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6:24 am
Sat June 7, 2014

Former NOW President Karen DeCrow Has Died

Credit exhibits.library.northwestern.edu

(AP) — A celebrated activist and civil rights lawyer who led the National Organization for Women in the 1970s has died.

A longtime friend says Karen DeCrow succumbed Friday to melanoma at her home in Jamesville, New York, in the Syracuse area. She was 76.

DeCrow served as president of NOW from 1974 to 1977. There she pushed to eliminate gender discrimination at government agencies, big corporations and social groups. In 1969 DeCrow ran for mayor of Syracuse and became the first female mayoral candidate in the history of New York state. 

She targeted Ivy League schools to bring in more female students and took her activism into the stratosphere, pushing for more women in the space program.

DeCrow's friend and fellow activist, Rowena Malamud, called her the "perfect model" for the women's rights movement.

The Chicago native obtained a law degree at Syracuse University. The school said her activism has had a "profound impact."