Political Activist Annie Ackerman Dead At 75
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Annie Ackerman, the powerful political activist whose support was courted by candidates ranging from condominum board members to a president, died Monday after an eight-year battle with cancer. She was 75.
Ms. Ackerman died in her sleep at her condominium early Monday, said her daughter, Kay Fleisher of Plantation.
Her political friends included President Jimmy Carter, fellow Democrats Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, and nearly every well-known Democratic politician in Florida.
Ms. Ackerman successfully roused retirees from political apathy and mobilized them into powerful voting blocs. Famed for turnouts ranging past 90 percent, they were dubbed ″condo commandos.″
″She articulated the values and aspirations of tens of thousands of people who moved to northeast Dade County for their retirement,″ said state Rep. Mike Abrams, a Democrat and a strategist for national and statewide political candidates.
″She kind of embodied their continued interest in the community they live in,″ Abrams said. ″It would have been so easy for all these people to come to Florida and just retire. Instead, they became a force of leadership.″
At age 5, Ms. Ackerman joined her father on a garment workers’ picket line, beginning a life of political activism that included volunteer work for the campaigns of the late Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago and accelerated when she and her husband moved to a waterfront Florida condominium in 1969.
″She recognized a void, a need for community involvement, and she filled that void,″ Ms. Fleisher said. ″She was never afraid to speak her mind and the community is far better off today than when she arrived.″
Although she was most visible during electoral campaigns, Ms. Ackerman marshaled protests and campaigns on issues ranging from water pollution to condominium reform.
Her husband, Irving, a retired insurance executive from Chicago, died six years ago.
Besides Ms. Fleisher, she is survived by a daughter, Annette Ansel, and a son, Alan Ackerman, both of Chicago, eight grandchildren and four great- grandchildren.