The legendary book agent and housing activist Frances Goldin has died at the age of 96. In 1951, at the age of 27, Goldin ran for New York state Senate on the American Labor Party slate headed by W.E.B. Du Bois. She later helped preserve the Lower East Side of Manhattan by organizing to stop Robert Moses’s plan to bulldoze 12 blocks of the neighborhood in the name of so-called urban renewal. She helped start the Cooper Square Committee that advocated for tenant rights, community-based planning and affordable housing. As a literary agent, Goldin’s clients included Barbara Kingsolver, Adrienne Rich, Democracy Now!'s Juan González and the internationally renowned imprisoned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. Goldin talked about Mumia's case on Democracy Now! in 2014.
Frances Goldin: “Our prison system locks up millions of people who have never committed a crime in their life, the prime one being Mumia Abu-Jamal, who never killed anybody. And the woman who is grieving her departed husband, she grieved for the person who really killed the guy, and not for Mumia, who had nothing to do with that murder, and who has, incidentally, become one of the leading intellectuals in the United States.”