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Herb Boyd

Stories by Herb

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.

Obama’s doctrine and legacy

If President Barack Obama’s intention is to forge a legacy, one mainly based on his foreign policy, he has made several decisive steps toward that goal.

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Commentary: A day that will live in infamy, the death of Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 1968, is a day that will live in infamy. Most Americans can recall...

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Mary Elizabeth Bowser, Black spy during the Civil War

There is much discussion nowadays about the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the Reconstruction Era and how similar today’s racial climate is to that distant past with the widespread police brutality and political repression.

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DOJ investigating 20 local police departments

Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as the next U.S. attorney general may be in limbo, but that hasn’t stopped current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder from moving expeditiously in his remaining months in office with his plan to rein in the abusive conduct of local police departments around the nation.

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Mumia transferred back to prison infirmary

Mumia Abu-Jamal was transferred back to the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy Wednesday night and activists are demanding that his family and attorney be allowed visitation in the prison infirmary.

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Budget on time but without the goods

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as he has done over the past five years, got his budget in on time, beating the April 1 deadline, but many of the state’s elected officials and civic leaders feel that in the process, he dropped the baton.

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Famed political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal in critical condition

Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated political prisoners, is reportedly in a diabetic coma and in intensive care at the Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, PA.

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Dr. Ben in his own words

Toward the front of the headquarters of the National Action Network in Harlem, there is a chair—no, a throne—that was placed there for the venerable Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan.

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Toni Stone, first female professional baseball player

With major league baseball currently in spring training and Women’s History Month nearing its end for this year, we throw the spotlight on Toni Stone, the first woman to ever play in a men’s professional league.

New film featuring Dr. Cornel West, revolutionary Bob Avakian

Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and Dr. Cornel West, professor of philosophy and Christian practice at the Union Theological Seminary in New York will show their film, “The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion,” Saturday, March 28, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Harlem youth winners at White House Film Festival

Good news about Black youth in the mainstream media has become increasingly rare, so we are thrilled to learn that Harlem’s Digital Media Training Program was among 15 winners of the second annual White House Film Festival and celebrated the occasion last week with President Barack Obama.

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The Rev. Willie T. Barrow, civil rights activist, dies at 90

President Barack Obama said that he was one of the Rev. Willie T. Barrow’s godchildren, “and I have worked hard to live up to her example.” Such has been the lot of many of Barrow’s many godchildren, all of whom are now mourning her death and remembering her undying commitment to civil rights. She was 90.

Envelope containing cyanide addressed to White House

Monday, according to a story posted on The Intercept, an envelope received at the White House mail screening facility tested positive for cyanide.

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Attorney general confirmation stalled

Four months ago, President Barack Obama selected Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general. In February, a Senate panel approved the nomination, but since then, things have turned into an interminable wait.

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Sharpton brings it home in Selma

Whatever the reasons for selecting the Rev. Al Sharpton as the keynote speaker at the “Bloody Sunday” commemoration at Brown Chapel A.M.E. church in Selma last Sunday, it proved to be a wise decision.

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Beauty mogul Rose Morgan

Since this is Women’s History Month, the “Classroom” column will keep its focus on the contributions of Black women. Last week, “Stagecoach Mary” led the way in opening the West, and on the eastern front, wielding not a rifle but a hot comb and a cosmetic kit, was Rose Morgan.

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Many rivers and bridges to cross

As President Barack Obama prepared to lead marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge spanning the Alabama River in Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that historic march for voting rights Saturday, he said that we as a nation have many “more bridges to cross.”