Vinnette Carroll, 80, actress, playwright and the first Black woman to direct on Broadway, died Nov. 5 in Fort Lauderhill, Fla., of complications from diabetes and heart disease. She made history in 1972 directing the Broadway musical Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope.
John R Frank, 84, a Yale law professor who advised Thurgood Marshall in the Brown v Board of Education case, died Sept. 7 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Frank represented Ernesto Miranda in the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case that resulted in today's "Miranda" rights that require police to inform suspects of their constitutional protection.
Johnny Griffith, 66, a keyboardist and member of the Funk Brothers band that played on countless Motown hits, died Nov. 10 in Detroit. The band is currently featured in the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
John L. Howlette, 75, the first Black optometrist in Richmond and only the second licensed in Virginia, died Oct. 9. He suffered an apparent heart attack.
Jeanne Laveta Noble, 76, a professor of education who in 1962 became one of the first Black women to receive tenure at New York University, died Oct. 17 at New York University Medical Center. She had congestive heart failure.
LaWanda Page, 81, the actress best known for her role as Aunt Esther on the 1970s television comedy Sanford and Son, died Sept. 14 in a Los Angeles hospital of complications from diabetes.
Eugene T. Reed, 79, a Long Island dentist and civil rights activist, died Sept. 25 in his home in Amityville, N.Y He had a heart attack. He held several local and national posts in the NAACP, including president of the New York state conference from 1960 to 1965. Reed, who organized pickets and sit-ins protesting segregation in New York City schools in the 1960s, was often critical of the NAACP, calling for it to take more radical stands on a variety of issues.
Thomas S. …