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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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‘Hidden Figures’ no more—Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson of NASA

Thanks to the tireless research of Margot Lee Shetterly and her book “Hidden Figures,” Katherine Johnson, Eunice Smith and Mary Jackson were brought from the shadows of history. They received even greater prominence when the film of the same title was released in 2016.

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In Memoriam: Brother Lamont Curry Muhammad

Within weeks of each other, two leading authorities on Blacks in Mexico joined the ancestors.

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Dr. Colin A. Palmer, pre-eminent scholar of the African Diaspora

Two African-American authorities on the history of Blacks in Mexico died within several weeks of each other.

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Trump’s racist remarks strike ire nationwide

On Monday, if the White House’s incompetent incumbent couldn’t possibly go any further as a racist demagogue, he stepped closer to the precipice of madness and inanity.

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Bessie B. Stringfield, intrepid motorcyclist and storyteller

Gertrude Hadley Jeannette, a theater maven, was 103 when she died in 2018. Mainly remembered for founding the Hadley Players, she distinguished herself earlier when she learned to drive and became the first woman in New York City to obtain a motorcycle license.

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Governor signs bill giving access to Trump’s state tax returns

Unlike the often passive-aggressive demeanor of congressional Democrats, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and certainly Attorney General Tish James, are not intimidated by Trump.

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Bayard Rustin: the March on Washington and its ties to Harlem

Several days ago, Louis Sharp called the Amsterdam News seeking assistance on a historical item. He was trying to verify something he remembered from his past. In 1963, he was a volunteer working with Bayard Rustin, the key coordinator of that year’s March on Washington. He wanted to install a plaque in the Apollo Theater, where the headquarters of the march was located, but to do so, he needed proof that Rustin operated from this site.

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Josephine Harreld Love, pianist and devoted arts advocate

A generation has gone by since Josephine Love’s Your Heritage House was among Detroit’s most prominent cultural sites.

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‘True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality’

For a little over 200 minutes, or thirty seconds for every 400 years of what Bryan Stevenson calls a “narrative of racial difference,” you see and hear an “untold story of cruelty that hides in the silence of this country.”

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Trump’s health care plan—undisclosed

The occupant of the Oval Office is back on point again, that is, Trump has renewed use of a well-oiled weapon of attack: replace Obamacare.

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Temptations in the Apollo’s Walk of Fame

Not only were “The Temptations” emblazoned on the Apollo’s marquee, the Motown group’s name is now embedded along the theater’s Walk of Fame, located between Patti LaBelle and Quincy Jones.

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Dr. Ben gets his sacred ground

“He is standing in the window watching us,” Ruth Johannes said of her father as she regaled the crowd with her memories of him. “He was a warrior and freedom fighter.”

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Dr. Roberta Hughes Wright, attorney, teacher and civic leader

It may be understandable, if not acceptable, that Dr. Roberta Hughes Wright often languished in the shadows of her famous husband, Dr. Charles H. Wright.

Trump v. Biden in Iowa: a prelim of 2020?

Is there an impending showdown bash this week between Trump and Joe Biden in Iowa? The Republican incumbent and the Democratic hopeful are unlikely to bump in Iowa since Trump will be in the western part of the state and Biden in the eastern districts.

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A festive Inez Dickens garden party

A garden party given by Assemblymember Inez E. Dickens last Saturday in Harlem was a vibrant mixture of awards celebration, banquet, schmoozing, concert and, of course, fundraising.

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Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole Cuisine, dead at 96

No visit to New Orleans is complete without a stop at the Dooky Chase Restaurant where on your best day you may be greeted by the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase.

Edwin McCabe, prominent ‘exoduster’ and founder of Langston University

During a recent visit to Oklahoma with my wife, among whose missions included finding her family roots and reunion, and researching the history of Taft, where she was born and spent her early years, the legacy and impact of Edwin McCabe popped up in several documents.

Trump-appointed judge rules in his favor

Amid voices calling for Trump not to desecrate the D-Day commemoration on Thursday in Normandy, France, the occupant of the Oval Office trudged ahead, at the same time tweeting at his Democratic opponents and others who challenge his authority, including a few Republicans.

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Eminent outspoken scholar, Dr. Martin Kilson passes at 88

In this digital age of social media, when in a nanosecond you have the news, we are just learning of the death of noted scholar and esteemed intellectual Dr. Martin Kilson who made his transition April 24.

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Unita Blackwell: Civic leader and civil rights icon

If you are a poor Black woman born in the Mississippi Delta, you have three strikes against you, and chances are you’ll end up where you started.

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Trump sides with Kim over Biden

One tornado after another is tearing cities apart from Oklahoma to Missouri to Illinois, yet not a mumbling word from Trump who has obstinately denied global warming and climate change.

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Surviving tornado alley

Despite news of tornados raging across the state of Oklahoma, my wife and I did not suspend our annual Memorial Day trip there to tend the gravesites of her relatives. Our mission was only partially successful.

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Milton Henry: Attorney, minister and comrade of Malcolm X

Long before becoming a minister, Milton Henry had experienced several political and ideological turns, none of them more eventful than the time he spent with Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz).

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Trump and the possibility of climate chaos

If Trump and his administration get its way—and they usually do—our environment will literally and figuratively go up in smoke since he plans to rollback the Clean Power Plan put into effect by the Obama administration.

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Artist and preservationist Joan Maynard

Two things necessitate a change in the usual pattern here of alternating between Black men and women.

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Trump’s trade war with China hurts Black farmers

Trump, the sheriff of tariff, has delivered a devastating blow to America’s consumers, and most specifically to farmers with his standoff in the US-China trade war.

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Freedom fighter now fighting for his life

From far and wide, comrades of Don Rojas came with passages of praise for the ailing journalist, who was defined by many as a freedom fighter.

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Extraordinary pianist and gifted teacher Hazel Harrison

In Jeffrey C. Stewart’s immense, absolutely engrossing “The New Negro—The Life of Alain Locke,” concert pianist Hazel Harrison is cited several times.

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Trump vs. Dems—constitutional crisis?

For Trump, numbers are what really count. Numbers in the billions as he once boasted of his wealth and a claim back in 2015 that he was the richest, most successful candidate to ever seek the Oval Office.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sir Hilary Beckles headline tribute to Don Rojas

For most of his adult life, Don Rojas has been a revolutionary freedom fighter for justice and equality.

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Beloved Jurist Damon J. Keith passes at 96

One of the last things Professor Thurgood Marshall told his graduating student Damon Keith were four words: “Equal justice under law.”

The ultimate Black Bolshevik and revolutionary Harry Haywood

When a life was as adventurous and politically active as Harry Haywood’s, it’s difficult to find a starting point, a pivotal moment that encapsulates his remarkable journey.

Firemen endorse Biden, Trump rages, Rosenstein resigns

Two weeks ago as the Notre-Dame Cathedral was engulfed in flames, Trump suggested they try extinguishing it with planes dumping water on it.

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Maria W. Stewart, essayist, teacher and abolitionist

Invariably, when compiling a list of historic, and often overlooked, individuals one name leads to another, and so it is with this iteration of the classroom.

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Trumpoenas begin

Democratic members of Congress have promised for months that Trump, by one committee or another, would be subpoenaed.

Thomas McCants Stewart, jurist, educator, author and civil rights leader

Among the illustrious Black New Yorkers cited in Carla Peterson’s “Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth Century New York City” is Thomas McCants Stewart.

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Trump targets Rep. Omar and incites death threats

Rep. Ilhan Omar is a Muslim, a woman, a refugee and an outspoken critic who speaks truth to power and thus is a perfect foil for attacks and insults from Trump.

Honoring great African-American women of Oberlin

Nothing pleases a writer, reporter or historian more than recognition by his or her peers. And you can understand how overwhelming it was for me to learn that three of my comrades—John Williams, Trust Graham and Ahmed Abdullah—follow this classroom column, two of them avid collectors.

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Hate Fuels New Flames: Black churches burning again

As a bulwark, a sacred refuge and a safe place to organize against racism and bigotry, the Black church has been indispensable.

Can Trump’s immigration policy get worse? Yes

Trump’s revolving door took another precipitous turn the other day with the ouster of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

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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...

Tommie Agee, team record holder and amazing Met

Like millions of American boys, I once dreamed of being a Major League Baseball player.

Trump: No more aid for three Central American countries

Time and time again the nation has seen what has become a mantra: What Obama has done Trump will undo.

Ethel Ennis, an unforgettable, angelic voice

Among the LPs in my growing collection in 1958—yes, I’m an old geezer—was one freshly minted by singer Ethel Ennis.

No collusion, no exoneration, no report

It ain’t over until it’s over, a baseball immortal said of a game, and that’s certainly true of the Mueller investigation, despite a summary of his report by Attorney General William Barr.

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Radio legend, Bob Slade, passes

Famed New York radio personality Bob Slade has passed away.

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Eliminate the Electoral College and bring on reparations, Warren says

In her quest to win the Black vote, Sen. Elizabeth Warren picked the right time, the right subjects and the right place to throw her support to reparations and several other significant issues.

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Mary B. Talbert, women’s rights advocate and clubwoman

Well, Imhotep Gary Byrd, I have a most prestigious Black woman with roots in Buffalo, N.Y., that many Americans may not know much about but who provides an important link from the late 19th to the early 20th century, particularly within the realm of social and political activism.

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CCTV inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown

Any discussion with Imhotep Gary Byrd is multidirectional with conversations about current events, political developments, and African-American history and culture.

Rep. Omar’s firestorm still heated

When Fox News weighs in to support Rep. Ilhan Omar, you know she’s stirred a complicated hornet’s nest of controversy.