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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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‘A bright star is cast’—National Museum of African-American History and Culture

President Barack Obama, during his speech last Saturday to inaugurate the opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture—a name Donald Trump mangled hours before his debate—observed that the museum would not be a panacea for the nation’s racial struggle.

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After 5 years soccer coach cleared in 12 year old’s death

Oral “Nick” Hillary, charged with the murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips, was found not guilty Wednesday morning in Canton, N.Y. Judge Felix Catena’s verdict was met with a flood of emotions in the crowded courtroom.

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Dr. Lamuel Stanislaus, a diplomat of immense influence and integrity, dies at 95

With world leaders gathering at the U.N. this week and Caribbean leaders meeting at SUNY to discuss a partnership with the University of the West Indies, Dr. Lamuel Stanislaus would have felt perfectly at home.

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Griot and culinary anthropologist Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor passes at 79

A coterie of scholars and activists around the world were stunned to hear that Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor had joined the ancestors.

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Olympic great and nurse, Willye B. White

Ed Temple, the famed head coach of women’s track at Tennessee State University, died last Thursday.

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Clinton clobbers Trump

If Donald Trump shows up for the second debate in St. Louis, he’s either a glutton for punishment or still wallowing in a pit of self-delusion, believing he defeated Hillary Clinton Tuesday night at Hofstra University.

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Nick Hillary, not guilty!

Oral “Nick” Hillary, charged with the murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips, was found not guilty Wednesday morning in Canton, N.Y.

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Architect Vertner W. Tandy, a man of many firsts

From Harlem to up the Hudson River, the creative genius of architect Vertner Woodson Tandy remains on display.

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Bombs at the debate

With the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fast approaching, the two candidates quickly weighed in on the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey, each suggesting he or she was best prepared to deal with such attacks.

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A jazz tribute and flyover to Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., renowned Tuskegee Airman and educator

Famed Tuskegee Airman and educator Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr. made it abundantly clear that when he died, there were to be no funeral services. He insisted there be a jazz concert in his memory.

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‘Hidden Figures’ no more—Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson of NASA

Back in June, when I featured the late Dorothy Vaughan in the Classroom, I promised to return to the subject of African-American women who worked at NASA as Vaughan did so illustriously. From Vaughan’s profile you were introduced to a number of other extraordinary women mathematicians and engineers, including Katherine Johnson, Eunice Smith and Mary Jackson.

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Protests stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

When Colin Kaepernick refused to honor the American national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner,” he may not have been aware that his protest was consistent with one now raging in North Dakota.

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Concern about Clinton’s physical health and Trump’s mental health

As expected, it was another exciting and unpredictable week on the presidential campaign trail between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

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Espaillat’s growing influence

Victories for three women in Tuesday’s primaries were headline stories, one of them close to home here in Harlem and one from the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

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Member of Tuskegee Airmen, Dabney Montgomery, dies at 93

Before marching with Dr. King in Selma in 1965, Dabney Montgomery was a ground crewman for the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Montgomery, 93, died of natural causes Saturday, according to his goddaughter, Marlene Patton.

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Detroit to Trump: Drop dead!

One of the best definitions of Donald Trump—and he’s been called everything from a sociopath to a psychopath—is that he is like a tornado, hollow in the center, but nevertheless dangerous and destructive.

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Kaepernick takes a stand by sitting

In one way, Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, brought to mind the courageous act of Rosa Parks, who chose to sit rather than give up her seat at the front of the “colored” section of the bus to a white passenger.

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Shelby Westbrook, Tuskegee Airman, dead at 94

Last month the famed Tuskegee Airman Dr. Roscoe Brown joined the ancestors. Wednesday, Aug. 17, fellow airman Shelby Westbrook, died in Chicago.

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Consummate actress and writer, Beah Richards

As we conclude the deserving clamor around what would be the 96th birthday of the great jazz musician, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, another notable born a month before, July 12, 1920, was actress Beah Richards.

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Nick Hillary case takes new twist: Judge throws out prejudicial DNA

In a rare decision, Friday, presiding St. Lawrence County Court Judge Felix Catena ruled that the DNA evidence in the upcoming trial of Oral Nick Hillary is “unreliable” and cannot be used at trial.

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A defiant Emmett Till

Recently, in an otherwise thoughtful column in The New York Times, noted journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson perpetuated a misconception about the mother of Emmett Till.

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Gideon Manasseh, photographer and educator, passes at 77

Celebrated Amsterdam News Photographer and teacher Gideon Manasseh makes his transition.

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Harry Briggs Jr., member of an unheralded civil rights family

Once more with the recent death of Harry Briggs Jr., we are reminded of the Civil Rights Movement and many who, at best, are footnotes in history.

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The lion can sleep tonight

Congressman Charles B. Rangel is universally known as the “Lion of Lenox Avenue,” but the roar heard during a Harlem Day tribute for him Sunday was one of approval from a crowd not too far from his home in Lenox Terrace.

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From Nat Turner to Nate Parker

Nat Turner’s slave rebellion occurred in Virginia in 1831, but it has a fresh round of currency and controversy with “The Birth of a Nation,” actor, director and producer Nate Parker’s film depicting what was a bloody uprising.

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George Curry—A personal reflection

Given George Curry’s international impact on the world of journalism we can expect a long list of encomiums, all of them warranted and all needed in the attempt to capture the totality of his remarkable odyssey.

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Marion Christopher Barry, son of the former D.C. mayor, dies of an overdose

Marion Christopher Barry, the son of the late mayor of Washington, D.C., has died of an apparent drug overdose.

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Let’s get ready to rumba!

“It’s amazing,” said the incomparable Cuban pianist and composer, Chucho Valdes. “Latin Jazz was born in New York with Mario Bauza, Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie and others.

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Langston Hughes and Nicolas Guillen

Saturday, Aug. 13, Fidel Castro, the great Cuban revolutionary and former president of the island nation, celebrated his 90th birthday.

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Florence Griffith Joyner, ‘Flo Jo,’ track immortal and fashionista

Watching the Black women in preparation for the 100-meter and 200-meter races at the Olympics in Rio this week, some decked out in tights, hair extended in weaves or wigs, faces aglow in colorful makeup, it was easy to remember the presence of Florence Griffith Joyner.

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Giuliani’s giant gaffes

Earlier this year, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was campaigning so eagerly for Donald Trump that he confused Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima.

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Muslim cleric and aide assassinated

Last Saturday afternoon, Imam Alauddin Akonjee and his aide, Thara Miah, had just finished worship at Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in Queens when they were shot in the back of the head and killed.

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Chano Pozo, the great Cuban percussionist and composer

As we approach the precipice of the Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural Festival, a nearly weeklong event from Aug. 15 to Aug. 21, it is difficult not to think of the great Cuban percussionist, conguero Chano Pozo.

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Clinton promises to repair Voting Rights Act

Of all the words Hillary Clinton has voiced in this turbulent election season, none are more on point and meaningful as her comments regarding the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Acclaimed author James Alan McPherson Jr. dies at 72

During my brief stay in Iowa City and teaching at the university there, I had several opportunities to spend time with the author James Alan McPherson.

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Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate in US

In this fervid election season with such unpredictability, the American public is getting a massive dose of politics, some of the civic lessons they never learned or have forgotten.

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Genius of genealogy from Louisa Parris to Chirlane McCray

During a recent event at Gracie Mansion, First Lady Chirlane McCray was among the speakers, and she recounted a story about her great-grandmother, Louisa Parris. She was from Barbados, and my profile last week of C.L.R. James, a native of Trinidad, sent me reeling again back to the Caribbean.

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Democratic platform far from perfect

The Democratic platform is 57 pages long but short on substance for Black Americans.

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Michelle’s moment: First Lady shines at DNC

It took fiery speeches from First Lady Michelle Obama and Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to somewhat stifle the dissension in the ranks as the Democratic convention got underway Monday in Philadelphia.

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Another crack in the glass ceiling by Clinton

“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected the nominee of the Democratic Party for the presidency of the United States,” Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday evening, saying words he probably never hoped to say.

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Vaughn Harper’s ‘Quiet Storm’ evoked at his homegoing

“He came with game,” media master Imhotep Gary Byrd began in his eulogy of Vaughn Harper Saturday afternoon at Riverside Church.

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Marxian scholar, historian and activist C.L.R. James

During a recent panel at Revolution Book store in Harlem, the subject of revolution dominated the discussion.

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Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural Festival embraced at Gracie Mansion

One person arriving at Gracie Mansion Thursday compared the long line of people waiting to enter to the lines at the Apollo Theater when James Brown was the star attraction.

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Black men with guns

Since this nation’s bloody beginning—the decimation of Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans—nothing has been more terrifying to white America than a Black man with a gun.

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GOP convention off to a roiling start

Rather than sit through hours of the Republican convention, many viewers watched the event on C-SPAN, which allowed them to select the speakers they wanted to see and hear.

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The Hillary and Bernie show

Hillary Clinton’s slogan of “Stronger Together” got a little bit stronger Tuesday evening in Portsmouth, N.H., when Sen. Bernie Sanders enthusiastically endorsed Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.

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Obama blesses the fallen officers in Dallas

In response to the shooting of police officers in Dallas last week, President Obama unleashed a barrage of words Tuesday at a memorial service for the slain officers, as if he intended each word to begin the healing process, to push the pain a little further into the past.

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Murder in Black and blue

A day after the Fourth of July, there was a brutal sequel to the moments of patriotism in Baton Rouge, La., when Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, was riddled with six bullets from the local police.

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Eugene Giscombe, ‘Mayor of 125th Street,’ passes at 76

Tuesday, a group of people involved in making a documentary on the history of the Apollo Theater were discussing various people to be contacted for the project.

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Vaughn Harper, the voice of the ‘Quiet Storm’ is stilled

Vaughn Harper’s mellifluous voice that matched the melodious music he dispensed was a staple on WBLS radio for years.

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