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Magazine Under Fire for Racial Term Used in Headline

<i> Associated Press</i>

A generally positive profile in Boston Magazine of one of the city’s most prominent blacks has come under attack because of the headline on the cover: “Head Negro in Charge.”

The National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League are complaining that the term is racist and harks back to the days of slavery.

The article, in the April edition, was about nationally known scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of black studies at Harvard University.

Boston Magazine editor Craig Unger said he was “genuinely upset if people saw this as racist.”

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“That was not our intention. It was meant to be provocative,” he said. “People are responding as if the headline comes from slavery. But the term was also used during the civil rights movement to refer to black leaders with a mixture of respect, envy and rivalry.”

Gates was traveling on business and unavailable for comment.


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