Actor and comedian Bill Cosby is helped as he leaves after a court appearance, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Elkins Park, Pa. (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
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Bill Cosby, a cultural icon who once stood among America's most beloved figures, suffered the latest and most serious blow to his forever mixed legacy, as he walked slowly into a Pennsylvania courthouse holding a cane and answered to charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman.At times, Cosby has lashed out against the African-American community that long embraced him. Late in his career, Cosby famously and publicly excoriated poor blacks in a 2004 speech -- comments that angered many. Dyson, who wrote a book on Cosby a decade ago in response to the incident, said his admonitions sting more now in light of the comedian's own moral failings.Cosby is one of only a few popular figures who can be credited with promoting HBCUs nationally, said Jarrett Carter Sr., publisher of HBCU Digest.Cosby has long enjoyed the loyalty given to breakthrough cultural figures by the black community that can sometimes supersede their transgressions, said James Peterson, director of Africana Studies at Lehigh University.
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