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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Sen. Kamala Harris bows out of the presidential race

“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” she said in a press statement.

William Gardner Smith—significant Black author in exile

Any list of African American writers with a deep and resourceful connection to France would immediately include James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Chester Himes. But that list would not be complete, at least significantly in terms of post-World War II writers, without the inclusion of William Gardner Smith.

Impeachment hearings in the Judiciary Committee

His opening statement in several ways mirrored those made by Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the Intelligence Committee, and the 300-page report released on Tuesday.

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Gwendolyn Knight: She cast her own artistic light

Over the years, and certainly when her husband is cited, I am reminded of Gwendolyn Knight and the need to feature her in the Classroom.

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A Tribute for Toni

An ensemble of luminaries, mainly writers and musicians, shared their memories and reflections of the esteemed author Toni Morrison on Thursday at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

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Rita Dove receives Langston Hughes Medal

Rita Dove, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, was the recipient of the Langston Hughes Medal last week at City College as part of the annual Langston Hughes Festival.

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Charles Alston, painter, sculptor, and teacher

Once again while profiling one often unsung notable you discover another, and as on this occasion that significant other truly is significant.

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Sondland: Quid pro quo? ‘Yes,’ he said

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, on the fifth day of House impeachment hearings on Wednesday in the nation’s capital, confirmed that there was a quid pro quo demand by Trump to get Ukraine President Zelensky to pursue investigations of the Bidens in order for the promised U.S. military aid to be delivered.

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Bloomberg: “I apologize!”

Was it Trump? Was it Obama? Nope, the surprise visitor last Sunday to the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn was former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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Literary giant and griot Ernest Gaines dies at 86

Like his most memorable character, Jane Pittman, Earnest James Gaines was a compelling storyteller, with an ear for the tone and the rhythm of the speech he heard coming of age in Louisiana, and a student of oral history.

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Dr. Myra Adele Logan, first woman to perform open-heart surgery

It is commonly known that Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was among the first doctors to perform a successful open-heart surgery in 1893.

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Trump impeachment probe begins

Much of the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, Nov. 13, was consumed by opening statements from Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee; its ranking Republican member Devin Nunes; and the two witnesses, William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.

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Jack O’Dell, an unflinching foe of oppression, dead at 96

Almost a year ago to the day, I featured Jack O’Dell in the classroom column, which was a rare entry since the focus is usually on the deceased.

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Bill Pickett, rodeo star of bulldogging fame

Two weeks ago I featured Sarah Jane Woodson Early in this column, a profile prompted by the arrival of Williams Loren Katz’s “The Black West,” the sixth edition of the classic.

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In Memoriam: Dr. William Loren Katz

It was about two weeks after I had cited Dr. William Loren Katz in my column in this paper that I learned of his death.

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In memoriam: Queen Mother Sybil Claire Williams-Clarke

As a companion, colleague and wife, Sybil Williams-Clarke often stood loyally and lovingly in the shadow of her esteemed husband, Dr. John Henrik Clarke.

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Josephine Silone Yates, teacher, activist, clubwoman

Prolific and talented author Tonya Bolden has published another marvelous addition to her growing trove of books on African American history.

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Impeachment noose tightens on Trump

If things go as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised, by Thursday a vote will be taken to determine if the impeachment inquiry against Trump goes forward.

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Former Michigan Rep. John Conyers, political icon, dies at 40

Former U.S. Congressman John Conyers, whose 15-year fight to pass legislation that would make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday, has died. He was 90.

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John Mercer Langston, congressman and college president

Last week at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, it was my pleasure and privilege to be in conversation with two of the leading authorities on the life and legacy of John Brown.

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‘Trump/Pence Must Go!’ echoed on the streets of Manhattan

Hundreds of protesters assembled at Union Square Saturday, Oct. 19, and then marched peacefully to Trump Tower under banners emblazoned with “Trump/Pence Out Now.”

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Sarah Jane Woodson Early, notable teacher and member of the WCTU

My friendship and collegiality with Dr. William Loren Katz is almost as extensive and rewarding as the research he has done on Native Americans and Black Americans, and there is no better testament of his enduring scholarship than the recently revised edition of “The Black West” (Fulcrum, 2019).

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A white officer shot and killed a Black woman in her own home

On May 16, 2010, Aiyana Jones, a 7-year-old African American, was shot and killed during a raid by the Detroit Police.

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James H. Williams, chief porter of Red Caps at Grand Central Terminal

It’s not every day that you walk the streets of Harlem and bump into a published author and even rarer if that author is a good friend.

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Trump alarms GOP leaders

At last, it appears, Trump has done something that has drawn severe criticism from major GOP leaders.

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Savannah Churchill, a vocalist who merged R&B and jazz

While doing research on the life and legacy of percussionist Max Roach, I stumbled on the name of Savannah Churchill, a singer I first heard when I was about 10 years of age from my mother’s collection of shellac records.

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Rumors of Treason: Trump’s swamp widens

Infestation of Trump’s political swamp widens as the impeachment inquiry intensifies with the subpoena of attorney Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal counsel, and a report that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the call to Ukraine’s President Zelensky.

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Regal grand diva Jessye Norman dead at 74

Opera singer Jessye Norman has died.

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Rev. Jermain W. Loguen, a defiant anti-slavery voice

In his highly praised biography of Frederick Douglass, historian David Blight offers this paragraph about a historic gathering of notable Black leaders at a convention in Syracuse, New York in 1864.

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Trump’s tax returns targeted again

Yet another phase of getting Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns was recently disclosed, this one a subpoena issued by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

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Pumpsie Green, first Black on the Boston Red Sox

There must have been a moment in July 1962 when catcher Elston Howard of the New York Yankees was at home plate with the batter Pumpsie Green of the Boston Red Sox.

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Trump’s map flap creates a political imbroglio

Trump’s map flap, his tweet that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama “harder than anticipated,” has left in its wake a political imbroglio at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.

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Henrietta Wood, won the first reparations lawsuit

When it comes to reparations and its history, I have often cited its origins to Callie House, Rev. Isaiah Dickerson and their National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association, which they established in 1894.

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Trump to loot the Pentagon

The promise, or should we say threat that Trump made months ago about declaring a national emergency to divest funds from the Pentagon to build a wall along the southern border appears to be closer to a reality.

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Celebrate National Grandparents Day, Sept. 8

Perhaps if you’re a New Yorker who gets around town, you’ve encountered the ubiquitous Doris Williams, pushing her cart and dispensing fliers promoting National Grandparents Day, which falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day, and Sept. 8 this year.

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Author Paule Marshall, whose novels merged Black worlds

At a lunch date in 1983 at the University of Iowa, I met the acclaimed author Paule Marshall for the first time.

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First Black fighter pilot, Eugene Bullard

During a recent conversation with Ed Dwight, once among the most celebrated pilots in the nation, and my goddaughter who is in the process of becoming a commercial airline pilot, I thought of Eugene Bullard.

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Trump waffles on trade war

Trump’s appearance at the recently concluded G-7 summit did little to resolve the ongoing trade war with China.

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Dr. Margaret Just Butcher, educator and political activist

When your father is the famed biologist Ernest Everett Just and the first to receive the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, great things are expected of you, and his daughter Margaret Just Butcher forged her own path of brilliance and achievement.

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The Obamas take on Trump

Many Americans are chomping at the bit eager to see “American Factory,” a Netflix documentary produced by Barack and Michelle Obama and their company Higher Ground.

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NY Giants great running back Ron Johnson

Northwestern High School in Detroit has produced a number of world class athletes, including baseball greats Willie Horton and Alex Johnson, and Olympic Gold medalist Henry Carr.

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Basquiat’s art evokes Michael Stewart

When it comes to police misconduct/brutality it is hard to dismiss the image of Eric Garner being taken down in a chokehold.

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Polls show Trump doing poorly in suburbs of battleground states

Democratic presidential candidates are sure to chafe at the news of Trump’s plans on green cards that will favor the wealthy and the major changes his administration is making to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, but they do have some good news to cheer

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Medical trailblazer Dr. Edith Irby Jones

When her older sister, Juanita, died during a typhoid epidemic in Arkansas in the 1930s, Edith Irby Jones set her mind on becoming a doctor.

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Beloved author Toni Morrison, dead at 88

“We die,” Toni Morrison said at the conclusion of her Nobel Prize address in 1993.

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“It ain’t over,” Sharpton declared

After an interminably long five years, the wheels of justice finally moved a notch Friday, Aug. 2, when Judge Rosemarie Maldonado, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of aTrials recommended that Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the department for his role in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner.

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Baritone Todd Duncan, the original ‘Porgy’

If Anne Brown has appeared, can Todd Duncan be far behind? Certainly not in this column that featured her last week.

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Emmett Till continues to haunt America

It has been 64 years since the nation was rocked by the tragedy of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago who was brutally murdered while visiting his relatives in Money, Miss.

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The debate: Williamson whips the wonks

If the political pundits and commentators are right, the author Marianne Williamson, with her New Age advocacy, was the shining star of the Tuesday evening debate from Detroit.

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Long serving DA, Robert Morgenthau, dead at 99

While the late Robert M. Morgenthau, New York City’s longest serving district attorney, who died on July 21 at 99, will be remembered by some as setting the “gold standard” for prosecutors, others will see that salute as somewhat tarnished.

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