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Peace, Rights Activist Sidney Lens, 74, Dies

Associated Press

Sidney Lens, a peace activist and union organizer who spent 50 years urging the United States to pursue a less militaristic foreign policy, has died of cancer at the age of 74.

Lens wrote more than 20 books, was a contributor to Progressive magazine since the early 1950s and lectured on foreign affairs and labor history at several universities.

Chicago Mayor Harold Washington called Lens a “warrior of justice in this nation for more than 50 years. He has championed the right causes, fought the tireless fight and been an inspiration to us all.”

Lens, who died Wednesday, was born Sidney Okun in Newark, N.J. In the 1940s, he hitchhiked across the country, staging sit-ins, organizing walk-outs and leading strikes in Detroit, Washington and New York. During the 1950s, his articles denouncing McCarthyism and the Cold War brought him national attention.

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Lens is survived by his wife, Shirley. Memorial services will be today.


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