Norma Becker
(1930 — 2006)


As remembered by David McReynolds
June 17, 2006

Subject: Norma Becker dies in her sleep, today, 6.17.06

Diane Becker called me this morning just after ten a.m. with the news that her mother, Norma Becker, had died in her sleep during the night.

There will be a "one day shiva" tomorrow, Sunday 6/18, at Norma's apartment in Manhattan.

Who will get an email on Saturday? So, if you get this, pass it on by phone or email to those I've left off. And I'll start the round of phone calls to follow up. (And I know that in my haste I'm sending this to some of you "once on purpose, twice by accident").

Norma had been terminally ill with lung cancer for some months. She had grown progressively weaker and when I visited her Thursday she said she just felt so tired she wished she could go to sleep and not wake up, which is what happened.

There will, of course, be a memorial (I assume - this is clearly up to the family) but that can't, in any event, be until after summer's end, I would think. One of the truly great has passed, one who might have changed the world if she had done nothing more than been a remarkable teacher, beloved by her students. But her work carried her into the heart of the Civil Rights struggle, where she taught summer school to black students in the South, at a time of profound risk. It carried her into the Vietnam Peace movement where, as much as any, and more than most, she provided leadership in hard times and for the long and horrific years of that conflict.

I mourn the loss of one of the great ones of our time, not noted as a speaker or writer, but as an organizer.

I know I'll see many of you tomorrow. Many of you aren't in New York but will want this sad news.

Notes can be sent to Diane Tosh, 527 9th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215.

Peace, David McReynolds


As remembered by Gwen Patton
June 23, 2006

I wish for the memories of Norma Becker be added to our "Memories Section."

Norma was a strong, no-nonsense woman. She stood tall in articulating the centrality of race in our demand to end the war in Vietnam. I will always remember her support in my struggles with some elements in the Student Mobilization Agains the War in Vietnam and the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee to analyze the war in Vietnam as a multi-issue struggle, not as a single issue.

Gwen Patton


As remembered by Larry Rubin
June 23, 2006

Last Saturday, at about the same time Norma was passing away, Sandra Adickes was praising her in Philadelphia, Mississippi at the memorial service for Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney. Sandra described Norma's part in designing and carrying out the Freedom School program. We didn't even know Norma was sick. Her passing is a tragedy for us all.

Larry Rubin


As remembered by Jim Campbell
June 23, 2006

Dear Friends,

Gwen's recommendation is appreciated and supported. Norma's work for human rights,peace,labor and education is an enduring monument to a dedicated life.

In honor and friendship,

Jim Campbell

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