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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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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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Tonya Pinkins stars in ‘Rasheeda Speaking,’ directed by Cynthia Nixon

Seeing the title of Joel Drake Johnson’s play, “Rasheeda Speaking,” you are eager to hear what this Black woman has to say. But, according to Cynthia Nixon, who makes her directing debut with the play, Rasheeda is not a character per se.

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Obama’s audacity of hope

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, was abound with a number of audacious proposals for the Republicans to chew on and mull over before they soundly reject them.

Report the news, Jake Tapper

Jake Trapper of CNN, stated his disappointment that President Barack Obama was not among the millions—particularly world leaders—marching in response to the horrific loss of lives in France this past week.

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Students to see ‘Selma,’ for free

Like the historic march in Selma, Ala., in 1965, the movie “Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., is part of an unprecedented campaign to make sure that young school children in the metropolitan area get a chance to see the film free of charge, thanks to a coalition of Black New York business leaders.

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Lynch mobbed

Rather than an apology from Mayor Bill de Blasio about the current turmoil between his office and the NYPD, some officers would prefer more manpower, more police cars and better protective vests.

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Pioneer librarian and archivist Dorothy Porter Wesley

Whenever African-American librarians are mentioned, Jean Blackwell Hutson of the Schomburg; Clara Jones of Detroit, the first Black president of the American Library Association; and Dorothy Porter Wesley of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University usually head the list.

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Republican stalwart Edward Brooke III dead at 95

Attaining firsts were hallmarks in Sen. Edward Brooke’s remarkable political odyssey, but they were not among his most cherished milestones.

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Mayor: Officer Liu ‘was a good man’

It was a dreary, teary Sunday morning and afternoon for the funeral services of officer Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn, N.Y. With police officers from all over the nation and some from abroad, all of them standing in formation along 65th Street, the overcast skies were gray, not blue, and a sprinkle came before the four-hour-long services were over.

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Mario Cuomo, three-term governor, laid to rest

Men in uniform and kilted bagpipers were in the streets of New York again Tuesday for the funeral services of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died New Year’s Day. He was 82.

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No criminal charges against Sanford Rubenstein

Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, as he has done in so many cases, won another decision from the district attorney’s office, but this time he was the accused, and the prosecutor found no basis to proceed on the charges of rape.

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An officer and a gentleman laid to rest

Even if you were not among the more than 20,000 police officers and spectators in Queens last Saturday for the funeral of police officer Rafael Ramos, you could tell it was a special moment in the city’s history.

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A city mourns, a mayor squirms

Caught between contending forces, Mayor Bill de Blasio is struggling to find a comfort zone, and the only bridge over this heated political chasm is Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

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City reacts and mourns loss of NYPD officers

In no way should the names of Michael Brown and Eric Garner be associated with the shooting deaths of two police officers Saturday in Brooklyn, said the Rev. Al Sharpton at a press conference Sunday morning at the headquarters of the National Action Network.

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Actor-director Ivan Dixon

Over the past several years, there have been a number of street renaming ceremonies, including one for A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. Du Bois, John Henrik Clarke, James Baldwin and James Brown.

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Dr. Huxtable, heal thy self!

Like so many Black publications, we’ve been on the sidelines of the Bill Cosby flare up, not sure when and how to enter a situation that is a classic she said, he said, with allegations from a coterie of women charging him with rape.

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Dems divided?

Splits and compromises in the Democratic Party are the operative words in this political season.

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New dawn for US-Cuba relations

President Barack Obama announced the beginning of the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba Wednesday, ending more than 50 years of diplomatic and economic embargo.

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Dante’s dilemma

Mayor Bill de Blasio could find very little wiggle room during a sharp grilling by George Stephanopoulos, the host of ABC’s “This Week,” last Sunday.

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National March Against Police Violence

Memories and images of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Akai Gurley are sure to abound Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Freedom Plaza in the nation’s capital, when the parents and loved ones of these young Black men and boys gather to lead the “National March Against Police Violence.”

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NO JUSTICE: Staten Island grand jury refuses to indict in Eric Garner case

“How can anyone in the community have faith in the system now?” asked Vincent Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights executive director.

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The immortal, rebellious Rosa Parks

One indisputable date on the American historic calendar is Dec. 1, 1955.

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Gordon Parks, exemplary of the Renaissance man

Today is Sunday, Nov. 30, and if Gordon Parks was alive, he would be 112 years old, perhaps still loading a camera, cleaning a paint brush, revising a piano concerto or working on his next book.

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Grand Fury in Ferguson

No Indictment! And things in Ferguson went from grand jury to grand fury.

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Defense Secretary Hagel resigns

On the heels of Attorney General Eric Holder tendering his resignation, President Obama announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is resigning.

‘The fight is not over,’ declared Sharpton

“The grand jury process is broken, and it should be indicted,” said attorney Benjamin Crump.

Members of City Council walk out

Reverberations from the grand jury’s no indictment of Officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 9 echoed in hundreds of communities this week.

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GRAND FURY: No indictment in Michael Brown killing

A grand jury decides not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Black, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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Another police homicide!

It was déjà vu all over again for Omowale Clay, the bullhorn in his hand as he marched behind Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron, who was at the front of demonstrators last Saturday evening in East New York, all of them outraged at the police for the shooting death of Akai Gurley.

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Defense Secretary Hagel resigns

On the heels of Attorney General Eric Holder tendering his resignation, President Obama announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is resigning.

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William Wells Brown, author and anti-slavery advocate

Of the many fascinating men and women in Black history, few have offered the intrigue and mystery of William Wells Brown.

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Rage against Rachel

Given the withering attacks from the media and the NYPD that have formed a cascade of allegations of wrongdoing, it was only a matter of time before Rachel Noerdlinger would have to relinquish her position as chief of staff for the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, some of her supporters said.

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Activists respond to Ferguson Commission

In a teleconference call Wednesday, several community activists and reporters discussed the impending verdict of the grand jury on the death of Michael Brown and whether police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed him in August, will be indicted.

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Extraordinary Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks

In the African-American literary canon, Phillis Wheatley, Zora Neale Hurston, Ann Petry, Maya Angelou, Mari Evans, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker and Sonia Sanchez—to name a few illustrious Black women writers—have carved an everlasting niche in our collective memory.

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A dialogue between Dr. Cornel West and communist leader Bob Avakian

A dialogue between Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation’s foremost public intellectuals, and Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, on the issue of “Revolution and Religion,” is sure to be as lively as it is provocative.

Obama defends executive power on immigration

If President Barack Obama goes ahead with his plan on immigration reform, then one “I” may trigger the other “I”: impeachment.

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President nominates New York’s Loretta Lynch for US attorney general

Last Saturday, President Barack Obama gave his loyal supporters and other Democrats something to cheer about after the abysmal showing in the midterm elections—he nominated Loretta Lynch as his next attorney general, replacing the outgoing Eric Holder.

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The Black Eagle settles in his nest

When we left the intrepid Hubert “The Black Eagle” Julian last week, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries had toppled the Batista regime, leaving the new Cuban government in the midst of a Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, both with reservations about their association with the new government.

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Noted journalist and AmNews columnist Jonathan Hicks makes his transition

In one of his last columns for the Amsterdam News, Jonathan P. Hicks did as he had always done—provide readers with the best information, this time on the outbreak of the Ebola virus.

‘A Great Night in Harlem’ artistically and financially rewarding

At each Jazz Foundation in America annual concert the logo stresses “saving jazz and blues…one musician at a time,” and the several younger musicians who performed Friday evening at the Apollo for the 13th annual concert assures the continuation of the foundation and its overall purposes.

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GOP tidal wave

Our president is Black, but the nation turned a crimson red on Tuesday as the Republicans took control of Congress, won several important gubernatorial races and even put a Black man in the Senate from the South for the first time since Reconstruction.

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‘The Black Eagle,’ the arms supplier

Last week, we embarked on the life and legacy of Hubert “The Black Eagle” Julian.

Midterm misery ahead?

Midterm elections have always been a headache for the White House incumbent, and the upcoming one may be even more troublesome for the Democrats, with Barack President Obama practically unwelcomed by so many candidates.

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Africans allay Ebola fears

It’s little wonder people are so confused and uncertain about the outbreak of Ebola, when you have fear outrunning facts, rumors taking precedent over reality, and some elected officials playing political football with the virus.

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NY doctor tests positive for Ebola

On Thursday Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at press conference that New York had confirmed its first patient diagnosed with the Ebola virus.

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The intrepid ‘Black Eagle,’ Hubert Julian

Last week, we presented the fascinating story of Bessie Coleman, a pioneering pilot who soared through the sky in the early 1920s as few Black or white, male or female pilots did.

Leaks from grand jury in Missouri

A sealant is needed on the grand jury proceedings in Ferguson, Mo., but it probably won’t stop the leaks that were disclosed last week.

Blaming it on Obama

If President Barack Obama hasn’t been catching enough flak, if his things-to-do list isn’t already crowded with pressing issues, the Ebola epidemic has brought another patch of gray hair and more problems to his troubled, beleaguered administration.

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Lennon Lacy’s death recalls Emmett Till

Black Americans old enough to recall the shock of seeing and hearing what had happened to Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 are sure to get a fresh whiff of that atrocity in learning about the tragedy of Lennon Lacy in Bladenboro, N.C.

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Dr. Haki Madhubuti discusses Malcolm X at Adelphi University

Over the past months, we have lost such iconic figures from the literary canon as Maya Angelou, Walter Dean Myers, Amiri Baraka and Ruby Dee, to mention but a few.

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