- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Faith Seidenberg, an attorney and activist known for her civil rights and civil liberties work, has died. She was 91.

Her family says she died Friday at her home in Syracuse from the effects of a lung illness.

Seidenberg, who practiced law for more than 50 years, was a lead plaintiff in a landmark discrimination case against McSorley’s Ale House, a Manhattan tavern that refused to serve women. Seidenberg, who had been a national vice president of the National Organization for Women, went to the bar in 1970, was denied service and told to leave. Seidenberg and fellow attorney Karen DeCrow emerged victorious in federal court, and the case changed public accommodations law, leading to creation of the New York State’s Human Rights Law and similar measures across the country.

Seidenberg was born in Syracuse and graduated from the Syracuse University College of Law in 1954 as one of only two women in her class. She subsequently established her legal practice in the city and became one of the earliest members of the central New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

During the 1960s, Seidenberg represented members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) who were arrested during protests in support of the integration of city housing and the workforce of Niagara Mohawk, a local utility. She traveled to Mississippi to help register new voters during the civil rights movement’s turbulent Freedom Summer.

Seidenberg also represented female ice hockey players at Colgate University in the first federal Title IX case that converted a women’s athletic club to a varsity team. She was well-regarded for her legal advocacy on behalf of the rights of prison inmates and guards.

Seidenberg served on the executive board of the ACLU and established the organization’s Women’s Legal Defense Fund.

Seidenberg’s husband, Robert, died in 2010 at 90. He served as president of the Greater Syracuse chapter of NOW.

The family said no memorial service is planned.



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