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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

Obama’s UN speech assails Islamic State group

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama had a full agenda of crucial items, but the bulk of his more than 40-minute speech was directed to the current crisis in the Middle East.

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AG Eric Holder announces his resignation

The nation's first African-American Attorney General, Eric Holder steps down.

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Civil rights leaders and bereaved family members call for justice

During the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the most effective tactic in bringing about change happened when the various organizations combined their resources.

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Obama, Ebola and the Islamic State group

Almost at the same time that President Barack Obama was in Atlanta at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Tuesday, declaring a commitment of 3,000 U.S. military forces to West Africa to deal with the ravages of the Ebola epidemic, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he would recommend ground troops in the fight against the Islamic State group if necessary.

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The Rev. Dr. Joseph Bragg, man of the pen and cloth, dead at 75

For more than a generation, Joe Bragg was a tireless journalist whose words and voice constantly kept us abreast of local and world happenings.

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Another unfavorable poll for Obama

As if we needed another poll about the approval of President Barack Obama, Newsmax, an independent website, so it claims, is in the process of compiling impressions, and thus far it isn’t looking good for our graying leader.

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'Chokeholds not illegal,' Bratton says

Nothing leaped from Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s mouth like the words “Chokeholds are not illegal,” during his oversight appearance Monday before the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety.

Dr. Irene Diggs: An extraordinary anthropologist

In the foreword of his book “The World and Africa,” pre-eminent scholar and historian W.E.B. Du Bois wrote: “I am indebted to my assistant, Dr. Irene Diggs, for efficient help in arranging the material and reading the manuscript.”

Obama’s Tan Suit Strategy

President Barack Obama caught as much flak for wearing a tan suit to a press conference as for confessing that he had no strategy for dealing with ISIS inside Syria.

‘Don’t boo, vote!’ Obama boomed

In a Labor Day speech freighted with work metaphors and good news about the nation’s economy, President Barack Obama summoned his best rhetoric at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee on the national holiday.

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Black man’s death in NYPD custody ruled homicide

On July 13, four days before Eric Garner was killed in a chokehold by a NYPD officer, Ronald Singleton, 45, was killed when officers physically restrained him. Last week, the city’s medical examiner ruled that Singleton’s death was a homicide.

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Bill Greaves, noted documentarian and Harlem native, dies at 87

A native of Harlem and a prolific filmmaker, William Greaves, once remarked that he thought he would be a hurricane in documenting Black history and culture but settled for the fact that he was “only a single rain drop.”

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Anti-Sharpton police speak out

In a full-page ad in Tuesday’s New York Times, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the NYPD published an open letter to the chairperson of the Democratic National Convention.

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Obama under par?

Was it wise for President Obama to continue his vacation with issues going on in Syria

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Free agency and Curt Flood

Amsterdam News in the Classroom

Not since Gabrielle Douglas won the all-around Olympic Gold Medal in 2012 has a Black girl captured the media like Mo’ne Davis.

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Thousands march on Staten Island for Eric Garner

“Overwhelmed” was a word repeatedly uttered by the family members of Eric Garner during the rally on Staten Island Saturday.

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Now What? The country waits for developments in Michael Brown, Ferguson case

The shots fired by Officer Darren Wilson that cut down Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 9 are still echoing.

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Thousands march on Staten Island for Eric Garner

The National Action Network and other groups host a march in Staten Island for Eric Garner that brings out thousands.

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Author and dedicated missionary Victoria Earle Matthews

There was a time when 136th Street in Harlem was bustling with social and political activity; now the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and the New York Urban League remain.

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Get on the Justice Caravan

Saturday, Aug. 23, civil-and human-rights activists will assemble on the other side of the Verrazano Narrow-Bridge, not the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, as marchers did in 1965

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Unrest continues in Ferguson in the wake of Michael Brown police shooting

Attorney General Eric Holder arrived Wednesday afternoon in Ferguson, Mo., where he met with the city’s leaders, FBI officials and local law enforcement officers and briefly stated what he’d already written earlier in an op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Brown family: 'He was executed'

An independent autopsy reveals Michael Brown was shot six times by police officer Darren Wilson with a fatal shot to the head.

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Hillary hits Obama

President Barack Obama has apparently withstood a proposed GOP lawsuit, but now there’s a problem much closer to home, a critic in his own ranks—Hillary Clinton.

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The Funk Brothers, Motown stalwarts

“Get on Up,” the new James Brown biopic, is a film of incessant funk. On Broadway, there is more funk, if a bit more subdued, in “Motown the Musical.”

Tourism and awards at NYC Economic Development Day

As ever, the luncheon was the centerpiece at the New York City Economic Development Day at Columbia University last Thursday.

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Ebola—a threat to humanity

The daily death count from Ebola only seems to gain media attention in the West when an American or European is the fatality.

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James Baldwin gets his place in Harlem

As the old saying goes, the fruit never falls that far from the tree, and Trevor Baldwin, the nephew of James Baldwin, proves that even a relative of the great writer has a way with words. “This is a family affair,” he announced toward the end of a street renaming for his famous uncle.

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Barbara Jordan: An American hero

Recently, on a CSPAN telecast of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings on President Richard Nixon in 1974, it was Rep. Barbara Jordan’s turn at the microphone.

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Eric Garner case highlights schism between cops and community

Each day brings new developments in the death of Eric Garner. Last Friday, the city’s medical examiner announced that Garner’s death resulted from a chokehold, something that was evident from the cellphone video of the encounter.

Obama and Abraham

Of all President Barack Obama’s troubling international issues, his biggest headache and dilemma is the conflict in the Middle East, more specifically, the on-again, off-again exchange of death and misery between Israel and Hamas.

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Happy birthday, Mr. President

Aug. 4, President Barack Obama turned 53. He was 13 years old in 1974, when President Richard Nixon, facing impeachment, resigned from office. Forty years later, impeachment is again a word making the rounds, mainly from Republicans who accuse Obama of a number of misdeeds, none of them approaching treason or high crimes and misdemeanors—the only grounds on which he could be impeached.

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More ‘Power’ to Africa from Obama

With invitations extended to some 50 African leaders for the recent summit in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama has taken an even more decisive step in the expansion of his previously proposed Power Africa.

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Broken promises

Each day brings new developments in the death of Eric Garner. Last Friday, the city’s medical examiner announced that Garner’s death resulted from a chokehold, something that was evident from the cell phone video of the encounter.

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James Baldwin gets his 'Place' in Harlem

Except for James Baldwin, very few of our legendary writers were actually born in Harlem. But next Saturday, Aug. 2, that point will be made definitively when a section of West 128th Street, between Madison and Fifth avenues, will be named “James Baldwin Place.” 

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James Boggs: A visionary revolutionary

There have been countless African-American thinkers and activists—men and women—unassociated with academic institutions, yet who have nonetheless made considerable scholarly contributions.

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Full arsenal of funk from James Carter at Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival

Although James Carter played the soprano, alto and tenor saxophones in succession during his sizzling performance as the opening act at the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival Thursday evening at the Waterfront Plaza in the Financial District, there were times when he seemed to be playing all three at once, sounding like a rip-snorting version of the World Saxophone Quartet or Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

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Alice Coachman, an immortal Olympian

Amsterdam News in the Classroom

It isn’t often that this column is devoted to either the living or the recently departed, but it would be absolutely criminal not to suspend the usual guidelines and give the space to a woman who holds a unique place in African-American history, Alice Coachman.

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Community in Outrage over handling of Eric Garner police killing

When a white police officer kills an unarmed Black man, as it happened last week on Staten Island, you can expect a furious outrage from one part of the community and an attempt to justify the death from the other side.

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Black man choked to death by cops

With images of Marlene Pinnock, a black woman brutally beaten by a California Patrol office on July 1 still fresh on the nation’s mind, another more fatal scene was captured on video yesterday from Staten Island.

No eyes on Gaza

While millions of eyes were glued to the World Cup final in Brazil, few turned away from the game to see the ongoing exchange of bombs falling on Israel and Gaza.

‘Racial animus’ from Republicans, AG Holder charges

Attorney General Eric Holder is apparently no longer willing to hold his tongue and is clearly fed up with outlandish charges and accusations from Republicans.

Obama welcomes new citizens

Each day brings a new obstacle to surmount, and on the Fourth of July, immigration reform—or the failure thereof—had to be numero uno for Obama as he welcomed a new batch of American citizens.

Progressive Alliance Movement host Seminar

With Israeli warplanes pounding the Gaza Strip, there is little chance that the strife in Africa will command the headlines in the U.S. As ever, the crisis in the Middle East always trumps the turmoil in Africa, unless there is an American casualty or America’s interest is somehow involved.

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Prolific and passionate author Walter Dean Myers dies at 76

Walter Dean Myers was as prolific as he was passionate about children’s literature.

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The Brown men and Paul Robeson

Lawrence Brown and Lloyd Brown teach us about the music and writing of Paul Robeson

Lawrence and Lloyd Brown were not related by blood as far as we know, but they had one thing in common: their kinship to the great Paul Robeson. Given his enormous genius, Robeson realized his deficiencies, which was another part of his genius, and sought the assistance of the Browns. From a musical perspective, it was Lawrence; when it came to getting his words into print, it was Lloyd.

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Singer and dancer Florence Mills was the ‘Queen of Happiness’

AmNews in the Classroom

A few weeks ago while doing a profile on the great pianist and composer Eubie Blake, I was reacquainted with the short but brilliant life of Florence Mills, who starred in Blake and Noble Sissle’s musical “Shuffle Along” in 1921.

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Harlem and Detroit: Same difference

Researching the history of the Black community in Detroit, my hometown, I am struck by the number of commonalities it shares with New York City, particularly Harlem, where I have lived for nearly a generation.

‘You are valuable, Black men,’ preaches Michael Eric Dyson

“Are you the one or should we expect someone else?” Dr. Michael Eric Dyson asked rhetorically, addressing an audience last Thursday evening at Bethel AME Church.

Obama once more between Iraq and a hard place

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Obama administration, it did.

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Resourceful, gifted Dr. Charles H. Wright

School kids in Detroit in the mid-1960s used to look forward to field trips that included a visit to the Museum of African American History, where they could view such items as the first traffic signal and gas mask invented by Garrett Morgan. If they were lucky, they might also see Dr. Charles H. Wright, who founded the museum.

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