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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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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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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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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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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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AmNews pays tribute to legendary Muhammad Ali

Like his name in Arabic, Muhammad Ali was the “most high,” the epitome of athletic grace, political integrity and total love for the human family.

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Hear Hillary’s roar

As the first woman to win the nomination of a major political party, Hillary Clinton strode to the stage at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Tuesday evening, opened her arms and embraced the historic moment.

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Gil Noble remembered at CEMOTAP

In a tribute to the late Gil Noble last Saturday at CEMOTAP, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, one of several speakers, told the audience that the gathering was a family affair.

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A narrow lead for Clinton in Cali

Mathematically, the Democratic presidential primary has been over for months, and when the primaries in California and New Jersey are over, Hillary Clinton can probably add presumptive candidate to her list of titles.

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Benny Carter, the master arranger of big band swing

For a couple of reasons Benny Carter stayed on my mind this week. His memory was first evoked during a discussion of the history of the Apollo Theater.

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A spiritual reunion between Miles and Trane

Tributes to the music and legacy of Miles Davis and John Coltrane were only feet apart recently at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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Duke Ellington’s sacred concerts revived at Grace Congregational Church

Last week the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts hosted its 24th International Study Group on the peerless composer.

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Trump ‘a disaster waiting to happen,’ Clinton says

Hillary Clinton, approximately 90 delegate votes away from being the Democratic presidential nominee, has turned down Sen. Bernie Sanders’ request for a debate before the June 7 primary in California.

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The Duke is tops

To capture the majesty and influence of Duke Ellington’s music requires a yearlong activity, each day representing a tenth of his compositions, many of them immortal standards.

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Passionate political activist Ramon Jimenez dead at 67

Ramon Jimenez, a voice for the voiceless and an outspoken member of the Green Party, died Tuesday of prostate cancer. He was 67.

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Clinton edges Sanders in Kentucky, loses in Oregon

No matter whose polls or numbers you consult, Hillary Clinton has outdistanced her opponent thus far in the race to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

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Literary giants Ishmael Reed and Haki Madhubuti in town

There are two opportunities for folks in the region to spend time with the eminent author Ishmael Reed.

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Remembering Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign

Wednesday, the People’s Organization for Progress, led by activist Larry Hamm, held a march and rally commemorating the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign to End Poverty and Racism and to Demand an Economic Bill of Rights.

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James Haughton, crusader against the construction industry

There was a time a score of years ago when monthly visits to Jim Haughton’s place in lower Manhattan were part of a routine exercised by local—and a few national—activists.

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Sanders wins West Virginia but gains little

The polls and pundits predicted that Sen. Bernie Sanders would win the West Virginia primary Tuesday, and they were right. But, as they also noted, the victory did little to close the gap between him and Hillary Clinton, who has a decisive lead in delegates.

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Treachery: Corrupt Cuomo or debased de Blasio?

The race that the nation, if not the world, is watching with interest is one looming between Hillary Clinton and the “presumptuous” Donald Trump, as Clinton called him.

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The Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, civil rights witness and participant, dead at 81

The Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles is often best remembered as an eyewitness to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Two popular Harlem pols unite

For those who missed the Saturday morning press conference at the Alhambra, where Rep. Charles Rangel endorsed Keith Wright to succeed him, there was a smaller, more intimate occasion with Wright that evening at Tsion Café.

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Obama and Wilmore—It’s a Black thang!

Saturday evening in the Hilton ballroom in Washington, D.C., from President Obama’s opening remarks to the closing comments by comedian Larry Wilmore during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, it was a “Black thang.”

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Great White Way gets a bit of color

Given the prominence and harvest of Tony nominations of “Hamilton” and “Shuffle Along,” the Great White Way is a little bit darker this year.

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Shirley Horn, an unforgettable voice and superb pianist

Most fans of vocalist/pianist Shirley Horn were probably seduced by her recordings and concert engagements toward the end of her career, with her rendition of “Here’s to Life,” her signature song. But there’s plenty more to Horn’s remarkable journey and legacy that began May 1, 1934 in Washington, D.C., where she was born and raised—and continued to live for most of her life.

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Oliver Law, Black commander during the Spanish Civil War

To balance our last classroom featuring Salaria Kea, an African-American nurse who volunteered in the fight against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, we profile the adventurous life of Oliver Law.

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Haiti elections now set for May

When Jocelerme Privert, the interim president of Haiti, was asked if he was keeping up with the presidential campaign in the U.S., he thought the question was about the election problems in his country.

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Clinton trumps Sanders

It was another superb Super Tuesday for Hillary Clinton. She took four of the five states and the delegates up for grabs, leaving Sen. Bernie Sanders only tiny Rhode Island to crow about.

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Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

Harriet Tubman, who escorted hundreds of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, may soon be riding in American pockets.

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Salaria Kea, a Black nurse in the Spanish Civil War

Usually, when there is discussion of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, the role of African-Americans who volunteered to battle against fascism is given little mention.