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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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More than 60 House Dems to skip inauguration

Many of the Democrats in Congress may not have needed a reason to boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration, but his sharp retort to Rep. John Lewis has given them the cover they need.

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Philanthropist and Colorado pioneer, Clara Brown

Recently, while browsing in a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Cary, N.C., I bumped into a book lover who recognized me and asked me if I had ever heard of Clara Brown.

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Dr. King’s legacy revived

Practically every aspect of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—his dignity, optimism, determination, ministry, courage, sermons, admonitions, guidance, dedication, hope and even his literary prowess—was invoked by a number of elected officials and activists Monday at the National Action Network.

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Pioneering psychiatrist, Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross, passes at 80

There’s a photo of Wayne State University’s College of Medicine graduating class in Detroit in 1959. Of the 66 graduates, there are two Black men, one white woman, and one Black woman—Phyllis Harrison.

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Obama’s legacy

Somewhere between the differing polarities of Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, two of America’s most engaging and controversial Black public intellectuals, is the truth of President Barack Obama’s legacy, the gist of his eight years in the Oval Office.

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Film legend and pioneer, Spencer Williams Jr.

When Black film pioneers are discussed, invariably Oscar Micheaux is mentioned. I’ve featured Micheaux in this column in the past, but one early actor and director who is rarely discussed is Spencer Williams Jr.

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Dr. King’s ‘tough love’ to the Trump regime

There is the imminent convergence of two very interesting dates: Jan. 15, the nation celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and five days later Donald Trump is inaugurated as America’s 45th president.

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Thousands expected to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday in DC

Each year, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network commemorates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the nation’s capital, and on Jan. 14, the holiday celebration will be joined by thousands assembling there to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump.

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Women on the march!

More than 100,000 are expected to attend the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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Yes, he did: Obama's grand farewell

In his nearly hour-long farewell address Tuesday evening in Chicago at McCormick Place, President Barack Obama recounted his eight years in office with his customary grace and dignity. While he mentioned President-elect Donald Trump only once by name, the massive audience was attuned to his nuances and the subtleties that alluded to the incoming president.

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CORE leader, Roy Innis, dead at 82

When Roy Ennis, a native of the Virgin Islands, first emerged on the political scene as a member of Congress of Racial Equality, he was a steadfast opponent of racism and discrimination and a loyalist in the ranks of civil rights activists.

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Mattie Smith Colin from the Chicago Defender covered the Emmett Till tragedy

When you have a resourceful corps of colleagues and comrades, you can keep up with current events, stay abreast of breaking news and be in touch with your history and culture.

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Will history absolve Obama?

As if to shore up his legacy, President Obama, over the remaining days of his tenure, has made some memorable moves, many of which could have come earlier according to some of his supporters.

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President Obama, exonerate Marcus Garvey

Since he was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison in 1925, Marcus Garvey has maintained an iconic presence in U.S. and world history.

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Maulana Karenga and Kwanzaa’s 50th anniversary celebrated in Harlem

Addressing a standing room only crowd Dec. 28, at the National Action Network in Harlem, the Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of the organization, drew rounds of applause, and his words had particular resonance when he introduced the guest speaker, Maulana Karenga, and his concept of Kwanzaa and nguzo saba, the seven principles.

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Alain Leroy Locke, philosopher and Harlem Renaissance giant

Alain Leroy Locke is perhaps best known as the editor of “The New Negro,” an anthology that is widely viewed as the touchstone of the Harlem Renaissance. In many biographies, Locke is considered the “dean” of this historic era.

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A fascist forecast

Simply defined, fascism is “a system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism, racism and militarism.”

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Obama said he could have defeated Trump

It seems each week brings a new wrinkle of rancor during the presidential transition.

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Audre Lorde, activist, librarian, lesbian and warrior poet

It was wonderful to see Audre Lorde included in a photo collage on the cover of last week’s Village Voice.

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A vestige of slavery gives Trump the margin of victory

The Electoral College, a vestige of America’s ignominious past, remains a troubling element and was decisive Monday when the electors voted Donald Trump as president.

Protesters say, ‘No!’ to Trump’s fascism

While protesters around the nation assembled at state capitals hoping to pressure members of the Electoral College to dump Trump, a more radical contingent gathered at Cooper Union Monday to voice their objection to the incoming Trump administration.While protesters around the nation assembled at state capitals hoping to pressure members of the Electoral College to dump Trump, a more radical contingent gathered at Cooper Union Monday to voice their objection to the incoming Trump administration.

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In memory of Michael Griffith and Cedric Sandiford

Whenever family and friends gather to commemorate and memorialize, it’s an occasion of memory and reflection, and these elements abounded Tuesday evening at St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, where the lives of Michael Griffith and Cedric Sandiford were recollected.

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New Orleans musician Herb Hardesty, Fats Domino’s sax man

Herb Hardesty may be best remembered for his half-century of performing in the studio and in concert with Fats Domino, but many music lovers first heard his melodic tones on Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” It was clearly a rhythm and blues song, but you could hear shades of jazz in Hardesty’s brief solo.

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Jim Brown meets with Trump

Tuesday was a good news day for Donald Trump in his desire to reach out to the African-American community.

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‘Big Brother’ is watching

In the wake of the recent presidential election, an outcome largely determined by voters seeking a change from the previous Democratic administration and—let’s be real—a Black family in the White House, we have increased instances of white nationalism.

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Raynoma Gordy Singleton, the unsung singer and musician

Raynoma Gordy’s voice is hardly distinguishable as a background singer on Marv Johnson’s “Come to Me,” an early recording that helped launch the Motown sound.

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Fidel— ‘History will absolve me!’

“It is with deep sorrow that I come before you to inform our people, and friends of our America, that today, Nov. 25, at 10:29 p.m., Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz has died,” stated Raul Castro, Cuba’s president and Fidel’s brother, in an announcement in Granma, the official voice of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee.

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Political chasms and chaos persist

Setting aside division and finding common ground are not solely matters facing those mourning and not mourning the death of Fidel Castro.

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Judge Constance Baker Motley gets a lane

A number of dignitaries and elected officials joined members of the Motley family for a ceremony last Saturday for the co-naming of a lane in honor of Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first Black female federal judge in the nation.

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‘Pressure Makes Diamonds’ a gem of a book

In her memoir “Pressure Makes Diamonds—Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be,” Valerie Graves has spun an appealing narrative with a protagonist who reads like an African-American female counterpart of Horatio Alger.

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Civil rights stalwart Constance Baker Motley and the first Black woman federal judge

Folks might think that I conferred with the Harlem Cultural Archives in shaping my syllabus this semester on the history of the Civil Rights Movement.

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The might of the white right

Whether within governmental circles or on the alt-right or the extreme right, danger lurks, particularly for America’s Black and Brown citizens.

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Sharon Jones, blues diva, dead at 60

Blues diva Sharon Jones, whose powerful voice could soar over her band’s thunderous beat, will now have to be experienced on her records and a passion-filled documentary.

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Trump played the race card

After the pollsters, pundits, the media and other predictors erred deplorably on the presidential election outcome, now they are trying to figure out how they flubbed the call.

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Gwen Ifill, a journalist of warmth and authority, passes at 61

Gwen Ifill, a pioneering Black journalist with an unshakable reserve of integrity and grit, died Monday, Nov. 14, at a hospice center in Washington, D.C. She was 61.

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Dr. Barbara Christian, a literary critic and pioneering feminist

There was a collective gasp in the academic community, particularly among her associates, when Dr. Barbara Christian died at 56 in the summer of 2000.

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White Backlash: Donald Trump stuns in presidential victory

Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory became evident around midnight Tuesday for the Hillary Clinton supporters assembled at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.

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The powerful, elegant voice of bass baritone William Warfield

Usually when mention is made of an African-American with a commanding bass baritone voice, Paul Robeson comes to mind. If Robeson was the ultimate performer in this vocal level, then William Warfield was not far behind.

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Black Americans motivated to vote: criminal justice and policing key

Voter turnout in the current election by African-Americans and criminal justice and policing were key issues in a recent poll by the African American Research Collaborative. The AARC, hosted by State Voices, is a unique collaborative consisting of pollsters, scholars, researchers and commentators.

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Will Clinton’s victory bring chaos?

If Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election, there are rumors afloat that it will spur a torrid reaction, some of which may have a portent of mayhem and violence.

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Vote your interest: A unique polling of Black Americans

Voter turnout in the current election by African-Americans and criminal justice and policing were key issues in a recent poll by the African American Research Collaborative.

Trump gropes toward the finish line

In April, 2015, when Hillary Clinton announced her second bid for the presidency, she chose only to allude to the fact that she was a woman. “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it,” she said, referring to her defeat by Barack Obama and the proverbial barrier blocking women from the highest office.

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Dr. Benjamin F. Payton, esteemed leader and educator

There is no need for generations to unfold to recognize the remarkable career of Dr. Benjamin F. Payton. No need to wait for the years to enshrine a man who made his transition on Sept. 28 in Estero, Fla. He was 83, and what a productive 83 years.

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Down to the wire: Polls show Clinton victory as election day nears

With less than one month before the nation’s electorate flexes its muscles to determine its choice of commander in chief, the forecast is looking more and more like Hillary Clinton is on her way to victory over Donald Trump.

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Bob Dylan’s homage to Black America

As expected, there’s a lot of debate gathering among scholars and writers about Bob Dylan getting the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Charlotte Hawkins Brown, educator and advocate of civil rights

Like the pioneering teacher Charlotte Forten (1837-1914), Charlotte Hawkins Brown was educated in Massachusetts and then devoted a good part of her life to dispensing that knowledge to students in the South.

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‘Mubassa’s Dream’ takes flight in Harlem

Dr. John (Satchmo) Mannan’s book, “Mubassa’s Dream—And 18 Legends from the Land of Nod” (Aladdin’s Books International, 2016), in many ways mirrors the diverse interests and passions of the writer.

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Trump trounced: Latest scandals cause stir for GOP

Folks are flocking from Donald Trump like he has the plague, and many of those in flight believe he is a contagious miscreant who is unfit to lead the nation.

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Remembering Ken Thompson

It isn’t often that we devote the editorial page to the passing of one of our heroes, but there are times when more space should be set aside for such occasions.

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Dr. Cornelius N. Dorsette, medical pioneer in the state of Alabama

One of my loyal readers, after reading a Classroom profile on the famed architect Vertner Tandy, noted I had cited Dr. Cornelius Nathaniel Dorsette, his wife’s father, as the first African-American to pass the Alabama medical examination.

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