Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A00681 - Aileen Hernandez, Ex-NOW President and Feminist Trailblazer

Aileen Hernandez in 1965, the year she was the only woman named to the inaugural Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.CreditAssociated Press
Aileen Hernandez, one of the first African-American women to battle sex discrimination from both inside the government and in the top ranks of the women’s movement, died on Feb. 13 in Irvine, Calif. She was 90.
The cause was complications of dementia, her niece Annie Clarke said.
Ms. Hernandez had just succeeded Betty Friedan as president of the National Organization for Women in 1970 when she testified before a Senate subcommittee about the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which would have guaranteed constitutional equality for women. Ms. Friedan, who had ignited the contemporary women’s movement with her book “The Feminine Mystique” (1963), had been NOW’s president since its founding in 1966.
“Gentlemen, women are enraged,” Ms. Hernandez told the packed Senate Caucus Room. “We are dedicated, and we mean to become first-class citizens in this country. We really do not feel that these hearings are necessary. The Congress could and should vote immediately.”
Two years later, Congress passed the E.R.A. But in 1982, it fell three state legislatures short of the 38 needed for ratification.
Continue reading the main story
Ms. Hernandez was part of the NOW leadership that organized the “Women’s Strike for Equality” marches in New York City and around the country in August 1970, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women’s suffrage.
She was also chairwoman of a committee that led to the founding in 1971 of the National Women’s Political Caucus, dedicated to increasing political power for women. Among its early leaders were Shirley Chisholm, the New York Democratic congresswoman, and the writer Gloria Steinem.
“It was a spontaneous combustion of people from every state, and we didn’t necessarily know each other,” Ms. Steinem said in a phone interview, referring to the formation of the caucus. “It was unruly and fully in need of someone like Aileen. She knew Robert’s Rules of Order and was respected by everyone. She held it together.”
Aileen Hernandez, left, and Gloria Steinem, in January 2013. Ms. Hernandez “was warm and funny and elegant, but always authentic and authoritative,” Ms. Steinem said. CreditRichard Shotwell/Invision, via Associated Press
Ms. Hernandez often voiced frustration that black women did not embrace NOW as she had hoped they would. As the organization’s president from 1970 to 1971, she acknowledged that its membership was “predominantly white and middle class,” but she argued that “the black struggle and our struggle are the same revolution — the human revolution.”
Years later, in 1979, she lamented that NOW’s membership was still too white and that the organization had not raised “the question of racism.”
Terry O’Neill, the current president of NOW, said in a phone interview that the “reality is that white women have benefited so disproportionately from the women’s movement that by any measure — income, wealth and health — women of color lag behind white women in gaps that are increasing.”
Ms. Hernandez, she added, “would be distraught to see that.”
Aileen Clarke was born in Brooklyn on May 23, 1926, to Charles Henry Clarke Sr., a brush salesman, and the former Ethel Louise Hall, a seamstress. She recalled her mother taking her by the hand to the house of a man who had begun a petition to force the Clarkes from their all-white neighborhood.
“She gave him a lecture about our family, why we were there and all that, and simply turned and went out,” she said in an interview with Makers, an online archive of interviews with trailblazing women.
She graduated from Bay Ridge High School in Brooklyn and attended Howard University in Washington. She was driven to activism, she later said, after she and her father arrived in Washington by train and asked how to get to Howard from the station. They were told to find a black cab.
“We were New Yorkers and thought the color of the cab was black,” Ms. Hernandez told Makers. “But that wasn’t the issue. If you wanted to go to Howard University, no taxi driver who was white was going to take you.”
She graduated from Howard with a degree in political science and had begun graduate studies at New York University when she learned that the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union was seeking someone interested in a job that would involve social issues. It promised psychic rewards but not much salary.
“They were talking to me,” Ms. Hernandez told KQED, a TV station in Los Angeles.
She headed to Los Angeles in 1951 for a year of training, which led to a decade of work with the union. She became an organizer and the education and public relations director of the union’s West Coast division.
While working there, she also received a degree in government from California State University, Los Angeles. But though she was inspired by the occasional presence of Eleanor Roosevelt at labor meetings, Ms. Hernandez found that the union was not treating its female workers fairly.
“They did certain jobs and the men did other jobs,” she told Makers, “and the jobs the women did got paid less.”
After leaving the union to help in the re-election campaign of Alan Cranston, the state comptroller (and later a longtime Democratic United States senator from California), she joined the California State Division of Fair Employment Practices as assistant chief.
In 1965, she was the only woman among the five commissioners named by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the inaugural Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was authorized under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But exasperated with the slow pace at which the commission was addressing sex-discrimination cases, she left after 18 months.
One case involved whether Northwest Airlines had violated federal law by firing a flight attendant who had married. A federal judge enjoined the commission from releasing any discrimination ruling, arguing that Ms. Hernandez had voted in the case after announcing that she would join NOW as executive vice president. Her action, the court found, represented a conflict of interest.
Ms. Hernandez also ran a consulting firm that dealt with sexual and racial discrimination and was a founder of the groups Black Women Organized for Political Action and Black Women Stirring the Waters.
No immediate family members survive. Her marriage to Alfonso Hernandez, a garment cutter, ended in divorce.
Ms. Hernandez could be a fiery speaker. In a 1982 speech, she said: “I believe very firmly that black women are like no other women in the world. And one of the things that makes us so different is that we have managed to survive in one of the most hostile worlds there ever was, and we survive in that world with the understanding that racism and sexism are rampant.”
Ms. Hernandez, Ms. Steinem said, “was warm and funny and elegant, but always authentic and authoritative at the same time.”

A00680 - Mostafa el-Abbadi, Champion of Alexandria's Resurrected Library


“With the founding of the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina,” Professor Abbadi wrote in 2004, “the ancient experiment has come full circle.” CreditAthanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images

CAIRO — Mostafa A. H. el-Abbadi, a Cambridge-educated historian of Greco-Roman antiquity and the soft-spoken visionary behind the revival of the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt, died on Feb. 13 in Alexandria. He was 88.
His daughter, Dr. Mohga el-Abbadi, said the cause was heart failure.
Professor Abbadi’s dream of a new library — a modern version of the magnificent center of learning of ancient times — could be traced to 1972, when, as a scholar at the University of Alexandria, he concluded a lecture with an impassioned challenge.
“At the end, I said, ‘It is sad to see the new University of Alexandria without a library, without a proper library,’” he recalled in 2010. “‘And if we want to justify our claim to be connected spiritually with the ancient tradition, we must follow the ancient example by starting a great universal library.’”
It was President Richard M. Nixon who blew wind into the sails of Professor Abbadi’s ambitious proposal. When Nixon visited Egypt in 1974, he and President Anwar el-Sadat rode by train to Alexandria’s ancient ruins to observe their faded grandeur. When Nixon asked about the ancient library’s location and history, no one in the Egyptian entourage had an answer.
Continue reading the main story
That night, the rector of the University of Alexandria called the professor and asked him to prepare a memo about the Great Library’s rise and fall.
The task, he said later, made him realize how deeply the ancient library resonated, not only with Egyptians but also with many around the world who shared his scholarly thirst.
Backed by the university, Professor Abbadi began developing plans for a new research institution and ultimately persuaded the governor of Alexandria, the Egyptian government and Unesco, the United Nations educational and cultural organization, to lend their support.
In 1988, President Hosni Mubarak laid the foundation stone for what would become the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a $220 million seaside cylindrical complex. Designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta, it comprises a 220,000-square-foot reading room, four museums, several galleries, a conference center, a planetarium and gift shops.
It opened in 2002, hailed as a revitalization of intellectual culture in Egypt’s former ancient capital, which is now its often neglected second-largest city.
“With the founding of the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina,” Professor Abbadi wrote in 2004, “the ancient experiment has come full circle.”
The professor did not share fully in the glory. He, like other scholars, had been critical of some aspects of the finished library and maintained that the builders had been careless during the excavation, unmindful of the site’s archaeological value.
When the library was officially opened, in a ceremony attended by heads of state, royalty and other luminaries, he was nowhere to be seen. He had not been invited.


The historian Mostafa A.H. el-Abbadi in his personal library in Alexandria, Egypt, in 2012. He developed plans to revive the ancient Great Library of Alexandria. CreditScott Nelson

Mostafa Abdel Hamid el-Abbadi was born on Oct. 10, 1928, in Cairo. His father, Abdel-Hamid el-Abbadi, was a founder of the College of Letters and Arts of the University of Alexandria in 1942 and its first dean.
Mostafa el-Abbadi earned a bachelor’s degree with honors there in 1951. A year later, he enrolled at the University of Cambridge on an Egyptian government scholarship. He studied at Jesus College under A. H. M. Jones, the pre-eminent historian of the Roman Empire, and earned a doctorate in ancient history there in 1960.
Two years before, in Britain, he had married Azza Kararah, a professor of English literature at the University of Alexandria, who had earned her doctorate at Cambridge in 1955. She died in 2015.
Besides his daughter, Professor el-Abbadi is survived by a son, Amr, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara; a sister, Saneya el-Abbadi; three brothers — Hassan, a former Egyptian ambassador to Thailand and Cuba; Hani, a former Egyptian ambassador to Sri Lanka; and Hisham — and five grandchildren.
Professor Abbadi and Professor Kararah returned to Egypt in the 1960s to be lecturers at the University of Alexandria. They held many visiting fellowships and appointments throughout their careers. From 1966 to 1969, they taught at Beirut Arab University in Lebanon.
During school holidays, they would pile their two children into the back seat of their Volkswagen Beetle and drive to archaeological sites in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, singing songs along the way. At their home they played host to the novelists Iris Murdoch, Amitav Ghosh and Anita Desai, who wrote the couple, as well as their cat Cleopatra, into her novel “Journey to Ithaca.”
In the 1970s, Professor Abbadi was perhaps the only Egyptian scholar focused on Greco-Roman history in a country where Pharaonic studies was the dominant discipline for classicists.
“For people who do what I do,” said Roger Bagnall, a professor of ancient history at New York University, “he was the port of call in Egypt.”
Professor Abbadi became a leading authority on the original library, a grand repository of the ancient world’s accumulated knowledge as well as a research institution. Established around the third century B.C. by Ptolemy I, it was destroyed sometime in the first century B.C.
Professor Abbadi’s book “Life and Fate of the Ancient Library of Alexandria,” published in 1990 by Unesco and translated into five languages, continues to be widely cited by scholars.
In that book, one of several he wrote or edited, he blamed Julius Caesar for the ancient library’s destruction, countering one politicized narrative that holds Arabs responsible.
In interviews and papers, Professor Abbadi asserted that although it was not the world’s first library, it was the first universal library, housing an estimated half-million texts from many countries and in many languages, including Aristotle’s works and original manuscripts by dramatists like Sophocles.


A student at the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which opened in 2002. The complex has a 220,000-square-foot reading room, four museums, several galleries, a conference center, a planetarium and gift shops.CreditShawn Baldwin for The New York Times

“He was without doubt the doyen of Alexandria,” Dorothy Thompson, a Cambridge fellow and honorary president of the International Association of Papyrologists, said of Professor Abbadi. “He made Alexandria known in the English-speaking world in the 20th century.”
In 1996, he was elected president of the Archaeological Society of Alexandria, founded in 1893. He lectured throughout the world and received many academic and government honors.
In an email, the biographer Stacy Schiff, author of the acclaimed “Cleopatra: A Life,” cited the novelist Lawrence Durrell, author of the tetralogy “The Alexandria Quartet,” in writing of Professor Abbadi. “Every bit the representative of what Durrell called ‘the capital of memory,’” she said, “he seemed to hold whole civilizations in his head.”
When the library opened in 2002, Professor Abbadi donated a rare 16th-century copy of “Codex Justinianus,” the codification of Roman law under Justinian I in the sixth century A.D. It was one of the first books to sit on the new library’s shelves. Before his death, the professor donated his and his wife’s roughly 6,000 books and academic papers.
Yet during the construction and afterward, he found the project wanting. “We have a great name, fortunately,” he said of the library in an interview with The New York Times in 2001. “The challenge is living up to it.”
He found the library’s book collections for students inadequate. And the construction, in his view, had been done without proper archaeological surveys and excavation, even though the site was in what was called the palace quarter in the era of the Ptolemaic kings.
Standing on the balcony of his apartment nearby, he videotaped bulldozers digging up historical artifacts and plunking them into the sea.
“The ensuing scandal forced them to stop work and permit an emergency salvage archaeological dig,” Max Rodenbeck, then the Middle East bureau chief of The Economist, recalled.
Sure enough, a large mosaic of a sitting dog, from the second century A.D., was discovered at the site. It is now in the library’s antiquities museum.
Professor Abbadi had persuaded the Egyptian authorities to establish that museum, an endeavor that took him to dusty government storerooms and archaeological sites as he built out the collection. In a Luxor crypt that had not been opened in three decades, he stumbled upon ill-preserved wooden funerary boxes from King Tutankhamen’s tomb.
He also raised money to acquire hundreds of volumes of texts from early Christianity.
Yet the government did not invite Professor Abbadi to the library’s official opening, apparently because of his criticism of the project.
“No Egyptian newspaper mentioned his name at all,” said Prof. Mona Haggag, a former student of his and head of the department of Greek and Roman archaeology at the University of Alexandria. “It became the project of the presidents, of the people who cut the rope, the people who stood on the front stage, and not of Mostafa el-Abbadi.”
As his “Life and Fate of the Ancient Library of Alexandria” was distributed among the guests at the event, he passed the day in his own library, at his home overlooking the Mediterranean.
Mostafa El-Abbadi (Arabicمصطفى العبادي‎‎; born 1928, Cairo) is a prominent historian of Greco-Roman Egypt and an Egyptian public intellectual.[1] Presently Emeritus Professor in Classics at the Alexandria University, he is credited with proposing the revival of the ancient library of Alexandria, a project embraced by UNESCO in 1986 and completed in 2003.[1][2][3] He was later critical of some of aspects of the project as realized by the Egyptian government, telling the New York Times that the library was at risk of becoming "a cultural center" rather than fulfilling its "promise as a world-class research center."[4]
A recipient of the Order of the Nile,[5] El-Abbadi is a member of Egypt's Supreme Council of Culture (SCC), Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and l'Institut d'Égypte. He also serves as President of the Archaeological Society of Alexandria and is an advisor to UNESCO. Educated in Egypt and the United Kingdom, El-Abbadi holds a BA from the Alexandria University and a special BA and PhD from the University of Cambridge. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).[2]
Mostafa El-Abbadi (Arabic: مصطفى العبادي‎‎; b. October 10, 1928, Cairo, Egypt - d. February 13, 2017, Alexandria, Egypt) was a prominent historian of Greco-Roman Egypt and an Egyptian public intellectual.  Formerly the Emeritus Professor in Classics at the Alexandria University, he is credited with proposing the revival of the ancient library of Alexandria, a project embraced by UNESCO in 1986 and completed in 2003. He was later critical of some of aspects of the project as realized by the Egyptian government, telling the New York Times that the library was at risk of becoming "a cultural center" rather than fulfilling its "promise as a world-class research center."
A recipient of the Order of the Nile, El-Abbadi was a member of Egypt's Supreme Council of Culture (SCC), Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and l'Institut d'Egypte.  He also served as President of the Archaeological Society of Alexandria and was an advisor to UNESCO. Educated in Egypt and the United Kingdom, El-Abbadi received a bachelor's degree from Alexandria University and a special bachelor's degree and doctorate from the University of Cambridge.  He also held an honorary doctorate from the Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM).

A00679 - Emmanuelle Khanh, French Fashion Designer

Models presenting Emmanuelle Khanh’s designs in Paris in 1971. She chafed at the rigidity of haute couture.CreditKeystone-France/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images
Emmanuelle Khanh, who reinvigorated French fashion in the early 1960s with quirky, fluid clothes intended for young, active women, died on Feb. 17 at her home in Paris. She was 79.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, her son, Othello, said.
Ms. Khanh, like her fellow renegades Sonia Rykiel and Michèle Rosier, chafed at the rigidity of haute couture and the lack of spontaneity on the French fashion scene.
“There was the couture, and then there were the little dressmakers who copied from the magazines, and there was the confection,” she told The Toronto Star in 1990. “Confection was the manufacturing of thousands of the same ugly coat in the same color.”
Ms. Khanh, an haute couture model turned designer, responded with youthful styles in a signature “droop” silhouette that followed the body’s curves and allowed for freedom of movement. “The couture shape is concave in the front with a loose back,” she told The New York Times in 1964. “I see it the other way around. My clothes hang forward.”
Continue reading the main story
It was a 1930s-inspired look once described as “the droop, the slump and the forward slither.”
She used unconventional materials like denim, chenille, plastic and Harris tweed in her coats and suits with dog-ear collars, low-waisted dresses, “Jules and Jim” caps and knickerbockers.
Ms. Khanh in 1964 with her husband, Nguyen Manh Khanh, a Vietnamese engineer known as Quasar Khanh.CreditLarry C. Morris/The New York Times
Instantly recognizable by her oversize tortoiseshell eyeglasses and Vidal Sassoon bob, Ms. Khanh was sometimes called the French Mary Quant, a reference to London’s leading Mod designer.
“Everyone talks about young this and young that,” Elie Jacobson, a co-owner of the Paris boutique Dorothée Bis, said in 1963. “Emmanuelle is the one that really senses what young girls want.”
Her designs caught on quickly in Britain and the United States. Macy’s featured her clothes in its boutique-like Little Shops, and Henri Bendel signed her to an exclusive contract. “Emmanuelle has Seventh Avenue in a swivet,” The New York Herald Tribune wrote in 1964.
Ms. Khanh remained a force through the 1970s and into the 1980s. She formed her own company, Emmanuelle Khanh Paris, in 1971, and Emmanuelle Khanh International in 1987. Her enormous, heavy-framed eyeglasses, some with ostrich, lizard or python skin, sold in the millions, and she led the way with hip-hugger skirts, ankle socks, trench coats, fake fur, shorts and culottes.
In the early 1970s, anticipating the ethnic trend, she began making peasant skirts in Italian fabrics with Romanian embroidery.
An Emmanuelle Khanh dress modeled in Paris in 1966.CreditKeystone-France/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images
“The couture is dead,” she told Life magazine in 1964. “I want to design for the street.”
She was born Renée Georgette Jeanne Mézière on Sept. 12, 1937, in Paris. Her father, René, was a page designer for Combat, which began as a French Resistance newspaper during World War II. Her mother, the former Ernestine Hayman, died when Renée, known as Nono, was 10, leaving her to look after her three siblings.
After graduating from business school, she decided to try her luck in fashion. “I opened the phone book under the word couture and called the first name on the list — Balenciaga,” she told Life magazine. After being hired as a fitting model, she took the name Emmanuelle.
In 1957, she married Nguyen Manh Khanh, a Vietnamese engineer educated in Paris who adopted the first name Quasar and became well known as an inventor and a designer of inflatable furniture. He died last year. In addition to her son, she is survived by a daughter, the fashion designer Atlantique Ascoli, and three grandchildren.
After modeling for Balenciaga and Givenchy for four years, Ms. Khanh began designing for women like herself, stylish but impatient with the current fashion language. In 1962, she and Christiane Bailly produced a collection under the label Emma Christie — a fusion of their first names — that captured the attention of Elle and soon went on sale in boutiques like Dorothée Bis and Laura.
Overnight, Ms. Khanh was installed as the leader of the French new wave.
“She was all the rage in Paris, in every magazine,” the hairdresser Vidal Sassoon wrote in “Vidal: The Autobiography.” “Emmanuelle was about 5-foot-6, slim and exotic, the epitome of why men loved French girls.”
Ms. Khanh in an appliquéd suit from her Spring 1990 line, wearing the famous glasses she created in 1971.CreditKeith Beaty/Toronto Star, via Getty Images
By the time Life caught up with her, she was running a $4 million business, designing collections for Cacharel, Missoni, Krizia and other top names. La Redoute’s catalog hired her to produce a limited-edition collection.
“Everybody thinks that the ’60s was all about London, but Paris played a surprisingly important part in the fashion revolution,” Valerie Steele, the director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, said in an interview. “She really was part of an international wave of women who moved into fashion and brought a street influence to the high, formal style dominated by men.”
The museum included a 1968 striped Op-Art dress by Ms. Khanh in its exhibition “Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968.”
Ms. Khanh later moved into knitwear, skiwear and lingerie, sold under her own label. In 1977, she began opening her own boutiques.
“I want to make clothes that a woman doesn’t throw out because they become part of her life, part of her memories of when she wore them,” she told The Toronto Star. “The thing that touches me most is when someone says, ‘I bought your coat 10 years ago and I still have it; now my daughter borrows it.’”
In the late 1990s, plagued by financial difficulties, she closed her company. Her label was acquired in 2007 by a Dutch conglomerate.
“In the 1960s and ’70s, it really was all about ready-to-wear, clothes designed with women in mind, because there hadn’t been anything like it before,” Ms. Khanh told the magazine L’Express in 2016, when she sold her private collection at a vintage-clothing auction. “In the ’80s and ’90s, it was ‘ready to show’ — runway fashion. In the 2000s, it’s ‘ready to throw away’ — you buy it to wear it for one season, and that’s it.”