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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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Mary Church Terrell: A fighter for equal rights

Mary Church Terrell addressed the question of what it meant to be a Black woman in the nation’s capital.

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The mayor’s first 100 days and then some …

Mayor Bill de Blasio is not immune to the arbitrary and traditional milestone of the evaluation of a mayor’s 100 days in office, a date that now has been exceeded by more than a week. Those few extra days do not alter the fact that his first term is highlighted by an explosion and explosive news.

The Rev. Dino ‘Like Boom’ Woodard passes at 79

“Like Boom!” was the Rev. Dino Woodard’s favorite expression, whether he was greeting you or emphasizing a point. It was as much a part of him as the generous praise and fond memories extended to him during the homegoing service on Sunday, March 8 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church.

National Urban Health Conference underway

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control cites heart and cancer disease as the leading causes of American deaths.

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Famous abroad, unknown in America, the actor Ira Aldridge

Whenever Hollywood or Broadway dips into Black culture with their interpretations, we should automatically be concerned. The films “12 Years a Slave” and “Django Unchained” prompted widespread response and the debate continues.

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NAN convention bigger and better than ever

It would take a Paul Bunyan to get his arms around the proliferation of ideas and proposals germinated at the 16th Annual National Action Network Convention last week at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Race is on in the 13th District

There were not many oohs and aahs in the debate last Thursday evening at Abyssinian Baptist Church

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Famed novelist and former AmNews reporter Ann Petry

The famed novelist Ann Petry gained her knowledge of Harlem during her days as a reporter for the Amsterdam News in the late 1930s. She accumulated more insight on the historic community and its residents working for the People’s Voice, a weekly newspaper founded by the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

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And then there were two—Political pioneer Basil Paterson, passes at 87

Attorney Basil Alexander Paterson, one of the legendary “Gang of Four” from Harlem, was as warm and gregarious as he was astute and generations with his time and praise for those he deemed equals and to Mr. and Mrs. Nobody just wanting a chance to shake his hand.

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More grief from the Supreme Court

Once again the Supreme Court has delivered a devastating blow to our democratic rights by striking down any limitations on campaign contributions.

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Harlem’s ‘Manchild in the Promised Land’

One of my young students at City College once asked me how many writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s were actually born and raised in Harlem. “Not many,” I answered without any real concrete information for her question.

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Cat's out of the bag: Sharpton outed as FBI informant

With President Barack Obama scheduled to speak Friday at the National Action Network’s annual convention, the website the Smoking Gun felt it was an opportune time to dig up some old dirt to smear the Rev. Al Sharpton and, by extension, tarnish the president.

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Sarah Rector, the richest Black girl in America

This week we tout a local author, Tonya Bolden, writing about a virtually unknown Black girl from Oklahoma

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State legislature oks Pre-K

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators agreed on a $137.9 billion fiscal budget for 2014-2015 last Saturday what included $300 million set aside for preschool children in New York City.

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Carra Wallace appointed NYC chief diversity officer

Comptroller Scott Stringer selected the friendly confines of the National Action Network (NAN) to announce Carra Wallace as his first chief diversity officer.

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Perhaps the greatest of the Black Fives: The Harlem Rens

At the center of the exhibit “Black Fives” is the legendary New York Renaissance, whose home court was the now long-abandoned Renaissance Ballroom that nearly abuts Abyssinian Baptist Church.

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Political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz out of solitary confinement

political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz was released to the general population after 22 years in solitary confinement

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Devoted activist-communicator J.D. Livingston passes

J.D. Livingston, the producer for Imhotep Gary Byrd’s radio shows, joined the ancestors last Friday at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx

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The wonderful historian Drusilla Dunjee Houston

Thanks to the tireless research and acclamation of Dr. Peggy Brooks Bertram students of Black history have gained a better understanding of journalist Drusilla Dunjee Houston’s incomparable contributions

The conductor and maestro Dean Dixon

A roster of African-Americans of great creative ability who had to venture abroad to perform, produce or present their craft and talents with integrity is long. Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ira Aldridge, Melvin Van Peebles and Marpessa Dawn are a few notables who come quickly to mind.

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Obama takes foreign and domestic blows

It’s probably a good time for President Barack Obama to beat a hasty retreat to Key Largo, Fla., gather the golf clubs and seek some solace on the back nine.

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Lloyd Price delivers oldies-but-goodies at the Cutting Room

You knew it was going to be a special evening Friday at the Cutting Room with the great singer Lloyd Price

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‘Stokely: A Life’—a bio with brio

During his sizzling odyssey across the global firmament, Stokely Carmichael changed his name to Kwame Tur

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Marian Anderson, a ‘voice heard once in a century’

The great conductor Arturo Toscanini said her voice was one heard only “once in a hundred years.”

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Obama announces ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative

President Barack Obama's “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative for young men of color is promising.

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Giving the eminent historian and anthropologist J.A Rogers his due

Poignant and insightful vignettes reminded me of the ones that used to appear in Black publications “back in the day,” particularly the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender; many of them containing the wisdom of J.A Rogers, the eminent historian and anthropologist who rarely has received his due

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Obama endures an arsenal of insults

Of concern at the moment former rock and roll musician Ted Nugent, who called the president a “subhuman mongrel.”

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Last memories of Chokwe Lumumba


On Tuesday evening, I came home to learn that Lumumba was dead. I wondered if his death was related to the sickness.

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New York Post lies about Greater Harlem Housing Development Corp

Ted Nugent’s comments that President Barack Obama is a “subhuman mongrel” and his subsequent so-called apology, which accused Obama of being a “violator of the Constitution,” is totally disrespectful

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Debi Thomas: From Olympics to orthopedics

With the current Winter Olympics in Sochi underway, particularly with speed skater and two-time gold medalist Shani Davis—the one Black participant of note no longer a medal contender—I thought of Debi Thomas.

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Black media in transition

To paraphrase an old economic saying: If the mainstream media sneezes, the Black media comes down with pneumonia.

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Wild about Eubie Blake, the great pianist and composer

A profile on Eubie Blake during Black History Month is more than appropriate since he was born and made his transition in February. Blake was a phenomenal pianist and an acclaimed composer and lyricist who, in the twilight of his life, was fond of saying that if had known he was going to live to be 100 years old, he would have taken better care of himself.

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It’s official—Emmis buys WBLS/WLIB

For many regular listeners at WBLS and WLIB, it comes as no surprise that Emmis Communications is now the official owner of WBLS/WLIB, having purchased it from YMF Media for $131 million.

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It was an ‘Amen’ moment at the Apollo

With such luminous luminaries as Lalah Hathaway, Valerie Simpson and Regina Belle on the program at the Apollo Theater last Friday—on the cusp of Black History Month and two days before the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey—it was a no-lose concert, one made all the more a guaranteed success with Jonathan Batiste, Arturo O’Farrill and Alex Bugnon giving the baby grand delightful moments of sound.

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Global reporter Era Bell Thompson

One of the earliest influences on me as an aspiring journalist was Era Bell Thompson.

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LaLah comes uptown

One week after winning her first Grammy for Best R&B Performance, Lalah Hathaway will share some of that effusive joy with the Harlem community on Friday, Jan. 31at the Apollo Theater.

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The adventures of George Washington Williams

George Washington Williams was born almost a century before Dr. Carter G. Woodson conceived Negro History Week

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Obama's Orders: President announces new executive orders in State of the Union

President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address Tuesday evening

Super Bowl at MetLife, super bash at the Apollo

When the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks clash on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium at Super Bowl XLVIII, they will need a stellar performance in order to match the run-up mega event at the Apollo Theater on Jan. 31.

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Cartoonist Zelda Ormes inducted into NABJ Hall of Fame

Jackie Ormes, the largely unknown Black female cartoonist

Remains of Black soldier in Korean War returned

Clara Gantt, 94, has waited more than 60 years for her husband, Joseph E. Gantt, to come home from Korea

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In memoriam: Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka died Thursday afternoon in Newark, N.J., where he was born and lived most of his life.

Health care deadline arrives but there's still time

There are several things about Obamacare that are indisputable, though we are mindful that by offering the views of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, they are clearly tendentious.

Dr. W.V. Cordice, who helped save Dr. King, passes at 94

Dr. W. V. Cordice Jr. was a quiet, unassuming man of great humility, but he was also a talented surgeon who knew exactly what to do when faced with a crisis.

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Maria W. Stewart, fiery feminist and abolitionist

It’s not too farfetched to say that Maria Stewart was the female counterpart to the great Marcus Garvey.

Centennial anniversary of Ford’s $5 a day wage increase

One of Ford’s motives was to improve the sales of his Model T by providing his workers with a salary so they could afford to purchase the product they helped produce. These job opportunities were good news and bad news for Black workers in Detroit who before World War I represented but a small portion of the city’s total population.

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York, a slave and a pioneer in opening the West

York, William Clark’s slave whose linguistic skills and natural diplomacy were indispensable to his master and his partner, Merriweather Lewis.

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Mandela’s ubuntu is over the rainbow

Ubuntu, a word of Nguni origin that speaks of collectiveness and humanity.

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Book review: ‘The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership’

“The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership” will be quite familiar to the more informed readers, but it has been a decade or so since Al Sharpton last stopped to summarize his often tumultuous life

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Augusta Savage, a renowned sculptor and civil rights activist

Augusta Savage, a renowned sculptor