Frieda Zames, a prominent advocate for the disabled
who lobbied to make New York City accessible to them, died yesterday
morning at her home in Manhattan. She was 72.
The cause has not been determined, said Anne Emerman, a longtime
friend. She said Ms. Zames had been recovering at home from a recent
Ms. Zames, a retired mathematics professor, was a past president
of Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York, an advocacy group.
At her death, she was a vice president of the organization.
Over the last several decades, Ms. Zames, who used a motorized
scooter because of the effects of childhood polio, worked to improve
access in places like subway stations, movie theaters, stores, restaurants
and public restrooms. Her work helped make city buses wheelchair-accessible
beginning in the 1980's; in recent years, she lobbied for wheelchair
access to taxis and ferryboats.
With her sister, Doris Zames Fleischer, Ms. Zames wrote The
Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation
(Temple University, 2001), a historical survey.
Frieda Zames was born in Brooklyn in 1932. She earned an undergraduate
degree from Brooklyn College and a doctorate in mathematics from
New York University. Until her retirement, she taught for many years
at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.
In addition to her sister, of Brooklyn, Ms. Zames is survived by
her partner of more than 30 years, Michael Imperiale.