Jerry Birnbach


Age: 87

Queens, New York activist whose struggle to block a proposed low-income housing project in his Forest Hill neighborhood in 1972 sparked a white middle-class backlash to the liberal urban agenda and helped to propel Mario M. Cuomo's political career because the planned housing project was an experiment in racial integration that urban planners called scatter-site housing (in that case, three 24-story towers to be occupied mostly by black and Puerto Rican tenants in a largely white, Jewish neighborhood of private homes and garden apartments), but the project was ultimately scaled down by half and galvanized his neighbors and became a national flash point for white resistance in the wake of the civil rights movement and commitments to racial integration.

Cause of Death: Complications from surgery

Born: August 5, 1929

Died: February 27, 2017

Boca Raton, Florida