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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Gideon Manasseh, photographer and educator, passes at 77

Celebrated Amsterdam News Photographer and teacher Gideon Manasseh makes his transition.

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Harry Briggs Jr., member of an unheralded civil rights family

Once more with the recent death of Harry Briggs Jr., we are reminded of the Civil Rights Movement and many who, at best, are footnotes in history.

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The lion can sleep tonight

Congressman Charles B. Rangel is universally known as the “Lion of Lenox Avenue,” but the roar heard during a Harlem Day tribute for him Sunday was one of approval from a crowd not too far from his home in Lenox Terrace.

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From Nat Turner to Nate Parker

Nat Turner’s slave rebellion occurred in Virginia in 1831, but it has a fresh round of currency and controversy with “The Birth of a Nation,” actor, director and producer Nate Parker’s film depicting what was a bloody uprising.

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George Curry—A personal reflection

Given George Curry’s international impact on the world of journalism we can expect a long list of encomiums, all of them warranted and all needed in the attempt to capture the totality of his remarkable odyssey.

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Marion Christopher Barry, son of the former D.C. mayor, dies of an overdose

Marion Christopher Barry, the son of the late mayor of Washington, D.C., has died of an apparent drug overdose.

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Let’s get ready to rumba!

“It’s amazing,” said the incomparable Cuban pianist and composer, Chucho Valdes. “Latin Jazz was born in New York with Mario Bauza, Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie and others.

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Langston Hughes and Nicolas Guillen

Saturday, Aug. 13, Fidel Castro, the great Cuban revolutionary and former president of the island nation, celebrated his 90th birthday.

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Florence Griffith Joyner, ‘Flo Jo,’ track immortal and fashionista

Watching the Black women in preparation for the 100-meter and 200-meter races at the Olympics in Rio this week, some decked out in tights, hair extended in weaves or wigs, faces aglow in colorful makeup, it was easy to remember the presence of Florence Griffith Joyner.

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Giuliani’s giant gaffes

Earlier this year, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was campaigning so eagerly for Donald Trump that he confused Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima.

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Muslim cleric and aide assassinated

Last Saturday afternoon, Imam Alauddin Akonjee and his aide, Thara Miah, had just finished worship at Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in Queens when they were shot in the back of the head and killed.

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Chano Pozo, the great Cuban percussionist and composer

As we approach the precipice of the Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural Festival, a nearly weeklong event from Aug. 15 to Aug. 21, it is difficult not to think of the great Cuban percussionist, conguero Chano Pozo.

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Clinton promises to repair Voting Rights Act

Of all the words Hillary Clinton has voiced in this turbulent election season, none are more on point and meaningful as her comments regarding the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Acclaimed author James Alan McPherson Jr. dies at 72

During my brief stay in Iowa City and teaching at the university there, I had several opportunities to spend time with the author James Alan McPherson.

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Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate in US

In this fervid election season with such unpredictability, the American public is getting a massive dose of politics, some of the civic lessons they never learned or have forgotten.

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Genius of genealogy from Louisa Parris to Chirlane McCray

During a recent event at Gracie Mansion, First Lady Chirlane McCray was among the speakers, and she recounted a story about her great-grandmother, Louisa Parris. She was from Barbados, and my profile last week of C.L.R. James, a native of Trinidad, sent me reeling again back to the Caribbean.

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Democratic platform far from perfect

The Democratic platform is 57 pages long but short on substance for Black Americans.

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Michelle’s moment: First Lady shines at DNC

It took fiery speeches from First Lady Michelle Obama and Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to somewhat stifle the dissension in the ranks as the Democratic convention got underway Monday in Philadelphia.

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Another crack in the glass ceiling by Clinton

“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected the nominee of the Democratic Party for the presidency of the United States,” Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday evening, saying words he probably never hoped to say.

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Vaughn Harper’s ‘Quiet Storm’ evoked at his homegoing

“He came with game,” media master Imhotep Gary Byrd began in his eulogy of Vaughn Harper Saturday afternoon at Riverside Church.

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Marxian scholar, historian and activist C.L.R. James

During a recent panel at Revolution Book store in Harlem, the subject of revolution dominated the discussion.

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Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural Festival embraced at Gracie Mansion

One person arriving at Gracie Mansion Thursday compared the long line of people waiting to enter to the lines at the Apollo Theater when James Brown was the star attraction.

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Black men with guns

Since this nation’s bloody beginning—the decimation of Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans—nothing has been more terrifying to white America than a Black man with a gun.

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GOP convention off to a roiling start

Rather than sit through hours of the Republican convention, many viewers watched the event on C-SPAN, which allowed them to select the speakers they wanted to see and hear.

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The Hillary and Bernie show

Hillary Clinton’s slogan of “Stronger Together” got a little bit stronger Tuesday evening in Portsmouth, N.H., when Sen. Bernie Sanders enthusiastically endorsed Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.

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Obama blesses the fallen officers in Dallas

In response to the shooting of police officers in Dallas last week, President Obama unleashed a barrage of words Tuesday at a memorial service for the slain officers, as if he intended each word to begin the healing process, to push the pain a little further into the past.

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Murder in Black and blue

A day after the Fourth of July, there was a brutal sequel to the moments of patriotism in Baton Rouge, La., when Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, was riddled with six bullets from the local police.

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Eugene Giscombe, ‘Mayor of 125th Street,’ passes at 76

Tuesday, a group of people involved in making a documentary on the history of the Apollo Theater were discussing various people to be contacted for the project.

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Vaughn Harper, the voice of the ‘Quiet Storm’ is stilled

Vaughn Harper’s mellifluous voice that matched the melodious music he dispensed was a staple on WBLS radio for years.

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Inventor Sarah E. Goode, the first Black woman awarded a patent

Last week, we profiled Frederick McKinley Jones, an inventor who, for the most part, was unknown and unheralded. His African-American female counterpart, equally obscure, is Sarah E. Goode. Goode is often cited as the first Black woman to be granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for her invention of a folding cabinet bed in 1885.

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Frederick McKinley Jones, refrigeration genius

In the current edition of Smithsonian magazine (July/August 2016), basketball immortal Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was asked which African-American inventor he believed warranted more recognition.

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A Harlem political convention

In the 1830s, mainly as a response to slavery, Black abolitionists in the North began to hold meetings under the banner of the “National Negro Convention Movement.”

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Artist McArthur Binion at Galerie Lelong

From a distance McArthur Binion’s art has a textured effect, a few resembling huge pieces of tapestry. But as you get closer, the basket-like weave of blocks reveal bits of personal information. Under the application of industrial crayon and oil sticks are photocopied pages from a collection of address books and his birth certificate.

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Obama and Clinton “shoulder to shoulder”

For the first time since 2008, President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaigned together in Charlotte, N.C. Tuesday afternoon. Only this time it was Obama stumping for Clinton.

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Famed Tuskegee Airman and educator, Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr. passes at 94

National war hero and New York City educator Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. has died.

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Don’t despair, in two years we do it again

Two things are decisive in the race for the 13th Congressional District seat that has been filled for the past 46 years by the retiring Rep. Charles B. Rangel.

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Havana comes to Harlem

What began two and half years ago as a dream cultural connection between Harlem and Havana, Cuba, is practically a reality.

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SCOTUS and us

As we have learned over the years, particularly during its right wing reign, the Supreme Court giveth and taketh away.

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Trump wants more racial profiling

Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, continued to dominate the news cycle, this time with two stories that push his lethal envelope ever closer to the edge.

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Justice Thomas retiring or tired?

Many Americans on the left—and some in the middle—are hoping the rumor that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is pondering retirement is true.

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Keep Harlem in vogue

Change appears to be inevitable for the communities of the world, and Harlem is no exception.

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Dorsie Willis, sole survivor of Brownsville Massacre

If you’re one of the deep diggers of African-American history and you’ve heard of Dorsie Willis, then I tip my kufi to you.

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Harlem congressional candidates square off for Rangel’s seat

With Congressman Charles Rangel looking on, seven candidates Monday evening debated who was the best qualified to replace the 46-year veteran leader of the 13th Congressional District. According to the reaction from the audience at Hostos College, Assemblyman Keith Wright and State Senator Adriano Espaillat won the overall cheer meter.

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Poet/healer Stephanie Alston-Nero transitions at 61

In search of the ancestral, whether physically or spiritually, was a mission that consumed the being of Stephanie Alston-Nero.

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Ali, a man of faith for the ages

If the funeral services for Muhammad Ali last Friday in Louisville, Ky., seemed interminably long,

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Mathematician Dorothy Vaughan, a pioneer in the Space Age

One of the most fulfilling rewards from the Classroom column are the number of suggestions

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Carnage in Orlando: Massacre in Florida causes shockwaves

Beyond the tragedy in Orlando, Fla., Sunday morning in which to date 49 people were killed and 53 injured, five of them critically, another clash is becoming more imminent each day between two presumptive presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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Noted asthma consultant to discuss aid and remedies

We will never know the extent to which Dayshen McKenzie, who recently fled for his life from a white gang on Staten Island, might have been helped by Yocheved Bat-Imedt, a registered nurse and holistic asthma consultant.

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Diversity is the theme of Michelle Obama’s commencement speech

At City College of New York, with nearly 4,000 graduates who represent 150 nationalities and speak more than 100 languages, First Lady Michelle Obama was right at home with diversity as the theme of her commencement address Friday afternoon.

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Bundini Brown, Muhammad Ali’s sidekick, trainer and collaborator

For all the righteous and rightful media on the death of Muhammad Ali, there has been hardly a word about Drew “Bundini” Brown.

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