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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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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?

Government—closed until further notice

How long will it last and to what degree a closed government will affect folks outside the beltway are the most troubling questions. As to whom to blame, well, that depends on who is being asked.

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Post-election plans from John Liu

Now that Bill de Blasio has won the primaries, Liu can maybe catch his breath and relax a bit.

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Obama highlights Syria and Iran at UN

As expected, President Barack Obama used the stage at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday morning to touch on practically all of the global urgencies the U.S. faces, and, as expected, Syria and Iran got the most attention.

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The undying spirit of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

No group epitomized the role of young people in the Civil Rights Movement as resolutely as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Founded at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., during a conference on the campus from April 16-18, 1960, SNCC, or “Snick” as it was popularly called, was the brainchild of activist Ella Baker, then executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership

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Esteemed author and diplomat Kofi Awoonor killed in Nairobi attack

The global literary community was shocked to learn that noted writer, educator and diplomat Kofi Awoonor was among those killed last Saturday in the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Terrorists strike in Nairobi mall

A world caught in a tsunami of violence witnessed another terrible tragedy on Sept. 21 in Nairobi, Kenya, when gunmen, allegedly members of al-Shabab, a group tied to al-Qaeda, stormed through a shopping mall, tossing grenades and firing indiscriminately.

Blues authority and author Albert Murray celebrated

Whether in words or music, the blues was an unavoidable topic for speakers and musicians at the memorial services recently held for author Albert Murray at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Midtown Manhattan.

Former AmNews co-owner John L. Edmonds passes at 87

To his close friends, he was affectionately known as “Big John,” but the ordinary person in the street, with whom he could relate, knew him as attorney John L. Edmonds, the real estate developer.

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The Little Rock Nine—yesterday and today

When classes began at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 4, 1957, the nine Black students who had been selected to integrate the school were blocked from entry by orders from Gov. Orval Faubus.

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Trimming the book tree

On Horace Campbell’s “Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya,” Dr. Grant Harper Reid’s “Rhythm for Sale” and Charlotte V.M. Ottley's “Surviving Success: Changes, Challenges & Choices”

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A framework for peace awaits Syria’s response

There was no reason to expect President Barack Obama’s decision about the Syrian conflict to find unanimous approval, especially from his GOP critics. On Sunday, he responded to those dissenters and naysayers, dismissing the notion that he mishandled the situation in Syria.

Detroit’s decline dissected

To understand Detroit’s current economic downturn, it is necessary to flip the pages of the city’s history back to the 1950s, according to a recent in-depth report by the Detroit Free Press. While this has always been the proposition for many pundits delving into the city’s plummet, now with this exhaustive study that took up over four full pages in Sunday’s paper, there’s empirical evidence to underscore the assumptions.

A framework for peace awaits Syria’s response

There was no reason to expect President Barack Obama’s decision about the Syria conflict to find unanimous approval, especially from his GOP critics. On Sunday, he responded to those dissenters and naysayers, dismissing the notion that he mishandled the situation in Syria.

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Film Commentary: Butler, bring me a martini

It felt rather strange watching a film that is essentially about the life of a butler who served seven presidents in the White House

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Four little Black girls dressed in white

Much attention was given recently to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington featuring the immortal “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Obama calls for delay on Syria vote

As if the nation may have been dozing, President Barack Obama sent an email to his constituents yesterday explaining his position on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

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Ben Jealous to leave the NAACP

As the world has discovered, Benjamin Todd Jealous is a man of his word, and his word is his bond. Five years ago when he became the youngest President and CEO of the NAACP, he promised to take the Association to a new level of achievements.

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Albert Murray, literary giant, dies at 97

“Man, the very act of writing a story is always a matter of a certain amount of lying and signifying. Think of camera angles, microphones and the soundtrack of movies.

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Obama in a hard place over Syria

President Barack Obama appears to be on the horns of a dilemma when it comes to Syria—a damned if you do and damned if you don’t proposition.

Willie Reed Louis, a witness to the murder of Emmett Till, dead at 76

In his memoir, “Simeon’s Story,” Simeon Wright recalled the testimony of Willie Reed during the trial of the two men who abducted and killed Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boya from Chicago who went to Mississippi in 1955 to visit his relatives, including Wright, his cousin.