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Benny Carter, the master arranger of big band swing

For a couple of reasons Benny Carter stayed on my mind this week. His memory was first evoked during a discussion of the history of the Apollo Theater.
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Jackie Carter, an extraordinary publisher of diversity in children’s books

Even many of those with a direct connection to the publishing industry were not aware of author Jackie Carter’s important pioneering role in the promotion and publishing of children’s books, particularly those with an emphasis on racial diversity.
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James Haughton, crusader against the construction industry

There was a time a score of years ago when monthly visits to Jim Haughton’s place in lower Manhattan were part of a routine exercised by local—and a few national—activists.
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Malcolm X: Africa’s global ambassador

“The Malcolm X Day May 19 celebration recognizes his vision of us as a global people liberating ourselves from European colonialism,” explained historian Dr. Leonard Jeffries in preparation for the 51st anniversary of the event, “and May 25 is African ...
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PHOTOS: Pearl Washington laid to rest

Friends and family came together to remember the late Dwayne A. "Pearl" Washington.
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Afeni Shakur, mother of hip-hop icon Tupac, joins ancestors

Afeni Shakur, original Black Panther activist and mother of slain hip-hop legend Tupac, passed away Monday night after paramedics removed the 69-year-old from her Sausalito, Calif., home and rushed her to Marin General Hospital
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Misty Copeland poised to take flight

This is an amazing time for ballerina Misty Copeland. On May 2, one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers, Mattel, launched a Misty Copeland Barbie Doll as part of its “Sheroes” program, honoring female heroes who inspire girls and women ...
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Shirley Horn, an unforgettable voice and superb pianist

Most fans of vocalist/pianist Shirley Horn were probably seduced by her recordings and concert engagements toward the end of her career, with her rendition of “Here’s to Life,” her signature song. But there’s plenty more to Horn’s remarkable journey and ...
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Oliver Law, Black commander during the Spanish Civil War

To balance our last classroom featuring Salaria Kea, an African-American nurse who volunteered in the fight against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, we profile the adventurous life of Oliver Law.
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Salaria Kea, a Black nurse in the Spanish Civil War

Usually, when there is discussion of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, the role of African-Americans who volunteered to battle against fascism is given little mention.
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A. Philip Randolph: Father of the Black labor movement

April 15 is A. Philip Randolph’s birthday.
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‘The Divine One,’ Sarah Vaughan, a vocalist of extraordinary range

Around this time of year, when spring was emerging from its chrysalis and Gil Noble’s “Like It Is” was part of our Sunday afternoon television fare, the famous vocalist Sarah Lois Vaughan would be among the divas featured on his ...
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Lester A. Walton, journalist, diplomat and songwriter

Lester A. Walton’s name surfaced recently during all the promos and announcements about the revival of “Shuffle Along,” an all-Black musical often considered the springboard for the Harlem Renaissance. Walton, then employed at the New York Age, was among the ...
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Pioneering prima ballerina Janet Collins

It is certainly wonderful to witness all the praise and adulation Misty Copeland is receiving for her prowess in dance. This is a great moment to reflect on another ballerina of equal agility and elegance from another era of challenge, ...
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Sandy Wills, a courageous soldier during the Civil War

Sharing the podium with Cheryl Wills, the highly regarded anchorwoman of NY1, at a recent event sponsored by the Delta Sigma Theta at York College in Queens
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