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Herb Boyd

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This Week in Black History: Dec. 12 - 18

This Week in Black History

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Herb Boyd's reflections on Nelson Mandela

I was stunned to hear that Mandela, 95, had “joined the ages,”

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Mandela memorialized by Rev. Sharpton at the National Action Network

Nelson Mandela’s unifying spirit reached all the way to New York City last Saturday at the National Action Network

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Amsterdam News in the Classroom: Remembering the life of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918

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The African American community mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela

The people of South Africa along with admirers from around the world will feel the loss of this leader, activist and revolutionary

Scott Joplin, the wizard of ragtime

At 163 W. 131st St., just west of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, there is a plaque indicating the last residence of the great ragtime pioneer Scott Joplin. He lived there with Lottie Stokes when he died on April 1, 1917. It may seem strange that someone from Sedalia, Mo., would spend his final days in Harlem, but such a migration and final destination is not that unusual when you consider that such luminaries as A. Philip Randolph, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman and Langston Hughes, who was born in Joplin, Mo., all made their way to and made their mark in Harlem.

Judge rules Detroit eligible for bankruptcy claim

Detroit is insolvent and thereby eligible for bankruptcy

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Obama embarks on Affordable Care Act tour

President Barack Obama embarked Tuesday on a campaign to assure Americans that his health plan is alive and well.

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Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announces his first appointees

Anthony Shorris to become Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s first deputy mayor

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De Blasio needs union and constituency support

Among the agenda items for incoming Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is how to placate the numerous public unions

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The Fisk Jubilee Singers

Jubilee Singers created to raise money for Fisk University

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Last of Scottsboro Boys pardoned

Three of the last Scottsboro Boys—African-American youths falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931—were granted posthumous pardons by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.

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Another bold move by Obama

Last Saturday evening, President Barack Obama explained yet another bold move by his administration, and like his other moves, the interim peace deal with Iran has come with its own measure of dissent and push back

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Minton’s Playhouse returns with renovated elegance

Breathtakingly exquisite and elegant is about the best way to describe the newly renovated Minton’s Playhouse

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More trouble for President Obama

President Barack Obama woke up Wednesday morning to more bad news: His approval rating reached the lowest since he took office.

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Is 12 years of Bloomberg akin to ‘12 Years a Slave?'

When asked recently if he had seen “12 Years a Slave,” a young man said no, but responded, “I have lived in New York City under 12 years of Bloomberg.”

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De Blasio thanks voters at National Action Network

On the inside of the National Action Network (NAN) headquarters last Saturday, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was effusive

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Who will be the next police commissioner?

As Bil de Blasio makes his transaction to mayor, questions loom over who will be selected as the next NYPD Commissioner

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Former Mayor Dinkins out of the hospital and on the road to recovery

Former Mayor David Dinkins was released from New York Presbyterian Hospital last Wednesday after being treated for pneumonia.

Obamacare—A legacy to remember or to forget?

Obamacare wasn’t a measure that would be completed overnight. Nor would its significant arrival for millions of Americans without any health insurance be a smooth one.

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Anna Arnold Hedgeman and Dorothy Height were mutual friends in struggle

In several African-American history books, particularly biographical dictionaries, Anna Arnold Hedgeman and Dorothy Height are listed almost inseparably.

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Who will be the next police commissioner?

If Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is interested in the opinion of a very small, informal survey of Black New Yorkers, then he should choose Kim Royster or Philip Banks III as the next police commissioner. Royster, according to some Harlemites, would add color and gender to the new mayor’s inner circle. Royster, who was the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Public Information Division, was promoted to inspector in October, making the 29-year veteran the third Black woman to earn a gold star in the department’s history. She is the mother of two and played a pivotal role in the gun buyback initiative.

Rev. Dr. Eugene Callender passes at 87

The Rev. Dr. Eugene Saint Clair Callender touched the lives of thousands

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‘We’re going to fix things,’ Obama promises again

Feeling pressure to provide the American public with a better understanding of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama addressed the problem on Monday at a dinner in Washington, D.C

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Oscar Micheaux, pioneering Black filmmaker

All Black filmmakers stand on the shoulders of Oscar Micheaux

Healthcare.gov: ‘System is down at the moment’

Healthcare exchange: "The system is down at the moment"

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Acclaimed violinist Miri Ben-Ari presents awards for tolerance

Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award winner, is an inspired performer

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Recalling the greatness of W.E.B. Du Bois

It is possible to string three lives together and gather the full expanse of African-American history

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Courageous civil rights martyr Viola Liuzzo

Viola Gregg Liuzzo was a white homemaker from Detroit, Mich., who decided to commit herself to the fight against segregation

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The ever-widening Circle of Sisters expo

On the trek from the A train to the Jacob Javits Convention Center over the weekend, a visitor would have met with a veritable army of folks—mostly women—leaving the Circle of Sisters 13th annual event. An even larger gathering of women—mostly Black—were inside the center, crowding the hundreds of vendors or seated at the Steve Harvey-emceed “Family Feud,” or standing in line for the concert featuring Eric Benet, Keyshia Cole and Amel Larrieux.

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Students protest closing of Morales/Shakur Center at City College

Using a call-and-response style popularized by the Occupy Movement, hundreds of students gathered outside—and later inside—City College in Harlem on Monday afternoon, protesting the closing of the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Student and Community Center in the NAC (North Academic Center) building.

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Obama on Obamacare

Many Americans who were not fully aware of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” or who were frustrated by attempts to log on to the government’s website to purchase the mandated insurance got answers to both pressing problems on Monday from the man himself. Surrounded by people who have already benefited from Obamacare, President Barack Obama explained several of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and why the website hasn’t been going as smoothly as he would like.

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Poet and critic James Emanuel passes at 92 in Paris

It is futile to search for James Emanuel in many of the so-called definitive anthologies of African-American literature

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Septima Clark: An unheralded stalwart of the Civil Rights Movement

Practically everyone knows that Rosa Parks is the mother of the Civil Rights Movement, but not as many know about her husband, Raymond Parks, who introduced her to the struggle against injustice, or E.D. Nixon, the president of the NAACP branch in Montgomery under whom she served

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Rep. Major R. Owens passes at 77

News broke of the Monday night passing of former Rep. Major R. Owens on Oct. 21

What about single payer, Mr. Williams?

In his column last week, Armstrong Williams listed three basic arguments against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, all of which cry out for further discussion because his conclusions, unsurprisingly, coincide incontrovertibly with conservative think tanks and websites.

Nelson Mandela: An examined life well-lived

After former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, is perhaps the most recognizable man in the world.

Motown’s doyenne of charm and etiquette, Maxine Powell, passes at 98

For Maxine Powell, the doyenne of style and grace, an entertainer or performer had to exhibit a certain savoir faire and stage presence to win an audience

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Five Black men who rode with John Brown

Few Americans were as devout and determined to end slavery in this country as John Brown

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Al Sharpton responds to Ministers calling him 'out of touch'

Whenever the Rev. Al Sharpton is attacked his first impulse is not to dignify the allegations, to let his detractors be hoisted on their own petard or, in contemporary terms, let the crap fly back in their faces.

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A deal averts default for now

After more than two weeks of paralysis and a threatened default, the government may zip back into action now that a deal has apparently been reached between the Senate leaders, and that also portends agreement from the recalcitrant House of Representatives.

Elombe Brath celebrated at 77

George Edward Tait, the poet laureate of Harlem, arrived precisely at the beginning of a birthday salute to the stricken freedom fighter Elombe Brath last Sunday at the Dwyer Cultural Center, and his poem “Elombe Time” not only underscored his punctuality, but also captured the essence of a man he deeply admires.

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Rangel arrested at immigration rally

Rep. Charles Rangel and eight other Democratic members of the House were among 200 people arrested Tuesday evening during a peaceful rally on the National Mall and in front of the U.S. Capitol. They were there demanding Congress pass a comprehensive immigration bill.

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Ruby Bridges: The first Black child to integrate a white school in the South

Of all the iconic children in the Civil Rights Movement, Ruby Nell Bridges is perhaps the least known. Much has been written about the young people of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the “Little Rock Nine” and Linda Brown, the young girl at the center of Brown v. the Board of Education decision in 1954.

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Government shutdown continues despite enough votes to end it

As we enter week two of the government shutdown, it has become increasingly clear that there are enough Republican votes in the House to end the impasse, but Speaker John Boehner is reluctant—or hasn’t been pushed enough—to bring the vote to the floor.

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Herman Wallace, of the “Angola 3,” succumbs to liver cancer

Within a week after being released from more than forty years in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison, Herman Wallace, 71, had little time enjoy his newfound freedom.

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Mayor Dinkins' life recalled in wit and humor

Indubitably, reviewers and many readers of the David N. Dinkins’ memoir “A Mayor’s Life: Governing New York’s Gorgeous Mosaic,” written with A Mayor’s Life: Governing New York’s Gorgeous Mosaicin 1993. But to seek out his discussion singularly on these moments is to miss a remarkable success story, one that he relates with an interest of setting the record straight while taking the blame for some of his missteps

Evelyn Lowery, civil rights stalwart, passes at 88

Unfortunately, the wives of civil rights icons often stand in the shadows of their eminent husbands, but Evelyn Lowery, the wife of Joseph Lowery, stepped outside of that shadow and established her own special place in the struggle for civil and human rights.

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Firebombs dropped on Black Americans

Other than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. proudly claims it has never been bombed from the air. That may be true to the extent of a foreign enemy conducting such an action, but it doesn’t apply to incidents where U.S. planes bombed their own people, as in the Tulsa Riot of 1921 and in Philadelphia in 1985, when incendiary firebombs were dropped on Move, a back-to-nature group.

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Government: Closed until further notice

As the government shutdown begins, a number of questions arise, such as how long will it last, who’s to blame and how does this impact the ordinary American?