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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Trump threatens NBC and other networks

Ever since his announcement to run for the presidency, we have known of Trump’s distaste for the media, as he underscores it with the charge that we are “the enemy of the people.”

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Trump’s tragedies

After putting his feud with the NFL and the cultural wars on hold, President Trump has finally devoted attention to the disaster in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

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Elombe Brath ‘showing’ us the Way

Like the hundreds who attended Elombe Brath’s events at the Harriet Tubman School in the past, there was a sizable crowd in the heart of Harlem last Saturday for a street co-naming ceremony in honor of the esteemed “freedom fighter,” as he was repeatedly called.

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A homegoing of music for Sarah McLawler Kimes

From the opening organ prelude with Donald Smith at the keyboard and Carol Sudhalter on baritone saxophone in a rendition of “Caravan” to a collective singing of “This Little Light of Mine,” led by Antoinette Montague, who officiated the funeral services, Sarah McLawler Kimes rested in a familiar milieu of music.

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Bernie Casey, gifted athlete, artist and actor

Within a few days of learning of Bernie Casey’s death, I had read an article about polymaths, those individuals who are proficient in several endeavors.

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Trump’s culture war and war of words

The topsy-turvy Trump world tumbled even further into chaos and turmoil last week as the president ratcheted up his culture war, asserted once more his support for repealing and replacing Obamacare, sided with a right wing candidate in Alabama and drew a line in the sand when faced off with the NFL.

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Dr. Ruth Elizabeth Burks, literary scholar and film authority

When Ishmael Reed announced this week that Dr. Ruth Elizabeth Burks had died, he reminded us that she was among the contributors to “Black Hollywood Unchained—Commentary on the State of Black Hollywood,” a collection of essays he edited in response to the film “Django Unchained” and published by Third World Press (2015).

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Trump ‘bombastic’ at UN

President Trump should swallow some of the words he delivered in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

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A. J. Smitherman, a fearless publisher and advocate for the damned

It was during a recent speaking engagement in Tulsa on the riot that occurred there in 1921 that I discovered in my research a most interesting man.

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Remembering Simeon Wright—Emmett Till’s cousin

“I was lying there, frozen stiff and not moving, when my mother rushed into the room,” Simeon Wright recounted of the morning when his cousin Emmett Till was abducted by two white men.

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Evelyn La Rue Pittman, teacher and composer of folk operas and spirituals

In preparation for lectures in Tulsa, Okla., I stumbled upon the name of Evelyn La Rue, or LaRue, Pittman, and recalled seeing a photo of her taken by Carl Van Vechten, who documented so many outstanding African-Americans, particularly during the Harlem Renaissance era.

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James Edwards, consummate actor and war veteran

The recent death of Dick Gregory and citations from his book “Nigger” brought to mind the actor James Edwards.

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The Rev. Charleszetta ‘Mother’ Waddles, fed the body and the soul

Nearly every African-American community has its “Mother” or “Queen Mother,” who has dedicated her life to preserving both her people’s present welfare and her enduring legacy.

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Trump is Trump again

As predicted, President Trump, hours after a rather conciliatory speech at Fort Myer—where it was more about Charlottesville than Afghanistan—was back at his accusatory best, blaming the media for the violence in Virginia last week.

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Dick Gregory—He attacked racism and bigotry with ironic humor

Dick Gregory possessed a comedic gift that when combined with his political insight cut like a laser to the heart of the Black experience in America.

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Dr. Darwin T. Turner, poet, teacher and leading literary critic

When I arrived at the University of Iowa in 1983, Dr. Darwin Theodore Troy Turner had already reached a commanding plateau of his amazing academic career. At that time, he was the University of Iowa Foundation’s Distinguished Professor of English.

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NABJ in NOLA was a Hall of Fame affair

Rather than being upstairs at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, where there was a standing room only crowd for the appearance of Omarosa Manigault at the 2017 National Association of Black Journalists conference, a few of us chose to spend the time meeting with the National Writers Union.

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A rogue president

The fissure in the nation’s race relations experienced a more tragic chasm in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend, and it also signaled a further collapse of the Trump administration.

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Sarah Webster Fabio, poet, educator, activist and literary critic

No matter which of the endeavors consumed her at the moment—poet, scholar, educator, musician, activist, literary critic, performer or mother—Sarah Webster Fabio did it with uncommon flair and creativity.

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Trump's words or war...'caught between two maniac

President Trump ratcheted his rhetoric to its most militaristic edge Tuesday, warning North Korea to end its threat against the U.S. or face the “fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

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Dr. S. Allen Counter, ‘the most interesting man in the world’

There is no need to wait for years to go by to enshrine Dr. S. Allen Counter, who died July 12 at his home in Cambridge, Mass. Dr. Counter was 73 and his daughter, Philippa Counter, said the cause of death was cancer

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Kiss the Mooch goodbye

Anthony Scaramucci, the latest victim in the Trump administration, might be said to have tripped over the same tongue that for 10 days as communications director had given him a national platform.

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Regina Anderson Andrews, librarian, playwright and patron of the arts

The storied Harlem Renaissance is replete with authors, but often neglected are the librarians, the bibliophiles who played an important role in keeping the books on the shelves and ensuring a struggling writer’s success.

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Senate debate on Obamacare underway on Capitol Hill

“Let the sideshow begin,” Blue Magic sang years ago, but they could have been talking about the GOP charade, the upcoming vote-a-rama as they reject amendment after amendment on how to repeal and replace Obamacare.

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Jim Ingram, an intrepid reporter and radio commentator

Despite the overwhelming recognition and attention Detroit is receiving in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the rebellion, there are sure to be many interesting elements that will not be covered.

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McConnell foiled again

One would think that with the GOP in command in Congress and with President Trump presiding over the White House that the repeal or the replacement of Obamacare was all but history.

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Martha Rivera Chavis, wife of civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, dies at 53

While we welcome the arrival of Black Press Month, we mourn the passing of Martha Rivera Chavis, the wife and first lady of the NNPA, of which her husband, Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., is the president and CEO.

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Noted former Detroit native Geri Allen remembered in words and music

Pianist, composer, educator Geri Allen was born in Pontiac, Mich., June 12, 1957; raised in Detroit; was a graduate of Howard University; earned a degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh; played all over the world;

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Lillian Hardin Armstrong, pianist, composer and tailor

There was, as expected, a flurry of renewed interest in the life and musical legacy of jazz great Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong over the last week or so because his birthday was on or somewhere around the Fourth of July.

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Democrat files articles of impeachment against Trump

After months of threats and speculation, Wednesday afternoon Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) has formally introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump.

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Pianist, composer, educator Geri Allen joins the ancestors

Hours after social media was abuzz Tuesday, June 27, that Geri Allen was ailing, the gifted pianist, composer and educator was dead.

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Dr. Robert Walter Johnson, the ‘godfather’ of Black tennis

As Wimbledon gets underway in London, tennis will be a dominate discussion for several weeks.

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Another setback for the Trump administration

Last week the Trump administration was dealt another devastating blow when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency could not freeze the implementation requiring oil and gas companies to fix methane leaks in the equipment.

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Mrs. Fannie B. Peck, founder of the National Housewives’ League

While doing research on “Black Detroit,” which chronicles the history of the city’s African-American citizens’ struggle for self-determination, I encountered so many often neglected freedom fighters and civic leaders.

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Numbers not there for GOP senators

Numbers count.

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Joey Alexander and Cecile McLorin Salvant shine at NJMH benefit concert

Pianist/composer Randy Weston, upon accepting his award at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem annual benefit concert Wednesday at Hunter College, said, “I only have two words: Joey Alexander.”

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The medical Northcross family of Detroit

Among the many untold Black stories in Detroit’s history is the phenomenal contributions made by doctors, and especially by African-American physicians.

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Cuba sí, Trump no!

When The Nation magazine in a recent announcement assured those interested in taking its tours to Cuba that everything was all right, it spelled out President Trump’s new restrictions on the constitutional rights to travel to Cuba.

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Mae Mallory, an often ignored militant activist

When a good friend reminded me that Mae Mallory was a participant at the Sixth Pan-African Congress in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1974, I dove into my memory bank to recall her presence there.

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Curtis Mayfield, a socially conscious singer and composer

“A few would-be biographers have tried to tell my father’s story; none have done it well,” wrote Todd Mayfield with Travis Aria in “Traveling Soul—The Life of Curtis Mayfield” (Chicago Review Press, 2017).

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Comey to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee

President Trump announced Monday that he will not invoke executive privilege to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying on Capitol Hill Thursday.

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Comey’s testimony revealed

Wednesday, a copy of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was released.

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New Orleans musician Herb Hardesty, Fats Domino’s sax man

Herb Hardesty may be best remembered for his half-century of performing in the studio and in concert with Fats Domino, but many music lovers first heard his melodic tones on Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” It was clearly a rhythm and blues song, but you could hear shades of jazz in Hardesty’s brief solo.

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Josephine Baker, the ‘Bronze Venus’

The recent death of Jean-Claude Baker, while a sad occasion, is an opportunity to renew our acquaintance with his “mother,” Josephine Baker, famously known as the "Bronze Venus".

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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 legacy that began May 1, 1934 in Washington, D.C., where she was born and raised—and continued to live for most of her life.

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Violet T. Lewis, educational trailblazer and founder of Lewis College of Business

Whenever there’s discussion of historically Black colleges and universities, the mind drifts to the southern states.

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Kushner, Kremlin and crisis

First there was Paul Manafort, and then Michael Flynn. Now the intrigue and possible collusion with the Russians has reached even deeper inside the Trump administration to his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

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‘Harlem: Home of Immigrants’

It didn’t take those summoned to the GHCC 2017 Partnership/Sponsors Breakfast Meeting long to pick up on Lloyd Williams’ announcement of the theme for the upcoming Harlem Week.

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Daniel A.P. Murray, an eminent librarian and bibliophile

Not until Elizabeth Dowling Taylor published her book, “The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era” (Amistad Press, 2017) was I aware of Murray and his role in the Black elite of Washington, D.C. as well as his creative promotion of African-American literature and culture.

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More damaging revelations against Trump

Last week, more damaging revelations surfaced suggesting that President Trump is careening dangerously toward impeachment.

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