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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Eston Hemings, an accomplished musician and cabinetmaker

All the fanfare surrounding the opening of the Sally Hemings exhibit at the Thomas Jefferson Monticello estate in Virginia last week finally gives recognition to the slave woman who was the mother of four surviving children by Jefferson.

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The Rev. Sharpton and civil leaders oppose the separation of families

About the same time members of Congress were conferring on a bill to keep immigrant families together who had been detained at the border, the Rev. Al Sharpton, along with several civil rights leaders, were voicing their objection to the children being separated from their parents.

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Dorothy Cotton was the personification of the brave civil rights activist

In the annals of the Civil Rights Movement, there is a photo of eight stalwarts in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, James Bevel and Hosea Williams. Only one of them is a woman—Dorothy Cotton.

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Jazz harpist and composer Dorothy Ashby

In the world of jazz, harpist Dorothy Ashby had a unique and singular presence.

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Trump and Kim on the same Page

The on and off again meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Trump finally happened Tuesday in Singapore, although little is known about what transpired beyond their cordial exchanges after a five-hour session.

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Attorney Lewis Myers Jr., ‘the people’s lawyer,’ dead at 70

A coterie of African-American revolutionaries and civil rights activists were recipients of the wise counseling of attorney Lewis Myers Jr., including the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr., Assata Shakur and his good friend, Min. Louis Farrakhan.

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Charles W. White, an artist and muralist of political commitment

No gallery or collection of African-American artists is complete without one from Charles Wilbert White.

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Five hundred days of Trump

“L’etat, c’est moi!” (“I am the state!”) is an expression widely attributed to Louis XIV and his long monarchical rule in France, but to some extent, it can be applied to Trump as he moves autocratically in his absolute political authority.

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Pioneering military woman, attorney and cleric, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, passes at 104

Described by some as a “one-woman legal aid society,” Dovey Johnson Roundtree shattered several color and gender barriers in her long and productive career.

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Rosie Lee Tompkins, a private but spectacular quilt maker

From what I can gather, Rosie Lee Tompkins, the extraordinary quilt maker, was not that interested in the spotlight, preferring a more reclusive life to do her work.

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Herman D. ‘Denny’ Farrell, gentleman and beloved politician, dies at 86

Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr. might have evinced an aristocratic presence, but his constituents knew him as a political leader of deep conviction and integrity during his 42 years in office.

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Trump slams Schumer and Pelosi

Trump was back on script Tuesday during his speech in Nashville, where he was ostensibly to support the candidacy of Marsha Blackburn, who is seeking to replace the retiring Sen. Bob Corker.

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Mel Tapley, a beacon of brilliance at the Amsterdam News

Thanks to my friend and colleague, Ken Sargeant, I was notified that Mel Tapley, for many years the arts and entertainment editor here at the AmNews, was honored at the Field Library May 12 in Peekskill. It was officially “Mel Tapley Day” in the city that, along with the NAACP chapter there, paid homage to the editor, cartoonist and a versatile civic stalwart in Peekskill and elsewhere.

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No ‘rule of law’ for Trump

That the Trump administration approached and then balked from stepping into a constitutional quagmire is nothing new, and such was the case Monday when Trump veered close to involving partisan politics and the independence of law enforcement.

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Toni Parks, like her famous father, was a versatile and accomplished artist

When your father is Gordon Parks, it is easy to understand your hesitancy to pick up the camera, settle behind a piano, or generally pursue any artistic career, given his accomplishments.

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Him and Kim?

The only predicable thing in the Trump universe is to expect the unpredictable, and then hold your breath. Another instance of that uncertainty arrived recently with Trump apparently changing his mind about a few Chinese companies when it comes to tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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Bill Rowe, a war correspondent, influential columnist and publicist

Bill Rowe, a war correspondent, influential columnist and publicist

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Trump dumps Iran deal

Trump dumps Iran deal

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The Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, creator of Black Liberation Theology, passes at 79

The Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, creator of Black Liberation Theology, passes at 79

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Elizabeth Ann Wells, former model, proprietor and nurturer

Elizabeth Ann Wells, former model, proprietor and nurturer

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Mueller’s 49 questions for Trump

Mueller’s 49 questions for Trump

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Bill Cosby convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault

Eleven months after a jury was deadlocked, Bill Cosby, the comedic icon, was convicted last Thursday in the second trial on three counts of aggravated indecent assault at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

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Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor, the ‘Black Cyclone’ of cycling fame

Late night television and early morning newspapers can do wonders for a columnist looking for the next personality to profile.

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Four killed at Waffle House in Nashville

A day after he gunned down four people and wounded two others at the Waffle House in Nashville, Tenn., the suspect Travis Reinking, 29, was apprehended Monday afternoon, according to local police.

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Trump’s traumas continue to impact administration

A possible legal case against Trump was bolstered after flight records, photographs and testimony from his bodyguards contradict his claims that he didn’t stay overnight in Russia in 2013. This disclosure could feed into allegations that Trump is consciously trying to cover those lies and missteps.

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Vinnette Carroll, first Black woman director on Broadway

Vinnette Carroll, first, Black woman, director, Broadway

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What FBI raids on Trump’s lawyer portend

What FBI raids on Trump’s lawyer portend

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The Rev. William D. Robeson, patriarch of an illustrious family

On April 9, many will celebrate the 120th birthday anniversary of the great Paul Robeson.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan to retire

“I like to think I’ve done my part,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, 48, said of his nearly two decades in Congress and his announcement to retire after this year. Wednesday, the Republican from Wisconsin, in what must be a shock to his fellow GOP colleagues, said he believed he had “set us on a better course.”

Millie Dunn Veasey, armed forces pioneer, dies at 100

Millie Dunn Veasey, armed forces pioneer, dies at 100

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Queen-mother Yaa Asantewaa led the fight against British colonialism

Queen-mother Yaa Asantewaa led the fight against British colonialism

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A Dr. King legacy still worthy of emulation

Inevitability was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite words, and it would roll from his lips laced with his typical eloquence.

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Commentary: A day that will live in infamy, the death of Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 1968, is a day that will live in infamy. Most Americans can recall...

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Les Payne, a truth-telling journalist, remembered

And so did the world of journalism and readers seeking truth-tellers, and as one of the church’s deacons cited, quoting from the New Testament, Payne “fought the good fight…finished the race and kept the faith.”

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March Madness recalls the feats of Bobby Joe Hill

With all the March Madness now commanding attention, and not excluding the tsunami of ignorance from the White House, it was surprising to see Jerry Harkness in the crowd in Atlanta when his alma mater, Loyola University of Chicago, defeated Kansas State to move on to NCAA basketball’s Final Four.

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Former Detroiter, jazz great Charles McPherson bops New York

Jazz lovers were in bebop heaven Sunday at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, where the music’s avatar alto saxophonist Charles McPherson and his quintet delivered a staple of familiar tunes.

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Trump fires Secretary of State Tillerson

Trump fires Secretary of State Tillerson

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Les Payne, noted journalist and a founder of NABJ, passes at 76

Leslie Payne was the consummate journalist, a reporter and editor of unimpeachable integrity, and he could regale you with story after story on the people he knew and covered during his remarkable career.

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Billy Graham, Marvel Comics’ first Black artist

Billy Graham, Marvel Comics’ first Black artist - Black Panther

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Trump’s top economic adviser resigns

In one tweet Trump said there was no chaos in his administration. Shortly thereafter, he noted that his chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, was resigning and he was in the process of making a new appointment.

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Anna Murray Douglass, more than a ‘helpmeet’ for her famous husband

A week or so ago, I had the distinct pleasure of sharing a podium with Lloyd Weaver, the great-great grandson of the incomparable Frederick Douglass. During his presentation, Weaver laid out portions of his remarkable genealogy, including Anna Murray, Douglass’ first wife, his great-great grandmother.

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Gates cops a plea

Plead guilty to lying and conspiracy and get all the charges against you dropped.

Court ruling protects Malcolm X’s legacy

Except for the late Percy Sutton, few attorneys in America have had the life of Malcolm X so intertwined in their career as Gregory Reed.

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Classical avant-garde composer Julius Eastman

In last week’s classroom, we featured the relatively unknown composer and pianist Florence Price. Equally unknown, except to the real cognoscenti of classical music, is Julius Eastman.

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Recalling the greatness of W.E.B. Du Bois

It is possible to string three lives together and gather the full expanse of African-American history

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Trump blames Obama on Russian meddling

Once again President Trump is trying to have it both ways in the ongoing investigation of the Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

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Trump’s budget a harbinger of ‘spiritual death’

On its surface Trump’s second budget proposal released Monday bolsters military spending while it will leave Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps in tatters.

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Legendary reporter of the Pittsburgh Courier, Frank E. Bolden

Next time you’re in Pittsburgh, set aside some time to visit the Senator John Heinz History Center.

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Sandy Wills, a courageous soldier during the Civil War

Spectrum News NY1 anchor Cheryl Will's pursuit of history has a personal edge that few Black Americans possess, and she has dutifully imparted some of it in two of her books, “Die Free” and “The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills.”

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From slavery to hair industry millions—Annie Turnbo Malone

In his recently published “Black Fortunes,” Shomari Wills, as the subtitle relates, chronicles the lives of the first six African-Americans who escaped slavery and became millionaires

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