Activist Miriam Muravchik, 97


Miriam Muravchik, a 43-year resident of Riverdale, died March 5, 2018, three days before her 98th birthday.

She was a lifelong “democratic socialist” and an activist in civil rights and other causes. She took part in one of America’s very first civil rights demonstrations, the 1958 Youth March for Integrated Schools, as well as countless other marches and protests.

Her activism didn’t slacken, even late in life, as she served for years as the leader of the social action committee of the Riverdale Senior Center, and was an indefatigable writer of letters to the editor on social issues published often in The Riverdale Press.

Andria Cassidy, deputy director of Riverdale Senior Services, said “her presence was always known. She contributed to the social action committee with great commitment. She was always so grateful for any service or any program she attended. 

“She would voice her pleasure at participating and how glad she was to be involved in our community. She was a really lovely, lovely person.”

As a young woman, she was a professional dancer, appearing with the Martha Graham Dance Company, and in various shows, including the Broadway hit “Up in Central Park” between 1945 and 1946. She gave up her dance career to raise a family with her husband Emanuel, a labor leader, to whom she was married for 67 years, until his death in 2007.

They raised two sons: Joshua, of Silver Spring, Maryland; and Aaron, of Naples, Florida. 

Once her sons had passed the age of elementary school, she resumed her education, receiving a master’s in social work from Columbia University, which launched her into a new career devoted first to legal services for the poor, and later to refugee resettlement.

In addition to her role as wife and mother, and her careers and political activism, she cultivated a keen interest in the arts, and won several prizes for her sculptures, a hobby she took up late in life.

In addition to her sons, she is survived by daughters-in-law Sally and Lindalva; grandchildren Stephanie (Jon Shields) and Madeline Muravchik (Melvin Marcelo), and Valerie (Amir) Klayman, Eben and Gerdson Muravchik, and great-grandchildren Isaiah, Gabriel and Aaron Shields; as well as Quinn Muravchik-Marcelo; Aviv, Shai, Erez and Ariel Klayman; and Samantha Houghton. 

Miriam Muravchik,