Sayed Nuri, Tajik leader
Sayed Abdullo Nuri, the Tajik Islamic leader who led his political party through a civil war against the former Soviet republic’s secular government in the 1990s, died of cancer Wednesday, a party deputy said. He was 59.
Nuri, an Islamic theologian secretly taught by his father during Soviet times, helped create the Islamic Renaissance Party in 1990, seeking a greater role for Islamic ideas and traditions in society.
In 1992, a group of party activists proclaimed a region in central Tajikistan to be an Islamic state. An official ban ensued and many party leaders fled to Afghanistan and Iran, from where they commanded their forces during the civil war.
The war took about 100,000 lives before the party and the Moscow-backed government signed a peace deal in 1997, ending five years of fighting that left Tajikistan one of the poorest countries in the world.
Dorothy Healey, Communist leader
Dorothy Ray Healey, a former longtime leader in the American Communist Party who moved to Washington in 1983 to help raise her grandchildren and who hosted a weekly radio show, died of respiratory failure and pneumonia Aug. 6 at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md. She was 91.
Healey, once known as “the Red Queen,” embraced the Communist Party in Los Angeles at 14 and rose through the ranks, becoming chairwoman of the Communist Party USA in Southern California. A labor organizer, civil rights activist and radio commentator, she remained a party faithful until 1973, long after she had begun to disagree with its orthodoxy and criticized it publicly.
From the moment she joined the Communist Party, she was a believer. “We knew with absolute conviction that we were part of a vanguard that was destined to lead an American working class to a socialist revolution,” she once said.
Rock Hill, S.C.
Robert McCullough, civil rights activist
Robert McCullough, who led a group of black students in a landmark 1961 civil rights protest, choosing to serve jail time on a chain gang for the crime of sitting at a whites-only lunch counter, died on Monday. He was 64.
McCullough, along with eight other black students from Friendship Junior College, gained widespread attention when they used the “jail, no bail” technique after they were arrested in February 1961.
The protesters, who became known as the Friendship Nine, had demanded service at the McCrory’s lunch counter at Rock Hill, and were charged with trespassing and breach of peace. The protest came around the first anniversary of a sit-in at another segregated lunch counter, in Greensboro, N.C., that helped galvanize the civil rights movement.
Given the option of paying a $100 fine or serving 30 days in jail, the Rock Hill students broke with earlier sit-in protesters and chose to serve the time, even though it meant a frightening ordeal on a chain gang.
The Rock Hill group’s sacrifice “made electrifying news” within the protest movement, author Taylor Branch wrote in his book “Parting the Watrers: America in the King Years 1954-63.”