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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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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Welcome, Attorney General Loretta Lynch

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had hardly finished being sworn in Monday as the first African-American woman to hold the position when the outrage and violence in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s death in police custody became an immediate flashpoint.

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Obamacare: Its importance and complexities explained

Presuming you’ve done well and lived up to the good recommendations dispensed during March Nutrition Month, the upcoming fifth annual National Urban Health Conference is packed with additional information that will help you as you continue your pursuit of wellness and happiness.

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At last! Loretta Lynch confirmed as U.S. Attorney General

At last, after a delay of more than five months, Loretta E. Lynch was narrowly confirmed as U.S. Attorney General by the Senate Thursday afternoon.

Abyssinian hosts a wonderful evening of jazz and reparations

It was fortuitous this past weekend to have Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan’s wake and viewing at the Abyssinian Baptist Church last Thursday right around the corner from the Reparations Summit, convened at the same time by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century at Mother AMEZ Church in Harlem.

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Samuel J. Battle, New York City’s first Black man in blue

Reading Ginger Adams Otis’ engrossing “Firefight: The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest,” which centers on the ordeal and ultimate success of Wesley Williams to become a fireman, she cited a passage about another African-American pioneer in uniform, Samuel J. Battle, New York City’s first Black policeman.

‘They are killing Mumia,’ wife charges

Wadiya Jamal, wife of the imprisoned and ailing Mumia Abu-Jamal, was shocked to see photos of her husband. She was even more horrified seeing him in person last Thursday at the SCI Mahanoy.

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A glorious celebration for the life of Dr. Ben

While there is no dismissing the glorious encomiums for the late Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan—and they were as full of praise as the many dispensers—the priceless item at his more than three-hour funeral service at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem was the printed program.

The indomitable Callie House, reparations pioneer

After a week of reparations festivities this past weekend, under the auspices of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, there is a need to keep the discussion going on this important issue.

Violence in blue

Are the incidents of the police caught on camera committing one brutal, atrocious act after another aberrations or are they merely a small sample of even more occurrences that are never recorded? We like to believe it’s the former.

Another Unarmed Black man gunned down by police—This time in Tulsa

Funeral services Sunday for Walter Scott, the Black man shot and killed in North Charleston, S.C., had only recently concluded when a police video was released showing an unarmed Black man fleeing the police when he was subsequently tackled, forced to the pavement then shot and killed.

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Hillary’s in!

About a minute and half into her online announcement of her presidential bid last Sunday, Hillary Clinton said, “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by, so you can get ahead and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.”

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A glorious celebration for the life of Dr. Ben

While there is no dismissing the glorious encomiums for the late Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan—and they were as full of praise as the many dispensers—the priceless item at his more than three-hour funeral service at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem was the printed program.

Dean of Black ministers, the Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, passes at 96

The good reverend joined the ancestors after attending Easter services at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Durham, N.C. He died of an apparent heart attack at the Duke University Medical Center. He was 96.

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Bishop Benjamin Tucker Tanner, patriarch of an illustrious family

While Bishop Benjamin Tucker Tanner and his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Miller, were the parents of several highly successful children, they were fairly accomplished in their own right.

Cinque Brath attends Namibian inauguration with uncle Kwame Brathwaite

Nothing would have pleased Elombe Brath more than to have been among the invited guests at the recent inauguration of Dr. Hage Geingob, Namibia’s third president.

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Mumia still in critical condition

Suzanne Ross, a veteran activist and longtime stalwart in the fight for the liberation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, was among a contingent of supporters who traveled to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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