Eristus Sams, 77, whose bid for the U.S. Senate in 1961 was the first statewide campaign by a black in Texas since Reconstruction, died of a heart attack Thursday at his home in Prairie View, Texas. A former agriculture professor at Prairie View A&M; University, Mr. Sams sold 700 acres of his Waller County corn farm to finance his Senate campaign. He received 3,047 votes to place seventh in a race won by John Tower. He was mayor of his southeast Texas town for 14 years beginning in 1970. He also led a 13-year legal effort to win Prairie View A&M; students the right to vote in Waller County. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that a residency questionnaire arbitrarily applied by county officials discriminated against students at the predominantly black college.
Boris B. Piotrovsky, 82, director of the world-renowned Hermitage Museum, died yesterday in Leningrad of a cerebral hemorrhage, Tass said. Mr. Piotrovsky won fame in 1939 for his discovery of the ancient civilization of Urartu, in present-day Armenia. Until his death, he had been working as director of the prestigious Leningrad museum, which only recently under glasnost had begun to let some of its treasures travel to the outside world. He published more than 200 works in the Soviet Union, including "The History and Culture of Urartu." His excavations in the Armenia at Mount Karmir-Blur Hill uncovered the remains of an Urartu period town and fortress.
Alexander Zakin, 87, a Russian-born pianist who was the longtime accompanist of violinist Isaac Stern, died of heart failure Friday in a New York hospital. Mr. Zakin performed with Mr. Stern in concerts around the world from 1940 to 1977, and they made several dozen recordings together. The son of a violinist, Mr. Zakin was born in the Siberian city of Tobolsk and began studying piano at the age of 8.