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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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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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Speaker Ryan holds the line

If the Senate is poised to reject President Trump’s American Health Care Act that narrowly passed in the House by four votes, they should feel equally resistant to his budget proposal, with its severe cuts planned for the nation’s poor.

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Sylvia Moy, a breakthrough songwriter and producer at Motown Records

Think Detroit and invariably the next thought is automobiles and the Motown Recording Company. Say Motown, and Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson come to mind.

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Trump trips again

A disclosure by The Washington Post on Monday that President Trump had shared highly classified intelligence information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week sent a new wave of improbability and consternation across the nation.

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President Trump fires FBI director James Comey

President Trump has found yet another way to boil the political pot—dare we call it Trumpestuous—with the firing of FBI director James Comey. As expected, the termination of the FBI head has unleashed a firestorm of reaction among Democrats and Republicans.

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Library renamed the Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library

“I lived on 114th Street and Manhattan Avenue,” Harry Belafonte said toward the end of his 20-minute speech at the 115th Street Library.

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World War II hero Carl E. Clark honored before his death

The failure of the U.S. to recognize the valor and courage of Black American soldiers, sailors and other military personnel is nothing new, and the topic surfaced again when Carl Clark, 66 years after his heroic act during World War II, was finally honored in 2012.

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Chokwe Antar Lumumba wins Democratic primary in Jackson, Miss.

A week ago, May 2, Chokwe Antar Lumumba won the mayoral Democratic primary in Jackson, Miss. Lumumba, 34, whose father, the city’s former mayor, Chokwe Lumumba, died three years ago at 66, defeated a crowded field of candidates, polling phenomenal numbers.

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TrumpCare: Death assurance

Of all the distressing numbers related to the Republican so-called American Health Care Act, narrowly passed last week in the House, none is as disturbing as those forecast by the Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance.

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Rare Malcolm X docu screens May 7

It’s hard to believe that attendees at the screening of Lebert “Sandy” Bethune’s film, “Malcolm X: Struggle for Freedom,” Sunday, May 7, at Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center will acquire as much knowledge as Bethune dispensed during his recent appearance at City College.

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William T. Coleman Jr., ‘Counsel for the Situation’ and civil rights icon

William Thaddeus Coleman Jr. was called “Bumps” by Coleman Young, Detroit’s first African-American mayor, during their stint in the military, and President Clinton honored him with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry, was young, gifted and Black

Finding a female counterpart to the remarkable August Wilson is not easy, but Lorraine Hansberry comes close, and she came to mind additionally as we prepare for Malcolm X’s birthday May 19, which she shared.

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Dumb Trump

If it’s possible to discern a person’s character and integrity, or lack thereof, by whom they admire and respect, then there’s little to commend President Trump’s hero-worship of Andrew Jackson.

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James Baldwin’s letters acquired by the Schomburg

James Baldwin, a native son of Harlem, is home again, at least some of his precious letters and other artifacts are after having been acquisitioned by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

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A playwright of the ages, August Wilson

A recent press release from Dr. Maulana Karenga reminded me of the great playwright August Wilson. Karenga, as timely and prescient as ever, will be paying homage to Wilson and his remarkable odyssey and the Classroom follows suit.

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Judge blocks Trump’s sanctuary cities

President Trump suffered another serious judicial bump Tuesday when a San Francisco judge ruled against his executive order barring federal funds to the so-called sanctuary cities. This decision by a judge is the latest court setback for the Trump administration, including three blocks on his earlier immigration orders and travel bans.

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