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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Disclose Pantaleo’s records, judge rules

If a police officer has a record of substantiated misconduct, should this information be made available to the public? Yes, according to State Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger.

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Poet, playwright, teacher and director Owen Dodson

During an appearance on a panel last Saturday at the Schomburg Center, I noticed a photo of Owen Dodson on the wall in the place where the American Negro Theater was prominent for Black actors 75 years ago. Dodson’s photo is there because one of his plays, “Garden of Time,” based on the myth of Medea and Jason, was produced there in 1945.

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Dr. Claudia Alexander, a pioneering astrophysicist

Dr. Claudia Alexander, whose career in physics and aeronautical engineering was inspired by the research of Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) in circular orbits, would have been excited to learn that NASA announced Thursday the discovery of exoplanet Kepler-452b that is a “close cousin” of Earth, thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope.

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Boogie at Inez’s birthday bash

When Councilwoman Inez Dickens of Harlem gives a birthday bash-cum-fundraiser, you can expect a massive turnout, fabulous food and the sound of backslapping and glad-handing, all of which was present last week at MIST Harlem, and it was a special treat to see the lady of the hour take to the stage and put a boogie to a brand new beat.

‘Karibu, President Obama’

President Barack Obama was boogieing in Africa.

Revolution Books to open in Harlem

It may take a while before Revolution Books is up and running in Harlem, but last week the launch was announced and it promises to be a real boon for a community without a stand-alone bookstore.

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Book review: ‘Between the World and Me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates

What is immediately essential for me about “Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ lengthy epistle to his son, is that “past is prologue.”

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Book review: ‘Between the World and Me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates

What is immediately essential for me about “Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ lengthy epistle to his son, is that “past is prologue.”

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Obamacy: A legacy of diplomacy

Let’s call President Barack Obama’s diplomatic surge “Obamacy.”

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Educator supreme Marva Collins

“Kids don’t fail,” famed educator Marva Collins often declared. “Teachers fail, school systems fail. The people who teach children that they are failures, they are the problem.”

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'Money isn't justice:' says Sharpton as City settles in Eric Garner case

It is one year later. Eric Garner, locked in a chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo, died on video.

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Cosby confesses what his wife has known

What public records disclosed about Bill Cosby last week regarding the purchasing of Quaaludes apparently comes as no surprise to his wife, Camille.

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Football immortal Charlie Sanders, ‘the Ultimate Lion’

As I’ve said many times in this column, you don’t have to dig through the distant past to find remarkable Black Americans, men and women who knew that “Black Lives Matter.

Down with the racist flag, up with a banner of hope

The good news is that this week, South Carolina senators voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds.

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Interview with Police Commissioner Bratton

A day before he was to address graduates from the police academy last Thursday at Madison Square Garden, Police Commissioner William Bratton sat with Amsterdam News Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Elinor Tatum and reporter Herb Boyd at police headquarters to discuss the latest policy developments in the NYPD.

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A fracas reminiscent of Eric Garner

A contingent of activists from Cop Watch and the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee were joined by members of the community last Friday in Harlem to protest the police assault of Saykou George.

Attorney Richard Mangum joins the ancestors at 69

For activists and reporters during the 1987 Howard Beach murder trial, Richard Mangum was indispensable. His role in the historic trial as part of the prosecution team headed by Special Prosecutor Charles Hynes was as a liaison to the media, which he did with unerring accuracy and sensitivity.

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Poet Jayne Cortez has not been gone that long.

Poet Jayne Cortez has not been gone that long. She died three years ago of heart failure at 78, but memories of her were unavoidable last Saturday in the memorial services for Ornette Coleman, her first husband.

Nina Simone: Voice of the Civil Rights Movement

In this time of intense racial turmoil, Ava DuVernay and Liz Garbus could not be more propitious with their remarkable films.

Obama evokes God’s grace

After his rousing, heartfelt eulogy for the slain Rev. Clementa Pinckney, President Barack Obama was called “Rev. President” by several of the AME pastors.

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Black churches burning again

The slaughter of nine Black worshippers in the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., was a tragic reminder of the four little girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963.

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Obama evokes God’s grace

After his rousing heartfelt eulogy for the slain Rev. Clementa Pinckney, President Obama was called “Rev. President” by several of the AME pastors. His eulogy was part praise for Rev. Pinckney and part sermon with Obama summoning God’s grace.

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Remembering Ornette Coleman

There were 11 of us in the audience at the Minor Key in 1960 in Detroit when Ornette Coleman and his quartet showed up for a weeklong engagement.

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Hundreds greet civil rights legend Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson

At 103, Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson may be physically limited and confined to a wheelchair, but her spirit, inspiration and memories are as fresh and rewarding as they were during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, when her legend was born.

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Olympic great Henry Carr passes

At Northwestern High School in the 1960s, Henry Carr was called the “Gray Ghost” because of his amazing speed in track. But later in life, after becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, he was most interested in the Holy Ghost, in reading the Bible and teaching the importance of service to others. Carr was 72 or 73 when he died of cancer May 29 in Griffin, Ga.

Valaida Snow, ‘The Queen of the Trumpet’

Since this is Black Music Month, it’s a prime time to feature Valaida Snow, a versatile musician I have always wanted to profile in the “Classroom.”

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Black like me, says Rachel Dolezal

Unlike Ray Sprigle and John Howard Griffin, two writers who pretended to be Black for a month or so several decades ago, Rachel Dolezal is determined to be Black forever, and apparently, up to now, only her parents and adopted siblings knew her real racial identity.

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Hillary says she’s ready to be the first female president

For nearly an hour Saturday on Roosevelt Island, Hillary Clinton, with several impressive “formers” in front of her name, opened her presidential campaign full bore, invoking past presidents, including her husband, Bill, and memories of her mother.

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Nine massacred during prayer and bible study

Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, has been arrested in the mass shooting death of nine people, three men and six women, during a prayer meeting and bible study Wednesday evening at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

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Harlem Globetrotter legend Marques Haynes

When it came to dribbling a basketball, making it appear as though he had it on a string, Marques Oreole Haynes of the Harlem Globetrotters was matchless.

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‘Run, Keith, Run!’

Assemblyman Keith Wright announces candidacy for 13th Congressional District

Cheered on by friends, associates, his wife, Susan, and a cadre of clergy, including the Rev. Calvin Butts III of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Assemblyman Keith Wright officially announced his candidacy for New York’s 13th Congressional District, a seat that has belonged exclusively to Rep. Charles Rangel for over 40 years.

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Are the nation’s cops out of control?

Call it “Bluemania.” That is, the excessive use of force by cops across the nation.

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A tour of Martinique by GHCC

A delegation led by Lloyd Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, traveled to the beautiful Caribbean island nation of Martinique last week.

Lucy Gonzales Parsons, a courageous and daring visionary

Sometimes the working journalist, if she or he is paying close attention, the story they are looking for is right under their nose—or on their external hard drive, as was in the case of the current Classroom profile.

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385+ killed by cops in 2015

Police, nationwide, have killed 385 people during the first five months of 2015.

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H. Naylor Fitzhugh, the ‘dean of Black business’

While traveling with a delegation to Martinique recently, I met with one of the members, Greg Campbell, president and CEO of Rainmaker, a Dallas-based investment and advisory firm he founded.

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Dr. Cornel West demand medical treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Pam Africa, the noted activist and fervent advocate for the freedom of the ailing political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Schomburg Center receives National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Not only did Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the director of the Schomburg Center, respond insightfully to questions from...

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Trailblazing African-American newsman Max Robinson

This week we look at the legacy of broadcast pioneed Max Robinson

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The Thrill is Gone, and so is B.B. King

“The blues people have been treated like the Blacks have been—unfairly, and for me it was almost like being black twice,” B.B. King once lamented.

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Broadcasting pioneer Dianne White Clatto

On several occasions, the Classroom doesn’t have to dig into the distant past for remarkable, pioneering Black Americans. To be sure, there are thousands of pathfinders still among us or only recently departed, such as Dianne White Clatto.

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Legendary Pan-Africanist Elombe Brath to be honored

When Elombe Brath, a noted freedom fighter and native of Harlem, joined the ancestors last May 19, it was an unforgettable date because it also marked the 89th birthday of Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz).

TPP: ‘The People’s Puzzle’?

Don’t feel like an ignoramus if you are baffled by all the rancor surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Marker commemorating the work of slaves planned

Two weeks ago, the City Council did something that has been in the works, so to speak, for years: a monument or marker will be placed in the Wall Street area in tribute to the slaves’ role in the founding and the economy of the city.

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Famed soul singer and composer Ben E. King dies at 76

With the recent reports of B.B. King being in hospice at home, some have already placed him with the ancestors.

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AG Lynch meets with Freddie Gray’s relatives

A week or so after being sworn in as the new U.S. attorney general, Loretta Lynch gave some indication of the direction her tenure in office will be moving.

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Another NYPD officer slain

After a crazed Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and killed officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos last December in Brooklyn, it came at a time when protesters were still outraged over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner on Staten Island. Now the media had a different story to nurse.

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Where there was smoke, there was Wesley Williams

It has taken Ginger Adams Otis nearly a decade to complete her book “Firefight: The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest” (PalgraveMacmillan, 2015).

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Mary Eliza Mahoney, the nation’s first Black professional nurse

The Civil War was over by the time Mary Eliza Mahoney was accepted into nursing school, but the gallant Union fighters, particularly those wounded in battle, could have used Mahoney’s skilled professionalism and calm efficiency and caregiving that were the hallmarks of her illustrious career.

Reparations in Chicago

In 2004, a federal judge in Chicago dismissed a lawsuit brought by descendants of slaves against corporations they accused of profiting from slavery, ruling the plaintiffs did not establish a direct link to the companies targeted.

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