its spread among thousands of New York prostitutes.

The belly of the city was his clinic. She drove in a white Dodge van offering tests for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and handing out condoms, in addition to running a needle exchange program and trying to persuade prostitutes to come out. streets and take them to shelters.

“They are our responsibility,” she told The New Yorker in 1993. “They are not disposable women.

A writer for The New Yorker, Barbara Goldsmith, followed her for several months and produced a graphic 17-page account of Dr. Wallace’s encounters with prostitutes, many of whom are homeless and many addicted to drugs. At the time, AIDS was the leading cause of death in the city among women aged 20 to 29.

“Joyce Wallace tends to be seen as an eccentric fanatic who deals with a group of illegal, transient and often despised women,” Ms. Goldsmith wrote.

“As in the early days of the AIDS crisis, when the establishment failed to respond,” she added, “the burden of activism fell not on the most skilled or the most organized, but on those who care ”.

After the New Yorker article appeared, singer and actress Bette Midler purchased the rights to Dr. Wallace’s life story, according to Dr. Wallace’s daughter Julia Query. Ms Midler wanted to make and star in a film about Dr Wallace, Ms Query said, but the film was never made.

Dr Wallace began practicing medicine in the late 1970s in Greenwich Village, where many of his patients were gay men. In the spring of 1981, before AIDS was recognized, she was one of a handful of doctors in New York and San Francisco who said they discovered Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer, among their patients. patients.

On July 3, 1981, she was among the researchers who published one of the first reports linking Kaposi’s sarcoma to immunocompromised gay men. The disease would become a telltale sign of HIV

Dr Wallace was particularly interested in how AIDS affects women. Once a test was developed, she began offering prostitutes $ 20 or a McDonald’s coupon to allow her to draw their blood.

Her studies have found high correlations between HIV and intravenous drug use. She planned to set up a drop-in center on the Lower East Side to provide prostitutes with a hot shower, clean clothes, food and, if drug-free, transitional housing.

“I want to give girls a place where they can start to make a new life,” she told the New York Times in 1991 as she remodeled an old brothel for this purpose.

Local residents rose up in anger and blocked this proposal, just as other residents would block his similar proposals in the West Village and Washington Heights – even as Dr Wallace received awards for his work and grants for pursue its projects. In June 1994, Mirabella magazine named Dr Wallace one of its “100 Intrepid Wives” for his determination to help prostitutes over neighbors’ objections.

Prevented from installing these homes, Dr. Wallace had to work in a mobile van, from which she offered a range of social services. Her goal, she told The Times in 1992, was not to stop transactions between prostitutes and their clients, but to make them more secure.

To that end, she also started the Treatment Readiness Program, an alternative sentencing project in Manhattan Criminal Court in which prostitutes were given condoms and AIDS prevention and drug treatment literature. instead of being sent to jail.

Joyce Irene Malakoff was born November 25, 1940 in Philadelphia but grew up in Queens. His father, Samuel Malakoff, was a teacher in a vocational high school. Her mother, Henrietta Yetta (Hameroff) Malakoff, was a speech therapist.

Joyce was 12 in 1954 when one of her younger brothers, 8-year-old Lee, fell ill with leukemia and died the following year. This trauma motivated her to become a doctor.

She graduated from Queens College in 1961 with a degree in history, then studied medicine at Columbia University’s School of General Studies. She received her medical degree from the State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn, known as Downstate, in 1968.

A brief first marriage in the 1950s ended in annulment. Her marriage in 1964 to Lance Wallace, a researcher, ended in divorce in 1973. She married Arthur Kahn, a stockbroker, in 1979; they separated in 1983 and subsequently divorced.

In addition to his son and daughter, Dr. Wallace is survived by four grandchildren.

She did her internship and residencies in New York and Long Island. With the fantasy of becoming a country doctor, she opened a private practice in North Conway, NH, in 1973, but lasted barely a year before deciding that she was not suited to small town life and moved to Manhattan, where she established her practice in the village.

She founded the Sexually Transmitted Disease Research Foundation in 1982 and served as its President and then Executive and Medical Director until 2003. She has held academic positions at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York Medical College and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Most of the awards Dr. Wallace received recognized his courage and determination in the face of great difficulty. One was the Brooke Russell Astor Award, a $ 10,000 gift given to an unsung hero who is “relentless” in improving the quality of life in New York City.