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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Kermit Eady and Zakia Byrd join the ancestors

A celebration of life memorial service was held for Kermit Eady on Tuesday at St. Mark AME Church in Jackson Heights.

Woody Strode, impressive on the gridiron and the screen

Almost on the same day the media was celebrating the centenary of Jackie Robinson’s birth, one of the cable television outlets that feature classic shows broadcast the 1977 TV series “How the West Was Won.”

The halves of Kamala Harris

If presidential aspirant Sen. Kamala Harris of California has put forth progressive domestic proposals, they are often offset and countered by various foreign policy positions.

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A stunning ‘Suite for Malcolm X’ at City College

During his brief but iconic stay with us, Malcolm X (El-Malik El-Shabazz) was an always evolving political leader and thinker.

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Zelda Wynn Valdes, a dress designer of the stars

In a recent edition of The New York Times the special section titled “Overlooked” listed several African-Americans who deserved obituaries but never received them.

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‘Trump lies, democracy dies,’ protesters chanted

“Trump lies, democracy dies!” and “Get Trump out of the White House!” were some of the chants from demonstrators outside Trump Tower and the International Tower near Central Park hours before he delivered his second State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.

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Ewart Abner Jr., an astute visionary in the music industry

It is not necessarily the intention to connect one profile with another in this column, but whenever they are related, it’s hard to ignore the association.

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Trump’s stall on the wall

If things go as they most certainly will, the nation will be stalled again with Trump’s unlikely budge on his demand to get his wall built on our southern border.

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Two witnesses—one with a pen, one with a camera

There are two exquisite exhibits up through most of Black History Month, from one end of Manhattan to the other.

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Trump gets only half a loaf from Supreme Court

Last summer, the current White House occupant tweeted that the government would not allow “transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” This decision was clearly aimed to reverse a policy advanced by the Obama administration.

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Laquan McDonald’s family disappointed in verdicts

The uneven, unfair hand of justice prevailed again in Chicago, where white officer Jason Van Dyke was given a light sentence in the shooting death of Black teen Laquan McDonald.

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Advertising trailblazer, Barbara Gardner Proctor

If by naming her company Proctor & Gardner, Barbara Gardner Proctor made you think of Proctor & Gamble, the inversion was typical of her vision and imaginative advertising ingenuity.

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Willis Richardson, prolific but often ignored playwright

It ceases to be a surprise where the African-American presence might pop up in today’s news.

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Melba Liston, a marvelous trombonist, composer and arranger

The esteemed pianist and bandleader Randy Weston wrote a song in tribute to her musical genius.

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Three book trees felled

With the calendar about to flip and a new year dawning, it was time for some house cleaning, time to clear a veritable forest of book trees making the path to the computer all the more challenging.

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Wilfred DeFour, a valiant and vital Tuskegee Airman

Walk the streets of Harlem, chat with the vendors or stop off at the Apollo Theater and say hello to Billy Mitchell, “Mr. Apollo,” and you can catch up on all the news you might have missed in the papers, on television, on radio or on social media.

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The Rev. Jackson and the Rev. Sharpton—twin voices of struggle

We should not be surprised that the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would deliver New Year’s messages with a similar resonance, evoking Scripture, history and the Civil Rights Movement.

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Dr. Pearl Primus, choreographer, dancer and anthropologist

When word spread that the great dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell had passed, I was reminded of another dancer and choreographer, Pearl Eileen Primus, who preceded him on the stage with almost the same prominence and acclaim.

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Trump blames Dems for shutdown

Even when our government is supposedly up and running, it’s at a virtual standstill and locked in turmoil and chaos.

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Trailblazer William C. Thompson Sr., jurist and politician passes at 94

William C. Thompson Sr., a New Yorker who was a City Councilman, a State Supreme Court justice and Brooklyn’s first African-American state senator, died Christmas Eve.

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Mama Imani Humphrey, an educator, activist and Kwanzaa authority

Funny how memories circle back on you, reminding you of treasured moments, especially those spent with advocates of freedom and justice.

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Nancy Wilson, peerless interpreter of lyrics, dead at 81

Minutes after I heard that Nancy Wilson was dead I went online to YouTube to see and hear again her glorious majesty, the wondrous beauty of her voice.

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Trump’s bid for a wall collapses

It was too good to be true—Trump was actually going to take the blame for something.

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Eunice Hunton Carter, a unique attorney and crime fighter

It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Addie Hunton, who I profiled in the Classroom two years ago, had a legacy that was prominently extended two generations.

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Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, sentenced to three years

There was a time when Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, said he would take a bullet for the president.

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Theophilus Lewis, theater critic of the Harlem Renaissance

Even the most definitive books on the Harlem Renaissance and Black theater often omit any mention of Theophilus Lewis, whose reviews, criticisms and journalistic flair expand the era’s prominence and notoriety.

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Former President George H.W. Bush dead at 94

Competitor and conciliator are two words that have abound in describing former President George Herbert Walker Bush, who died last Friday in Houston at 94. But those words do not fully capture what he meant to African-Americans, and for that we can say Willie Horton, Clarence Thomas, William Bennett and Keith Jackson

Mueller mulls Trump surrogates

Wagons are circling, the noose is tightening or the drama is drawing to a close. No matter which of these metaphors you choose, special counsel Robert Mueller’s methodical, secretive probe into the Trump administration’s collusion with Russia during the last presidential campaign might be fully revealed before the end of the week.

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The revolutionary potential of Black Forum Records

Motown Records and its galaxy of musical stars are permanent fixtures in American culture, but very little is known about the company’s subsidiary label, Black Forum. Sunday evening at MOMA PS1, a panel that included Professor Michael Dinwiddie, James Mtume, Sadie Barnette and Rich Medina discussed the label and placed it within the context of Black nationalism and self-determination.

Willa B. Brown, aviator pioneer and activist

For several months now I’ve been in contact with the Robinson Family Aerospace mission, most notably their “send-your-name-to-Mars” project, which is still on my agenda to fulfill.

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Trump adds his rebel yell to Mississippi Senate race

Catching flak from even GOP members for his stance on climate change, with six in 10 Americans disapproving of his leadership, and the Mexican border tearing at the seams, Trump had no choice but to run for cover in Mississippi with an alternate purpose of helping the incumbent Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.

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Police kill the wrong Black man again

“Friendly fire,” and “We shot and killed the wrong man,” are recent responses from police officials in the shootings of innocent Black men that are heard time and time again, and they are as tired as they are iniquitous.

H. Carl McCall and Lloyd Williams are among recipients of honorary doctorates from the University of the West Indies

With so much trouble in the world, as Bob Marley once sang, a lot of good things slip by that deserve wider attention and recognition.

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Trump grades himself

In a wide-ranging interview Sunday with Fox News reporter Chris Wallace, Trump touched on a number of recent issues spinning in and around his administration, including an evaluation of his performance.

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Diana Sands, talented actress and a founder of Third World Cinema

Last month, we lauded playwright Alice Childress for being the first African-American woman to direct an off-Broadway play.

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Trump faces fractious fronts at home and abroad

Trump was conspicuously absent from two major events in Paris and late for another. He was a no-show Saturday at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in Northern France, where he was scheduled to lay a wreath in honor of the more than 2,200 soldiers and 251 unknown bodies that rest in peace.

Pianist/composer Don Shirley, jazz and pop with a classical touch

Given the preponderance of ads by political candidates this season during the midterm elections, perhaps you missed the trailer for the movie “Green Book,” which is slated for release later this month. Most folks knowledgeable about “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” a travel guide of safety for Black Americans venturing by car through the Jim Crow South, might wonder how a guide could become a movie.

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AG Jeff Sessions resigns

Hell hath no fury like a Trump scorned, and with his resignation Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the latest victim.

Democratic gubernatorial setbacks, House victory

The news wasn’t good for the two African-American Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Georgia and Florida. Andrew Gillum was defeated by Ron DeSantis in Florida, and Stacey Abrams has apparently lost to Brian Kemp in Georgia, although Abrams, unlike Gillum, has yet to concede as of Wednesday morning. “Across our state,” Abrams declared Tuesday evening, “folks are opening up the dreams of voters in

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Evelyn Cunningham, the grande dame of Black journalism

You knew from her regal bearing and the first words out of her mouth that Evelyn Cunningham was not a woman to suffer fools kindly, and that you had better state your purpose and not waste her time.

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Media to blame for the violent intolerance, Trump charges

In a nation reeling from an anti-Semitic massacre, prominent Americans targeted with pipe bombs and the right-wing animus of white men, for Trump the media is to blame. “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” Trump tweeted.

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Lt. Colonel William Baker, a soldier of honor and distinction

I am deeply indebted to publications that have the interest and wherewithal to help us remember those often forgotten individuals in our history, and in this regard a special salute is extended to The New York Times and Sam Roberts, who has been tireless in his determination to keep us informed of the passing of many notables.

Engineer Raye Montague, a ‘hidden figure,’ improved submarines

With the recent passing of Raye Montague, another notable Black engineer and technician, a “hidden figure,” has emerged from the shadows of racism and sexism to claim her rightful place in history.

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Alice Childress, prolific playwright, novelist and actress

In tracing the life and legacy of playwright Lorraine Hansberry in his New York Times book review of Imani Perry’s biography, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins invokes a number of writers and playwrights who were beneficiaries of her monumental achievements and breakthroughs. Alice Childress is one that he mentions who has been “embarrassingly underappreciated.”

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Roger Robinson, an actor of brilliance and resonance

It is never too late or too soon to pay tribute to an artist whose career has left a remarkable record and etched an imperishable legacy. Such is the case with Roger Robinson, the Tony Award- winning actor who made his transition to that eternal stage Sept. 26 in Escondido, Ca., because of heart complications.

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Justice at last for Laquan McDonald

For nearly four years, the family of Laquan McDonald has waited for justice.

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Ed Clark retrospective at Mnuchin Gallery thru Oct. 20

It’s been nearly forty years since artist/painter Ed Clark has had a retrospective of his long and highly productive career.

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Along with Mahalia and Aretha, there was Clara Ward and her singers

Aretha Franklin’s passing created a flurry of tributes and memorials, which continues weeks after her death Aug. 16. The October edition of Rolling Stone weighed in with a lengthy reflection by Mikal Gilmore, with as much effulgence as all the other tributes combined.

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Bill Cosby, ‘America’s Dad,’ sentenced to 3 to 10 years

Bill Cosby, “America’s Dad,” was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison Tuesday by Judge Steven O’Neill in Norristown, Pa. After citing that Cosby was a “sexually violent predator,” O’Neill denied him bail during the pending appeals.

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Johnny ‘Wah Wah’ Hudgins, a burlesque comedian of renown

In researching last week’s profile on Fredi Washington, I stumbled repeatedly on Johnny Hudgins.