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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Kanye West dumps Trump

It’s not exactly clear what circumstances moved rap artist Kanye West to no longer support Trump, but in an extended interview with Forbes magazine he said he had lost confidence in the president.

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The redoubtable, resourceful Elizabeth Gloucester

Invariably around this flip of the calendar and the 4th of July, the great abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass commands attention, particularly for his memorable speech that centered on the nation’s hypocrisy, asking what the day means to enslaved people.

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Jacob Lawrence, whose paintings documented Black history

Jacob Lawrence was the first African American, as a stewards mate in the Coast Guard, to be appointed a Combat Artist.

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More Trump bumps

Protesters angered by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis have extended that rage to the toppling of monuments they deem racist, including statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both torn down in Portland, Oregon.

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Dr. Olivia Hooker, first Black woman in the Coast Guard, eyewitness to Tulsa Massacre

Trump’s disaster in Tulsa presents us an opportunity to discuss the city’s race riot of 1921 when countless number of African Americans were killed and the Greenwood District, or “Black Wall Street,” was destroyed.

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Trump moves rally from Juneteenth, but not from danger

In one sense Trump’s plan to change his rally in Tulsa, Okla. to Saturday, June 20, in order to avoid infringing on Juneteenth may be cheered by African Americans, but that doesn’t spare the expected turnout endangered by the increasing cases of COVID-19.

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The Rev. Jack Yates, a prominent leader in Houston

Juneteenth seized on by African Americans in Texas, and most memorably in Houston where the Rev. John Henry (Jack) Yates was a key organizer and promoter.

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Trump—up against the wall and clutching for straws

Pinned against the wall or painted into a corner, Trump is in a desperate place, scrambling to free himself from a triple crisis—a ceaseless pandemic, Depression-like unemployment, and a coast-to-coast outrage about the police killing of George Floyd.

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A response to a first responder—Breonna Taylor

The public outrage and tumult in response to the police killing of George Floyd has been so relentless and continuous that other incidents of police brutality and overzealousness are obscured, if not completely forgotten.

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A literary promise of greatness—Henry Dumas

It is easy to summon a list of Black men whose lives have been snuffed out by unwarranted violence by white police officers, a list that is provoked by the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis when an officer compressed his neck to the pavement for nearly ten minutes.

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Danny Ray Thompson, Sun Ra’s flutist and saxman

Last September there was a tribute to the late poet Steve Cannon at the Flamboyan Theater on New York’s Lower East Side.

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Trump: chief conspiracy theorist

Like so many of our democratic rights, the boundaries, for better or worse, are consistently challenged by Trump and his administration.

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Dr. Julie Butler, a veterinarian with a personal touch

It isn’t often that a column is waiting for you in your own backyard or around the corner in your neighborhood.

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Is an injection of disinfectant next for Trump?

At the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Trump had suggested using hydroxychloroquine as a medicine to combat the disease.

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Bohannon, percussionist, producer and bandleader

News of Little Richard’s death on May 9 made him the second notable musician from Georgia to leave us in the last two weeks with the passing of drummer Hamilton Bohannon on April 24.

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Dr. Fauci warns in a virtual report on the virus

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, is warning Congress that if the country reopens too soon during the coronavirus pandemic, it will result in "needless suffering and death."

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Harlem’s Dr. Wanda Huff, a specialist in pulmonology, dies at 72

Few personified the Detroit/Harlem connection with as much distinction as Dr. Wanda Huff. Born in Detroit on August 14, 1947, Dr. Huff was a prominent doctor of internal medicine in Harlem for years, and she leaves an impressive record of service. She died on April 13 in Yonkers.

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Blacks and the disproportional blues

Each year the National Urban League publishes its “State of Black America” report that highlights the growing disparity between Black and white Americans on income, wealth, health, and other listings on the misery index.

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Ring great Jackie Tonawanda, 'The Female Ali'

For her skills in the ring and her volubility, Jackie Tonawanda was known as “The Female Ali.”

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Trump says meat processing is essential

On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order compelling meat processing plant workers to remain on the job, despite the uptick of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Dr. Cheryl A. Wall, distinguished literary scholar, dies at 71

My personal regard and respect for Dr. Cheryl Wall began years ago, and back in the summer of 2017 when I was finishing my book on the Harlem Renaissance I turned to her for a blurb, given her scholarship on the subject.

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Emmett Ashford, the first Black umpire in the Major Leagues

Count me among the millions of sports junkies now enduring withdrawal pains as the cancellations and suspensions mount across the land.

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Father Lawrence E. Lucas, Catholic priest, joins the ancestors

To say that Father Lawrence Lucas was a man of strong convictions is like saying a tsunami is agitated waves.To say that Father Lawrence Lucas was a man of strong convictions is like saying a tsunami is agitated waves.

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Henrietta Duterte, abolitionist and first woman owner of a funeral home

Madeline Lyles and Dana Taylor of Memphis’ claims as the owners of the first funeral home by Black women is true, but only in the plural sense.

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Trump’s impending standoff with governors

In an attempt to rebut the accusations that he was slow to act on the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump’s team stitched together a video timeline that has ultimately backfired.

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Sharpton interviews Dr. Fauci

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the devastating disproportional effect of the coronavirus pandemic on African Americans and other people of color.

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Legendary funeral director and entrepreneur O’Neil Swanson

It isn’t often that legendary is affixed to the name of a funeral home founder, but the attribute more than fits the life and legacy of O’Neil D. Swanson.

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Dr. Ruth Ella Moore, the first Black female natural scientist

Following my usual pattern of seeking to tie one week’s profile with another led me to Ruth Ella Moore, who like last week’s feature on Dr. Harold Amos earned a number of firsts as a Black American in science and the medical field.

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Noted author Grace F. Edwards dies at 87

There is a passage in “The Viaduct” that is vintage Grace F. Edwards.

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Trump charged with “crimes against humanity” by Ohio State Rep. Tavia Galonski

Exasperated by Trump’s dalliance and dysfunctional handling of the COVID-19, especially his push to use a drug not approved by FDA or medical experts, State Rep. Tavia Galonski of Ohio (D) tweeted on Sunday that she will be referring Trump to the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity.”

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Sen. Sanders suspends his presidential campaign

Bernie Sanders has ended his 2020 presidential bid.

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Remembering the unforgettable Bill Withers

t was five years ago in October at Carnegie Hall that I last saw Bill Withers.

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Rev. Joseph Lowery, civil rights icon, is dead at 98

In February 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was in jail, he issued a statement to his associates about plans and strategies to pursue.

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Dr. Harold Amos, the first Black microbiologist

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) curve showing little indication of flattening out—it, in fact, appears to be nowhere near its apex—we seize the moment and profile one African American scientist who made a major breakthrough in microbiology.

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Annie Turnbo Malone, trailblazing millionaire and beauty maven

Invariably, with study and research of Madam C.J. Walker, Annie Turnbo Malone is mentioned, and she gets a little more than a passing nod in the recent Netflix bio-pic of Walker.

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Airicka Gordon-Taylor, Emmett Till’s cousin and activist passes

Three years ago when author and scholar Timothy Tyson published his book “The Blood of Emmett Till,” it further confirmed that Carolyn Bryant Donham lied about the incident that led up to Till’s lynching, and that was all Airicka Gordon-Taylor needed to renew her quest for justice for her slain cousin.

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Book Review: ‘Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon’

As we seek some solace from the menace of the coronavirus, noted music critic Howard Reich, in view of our inability to venture out for entertainment, has weighed in with his top jazz films to fill the terrible void.

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A tribute to McCoy Tyner

My immersion in the music of pianist/composer McCoy Tyner began in the late ’50s and early ’60s when we were both about 20 or 21 years of age.

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Fats Navarro, a trumpet master and bebop pioneer

When your life, like that of the famed musician Fats Navarro, is over at 26 there’s hardly enough time to truly establish your promising genius. Reading Maxine Gordon’s deeply engrossing biography of her late husband, Dexter Gordon, Navarro is mentioned several times, most memorably when he performed with Gordon in the late ’40s.

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Biden sweeps Super Tuesday III

There may be pressing uncertainties about the impact of the coronavirus, but Joe Biden’s quest to be the Democratic nominee appears to be almost settled after taking three more primaries on Tuesday.

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Another bad news day for Sanders

A revived Joe Biden became even more resurrected after taking four states—Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Idaho—Tuesday in what some are calling the second Super Tuesday.

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Sabira Bushra, noted film maven, passes at 66

The Sembene Film Festival is based in Pittsburgh but its visionary founder, Phyllis Hill Cole, affectionately known as Sabira Bushra, gave it a global impact with its focus on classic African and African American films.

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Julius Montgomery, a trailblazer at Cape Canaveral and elsewhere

The recent passing of Katherine Johnson reminded me of Julius Montgomery, who, like Johnson, surmounted barriers and made his mark in the race for space as the first African American to employed at Cape Canaveral—and not a janitor.

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Biden’s time: Former VP wins big on Super Tuesday

Even before we could report on Joe Biden’s stunning, amazing, unexpected victory on Super Tuesday, the billionaire Michael Bloomberg usurped Wednesday headlines announcing he is suspending his presidential campaign

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Ella Little-Collins, Malcolm X’s resourceful half-sister

As Black History Months draws to a close it leaves in its wake a number of renewed memories and events, most notably the annual reflection on the life and legacy of Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz).

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Bernie feeling the burn

Nearly everything about the Democratic debate Tuesday night in Charleston, South Carolina was suffused with urgency.

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Katherine Johnson: a math genius who refined the space race

Katherine Johnson, a former NASA mathematician whose story inspired the movie Hidden Figures, has died, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Monday.

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B. Smith—She did it with style and grace

Famed restaurateur, businesswoman and model Barbara Elaine Smith, better known as B. Smith, has died.

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Is Bloomberg ready to take the heat?

For months billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, has been a troubling specter on the horizon; on Wednesday evening in Las Vegas he will make his debut on the debate stage.

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Book Review: ‘Trailblazer’ by Dorothy Butler Gilliam

As a teenager living in the projects in Louisville, Kentucky and working as a part-time secretary at The Louisville Defender, the city’s African American paper, Dorothy Butler Gilliam got her first assignment as a journalist.

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