In 2017 I testified before the DC City Council during the confirmation hearing for now former Police Chief Peter Newsham. He was confirmed and a wasted 4 years of law-enforcement followed. Crime in the city multipliedand poured into Prince Georges County and Virginia.
Councilman Charles Allen conducted the hearings and half of the council were AWOL including Ward 7’s Vincent Gray, Ward 8’s Trayon White, Ward 3’s Mary Cheh, Arnita Bonds At-Large, and Kenyan McDuffie Ward 5. When the votes were counted it was 12-1 for confirmation. Councilman At-Large Charles Grosso was the only one who had the balls to say “No” to the confirmation. He knew Newsham was a corrupt cop because he had enough common sense to use the background information I had given DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council woman Mary Cheh.
I testified Newsham was not worthy to be Chief of Police in the Nation’s Capitol with his bad history as a cop. It was not like I was bringing a news flash to the council chambers, Fox News TV 5 ran an expose relating to his violent domestic abuse of his wife and girlfriend on the side. They both had him in court before a judge on domestic violence charges.
He is a well known alcoholic (found on aDC street drunk with his gun in his holster). Talking about a cop out of control, Newsham had several of his cronies/go-fers go into the property room of the department and take documents out that were to be use against him in a court of law.
World Bank demonstrators were suing the city and Newsham for abuse by the DC police department in 2002—the lawsuit cost the city in the neighborhood of 15 million dollars.
Inspector Nate Simms was in charge of the property room during that time. He confronted Newsham’s cronies/go-fers who were abusing the system on his behalf. He told them they could no longer take police property out of the property room without signing for it. He refused to be the go along to get along “Spook That Sat by the Door” for Newsham and his band of thieves.
Newsham went to his buddy Chief Cathy Lanier and she removed Inspector Simms from the property room and demoted/busted him back to Captain. He retired.
She was the first cop in the history of the DC Police Department to go from a captail to the chief! Comparable, a captain in the U. S. military receiving a similar promotion to General.
She was appointed by former Mayor Adrian Fenty. It was rumored she received the appointment after she became Fenty’s bodyguard for his domestic abuse. In the meantime, Lanier retired after being offered the job to head security for NFL proving crime does pay.
When I met Nate Simms as young cop he was adapted to Community Policing. We met at the SE White House during Tuesday morning breakfasts. This was a meeting place for community activist and those who needed our support. The breakfast was overseen by former Assistant Police Chief Sammi Morrison. The late Chief Ike Fullwood was a frequent visitor.
I discovered Simms was a straight shooter and we became fast friends. He supported my efforts during my annual Kids In Trouble Christmas toy party for needy children and participated in several of my forums relating to youth gangs and police community relations.
When Chief Cathy Lanier kicked him to the curb we met to talk about his next move to leave the department and what the future held for him. Instead, he provided me with documented proof of dates and times of Newsham transgressions and abuse of power as a law-enforcement officer.
He got a raw deal and he refused to stand on the sidelines and cheer Newsham on as he ran for chief of the department.
I now had to figure out a game plan to derail Newsham’s rise to power as a corrupt/crooked cop. I had to do more than just write and talk about it. I need another avenue to expose him to those in so-called power. Enter, Ben’s Chili Bowl.
I was now the Historian for the World famous eatery. The family was planning on celebrating the founder, Virginia Ali’s birthday and where should they celebrate it? They had just opened a brand new Chili Bowl at 9th and H Streets on the NE corridor. There was hope they could kill two birds with one stone.
First, free publicity for the new eatery and invite the power-brokers to their new home (housewarming). This would be a great venue to see Delegate Eleanor Norton Holmes (a Chili Bowl favorite), Mayor Muriel Bowser and any City Council member, wannabees who might want to be seen.
Several days before the big party I went to my computer and printed out the information that Nate Simms had given me on Newsham’s transgression as a DC cop. I prepared 5 envelopes with all of his background information to pass on to the power-brokers in attendance for the upcoming birthday party.
Jackpot, the eatery was packed (nose to nose). First, I found my wife Hattie a place to sit and then I would start my search to see who was in the house. It was difficult trying to get from one corner of the eatery to the other corner. My struggles were rewarded, Delegate Holmes, Mayor Bowser and City Councilwoman Mary Cheh were all in the house.
I found Hattie something to eat and then I staked out Bowser, Cheh and Holmes waiting for an opportunity to approach them. Bowser had a posse of about three people, Eleanor had one and Cheh was the Lone Ranger without Tonto.
It looked like Eleanor would be easy. She had taken off her shoes and was sitting near Hattie. The two had struck up a conversation and I moved on to check out Bowser. I was patient and waited until almost the end of the celebration. I caught the Mayor eating and I handed her the envelope and told her I would contact her later. I watched her put it in her pocketbook and I moved on to track down Cheh.
I had met her at the funeral of Judge Harry T. Alexander. I was introduced by community activist Al-Malik Farrakan (Cease Fire Don’t Smoke the brothers). I ask Malik as she walked away, “Do you trust her?” He gave me a funny look and said, “Come on man, she was a prosecutor.” Enough said!
She was talking to a constituent when I interrupted it looked like he was going to go on and on. She looked relieved when I handed her the envelope, I said, “I will contact you later” and left her the same way I found her.
When I finally got back to Eleanor, she and Hattie were taking pictures together. I gave her the envelope and she put it in her pocket—mission accomplished.
The confirmation hearing on Newsham was in April at the Wilson Building. I arrived in time to be introduced to Newsham by community activist Leroy Thorpe. Newsham came to me with a song and dance explaining he would appreciate my support and if I ever needed him for anything to give him a call. He then gave me his card and we took our seats.
I spotted former DC cop Lt. Lowell Duckett moving around the perimeter of the hearing. They had run him out of the department because he did not go along to get along. I was surprised when Malik Farrakan whispered in my ear he was there looking for a job with Newsham. Commander Melvin Gresham a veteran on the department was also in attendance showing support for Newsham. He came over to say hello and tell me he knew my brother Bull and what a great cop he was. My brother Sgt. Earl ‘Bull’ Bell faced the Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence for being a good and honest cop.
During the hearings and before my testimony I knew the confirmation hearings were a sham. The decision had already been made to name Newsham the new chief.
I told Councilman Allen I didn’t appreciate them wasting my time when they had already made their decision to hire Newsham. He swore up and down that was not the case. I was not convinced and I cited the evidence I had given DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilwoman Mary Cheh who conveniently was sitting out this segment of the hearing.
When it was all said and done and I was leaving the building, a young lady approached me saying she represented Councilman Charles Grosso. He requested the documentation I had given Norton, Bowser and Cheh. No problem-done deal.
When it was all said and done, the council confirmed the nomination 12-1, the only dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Grosso.
In July 2020 Mayor Muriel Bowser called Grosso a “Lame Duck” for calling for the firing of Chief of Police Peter Newsham? I find this strange since Grosso was the only council person who voted against his confirmation in 2017.In 2020 his vote proved he was right when he said “NO” to his confirmation.
Evidently, he used my documentation to reach his final conclusion, but he has since become a deaf mute on how he reached that decision. I guess you would call it politics!Community advocate Leroy Thorpe said, “I am not surprised he didn’t reach out to you. I find him to be a very ungrateful politician, he is all about Grosso”.
Looking at Nesham’s job performance for past three years he needs to be fired. For example; Crimes including homicides have gone up every year since he has been chief. It was Bowser according to the Washington Post who conspired with the chief to “Stop and Frisk” New York City style. Cops profiled and ticket blacks overwhelmingly in a city that is now 50-50 as it relates to black and white folks—they can no longer lean on “Chocolate City”. See link below.
Mayor Muriel Bowser lost a lot credibility for supporting the “Stop and Frisk” act in DC that targeted black citizens. She sold the black community out.
My “Deep Throat” in the DC government whispered tome that the City Council put pressure on Mayor Bowser to get rid of Newsham. His erratic police behavior was costing the city too much money and his run–in with City Council members was not helping. Bowser then gave Newsham the 411 to resign or be fired. Newsham immediately started looking for another job or a way out with his pride intact and Prince William County answered the call.This was a step down from chief of police in Washington, DC theNation’s Capitol and stronghold of political power to the chief of police in (Mayberry) Prince William County, Virginia.
It was difficult for me to believe, I gave three minority women information relating to a cop seeking the office of chief of police in the nation’s capitol who has a domestic violence history and they still give him a pass to be chief!
It all comes down to are women politicians just as corrupt and selfish as men? In 1968 Black male Mayors did absolutely nothing after we were forewarned (Kerner Report) that America was headed for two different societies, one black and one white. Here we are 52 years later hustling backwards!
This brings me to a difficult crossroads we are now facing in the District, Maryland and Virginia (DMV). Talking about being caught between a “Rock and a Hard place”!
There are three women in the DMV that now have their hands on the trigger to help start a new trend in Community Policing when it comes to changing the culture of policing in America.
We often hear cops saying, “Its us against them”? They forget they were not drafted into the job-they volunteered. Our tax dollars pay their salaries and if it is too hot in the kitchen-get out!
I know of no one I am connected to in the struggle is talking about defunding or dismantling police departments. The people I know are talking about better training and community policing. For example, adding armed social service advocates to the department’s payroll to address calls when it comes to domestic violence and mental health issues.
This will allow officers to stand back and stand off until these advocates arrive to address the issue. There are times when circumstances will not allow this procedure to manifest. A outside advocacy group will determine whether the act ofusing their weapon was justified. Police policing themselves can no longer be tolerated. Limited immunity has to be taken off the books, I cringe everytime I think of Newsham heading the Internal Affairs Department.
Newsham is carrying his racist police practices to Prince William County, Virginia. DC now has no chief and Prince Georges County still has no chief after firing their racist chief Hank Stawinski in July. This guy much like Newsham was poison to the department. Newsham had31 years and Stawinski had 27 years to spread their racist ideology among their officers.Change is not coming easy.
During Newsham’s 31 years read like a fictional movie. Domestic violence with both black and white women, a known alcoholic, he was a bully with a badge and gun, found drunk on a DC street corner with his gun in his holster, stealing evidence out of property room, costing the city millions of dollars for wrongful arrest and abuseduring World Bank protest in 2002 and DC is expected to pay out millions more for the abuse on Black Lives Matter Plaza peaceful protesters last month. He now carries his show on the road to Prince William County, Virginia—too close for me.
Stawinski on his 27 year watch witness up close one of the most brutal and racist police departments in America. Cops were scare of their own colleagues. Several appeared on television in hoods to hide their identy and discuss racism in the department. There were vigilante acts carried out, one of the most memorable was a young man found hung in his jail cell in 2007 after he was arrested for hit and run killing a county police officer. The sad part black folks were in charge, County Executive, Jack Johnson (now ex-con), Chief of Police Melvin High (now county sheriff), States Attorney Glenn Ivey (now an expert on the criminal justice system as seen on TV) the trial judge, Federal Judge, Alex Williams. The killers are still free.
There have been several lawsuits filed against the department by Black and now Hispanic officers citing racism. In September the county paid a black family 20 million dollars for a wrongful death by a police officer. The officer shot and killed a man in custody handcuffed in a police vehicle.
Checkout the reasons why Prince William County Board of Supervisor chair Ann Wheeler is welcoming Newsham with open arms. She said, “We have a wonderful police department right now, but we can always get better. Newsham with his experienced after so many years of running a large police department, we felt he could bring those techniques of racism and brutality here and definitely benefit us.
Newsham’s during his tenure allowed black children and men to be gunned down in our streets without any concern, for three straight years crime in our streets got higher and higher. It is clear why he is headed to Prince William County as its next chief of police. They are expecting more of the same.
If you need an interpreter to understand what she is saying, you are a part of the problem.
It took me 45 years to get my exclusive one on one interview with Muhammad Ali to the big screen. November 23rd marked the 1st anniversary for the debut November 23, 2019 at the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. On October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali shocked the world when he knocked out the undisputed and undefeated 25 year-old George Foreman to become the heavyweight champion for second time. This was just his first shock.
Ali saved his second shock for his arrival back in the United States. Ali’s first call for an exclusive one on one interview was not to Ed Bradley (60 Minutes) not Bryant Gumble (NBC) and not Howard Cosell (ABC).
He made his first call to a little unknown sports talk show host in Washington, DC. He made Harold Bell “The Chosen One”. My show was heard on gospel W-U-S-T radio. Ali shocked the sports media again, but this time he didn’t change his name, he change his favorite sportscaster.
I would like to take this opportunity and thank those of you who made this great interview on the screen of the Miracle Theatre with “The Greatest” possible. First, my wife Hattie (we will also celebrate our 52nd wedding anniversary on Monday), Rahman Ali, Rodney Brown and Wil Williams. Judge Luke Moore, John ‘Turk’ Edwards, Andrew Johnson, Lucy and Junebug Reamer, Keith and Dotie Wade, Furman Marshall, Lee Jones, Willie Wood, Roy Jefferson, George Nock, Marc Clarke, Maggie Linton, Jackie Jones, James Young, Gary Johnson, James and Carolyn Blount (About Time Magazine), Johnny Sample, Jim Clemons, Chuck Atkins, Don Baker, Larry Law, Harold Burke, Harry Horton, Victor Perry, Juliet Main, Ernest Clover, the No Name Band, Robin Sugar Williams, Shaza, Phila. Jake, Dog Turner, Zack, Slippery Jackson, Cornell Jones, Nook Williams, and cast of hundreds of others who lifted me up and refuse to let me fall.
I celebrate with a heavy heart that aches as we head into the Thanksgiving holidays 2020 it will also mark the deadliest year in the history of Black America. First, let me start with the deadly coronavirus it has killed close 260,000 Americans making it the most dangerous virus in American history, to complicate matters for Black America, driving or walking while black has made unarmed black men, women and children targets for racist cops in racist police departments across America.
Nearly 250 black women have been fatally shot by a cop since 2015. In 2020 one in every 1,000 black men in America can expect to be killed by police.
The risk of being or being killed by a cop peaks between the ages of 20 and 35 for black men, women and for all racial and ethnic groups. Black men and women are signifcantly more likely than white women and white men to be killed by a cop. Latino men are also more likely to be killed by a cop.
American Indian and Alaska native women and men face higher lifetime risk of being killed by police than do their white peers. One study found that Latina women and Asian Pacific Islander men face lower risk of being killedby police than do their white peers. The risk is higher for blackmen. For young men of color police use of force is among the leading causes of death.
Sadly, the trend of fatal police shootings in the U. S. seems to only be increasing, with a total 809 civilians having been shot to death as of October 2020, 157 of were black. In 2018, there were 996 fatal police shootings and in 2019 this figure increased to 1,004. Additionally the rate of fatal police shootings among black men America was much higher than for any other ethnic group. For blacks the fatal shootings stood at 32 shootings per million as of October 2020. Whites fatally shot to death by cops in October 2020 compared to blacks shot to death by cops reads, whites 311, blacks 157.
The white population as compared to the black population, whites out number blacks 2-1. With Trump adding 200+ white Federal Judges to benches making America again Justice & Just-Us. Add unemployment, inadequate health care and schools lacking equal education for our children will make an “Even Playing Field” almost impossible to find.
During my lifetime I have never experienced losing so many love ones, friends and associates dying in the same calendar year. This year has been especially difficult for family, my cousin Tommy lost his son and wife in the last two-months, my wife’s cousin Richard lost his wife of 52+ years.
I have lost several friends this year who were NFL Hall of Famers, three of them played for the same team, the Green Bay Packers. Willie Wood died in February, he is considered one of the greatest safeties to ever play in the NFL, his teammate Herb Adderly died in October. Herb was a shutdown cornerback for the Packers and Dallas Cowboys, and Paul Hornung died November13, 2020. Long before Dion Sanders famously split time between the NFL and Major League Baseball, Paul Hornung pulled off the ultimate double-duty: serving in the Army reserved during the week and suiting up for the 1961 Green Bay Packers on the weekends.
If anyone ever tells you sports and politics don’t mix, just remind them that President John F. Kennedy signed off on Hornung to play for the Green Bay Packers on weekends in 1961. Paul helped the Packers win their first Super Bowl, he scored 19 of the Packers 37 points when they shutout the New York Giants 37-0. Honung was known as the Golden Boy because of his good looks and his curly blond hair. He was a playboy and lady’s man, a champion, a broadcaster, a philanthropist and a high stakes gambler (he was suspended by the NFL for betting on his team to win in 1963).
He had a diverse range of pursuits, to be sure — but he will be most remembered for his versatility within the sport. He was beyond a triple threat he could run, pass, catch and kick. He was one of legends that was heard on my Inside Sports talk shows after his NFL career was over.
I met Paul through his teammate and my life time friend Willie Wood, Hornung and Herb became regulars on on my sports talk show Inside Sports long after their careers were over. I last saw and talked with Paul at a tribute and fundraiser I coordinated in 2007 for Willie. He died in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 84 on November 13th after a long battle with dementia. All three Packer stars died as a result of dementia.
The great NFL Hall of Fame Line Backer Sam Huff was also in attendance for the tribute. He also now suffers from dementia. Lets keep Sam and the families of Willie Wood, Herb Adderly and Paul Hornung all in prayer.
I thank them for their Hall of Fame contributions not to just the NFL, but also their Hall of Fame reach-back efforts to enhance the growth and development of those less fortunate than themselves. They are gone, but not forgotten.
A TRIBUTE TO THE ARTIST & MAN GEORGE NOCK
In the wee hours of Saturday morning I received an email from my friend Professor Jackie Jones of Morgan State University. Her email said, my brother in the struggle and former NFL running back for the New York Jets and the Washington Football team George Nock had died of the coronavirus.
Mourning the Passing of a Beloved Morgan Alumnus George Nock November 22, 2020
Dear Morgan Community,
Earlier today, I learned of the passing of George Nock class of 1969 graduate of Morgan State University. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Mary, and the entire Nock family on their loss. Morgan held a special place in George’s heart and the feeling was mutual. I was fortunate to have gotten to know him personally and considered him a good friend. I accompanied him and members of the 1966 “Golden Bears” Football team when they were recognized during the 2015 Citrus Bowl. It was an extremely emotional experience for George and his teammates for not only what they were able to accomplish on the field but for also what they were able to accomplish culturally by integrating America’s collegiate Bowl system with their appearance in the Tangerine Bowl. It was also an emotional experience for me to see them relieving those memories.
Upon graduating from Morgan, George Nock went onto play in the National Football League before settling on a successful career as an artist and sculptor. George was generous in volunteering his artistic services in memorializing two legendary figures in Morgan’s history – coaches Edward P. (“Eddie”) Hurt and Earl C. (“Papa Bear”) Banks. In 2017, Morgan unveiled Legends Plaza, a nearly 2,000-square-foot enclosure featuring six-foot bronze statues of the two legendary coaches, all of which was designed and created according to George’s artistic vision. George Nock will be missed as the Morgan Community collectively mourns his passing. He was a very good man, an outstanding Morganite, and his work will live on at his alma mater.
David Kwabena Wilson,
President Morgan State University
George Nock had my back in everything community, celebrity fashions (model), Santa’s helper (Christmas toy parties), Thanksgiving baskets, celebrity tennis tournaments, speaker for school outings, when I was named Washingtonian of the Year in 1980 he was there, etc. I emailed the link to the National Black Journalist 2020 pioneer award I received in September thanking him for making this all possible, but I never received a response. I now understand why. https://www.bigmarker.com/nabj/NABJ-Sam-Lacy-Awards-Program?bmid=99ea2ef240f2 /
When my high school coach decided to retire I made up my mind to pay tribute thanking him for saving so many us who were trying to go to hell in a hurry, before he stepped in and shown us a better way. It was tuff love sometimes, but it was love. I asked George to create a painting to be presented to Coach Brown from his former athletes. Several days George called asking me to provide him with photos of the athletes I wanted in the painting. Two days later he had the painting ready for the presentation. It was a knockout!
He was an unbelievable human being. You could carry his word to the bank. My brother-in-law Reggie Thomas when he heard that George had gone home to be with the Lord said, “He was a better artist then he was an athlete.” I disagreed only because an injury had cut his NFL career with the Washington Football team short. I thought again what Reggie had said and I agreed with him. I could only think about the great athlete he could have become, but I was an eye-witness to the great artist and human being he became. My brother in the struggle, he is gone but not forgotten. I never could have made it without him.
Judge Moore introduces members of the the team during Kids In Trouble annual Christmas toy drive at the Foxtrappe Club. L-R HB-Roy Jefferson (NFL)-Judge Ted Newman and Judge Henry Kennedy, Jr.
We are still looking for love in all the wrong places. As we wait for the count and the courts to decide the next President of the United States—who we know will be Joe Binden. In the meantime, Donald Trump has pulled the wool over the eyes of Black America—despite his lost, the criminal justice system will continue to be JUSTICE & JUST-US. Thanks to Donald Trump, his appointing 200+ all white federal judges to life time appointments–plus the two he put on the Supreme Court. You can add our go along to get along favorite uncle to the mix, Clarence Thomas. He will help make “White America Great Again!”
These appointments have put our children in a hole so deep, they will never see daylight or justice in their lifetime. There is nothing that Joe Binden or Kamala Harris can do about it.
I thank God that in my life time I had local help in the DC Superior Court. There were judges like, Luke C. Moore, Harry T. Alexander, Eugene Hamilton, Ted Newman, Henry Kennedy, Jr., Paul Webber and Chief Judge Harold Greene sitting on the bench. In the 70s and 80s, they help me keep hope alive and enhance the growth of hundreds of black children.
Thanks to Luke I had access like no one else in the community. He made sure that my kids and friends received a fair shake when they appeared in the DC Superior Court, especially, when they were on the right side of the law.
Judge Harry T. Alexander made it clear to all cops and lawyers appearing in his courtroom they were to address all defendants male and female as Mr. and Mrs. I was in his court for one trial when a redneck cop kept addressing a defendant as BOY, Judge Alexander bang his gavel on the courtroom desk and said, “Case dismissed-mistaken ID!” People in the courtroom both black and white stood and applauded.
I also remember I had to stop going in Judge Luke Moore’s courtroom. He would see me and stop the proceedings and send the bailiff to come and get me. I would look up and see this brother headed in my direction. He asked, “Are you Harold Bell? And I said, ‘yes’ and he said, ‘follow me’. I followed him to the bench and Luke leans over and whispers ‘is everything alright’ and I said, ‘yes I was just stopping by to say hello but you were not in your chambers’. He said, ‘I am running a little late, sit over there and we can go to lunch I will be through here in a few minutes’. It was another hour!
You did not just see these judges only in a courtroom. You could find them at my Christmas toy parties, celebrity tennis tournaments, celebrity fashion shows and other Kids in trouble community outings. And several of them appeared as my guest on my sports talk show “Inside Sports!” Judge Henry Kenney, Jr. (one of the area’s great amature tennis players), likes to tell the story of how he met his wife at one of my Celebrity Fashion shows in the 80s. They are still married today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkafk63frbg/Judge
Politicians, law-enforcement, pro athletes, and media personalities all would follow Lukes lead in support of my community endeavors. In our community there are always going to be ‘Snakes in the Grass’ avoid them by staying out of high grass.
I remember having a close encounter with one of my favorite judges who was sitting on the bench back in the day. This encounter took place while I was hosting the Ohio State tribute at the Shorham Hotel in downtown DC. Thanks to Luke and DC’s first black police chief Bertell Jefferson, we kissed and made up.
The local student/athletes whom I was honoring played for the Ohio State football team, Cornelius Greene, Lenny Willis and Woodrow Roach (another story). They were home town athletes who had success as student/athletes at the school. They played in several Rose Bowl games and more important they graduated.
The local media much like today surpress our history and our success stories with a little help from “Spooks who Sit by the Door”. They pay little or no attention to our accomplishments.
There was legendary head coach, Woody Hayes and the equally famous two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin. They were household names and left little newspaper space for Greene, Willis and Roach. This was a huge undertaking for me so I sought the advice of my friend, Judge Moore. He loved the idea and said “lets do it” and it happen. I find it amazing in these times Ken Burns a white man has taken the lead when it comes to documenting our history–he has never walked in our shoes!
In 1968 the Kerner Commission appointed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson asked Governor Otto Kerner (D-lll) to head a commission to investigate why were there so many disturbances taking place in our inner-cities. He wanted to know what was causing this unrest in the black communities around the country? Kerner reported back to President Johnson in November 1968 and his report read, “America is headed for two different societies, one black and one white, separate and unequal”. We were forewarned!
Kerner laid the blame for the riots at the doorstep of White America and its systemic racism. President Johnson after reading the report it is rumored he locked the door to the Oval Office and got drunk. In the meantime, Black leaders sat on their hands and did absolutely nothing. They were still looking for the 40 acres and mule.
The only exception were the judges at the DC Superior Court led by Luke C. Moore. After the riots they joined me in the community and made every effort to enhance the growth of the black community by reaching back to enhanced the growth of our children. Any chances of further growth is slim and none. Trump has set-up a Road Block–the Federal Courts with a little help from the Supreme Court.
I greatly appreciated that Judge Moore had my back for the tribute. He pulled the right strings to get the hotel and he convinced, Congressman Walter Fauntroy and several other judges to join us in the venture.
I asked my partner TV-4 anchorman and my anchor in all things ‘Community’ Jim Vance to co-host the tribute with me. The tribute was a huge success.
Trump saved his biggest laugh for last. His last nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in at the White House and she was sworn-in by guess who? Would you believe our favorite uncle, Clarence Thomas!
As we head into the unknown in 2021 has anyone seen my old friends Luke, Harry, Paul , Ted, Henry and Gene, I wonder where have they all gone?
This blog is based on a story of a young man by the name of Bernie Culbreth, I found him and lost him at the same time.
IN THE LOCKER ROOM: LOOKING BACK!
This story was written in the Afro-American Newspaper sometime in the early 70s. The story line: A young high school student/athlete who was trying to go to hell in a hurry (sounds familiar). Sports columnist Gary Lindsey was the author of this story. Gary was a sportswriter for the Afro.
His account is as follows:
Even if I hate to admit it after dwelling for sometime in the cold world of sports reporting whenever I come across a shattered locker room that has been rebuilt, I always have to tell the story.
This almost tragic event got its origin in the halls of Cardozo High School. Which for sometime had become a hot bed of controversy. Going to waste both scholastically and athletically was a wayward student by the name of Benjamin Culbreth, who seem unable to adjust to the policies set forth by the school administration. His was a common problem that is shared by many youngsters living under trying conditions that have a way of affecting one’s personality and generally well being. Bernie, as is his middle name, by which most refer to him, spent his 9 to 3 in the street instead of the classroom.
His almost every day attendance on the outside of Cardozo, soon resulted in his being suspended for absenteeism. However, Culbreth was’t just an ordinary youth who found things more to his liking elsewhere than the text book. He was an intelligent sort who held a low B average when he did show up for class. He also possessed one of the most accurate shooting eyes in the Public Schools. Cutbreth, unfortunately, with all this going for him never played a second of basketball for Cardozo. As a matter of fact he never returned to the institution although his teachers had petitioned him back.
He said, “I didn’t go back because I felt that those who didn’t want me would be watching every move I made hoping I would slip up. It was too much pressure for me.” Culbreth transferred to Bell Vocational in his junior year and led the Vocats to a third place finish while being selected to the All-Met Basketball Team.
One season later the nomatic athlete was off again to greener pastures at Pallotti High School and it independent govern program in Laurel, Md. Bernie said, ” They would not let me play anymore in the inter-high because my age eligibility had run out.” The transition from a school leaning toward job skills to one of a high academic standard was not easy at first. But Culbreth had already shown his true aptitude in a summer program called Upward Bound held at the University of Maryland.
In doing a complete about face, Culbreth quickly took over the scoring reigns of the league and was named MVP and led the school to its first winning season. He was grateful for the second chance that Pattotti offered him to make good in life. But he does not fool himself when he looks back at it all in his senior year to a friend he met on the streets of DC. He says, “Man I am going to tell you, if it had not been for Harold Bell I probably would not be where I am today.” I didn’t have the money to go to school and neither did my mother. I don’t have to worry about that now because he has helped me there to.”
With Bell’s support coupled with a sufficient degree of his own, Culbreth has a fairly secure future in the classroom these days. He has been offered scholarships to schools such as Colorado State, Southwest Missouri, American University, Howard University and Winston-Salem State & Bighouse Gaines (Bell’s alma mater). Culbreth, also won’t be missing any more classes. As a matter of fact he is not missing much of anything. He closed his cloudy high school career with a scoring average of 26.5 points a game for the school year.
Editor’s Note: Our life stories were eerie similar except I could only dream of a B average and a great jump shot. Bernie Culbreth’s story brings to mind Johnny Lloyd one of my young kids at Anacostia High School. There was Johnny Robinson and Stacy Robinson (no kin) were particpants at my Hillcrest Saturday Program. Stacy went on to become a high school and playground basketball legend in DC. Johnny Lloyd was trying to hell in a hurry. My high school coach Dave Brown called me and said “I have your twin over here. I need your help.” Lloyd was a high strung athlete with an ego as big as the ball he bounced around on the court.
With athletes like him, the only way to get his attention was to challenge them one on one. I teamed up with his mother and I shown up at his home one morning. She fixed us some breakfast and we walked to Anacostia Park his homecourt in the hood. I sucked him in by warming up with my left hand. I never let him see I was really right-handed. He took the bait and challenged me to a game. He had just scored 25 points against Eastern the day before and he was smelling himself.
First, I shut him down by making his deadly jump shot non-essential. He beat me to the basket several times on his quickness, but it was not enough to win. I kicked his ass good–several of his boys were eye witnesses. He begged me to play another game–never again. I now had his undivided attention.
Coach Brown would later ask me what did I do to get his attention and I told him. He laughed and said, “Lloyd’s whole attitude has changed. He has become more of a team player and his teachers claimed he had become a more thoughtful student. His grades were good enought for American University to offer him a full scholarship.
Johnny Lloyd got his act together and graduated from American University. He left the inner-city and he is now living up in the mountains in Ashville, NC. Lets keep it moving. In Suitland, Maryland there is a young man name Robert Glenn who lives on Luci Lane across the street from my late mother-in-law Elease Thomas. He had a basketball hoop attached to his garage door. We would see him in the evenings shooting hoops with his multi-colored basketball.
I would often tease him, asking him, “boy do you really know what you are doing with that ball?” He would just smile and laugh. There were times he would have several friends playing with him–he was unstoppable. One evening Hattie walked over to one of his games while I sat on the steps and watched.
She came back and told me she had asked, “Who was in charge and the best player?” Little Robert immediately stepped forward and said, “I am” and no one challenged him. We both laughed and I said, “I think Robert is tripping”.
One week later I am sitting on the front porch watching him shooting hoops all by himself and I walk over to join him. After about 10 minutes of shooting around with my left-hand (Johnny Lloyd), he says, “Mr. Bell, do you know anything about this game”? I smiled and said, “A little bit!”
He challenges me to a one on one–no layups allowed. I think he thought this was his homecourt advantage. He even gave me the ball to take out first. I was somewhere in my 70s around that time. I decided the first one to score 10 baskets would be declared the winner, but he wanted 15 baskets, I said, “no way”!
Hattie was now watching from the front porch and yelled, “I hope I don’t have to call 911!” I was making jumpers from the sidewalk and when he got the ball I was blocking everything he tried to shoot. The final score 10-2. Everytime he saw he would ask for a re-match, but it never happen.
I lost Robert somewhere between high school (Bishop McNamara in PG County) and Morehouse College in Atlanta. My mother-in-law had come down with dementia and she went home to be with the Lord in 2015.
The summer of 2019 Hattie and I decided to ride over to Luci Lane to check on my brother-in-law Charles and his daughter Perri. We spotted Robert and his parents sitting on their front porch. We waved hello and rode down to the circle only to discover no one was home. I turned around and started back out. Hattie ask me to stop so that she could say hello to Robert and his family.
I pulled over to the curve and made a call on my cell while she visited with the Glenns. Several minutes later to my surprise Robert was standing in front of me smiling from ear to ear. I said, “What’s up little man what are you doing now?”
The next words out of his mouth were, “I will be graduating from Moorehouse in February. I am a part of the 2019 class whose student debts have been paid off, thanks to philantropist Mr. Robert Smith.
I remember saying, “Congratulations”. His next words brought a bigger smile to my face when he said, “Mr. Bell thanks for always being a role model for me!” Hattie returned to the car and she was wearing this big smile. Her first words were, “Did Robert tell you he is in the 2019 graduating class at Moorehouse that just had their student debt paid off?”
Hattie is an educator and has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Indiana University. She taught at Bennet College in Greensboro, NC before settling in the DMV in 1967. She was so happy you would have thought Robert was one of her students. His words to me were both inspiring and uplifting, which proves, you never know who is watching–big brother or little brother–PRICELESS!
Let me introduce you to Hillcrest Saturday Program, Harrison Playground and Kids In Trouble benefactor, William Butler III. aka ‘Poochie’. He later became an entrepreneur businessman. He landed a job in the corporate world with Washington Football owner, Dan Snyder. He own Snyder Communications, before the Washington football team.
In November 2019 I invited Poochie, Nelvie and Prince to be my guest at the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill in NE DC. It was for the debut of my documentary trailer “Muhammad Ali & Me!” Along with others who were a part of the Kids In Trouble saga, he was invited to come on the stage to say a few words. My 100 years-young aunt Elaine, vocalist Robin Sugar Williams, Poochie and Prince and the late Daryl Pennington who read a Proclamation from Congressman Steny Hoyer were the highlights of the program.
Today Poochie can be found in a Virginia suburb married to his lovely wife Nelvie and a proud father and grandfather. His latest parental enterprise is his only son. Prince a student/athlete at Hayfield High School and member of the football team. He excells and plays the position of Line Backer, defensive end and defensive back like he owns them. He is also an excellent special teams player. I watched video of several of his games in 2019, he is fearless and loves to hit!
On my birthday May 21, 2019, Poochie and Nelvie invited me and Hattie to their home for a birthday lunch. We took a tour of their home and they surprised me with a new HP laptop. Talking about a happy birthday!
Prince has been recruited by Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Alabama among others. Did I forget to mention that he is also an excellent student?
Despite the recent convid 19 outbreak and the Virginia high school football season looking and sounding like it has been cancelled, Alabama Coach Lou Saban didn’t let any grass grow under his feet, after a 2019 visit he picked Prince as one of his top recruits for the 2021 crimson tide football season.
If anyone knows how to contact Gary Lindsey or Bernie Culbreth ask them to call me at 240-334-7174.
The wait for Donald Trump to clear the White House and turn over the keys to the new elected tenant, Joe Binden is coming to an end. In the meantime, there is an important race in Georgia for two seats to determine who will control the Senate, Republicans or Democrats!
There has been a lot of talk about the party of the Black America—should it be the Republican party or the Democratic party? Where do and who do we turn to help insure the 40 acres and a mule and an “Even Playing Field” will finally become a reality in Black America?
The promised was made to blacks in January 1, 1863 via the Emancipation Proclamation. For over 400+ years neither party has been able to deliver on those promises.
This scenario takes me back to the late 90s when J. C. Watts was one of two Black Republicans in the Senate. As a member of the Republican Party J. C. knew how to hold them and he knew when to fold them. He was an outstanding college QB with the University of Oklahoma, as an athlete and politician he ran against the wind. He was a black QB and a black Republican. Neither were in demand by white America in the 70s and 80s.
J. C. Watts was the first black QB in Oklahoma University football history. I recently read somewhere that he was not considered one of the school’s Top Ten QB (Bleacher Report). Check the record books and see how many University of Oklahoma quarterbacks have won back to back bowl games in the history of the school. He was named the MVP both years.
In 1979 the team was 11-1, in 1980 J. C. had a ‘off-year’ and they were 10-2. Oklahoma were underdogs both years he led them to the Orange Bowl, still he led them to victory. His two year career stats read, 1, 953 yards passing, 8 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, and he rushed for 1, 449 yards. He may not make you forget Patrick MaHomes or Russell Wilson, but the bottom line like them, he was a winner.
J. C. was drafted by the NFL New York Jets but they also denied to let him earn a roster spot on the team as a quarterback. He decided to take his game to the Canadian Football League. He played in the league from 1981 until 1986. After calling it quits in the CFL he made his way back home to Oklahoma and became a youth minister in Del City, Oklahoma. He was ordained in 1991.
He had to supplement his ministrial income by starting his own highway construction company. The government regulated controled highway commission kept interferring with his work. Their interference drove him to get involved with politics. Local politics carried him all the way to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The only surprise, he rode into DC as a Republican.
His freshman year was 1995 when he took the oath of office. He quickly became one of the party’s most visible spokesman rising to the position of Conference Chair.
J. C. became the 4th highest ranking Republican in the house. He had an off and on relationship with party leaders. He was nobodys’ YES MAN. In an interview I had with him in his Capitol Hill office in 1998, he kept going back to his roots and where he came from. Black athletes were not his heroes. His HEROES sat across the table from him every morning and evening—his mother and father. https://youtu.be/xrxeVVRbyzk
His mother Darlene was a homemaker and raised 6 children. His father Julius Caesar Watts was a police officer, a businessman, and a minister. His father also served on the city council along with his brother Wade. They were active in the Democratic Party and were members of the NAACP. Wade headed the Oklahoma branch for 16 years.
There were many FIRST in the life of J.C. Watts. He was one of the first black children to attend a previously all white elementary school in his hometown. In high school he was the first black QB for his football team, despite the early protest of his teammates and teachers. In 1979 he became the first black QB at the University of Oklohama after being denied time and time again. There were times when he quit, but his father made him return and he persevered. He led the Sooners to two straight Orange Bowl victories.
He was drafted by the NFL New York Jets in 1981, but they denied him a place on the roster as a QB, his favorite position. He took his football talents to the Canadian Football league and played there from 1981 to 1986. He then returned home to become a youth minister at Sunnydale Baptist church in Del City, Oklahoma.
He was ordained in 1993. He had to supplement his ministerial income with his own highway construction company. He did not like the politics of the government commission regulating his business. This gave him thoughts of running for office and making that run as a Republican, despite the familys long standing in the Democratic Party. He remembered his father saying, “A black man voting for a Republican made as much sense as a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders!” He switched allegiance anyway to the Republican Party. The switch carried him all the way to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
With J. C. coming aboard the Republican Party now had two black faces in the House with Gary Franks from Connecticut. The party hoped the two would court other blacks. Blacks voted overwhelmingly for the Democrats in national elections. They were in for a surprise along with the Democrats. J. C. never joined the Congressional Black Caucus during his term on The Hill. He said, “I think the Congressional Black Caucus and I want the same thing for blacks, the difference is how do we get there”.
He often reminded the naysayers, “My father raised me to be a man, not just a black man”. When the Republican party was trying to eliminate affirmative action from the books—it was J. C. Watts who convinced Newt Gingrich to kill the bill in the house.
Unlike Tim Scott (R-SC) J. C. did not go a long to get along. The proverbial “Glass Ceiling” was a little too high for him. He said, “NO MAS” to re-election and left the Republic Party in 2003 to continue to do it his way. htt
J.C. said, “I don’t want a black version of Fox News, CNN or MSNBC. the Black News Channel aims to fill the gap between African American interest channels and mainstream cable news networks.”
“If you look at the TV dial, you can go anywhere and get news and information for any demographic that you want,” Watts says. “Gay, straight, yellow, brown, white, female, male. But there’s nowhere on the news dial or the channel lineup of the 200-plus stations that you can go and get news and information from the African American community. So we think we’re filling a niche for an underserved, underrepresented community and we think we’re the venue to give the African American community a voice.”
Hopefully, it is here we can write and tell our stories with folks who have actually walked in our shoes–the BNC network is news we can use!
Harold Bell is a youth advocate and pioneer in radio and television sports talk shows. His Inside Sports talk format changed the way we talk sports in America and around the globe. The National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) honored him with their 2020 pioneer award.
Meet the two most dangerous men in Black America, Mitch and Lindsey.
I read somewhere that on Jan 20th of 2021, Joe Biden will become officially the president of the United States. And after the inaugural balls are over, he will take off his tuxedo, put on orange jumpsuit and check into a prison where the wardens will be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham. These guys are two of the Proud Boys and Good Old Boys on “Plantation Hill” aka Capitol Hill!
With them in control of the senate a change ain’t coming no matter who sings the song Sam Cooke or Jennifer Hudson.
While we waited beyond November 3rd for the decision on who will be the President for our Thanksgiving,our wedding anniversary, Christmas and the New Year 2021, these two politicians are now the most dangerous men in DC. They are in Washington as I write planning to wreak havocon black folks and whomever else gets in their wayto keep America from going white. Trump has claimed voter fraud now that it looks like the end is near, Graham donated $500, 000 for his going away partyto keep the confusion going.
With Graham and Mitchell in charge of the Senate, the country will be more dangerously divided then ever–keeping it real!
It will make no difference whether Donald Trump or Joe Binden is declared the winner. McConnell and Graham will be giving each other high fives as soon as the winner is declared.
These two are what is wrong with America, when it comes to talking out of both sides of their mouths no one does it better. They will tell a lie and look you or any television camera straight in their lens/eyes and deny they ever said it despite the video tape rolling—much like the copsin America!
McConnell and Graham will be front and center in their efforts to make America white again and they will be there to derail any efforts by the Democrats to provide an “Even Playing Field” that has yet to be achieved by either party since 1865. This was the year when the Emancipation Proclamation was written to free the slaves!
For Democrats and Republicans who might want to cross the aisle, you will have a better chance to get Trump and Obama to double date.
When everyday folks and politicians start a conversation as to what President has done more to help black America, it often starts with Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, or was it Donald Trump as he claims.
Let us start withTrump’s hero, Abraham Lincoln. His position was not about freeing the slave. He made that clear during his 1858 run for senate in Charleston, lll. Much like McConnell and Graham he made it perfectly clear how he felt about a free slave. He said, “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of making or bringing about in any way the social and politically equality of the white and black races.”
He was trying to be politically correct, but 9 years later in 1865 as President of the United States, he was singing a different tune as it related to the Emancipation Proclamation that made the slave a free man and woman.He cleaned up his act for his run during his Presidency, but he didn’t fool the great abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Douglas knew he was playing both sides of the fence.
Clinton did absolutely nothing, there is no legislation that can be found where he signed into law that enhanced or improved life in the black community. He owns the 30 billion dollar 1994 Crime Bill that he signed into law. The bill locked up thousands of black men.Blacks were impressed with his playing the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show and how he would show at Sylvia’s Restaurant for soul food. There are some black folks who still call him “The first black President!”
Trump, he helped save black colleges (half-truth), he granted executive clemency for 25 individuals charged or convicted of federal criminal offenses. He allowed NFL legend Jim Brown to con him out of 50 million dollars disguised as prison reform. Trump pardon the first black heavyweight champion of the World, Jack Johnson.
Obama is the officially the first black President. He looked good being President for eight years. The First Lady was the best First Lady ever. She found her way into the hearts of the black community. Their two daughters despite the pressure and spotlight of growing up in the White House made us proud. They gave the tabloids no dark moments. I am deliriously happy they got out of there alive.
Obama’s biggest failure to me was in his hometown of Chicago, for eight years he did little or nothing to curb the gun violence that claimed the lives of some of the city’s youngest and brightest. He could make a jump shot from the corner, but he did little to stop the shots being fired in drive-by shootings in Chicago. There was no safe heaven or “Even Playing field to be found in the Chicago Hood. Obama ignored the pleas of the late Senator John McCain and other boxing historians to pardon the great Jack Johnson.Trump jumped at the opportuniy.
Richard Nixon started his quest for civil rights in 1957 as Vice-President in the Eisenhower administration. We met in the summer of 1957, I was a caddy at the exclusive Burning Tree Golf Course in Bethesda, Md. I was trying to help my mother make ends meet.
He did more to support and uplift Black Americans than, Lincoln, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama, and Trump.
Nixon would later become the 37th President of the United States
Lyndon Baines Johnson was the 36th President of the United States. He signed the Civil Rights Act into law on july 2, 1964 prohibiting discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools. The law made employment discrimination illegal, this document was the most sweeping Civil Rights legistration since reconstruction.
The man behind this sweeping legislation was Richard Nixon. He is credited for having a strong record on foreign policy, but his record on domestic policy, especially civil rights is often overlooked. During his years as Vice-President under President Dwight Eisenhower he sought to ensure minorities especially, Black Americans were not discriminated against in federal contracts (The Philadelphia Plan/Arthur Fletcher). He also worked with Congress to spearhead the Civil rights act of 1957, sweeping legistlation was a precursor to the landmark Civil Rights act of 1865 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
When he reached the Presidency he sought to expand economic opportunities for Black Americans by ending discrimination in the work place, through the endowment of black colleges with federal funds, and help them to find meaningful employment through job assistance programs, and promotion of entrepreurship an initiative called “Black Capitism.” In 1970, was perhaps the hall mark of the Nixon administration Civil Rights policies. He sought to end decades of old and traditional segregated schools for black and white children throughout the nation, predominantly in the southern states.
During his second term as Vice-President, he shepherd through Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The civil rights legislation empowered the Justice Department to prosecute the civil rights cases through a newly established Civil Rights Division. It allowed prosecutors to obtain court injunctions when a citizen’s rights to vote were violated.
Nixon’s role proved to be crucial in Congress. He was vocal about about the administration’s civil rights goals and while serving in his Constitutional role as President of the U. S. Senate. He help lead the effort to get the bill to the senate floor, southern Democrats opposed and blocked provisions that would allow the justice department authority to protect broad constitutional rights including school desegregation and voting rights violations.
In August 1957 in a constituent letter, he expressed disappointment that the Senate had watered down the original version of the civil rights bill, however, he did express hope, writing, “I am convinced that we will continue to make progress toward our goal of guaranteeing rights for every American.” There is little doubt, he was the political Godfather of Civil Rights.
Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King in a meeting with Vice-President Nixon said, “It was much better than no bill at all. We can at least be sure that we are moving steadily ahead.“
Racism in America has been a foregone conclusion for over 400+ years and counting. The problem, black folks keep looking for love in all the wrong places! For example; Hip-Hop icons /Ice Cube-50 Cents-Cardi B-Little Wayne and Kanye West all jumped into the Presidential 2020 sweepstakes making their voices heard, some were loud and wrong, but remember this is America and we can be loud and wrong. We paid the price with our blood sweat and tears.
Why is it so difficult to cross over the aisle from Democrat to Republican to help the folks who put you in office? The answer is GREED. 90% of the politicians are chasing the almighty dollar!
America has a systemic embedded racial problem, but this is my home. I remember my first home was a one room shack and a outhouse on Douglas street in NE DC—it burned to the ground when I was three years old. Motown legend Smokey Robinson says it best during a guest appearance on Def Comedy Jam see link and what it means to be black:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRfYMgZekMo
I literally went from a outhouse to a White House, to have lunch with the President of the United States. I sat on a mountain top with the Greatest, Muhammad Ali! I did it all with no boots or bootstraps.
There have been poems written about me. In 1972 INSIDE SPORTS was out of Compton long before Ice Cube and NWA. While they had to go underground to call out the cops and crooked politicians—I was calling them out above ground without the profanity on AM Radio-WOOK & WUST while the FCC was watching me closely.
My theme music on my sports talk show came from my homeboy and friend Marvin Gaye, Gil Scott, Bob Marley, the Staple singers and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes “Wake Up Everybody”. Inside Sports was the Breakfast Club and Dinner Club long before Charlamgne the God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee, most likely before they were born. I followed in the footstep of the legendary radio and television personality Petey Greene my mentor.
INTRO AMERICANPOLITICS 101:HOW TO PLAY THE GAME WITHOUT SELLING OUT!
Inside Sports and Kids In Trouble, Inc. became barometers for similar programs that followed. I was able to cross the isle because I had the ear of one President, four Republicans and twelve Democrats and I stayed in my lane. I am going to try describe my up close and personal experieces with the politicians below in as few words as possible:
*President Richard Nixon (R-Cali) In our early years (57-58) as Vice-President I knew he cared because he would listen-like most human beings he was flawed., but that does not wipe out his good works for Black America.
Strom Thurmond (R-SC) He was a man of his word.
*Bob Dole (R-Kan) wishy-washy
Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) My hero-the utmost respect. He kept his word and kept it real. He was the first politician to honor me in the Congressional Record.
*Walter Fauntroy (D-DC) I love and respect him-but he would not listen.
*Perrin Mitchell (D-Baltimore) Integrity and honest.
*J. C. Watts (R-Oklahoma) He knew when to hold them and he knew when to fold them. The proverbial “Glass Ceiling” was a little too high and expensive for him. He left the Republic Party in 2003. In Februay 2019 he found the Black News Channel.
*William Clay (D-Missouri) Lou Stokes’ partner these two kept me in the mix.
*Steny Hoyer (D-Md) his word you can carry to the bank.
*Hank Johnson (D-Ga) I still have questions about this brother?
*John Lewis (D-Ga) A Prince of a man, unpretentious-still flawed.
*Elija Cummings (D-Baltimore) I would walk down any dark alley with him.
*Decatur Trotter (D-Md)my mentor and dear friend I miss him dearly. He made it possible for me to become the first independent media personality to receive sponsorship with Md. State Lottery for my Inside Sports talk radio show.He knew how to reach backand make it count.
*Mayor Walter Washington (D) Mis-understood. He cared about DC and its people.
*Mayor Marion Barry (D-DC) he meant well, but he would not listen, he was forewarn. Famous last words, “The bitch set me up.”
*Dave Bing NBA Hall of Fame and Mayor (D-Detroit) liar, let our high school coach die after giving his word to help him financially. He was forewarn in his run for Mayor. He led Detroit into a 20 billion dollar bankruptcy, a record for a city in American history. He returns home like a hero to bury our coach in a Mausoleum–too late!
Dr. Claude Anderson knew how to play “The Game. ” When he was with the Jimmy Carter White House he was able to get three Federal Judges appointed to the bench without approval from Congress. He crossed over the aisle when Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) of the Senate Judicial Committee called him asking for a favor.
Thurmond was alledgely one of the so-called biggest racist on the Hill. He needed some heavy equitment for his district in South Carolina including trailers and several bulldozers.
Dr. Anderson, fullfilled the Senator’s request, but before he hung up he reminded him one good deed deserves another. He also needed a favor. His request, he needed three judges that included Alcee Hastings in Jacksonville, Fla. Senator Thurmond’s response-DONE!
Dr. Anderson’s “Playing the Game” brings me back to December 1974 J. D. Bethea, a sports columnist for the Wasington Star-News wrote, “Harold Bell may be the only black guy living who ever grew up in a ghetto, in real poverty , but never learned to “Play the Game,” that great American pastime. Everybody plays the game to some degree. That’s what success is all about. playing the game. Being alternately malleable and assertive with the right people at the right time. Bell never learned. If he had given his drive and single-miness of purpose, he would probably be dangeous.”
A chance meeting on a golf course open doors I thought were never possible. In our last conversation as he was heading out of the country, Nixon said, “Harold I want you to finish your education!”I came up short, but common sense-street sense-a little book sense was sufficient.
Highlights of a life lived:
*1960 I traveled down Tobbaco Road to Winston-Salem, NC to meet and play for the legendary Clarence ‘Bighouse’ Gaines. He stopped me from going to hell in a hurry. In 2007 I received the first Bighouse Gaines Community Service Award.
*April 4,1968 I walked arm and arm with my co-worker NFL legend Willie Wood and the first modern day U. S. Marshall in-Charge Luke Moore during the riots.I was armed with a DC Police Department badge to assist me while crossing military and police barricades.Thanks to Community Police advocate Ass’t Chief Tilmon O’Bryant.
*November 1968 Hattie and I were married in her hometown of Orangeburg, SC.
*December 1968 Hattie and I found our non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. We were the host for toys for tots for 45 straight years without grants or loans. Thousands of kids in the DMV benefited.
*1969 I saw an old friend touring the riot area in the Cardozo/Shaw neighborhood. I knew him as the former Vice-President, but now he was the President of the United States, Richard Nixon.
*1969 I received a Presidential appointment. In 1970 I found the first ever half-way house on a military installation on Bolling AFB. I had a little help from my friends, DC Superior Court Judge Luke C. Moore and DC Mayor Walter Washington.
*In 1972 I became the first black to host and produce his own radio sports talk show in Washington, DC. The Inside Sports format changed the way we talk sports in America and around the globe.
*1974 Muhammad Ali shocked the world when he knocked out the undefeated and undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, George Foreman. The fight is now known as the Rumble in the Jungle.
On his return home Ali shocked the sports media world, when his first call was not to Ed Bradley (60 Minutes CBS)), Bryant Gumble (NBC), or Howard Cosell (ABC), he called a little unknown sports talk radio show host, Harold Bell in Washington, DC. He gave me an exclusive one on one interview. He had made me a promise in Chicago before leaving for Zaire, I would be the first one to interview him on his return to the United States. He kept his word–unheard of in today’s black community.
*June 1975 the DC Chamber of Commerce honored Muhammad Ali as the Athlete of the Century. The President James Denson ask me to pick-up the champion from the airport. During the dinner at the Sheraton-Park Hotel before a standing room only crowd, while being honored by DC Mayor Walter Washington, Ali called me out and asked me to stand up–I had no clue.The champ’s next words were, “Mr. Mayor do you know Harold Bell? The Mayor hesitated and Ali repeated his question, Mr. Mayor do you know Harold Bell? Mayor Washington responded, “Of course I know Harold Bell who does not know Harold Bell?”Ali’s response would bring the house down, “Mr. Mayor you are not as dumb as you look. Harold Bell is my friend and I don’t want anything to happen to him, do you understand? The Mayor nodded his head that he understood and the tribute continued.A Priceless moment!
November 1975 I became the first black to host and produce his own television special in prime time on NBC afilliate WRC TV 4. My special guest, Muhammad Ali.
In 1980 I was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. The honor made me the first sports media personality ever honored.
There was and is more than one way to “Play the Game.” You don’t have to hurt the people you love. Remember, your WORD is the only thing you own in America. they can take your car, your house and your bank account, but they cannot take your WORD. In 2020 we are still looking for love in all the wrong places!
NOTE WORTHY: Harold Bell receives National Association Black Journalist Pioneer Award for 2020.
HAROLD BELL & INSIDE SPORTS ARE STILL NO. 1
Black Men in America.com the on-line magazine is ranked No. 5 among the 500 most read on-line black websites in America.
The No. 1 blogger and most popular search engine is HAROLD BELL.
Which search keywords send traffic to this site?
1. HAROLD BELL
2. African American spending habits
3. black consumers
4. black yacht club
5. all in one master tonic 3.38%
1) Blackplanet.com – A community for African Americans, that provides an interactive forum with chat, photos, games.
2)Blackamericaweb.com – African American perspective on news, travel, entertainment, business, technology, and sports.
3)Dallasblack.com – Featuring Dallas/Ft.Worth African-American community events, businesses, scholarships, job post.
Donald Trump’s is often compared with Richard Milhouse Nixon, the 37th President of the United States and of Watergate fame. I have seen both up close and personal.
There is little or no comparison, Nixon was a brilliant politician until Watergate. If not for Watergate he would have gone down in American as one of its greatest Presidents, but “Who’s on First” comedy act at the Watergate Hotel would lead to his undoing.
Who’s on First” is one of the most famous baseball comedies of all time. Bud Abbot and Lou Costello were the comedians who performed the act.
The skit followed a humous exchange the two had at a ballgame. Costello was a peanut vendor at the ball park when he encounters Abott who is the coach of the team. Costello asked Abott who was his starting line-up. However, before Abott can get from naming the pitcher to the catcher behind the plate, Costello wanted to know everyone’s name on the team. Abott starts with giving him the pitcher’s name and then the catcher’s name, but when he gets to the first baseman’s name the pronouciation is difficult. Costello has to ask Abott over and over again, “Who’s on First”? To understand why this was so funny GOOGLE the show “Who’s on First” and listen to the dialogue.
The Watergate break-in and “Who’s on First” had a lot in common. For example, it was not immediately known that the burgulars who broke into the Watergate Hotel were connected to President Nixon. The “Who’s on First” gang had names like, Virgil Gonzlez, Bernard Barker, James McCord, Eugenio Martinez, and Frank Sturgis. G. Gordy Liddy and E. Howard Hunt were the captains of this sinking ship. John Dean, was the White House attorney and the snitch from within. He is barred from the Nixon Library.
The Washington Post’s Carl Berstein and Bob Woodward use a shadowy figure known only as “Deep Throat” to help force the resignation of Richard Nixon. It was years later FBI agent Mark Felt revealed he was “Deep Throat” the real man responsible for taking down the Nixon White House.
What hip-hop artist or rapper will be responsible for taking down the Trump White House? The names in the mix, Kanye West, Cardi B, 50 Cents, Ice Cube or Little Wayne.
Ice Cube recently received major flak for going to sit down with members of the Trump White House, it was a big-to-do over nothing. First, Ice took his contract for Black America to the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris team to see if they would be interested in implementing the plan as part of their platform in the future. They politely said “Not Now” and Ice moved on over to the other side of the aisle to the Trump team. The Trump team said they would be interested in sitting down with him and they did. It didn’t cost them anything and it didn’t cost him anything, but all hell broke loose in Black America. They were saying who in the hell does Ice Cube think he is going to sit down with the enemy, Donald Trump?
There was no word when Kanye and NFL legend Jim Brown showed up in the Oval Office. The only word was Kanye didn’t take his medicine, in the meantime Jim slipped out of the door with 50 million dollars.
With Ice Cube’s contract the first thing I did instead of trying to read between the lines-I went on line to find out what was the contract all about. I found an interview he did with Rolling Stone Magazine. It took me about 15 minutes to read it from my cell phone–but I got it!
He made it perfectly clear this was not a Democratic move or a Republican move, because he didn’t trust neither one. They earned that mistrust with their past history with Black America.
I am going to summarize the contract and what I think I read. Ice said, this contract is about Black Americans only. I am talking about blacks whose ancestors were brought to American from Africa against their will and through free labor built this country. I am not talking about people of color, or immigrants. I am talking about blacks only.
Its is about time someone put Black America FIRST! You name the organization, NAACP, National Urban League, National Council of Negro Women, theCongressional Black Caucus, Black Governors and Black Mayors none have ever suggested “Black Folks First!”
White folks have been pimping us for over 400+ years. When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1865 pretending to free the slaves, the men who wrote the proclamation still owned slaves. Trump has said loud and clear during his administration he has done more for blacks then any other President with the exception of Abraham Lincoln. He picked the wrong role model. When they finally freed us they promised us “Forty Acres and Mule”. There is no such thing as an ‘Even Playing Field” in America.
Preparations are out of the question. Its a forgone conclusion, they ain’t giving up no land or money which equals POWER!
When we move one step closer to an EVEN PLAYING FIELD for example; the definition of a minority was changed. the original definition changed when whom ever wrote the law decided they would add a white woman and make her a minority. This watered down the benefits for a black woman and a black man. The original definition refers to a group of people whose race, religion, ethnicity or characteristics are lesser in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. There has been an on-going fight for equal pay for women–what about equal pay for men? How can you make someone a minority when she goes to bed with The Man every night and wakes up with him every morning? A white man in America in 2020 makes twice the salary of a black man in America!
When I hear a black man or woman repeat, “black folks don’t want to work to get ahead, they are lazy.” That is some BS, that is something they have heard some white man, brother or sister who made to the other side and forgot who they are and where they came from. The next time you heard someone utter those words, ask them this simple question, “who do you think built this country?”
I understand exactly where Ice Cube is coming from. White America allows hispanics and other immigrants to come to America to stun our growth. They are paid peanuts for their labor and then white folks get pissed off because we won’t work for those same peanuts–they owe us BIG time! They have distribute land to everyone but us (the native Americans deserved their piece of land). We go to financial institutions seeking loans for homes considered the doorway to the American Dream and we are knocked backdown on our knees by Redlining and Blacklining at some of our own financial institutions.
MEET ABRAHAM LINCOLN DONALD TRUMP’S HERO!
Abraham Lincoln, when he was running for the senate in 1858 in Charleston, lll against a rival. He made it clear how he felt about a free slave. He said, “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of making of bringing about in any way the social and politically equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have I ever been in favor of making jurors of negroes, nor qualify them in holding office nor intermarry with white people.
I will say in addiction to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black race which I believe I will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And as so much they cannot live together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man I am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
Ice Cube definitely cause some confusion by sitting at a table with Trump’s people, but to me he cleared the confusion up when he made it clear that he was not on anyone’s TEAM. His plan is to fight “The power with power”.
I am still not clear on whether there were any funds promised or exchanged between the Trump administration and Ice Cube!
The interview Ice Cube had with ROLLING STONEMAGAZINE tells his story and his objectives for black America. It is black brothers like NFL Legend Jim Brown who has been ripping off black America and the black athlete for over 50 years. He has been living a lie forever and a day.
Jim has pretended his work with gangs and the incarcerated was about uplifting them when it was all about uplifting himself. He recently took 50 million dollars from the Trump administration. See the link with him in the White House oval office with Kanye West as he kisses Trump’s ass for the 50 million. He tries to hide out sight of the cameras, but Trump lets everybody know its Jim Brown he is talking to and we still gave him a pass. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D983iIrkqw
In 2007 I coordinated a fund raising tribute with Willie Wood’s lawyer, Bob Schmitz to help Willie with his nursing home expenses. The tribute was held on the Georgetown Waterfront. The guest were former players who read like a group of players who just stepped out of the NFL Hall Fame.
The Green Bay Packers in attendance were, QB Bart Starr, RB Paul Hornung, WR Max McGee, DE Willie Davis, Redskins LB Sam Huff and WR Charlie Taylor, Baltimore Colt’s TE John Mackie, SD Chargers WR Lance Alworth and Cleveland Brown RB Jim Brown.
I watched Jim Brown and Schmitz steal chump change from Willie when he could not help himself (dementia). Willie’s family was nowhere to be found. I am talking about less than 60 thousand dollars. When I called Jim out he went into his ganster bag and called me all kinds of MFs and sons of Bs. He has never said, “I didn’t take Willie’s money!” This negro is a fake. He is not the only spook who has been sitting by the door keeping others out. They read like a undercover Who’s Who.
I had to squash one beef after another when it came to Jim Brown. First, There was the beef with the judicial court system in California when he was sentenced to six-months in jail in 1999. Then there was NFL RB Calvin Hill and the late NFL star Bubba Smith. The two smiled in his face and stabbed him in his back. They talked do-do behind his back, never looking him in his eyes man to man.
I threaten to expose Calvin to Jim during the tribute, but when I went to get Jim, Calvin had dropped his plate and ran from the building. I guess he had not forgotten the story about how Jim’s golfing partner caught him cheating. Jim took a golf club and beat him bloody.
The most hurtful beef was the one he started with the great, Lenny Moore. Lenny is one of the nicest human beings to ever play in the NFL–No. 24 was an oficer and gentleman. We all know how the Baltimore Colts broke the hearts of their fans when on March 28, 1984 owner Bob Irsay in the still of the night while Baltimore slept, he packed the team’s belongings in trucks and moved them to Indianapolis.
It took 12 years for a NFL team to return to Baltimore. Art Modell owner of the Cleveland Browns got fed up with the city of Cleveland who refuse to fund a new stadium for his team. In 1996 Modell decided to take his football and go play in Baltimore. The baggage or gabbage he brought from Cleveland with him was Jim Brown.
Jim is considered the greatest football player in the history of NFL and I totally agree, but he comes up short as a human being. He followed owner Art Modell and the money to Baltimore. Lenny Moore was still living in Baltimore and he remained a Baltimore Colt running back treasure/legend. The city loved him–to know Lenny was to love him.
Old friend and Cleveland Brown legend TE Ozzie Newsome made the trip to Baltimore. He was the first black General Manager (ret) in league history.
I met Ozzie his rookie year in 1978 in RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. The Browns were playing the Washington Redskins. During an interview after the game he gave me his home number making him one my favorite pro athletes. Try to get a player or GM’s home number or cell number today-it ain’t happening. Ozzie and I reconnected in Baltimore.
Jim Brown’s storied history with the Cleveland Browns has brought him back to the area. He now double dips in Cleveland and Baltimore with his hand-out. This is one insecure brother. In Balltimore his insecurity started with him spreading rumors that Lenny was bad-mouthing him to the Ravens players, but nothing was further from the truth. These accusations were based on the thought of him losing the Raven’s locker room to the great Lenny Moore.
Lenny was hurt by Jim spreading those rumors because he thought he was his friend. I was asked to intervene by Lenny and I did. I called Jim and I told him there was no truth or proof to the rumors that Lenny was talking bad about him to the Raven players. He called Lenny and apologized–case closed. He was chased out of Cleveland by former coach and Cleveland Brown Vice-President Mike Holgren for solicting money from the players. He claimed it was for his Amer-I-Can program.
His next beef was with former Syracuse legendary athlete Avatus Stone who hailed from Washington, DC. I knew the legend of Avatus from hearing folks talk about him on the playgrounds, in school gyms, pool halls and barber shops across the city.
He is one of the greatest all-around athletes to come out of the DC Public School system. He played football, basketball and baseball for Armstrong High School. He played his college football at the University of Syracuse where he was a triple threat, running, throwing and kicking the football.
He played the game hard on and off the field. He was a lady’s man and could be seen driving around campus in a red cadillac and a blond riding shotgun.
Avatus was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1953 NFL draft, but this was an era they were not giving black quarterbacks an opportunity to play the position. Avatus decided to play professionally in Canada with the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1953 to 1956. His best year was playing tailback with the Montreal Alouettes in 1957. He won the Jeff Russell Memorial Trophy as the best player in the East. He finished his pro football career in 1958 with the Baltimore Colts of the NFL playing one game. It is rumored he drove off in a red cadillac and a blond riding shotgun.
During the 50s Darryl Hill was just a youngster living in a community called Mayfair Manions in NE DC. I lived in Parkside a housing project on the other side of the street–Hayes street divided the two communities. Darryl’s family own a trucking company, Hill’s Transfer-he was a ‘Privilege Black Kid’ through no fault of his own.
In the evenings and weekends we played pick-up football on a field behind the DGS Food store off of Kenilworth Aenue. There was no rivary between the two communities, in fact on Thursday nights there were folks in Mayfair who would allow several of us to gather outside of their windows and we watched Antonino Rocca, Golden Superman, and Gorgeous George among others as long as we stayed quiet. This was long before the WWE.
Darryl would try to join the pick-up game but he was a little soft. The brothers from Parkside could be bullies when they chose. We would ruff him up and send him home crying to his mother. His mother would send him back to play the following day. She would hang around for a minute and then head back to her apartment. Darryl would not be far behind her.
He went missing for about a week, but the next time he showed up he was fully armed. The brother hanging out with him was 6’3 and at least 230 pounds. He looked like he was walking on air–it was Avatus Stone.
Everyone just froze where we stood. He carried a football under his arm and lined up everyone to run out for passes. We were thrilled that the great Avatus Stone was in the hood throwing us passes and showing us how to run pass patterns. Darryl was in like Flynn never having his mom for a chaperone again. Thanks to his mom, he was the first black player to play on the Gonzaga High School football team. For the next several years it would be one first after another.
Darryl Hill would later become the first black athlete to play a football game with the University of Maryland making him the first African-American to play in the ACC (The Atlantic Coast Conference) composed of formerly segregated white institutions. Darryl set two school records that still stand today, total yards receiving and total passes caught in single game. Darryl would become a true pioneer and trailblazer. He owes it all to his mom who refuse to give up on him and the brothers from Parkside on the othe side of the street who taught him how to take licking and keep on ticking.
Jim Brown has always been a insecure athlete, it all first surfaced when he followed Avatus to Syracuse. The coaches and players talked about Avatus like he was a God. They claimed he could do things on the field that they had never seen anyone else do. Jim was warned not to follow in his footsteps when it came to dating white girls–they were still off limits.
Jim Brown would use every opportunity to bad mouth Avatus to anyone who would listen. He would tell folks how Avatus’ bad behavior limited his boundaries on the campus. He carried these stories of Avatus all the way to the NFL.
My wife Hattie and Avatus’ former wife Carrie would become great friends while teaching at McKinley Tech High School in DC. We would often double date and hang out on his boat. Avatus was now a promient businessman who traveled all over the country making deals. He had an outgoing personality and we became great friends. When he found out that me and Jim were friends, he called me one day out of the blue and invited to have lunch with him.
The lunch was one that I will never forget. First, Avatus ask me how long had I been knowing Jim? My response, “Since my college days at Winston-Salem State. We have worked together on several community projects since the 1970s and he was a regular guest on Inside Sports.” He sat silent for a minute and said, “I have never met Jim Brown, but I would like to can you make that happen.” I said, ” You got it.”
The next 30 minutes Avatus would spent talking about how Jim had bad mouthed him around the country relating to the time he had spent as a student/athlete at Syracuse. My problem he said, “I don’t know the guy except from what I have seen him do on television on Sundays. He was one hell of a football player ”
Coincidently, I was planning a fund raiser tribute to Jim the next month at Holgate’s Restaurant on the SW waterfront. I am now thinking what in the hell have I have gotten myself into. I had already invited Congressman Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) as a surprise guest. Lou and Jim were great friends back in the day when he played for the Cleveland Browns, but now I have to try to bring these two former great athletes together. They both still look like they could suit up for a game on Sunday. I have to bring them to a meeting for the first time without a ‘Peace Pipe’! There was no Nobel Peace Prize hanging in the balance for me.
I met Jim in 1960 my freshman year at a Winston-Salem State University athletic banquet. We connected again in the late 60s when he found the Negro Industrial and Economic Union to help black businessmen to get a foothold in the financial world. The organization had a office in NE DC.
His history when it comes to violence against women is atrocious. They don’t get much lower than Jim Brown. Even though he was the NFL poster boy for domestic violence against women, the Cleveland Browns in 2016 still honored him with a stature in his likeness outside of the stadium!
Jim Brown likes to tell people how he put Syracuse University on the map–another lie. It was Wilmeth Sidat-Singh and Avatus Stone who put the school on the map. Jim just happen to come along during a time when the media was finally opening the doors of recognition for the black athlete. The trailblazers like Jesse Owens, Paul Roberson, Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson were not only heard but were seen.
In 1999 I led a campaign to get Jim Brown out of jail on his last domestic violence charge with his present wife Monique. She called me after he was sentenced to six-months in jail for domestic violence against her. He served three-months of the six-month sentence.
FAMOUS LAST WORDSBY JIM BROWN!
“Harold Bell has been a crusader for black people all his life. He also has friends in the white community in sports. He has always been outstanding. Always an individual speaking his mind and giving you a platform to express your views. When I was incarcerated he did everything he could to attack those who had incarcerated me unfairly. He is one of my friends and we have done many things together over the years. Harold is truly a man that believes in his culture and his people. He will always will be that way because there is no one who can change him–that is my partner!”
His friend Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California) even called him out as a pimp and a hustler in the black community during a forum at the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend several years ago.
CBS sportscaster James Brown reminded everyone during a sports media panel at the University of the District of Columbia he said, “I am not the Jim Brown that throws women over balconies.”
Olympic track and field star Jackie Joyner Kersey called him out on national television with a forum on the Black Athlete. The panel included former President Bill Clinton (the first Black President), GT coach the late John Thompson.
The do-do hit the fan when Jim was complaining about the black athlete was not giving enough of their finances back to the black community. Jackie took the floor and ask the question, “Who in the hell are you to be telling the black athlete how much he or she should be giving back to the black community?” You could hear a mouse pee on cotton. I will take Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and Ice Cube over Jim Brown on any given Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.
I remember a conversation Jim and I had about heroes and by coincident we admired three of the same people, Paul Roberson, Jackie Robinson and Malcolm X. Go figure, these three giants had no domestic violence in their storied history. You would think with his violence against women he would have more in common with Attila the Hun.
God was definitely in my corner when Avatus called several days before the tribute to tell me he would be out of town. One of his business partners had called to tell him he had to have emergency surgery. He would appreciate it if Jim woul go to Chicago for the meeting in his place. It was business before pleasure–saved by the bell!
Avatus and I both were thinking there would be plenty of time to meet Jim since I was on his radar screen. It would never happen, the tribute was in 1998 and Avatus died from cancer two years later in 2000.
Wilmeth left DC in his youth when his mother remarried and they settled in Harlem, NY . He played varsity basketball and football at DeWitt High School. Syracuse University and nearby Cornell University were among the first collegiate football teams to include African-American players as starters in the backfield. There was a 1938 news report in the Baltimore Sun on one such game where Sidat-Singh led Syracuse to a victory over Cornell. In that era, when games were played in Southern segregation states, African-American players from Northern schools were banned from the field. Because of his light complexion and name, Sidat-Singh was sometimes assumed to be a “Hindu” (as people from India were often called by Americans during this time). However. shortly before a game against the University of Maryland, Sam Lacy a legendary black sportswriter for the African-American newspaper wrote an article revealing Sidat-Singh’s true racial identity. Wilmeth Sidat-Singh was held out of the game and Syracuse lost 13-0. In a rematch thefollowing year at Syracuse, Sidat-Singh led the Orange to a lopsided victory over Maryland (53-0). It was sweet revenge.
Read Ice Cube’s “Contract With America” response in Rolling Stone Magazine. He makes sense and hits a homerun. Ice Cube makes a very valid point, “No one has more skin in the game when it comes to the building of this country than black Americans whose ancestors were black slaves held captive to provide FREE labor.” White Americans bounced a check that read ‘We owe you 40 acres and a mule’. It has never to been paid. Everyone has received 40 acres and a mule except black folks.
Its spooks like Jim Brown who sit by and behind the door at places like the White House collecting checks who are the REAL enemy in Black America.
Would someone please explain to me how can someone’s networth is less than a million dollars in one year and the folowing year his networth is 50 million dollars after receiving 50 million dollars earmarked for prison reform from the White House for his non-profit organization?
The latest Spook to sit by the door is media coon Jason Whitlock. This fool thinks because Jim Brown was able to hustle Trup for 50 million he can do the same. You cannot hustle a hustler–ask Don King. Don stole from everyone he met or sign to a contract–he never stole a dime from Donald Trump. A thief knows a thief.
In February 1972 Inside Sports made its debut on W-O-O-K Radio in Washington, DC changing the way we talk sports in America forever.
December 1974 J. D. Bethea, a sports columnist for the Wasington Star-News wrote, “Harold Bell may be the only black guy living who ever grew up in a ghetto, in real poverty , but never learned to “Play the Game,” that great American pastime.
Everybody plays the game to some degree. That’s what success is all about. playing the game. Being alternately malleable and assertive with the right people at the right time. Bell never learned. If he had given his drive and single-miness of purpose, he would probably be dangeous.”
That was a great observation, but I was not going along to just get along. We were forwarned in 1968 by the Kerner Commission named after Gov. Otto Kerner of lllinois, they said, “America is headed for two societies, one white and one black, seperate and unequal” The all white commission turned out to be honest men selected by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the unrest in Black America. They blamed the riots on lack of economic opportuunity, racism, failed social service programs, health care, poor schools, police brutality, and the white oriented media. After reading the report it is rumored President Johnson disappeared and got drunk. He could not believe what he had just read. President Johnson was living proof that some well meaning white folks don’t know when they are racist.
We can now add to that list “The Spooks That Sit by the Door” as part of the problem. These spooks bring us to 2020 fifty-two years later facing those same exact problems. Black leaders as a whole did absolutely nothing. They sat around on their hands waiting for white folks to give them their promised “40 acres and a mule, ‘Even Playing Field” or both!
My first home there was no 40 acres and a mule, it was more like a one bedroom shack, outhouse and a dog. The shack was located on Douglas street in NE DC. One cold early morning according to my mother I was about three-years old, she thought I was sleeping with my dog Billy lying close by. She decided to quietly slip out to the corner store for milk and bread with a kerosene lamp burning. When she returned there were fire engines everywhere. I was sitting in the yard crying with my dog Billy standing over me. The shack had burned to the ground leaving only the outhouse.
My mother thanked the firemen for pulling me to safety, but one said, “Mrs. Bell we found him sitting in the yard with his dog when we arrived”. My mother had no clue how I got out of the burning shack and my dog Billy was not talking!
In the early years, my older brother, Bobby, Earl, and I grew up in Grandma Bell’s house on Jay Street in NE DC. The lessons we learned from our grandmother, aunts, uncles, and neighbors on Jay street were the lessons that would shape our adult and athletic lives. Grandma’s daughters, my Aunt Sara lived next door, and my Aunt Helen lived directly across the street from grandma.
My uncles, Ralph, Hope, and Dwight lived with Grandma. My Aunt June was out on her own, and my father Alfred Robert Bell was a rolling stone and nowhere to be found. Today I still find it difficult to picture how Grandma Bell, my three uncles, and the three Bell brothers all lived in the same house that had no basement and no second floor! I remember there were two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room. We knew nothing of racism and being poor.
I now attribute that to the environment we grew up in. It is often said, “It takes a Village” Jay Street NE was our safe haven, the words, poor, racism, and police brutality were never heard–maybe whispered. Church was another santuary. My great-grandfather the Rev. Robert Alfred Tyler laid the first brick to build Mount Airy Baptist Church in 1893. The church was located on North Capitol and L Streets in NW DC in the shadows of the Capitol. We sometimes spent two to three days a week and all day Sunday at Mount Airy. Church on Sundays were like a revival.
What was so unique about Jay Street was much like our future home, and school environments, they were all “Villages.” We looked out for each other. What a difference a day makes, today we don’t know our next door neighbor. We are like passing ships in the night.
When Earl and I were 10 and 11 years old our mother Mattie came to take us to live in our new “Village” a housing project called Parkside in NE DC. Grandma Bell kept Bobby with her. The new home was where Earl and I were taught to be men early in “The Game called life”.
There was no “Big Brother”! I was ‘Big Brother,’ my younger brother Earl and I fought back to back several times a week. We took our share of ass wippings, but we never ran and hid. It was known if you kicked our asses and it was not a fair fight, you were expected to see us again in some dark alley. After we earned the respect of the neighborhood tough guys, they backed off and let us be.
The lesson learned was, the neighbor tough guys could kick our ass but no one from the outside better not come looking to do the same. The lines were drawn. We were a “Village” all for one and one for all!
By the time I reached Spingarn High School I feared no one but my grandmother, mother and Officer Ray Dixon, he was the law of all he surveyed on “Education Hill”.
‘The Hill’ was the most unique conglomerate set of schools in America. The schools started at the top of 24th Street NE and worked their way down to Benning Road pass Langston Golf Course. There were Brown Middle School, Phelps Vocational High School, Charles Young Elementary School and last but not least, Spingarn High School overseen by our Prince of Academics, Principal Purvis J. Williams. If you lived in Langston Terrace you never had to leave “The Hood” to complete your elementary/high school education requirements. If you wanted to be an educator or businessman you would choose Spingarn and if you wanted to study a skill or trade you would choose Phelps. There were educational choices for everyone who wanted them.
Some of the greatest athletes in the city came off ‘The Hill’. They had names like Mojo Icely, Rock Green, Maxwell Banks (Hollywod Max Julien) and the great Elgin Baylor (Phelps). There were Tony Washington, Walter ‘T Boy’ Thompson, Bill Mayor, George ‘Carlos’ Williams, Noochie Green, Lloyd Murphy, Dickie Wells, Duck Wills, Elmore Flye, Francis Smith, Marty Tapscott and the great Elgin Baylor (Spingarn). Elgin followed our coach the great Dave Brown from Phelps to Spingarn and the rest is DC basketball history. The best basketball coach ever bar none, and the greatest player ever. Most of these guys were multi-sports athletes.
The student/athletes, who later made a difference as graduates and alumni in the fields of education, law-enforcement, media, civil rights, and sports, read like a Who’s Who.
They are led by Elgin Baylor-NBA Hall of Fame (1954 class), Andrew Jenkins-Superintendent DC Public Schools (1954 class), Franklin Jennifer-President of Howard University (1956 class), Marty Tapscott-Law-Enforcement (1954), Otho Jones-Assistant Superintendent DC Public Schools (1955 class), Andrew Johnson-Law-Enforcement (1957 class), Lawrence Lucas -President of USDA Coalition for Minority Farmers (1957 class)), Byron Berry-Magistrate Judge (1957 class), Jerry Phillips-radio/television (1958 class), Harold Bell-radio and television sports talk show pioneer (1958 class), Earl Bell-Civil Rights U. S. Army & DC Police officer (1962 class), Bill Lindsey-founder of the Foxtrappe Club (1962 class), Ollie Johnson-NBA (1962 class), Dave Bing-NBA Hall of Fame (1962 class). Cecil Turner-NFL Chicago Bears (1964 class). Ester Stroy-track and field (1970 class).
There were many great athletes to come out of the NE DC housing project known as Parkside. We all attended Nevell Thomas Elementary and Spingarn High Schools. A group of talented wide receivers followed me to the schools on the Hill, Spingarn and Phelps. They had names like Alphonso Lawson, Kenneth Springfield, Cecil Turner, Earl Bell, Roger “Shoes” Scott (Phelps), Gus Lee (Phelps) and Darryl Hill (Private school and Gonzaga). Everyone of these athletes were heads and shoulders talent wise above me-all I did was carry the torch and blaze the trail.
I had a front row seat to mingle and watch some of these great athletes in action when they met on the field of play during Spingarn home games. I would sit at the top of ‘The Hill’ and also watch my older brother Bobby playing second base, and future NFL Hall of Fame player Willie Wood play shortstop for Armstrong High School.
I would day-dream that one day I would be playing on that same Spingarn field (dreams do come true). Brown Middle School was located directly across the street from the field Spingarn practiced and played on. In the evenings I would sit on the hill and watch George ‘Carlos’ Williams. He was a running back for the Spingarn Green Wave-my hero. After practice he would let me carry his helmet back to the school. I must have weight about 100 pounds soaking wet. He was big for a running back. He looked to weight about 200 pounds or better, but I would always remind him I was going to play for Spingarn one day. He would always smile and say, “yea I bet you will!”
He didn’t see me play until years later for the Virginia Sailors (a minor league afilliate for the Washington Redskins). He confessed and said, “Man if I had your heart I would have been playing in the NFL.” I was flattered to hear him say those words. My hero made my day.
As for having “heart” as an athlete growing up in NE DC in the Kenilworth Ave/Benning Road corridor, I despised cry baby athletes. We lived by the premise, “No harm no foul.” Real men took the licking and kept on ticking.
My day started every morning when I got off the bus and walked to the end of 24th street pass the historical Langston Golf Course to Brown. I enjoyed walking through the Spingarn guys and girls hanging out in front of the school. I would stop and try to be a part of the crowd for a few minutes, but officer Dixon would come along just before the 9 0’clock bell and clear the side walk. He would give me the evil eye like he knew I didn’t belong.
He controlled the entire hill without a walkie talkie, a horse, patrol car, scooter or motorcycle. He could smell a crap game in progress from Spingarn to Brown. The last thing you wanted to see was Dixon getting out of a cab or a bread truck and running your black ass down. He had sprinter’s speed and he never pulled his gun.
My middle school ‘crew’ had names like Hobo, Mickey, Teddy and Rhoma. We had a habit of slipping out of school during the lunch hour and shoot crap in the back driveway. One day Officer Dixon appeared out of nowhere (he was like a Genie out of a bottle), he walked about six of us to the Principal’s Office, Mr. William Stinson.
The next day my mother had to take off work (her good government job) and meet with Mr. Stinson in his office. It was here Mr. Stinson tried to get my mother to paddle my behind with his favorite in-house weapon. The paddle had holes in it. My mother refused and it was there he told my mother, “Mrs. Bell you won’t have to worry about Harold much longer, at this rate he won’t live to get to high school”. My mother would later say to me, ‘Boy what are you trying to do, go to hell in a hurry’?
My encounters with Officer Dixon would continue after I lived to get to high school. The man was legendary. I will never forget the day my Spingarn football teammate Tony Wheeler and I decided to skip class and go to his house near the mythical Kelly Miller Playground. He lived a bus ride from school near the landmark Shrimp Boat carry-out located on the corner of Benning Road and East Capitol streets NE. It still stands today.
Tony was an only child and he lived in a nice home that always had a refrigerator full of food and a color television, I had neither. The plan was we would slip out during lunch and get back to school in time for football practice. First, we had to figure out where Officer Dixon was hanging out. On that day we discovered he was meeting with the school Principal Dr. Williams in his office–perfect.
Tony and I slipped out the backdoor by the teacher’s parking lot and made our way through Langston Terrace for our big get away. We decided to catch the bus at 19th and Benning Road near Blow Elementary School blocks away from Spingarn. We caught the bus and laid back as it made its way down Benning Road pass Spingarn. No problem, all we had to do was clear Oklahoma Avenue and the Langston Golf Course and we were home free.
The bus rolls pass Sporty’s Carry Out and the Langston Theatre and across Oklahoma Avenue pass Langston Golf Course. We breath a sign of relief. As the bus crosses the Anacostia River it stopped at River Terrace a middle class housing community. We thought the bus was stopping to pick up a passenger. The bus driver opens the door and there stands our worst nightmare, Officer Ray Dixon–busted. He didn’t say a word it was nowhere to run or to hide! His mode of transportation, a Capitol Cab. The cab was a black own cab company and a landmark in the black community.
This was 1957 and this is 2020 and I still have not figured out how he knew of our bad intentions. He had me so paranoid I was thinking he somehow planned a tracking device on me while I was sleeping.
We were ushered back to Spingarn in the cab and into Assistant Principal William Davis’ office and the damest thing happen, Mr. Davis chewed us out and send us to class. It was like nothing happen. It was a funny thing because I was always kicking the can down the road (testing my teachers and coaches patience). I would discover years later they were the ones with a cop that had my back. I still had not given up on going to hell in a hurry.
I was an all-around athlete playing three sports, football, basketball and baseball. I was a starter on every team. My junior year my baseball coach Leo Hill kicked me to the curve when I stole home against Fairmont Heights High School with the winning run on base and was out by a mile. When he asked me to turn in my uniform he reminded me, the one and only Willie Mays was playing in New York City. I was no “Say hey kid”!
The team made it all the way to the DC Public High School championship finals without me. The game was played in Griffin Stadium the home of Major League Baseball’s Washington Senators. We lost to Wilson High School 4-3. The player that replaced me in the outfield made a costly error to lose the game. He misjudged a fly ball that was hit over his head and the winning run scored.
My teammate Donald ‘Cornbread’ Malloy the man at bat when I tried to steal home never let me forget the incident. Everytime he saw me, he would say, “You know you cost us the championship in 1957.” I would laugh and take it as a compliment that he thought I would have caught the ball. Donald was a great catcher and linebacker on the football team also. He was killed in a hit and run automobile accident in 2019. His death brought me sadness and a smile to my face because he was always a ray of sunshine.
I barely survived football Coach Dave Brown my junior year. He locked me on the team bus for the second-half against our next door neighborn and rival Phelps for bad on field conduct. I blamed my QB Donald ‘Duck’ Wills for not calling the signals loud enough so I could hear them. I jumped off side and caught a pass in the corner of the endzone at the close of the first half costing us the go ahead touchdown.
I raised hell with him as we headed to the bus for half-time. Unbeknowst to me Coach Brown was listening. As we prepared to head back to the field for the second half, he stopped me as I was headed off the bus. He said, “Bell you sit this half out and watch the bus and we will try to win without you” and they did 6-0.
When the bus arrived back to Spingarn, I had to apologize to my teammates for my bad behavior. It was that or spend the rest of the season in Rip’s Pool Room across the street from the school going to hell in a hurry!
My senior year Dr. William Roundtree made me turn in my uniform for not abiding by team rules (I really had a bad attitude). On the basketbal team I had abandon my role as a defensive stopper to become a shooter.
Coach Roundtree would later tell folks what a great athlete I was. The real deal, I never thought I was a great athlete, but I didn’t want to second guess my coach. I would later learn my coaches were teaching me, ‘no one was indispensible’ and the game I played was a T-E-A-M sport and not a ME sport.
I was different from many of my teammates, when the game was on the line I wanted the ball in my hands. For me if there was a touchdown, a base hit or a jump shot needed, I wanted the ball. I hated losing and that pissed off some of my teammates and coaches. According to them, I was selfish.
I was the same way on the playground growing up, I never saw a football I could not catch, a base I could not steal or a jumpshot I could not make. In ‘The Game Called Life’ you win by knowing your limitations and not trying to fool yourself. You can fool everyone but yourself.
I often think about my teammates in my housing project, the ones I could not tie their tennis shoes as an athlete. Their problem, they never got beyond the projects.
I play “The Game Called Life” the exact same way when it comes to our children. I don’t just talk the talk, when it comes to making children ‘First’ I walk the walk. Marvin Gaye and I had become friends in Parkside
I struggled to get out of high school because of a bad attitude. In 1958 I transferred to rival Eastern High School after I was kicked off the Spingarn team. The Eastern basketball team was loaded. They had great players like Jimmy Jones, James “Pretty’ Thomas, Bernie Chavis, Bobby Johnson, Robert Cephas, and Ronnie Bruce, but coach Mr. Bobby Hart welcomed me with open arms.
Spingarn was next on their schedule and I was chopping at the bit to meet them. The day before the game Mr. Hart called me into his office and gave me the bad news, Spingarn had lodged a protest. There was a rule I could not transfer to a school in the same zone and be eligible to play in the same semester year. I was crushed and my feelings were hurt.
Coach Brown had my back, when the school year ended he found me in Rip’s Pool Room after he had talked with my mother. She was worried about me, my class (58) had graduated and there I was on the outside looking in. The next year 1959 Coach Brown had me all set to finish my senior year at Fairmont Heights High School in Prince Georges County, Maryland. This thoughful gesture detoured the trip to hell for the moment.
My marching orders were to play one sport (football) hit the books and graduate. The Fairmont Heights family reminded me of my Spingarn family–they cared. Mr. James Gholson (Principal), Ms. Myrtal Fentress (English), Coaches Farmer (football), and Freeman (basketball). They had my back and made sured I toed the line.
My next stop would be “Tobacco Road” Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, NC. It was the home of the legendary coach, Clarence ‘Bighouse’ Gaines. I was still on track of trying to go to hell in a hurry.
I remembered walking on campus thinking I was the straw that stirred the drink. That was before Bighouse introduced me to WR Elwood ‘Mickey’ Robinson a product of Armstrong High School in DC. He could run like a deer, catch anything in the air and play defense if needed. The next introduction was to Cleo Hill from Newark, NJ. He had every shot known to man and at 6’3 he could jump out of the gym.
During the season we could not get into our own gym, white folks would travel from around the state to see Cleo play. He own Tobocca Road before Michael Jordan. Bighouse made it perfectly clear, he had only one football and it was for Mickey and the one basketball was for Cleo. They would both be gone the following year so I had to wait my turn. Bighouse allowed me to play in the alumni game against the varsity. I scored a game high 23 points. He shook his head and said, “No way”, to get my kicks, I played inter-mural basketball on Saturday mornings–here I was king!
The Ram football team was off the charts. My teammates were the greatest group of athletes I have ever been associated with. We lost the the 1960 CIAA championship because of a homefield no-call. We lost to North Carolina A & T by one point. Freshman punt returner Dick Westmoreland took a punt up the left sideline in front of our bench. He almost stepped on me while stepping out of bounds. That was the winning touchdown. Westmoreland went on to play for the AFL San Diego Chargers and the NFL Miami Dolphins. He still holds the record for most interceptions in a season for the Dolphins (10) in 1967.
My brother Earl hitched hike from DC to Winston-Salem for homecoming and I never got off the bench–I was in Bighouse’s doghouse. Earl came to tell me he was going to join the Army. I was happy just for him to get off the mean streets of DC. He had been locked up in a juvenile facility but he managed to get his act together and graduate from high school (Spingarn).
My brother DC cop Sgt. Earl ‘Bull’ Bell with the first black DC Chief of Police, Burtell Jefferson. Bull Bell was the Heavyweight champion U. S. Army in Mannheim, Germany.
“Trying to out run racism is like trying to out run the sun”, those were the words of NFL Hall of Fame player DE Bruce Smith on his trade in 2000 from the Buffalo Bills to the Washington Redskins. My brother Earl made the same observation in the U. S. Army in 1969.
Sgt. Bull Bell faced racism at every turn in the U. S. Army. In 1966 he tried unsuccessfully to have segregated off-base housing in Nuremberg declared off-limits to military personel but was rebuffed. In 1969 his relentless drive reached a climax at a segregated discotheque in downtown Nuremberg. He had been refused admission previously. He led 35 militant troops in a march that almost ended in violence, especially when his colleagues Military Police (mostly white) were rushed to the scene. He told Jet Magazine in 1969, “Next year, when I complete my present hitch, I am not going to re-enlist. I am giving up the Army because there’s too much racism.” Jet Magazine August 28, 1969. The more things change the more they remain the same.
Did you see the President of the United States Donald Trump in his first debate with former Vice-President Joe Biden in 2020? It was the worst presidential debate I have ever seen. Trump and members of his White staff were later infected with the coronavirus. This was after telling the American people it was a hoax for seven months. Lying has become the American way. In October 2020 over 8+ million Americans had been infected and 210, 000+ were dead–because of a lie coming out of the White House. Thousands of lives could have been saved if our President had been honest with the American people.
This segment of my book is titled “Spooks who Sit by the Door” was inspired by a blog sports talk show titled “Inside and Out of Sports” (sounded like a spin-off of Inside Sports). The host was Butch McAdams a former mentee, he was interviewing several Spingarn High School athletes that included NBA Hall of Fame player Dave Bing. Each one of them I had played with and against in pick-up basketball on the playgrounds in NE DC. Three of the five were forgettable.
The reason I am writing this segment is because it was brought to my attention to checkout the Fake News stories that were being told on the show. Butch was one of my young men from back in the day. I watched him grow up in the U street NW corridor. He usually ends his talk shows saying, “Life is tuff, but it is tuffer when you are stupid”.
The biggest problems during that podcast were the lies and disrespect that four out of the five guest claimed they loved our high school basketball coach, the late Rev. Dr. William Roundtree like a father–nothing could be further from the truth.
I know a lie when I hear one, I have told and heard my share despite my grandmother’s early advice. In several back to back podcast shows in September 2020 Butch didn’t take his own advice. His guest were all former Spingarn High School basketball players. Maybe it was coincidental, but all five followed my appearance on the same podcast.
The lies coming from “In and Out of Sports” was much like the presidential debate, it was the worst I have ever heard in my 50+ years in sports media. Why so bad–the host Butch McAdams didn’t do his homework? He should have known better, he claims, Harold Bell as his mentor–I am officially relieving him of any such claims in the future.
He can follow the lead of ESPN’s Michael Wilbon. When I called Wilbon out publicly for lie, after lie, he then proclaimed GT coach John Thompson as his mentor. Butch can now claim James Brown (CBS) as his mentor. Wilbon and Brown have the same “Pedigree!”
I cannot remember when I heard sports talk take a fatal turn for the worst as I did listening to Butch McAdams during this particular podcast. He was hosting a platform honoring basically “Spooks who now sit by the Door”. These guys are the best examples of black men who are envious and jealous of the success of others.
Unlike the author Sam Greenlee for his best seller, “Spook who sat by the Door”. The book was written in 1969 could have easily been inspired by the Black Panthers. They were found in Oakland, California in 1966. Their mission was to enhance the growth and inspire the black community. These so-called brothers led by Dave Bing now sit behind the door, their mission is to stump the growth and progress of Black America.
Bing declared his run for the office of Mayor here in DC in 2008. He was forewarned by me that running for Mayor in Detroit, “was a Deadend Street.” He was swored into office in 2009 as the Mayor of Detroit.
Accoding to Forbes Magazine, “He was ineffective as Mayor often clashing with city unions and the city council.” He was featured on the cover of Forbes in June 2011 in a story titled, ‘The City of Hope’. Detroit became “Hopeless” during his reign as Mayor. He led them into bankruptcy on July 18, 2013 it was the biggest bankruptcy of a U. S. city ever filed, estimated to be 18-20 billion dollars. The city of Detroit exceeding Jefferson County, Alabama’s bankruptcy of 4 billion dollar filing in 2011.
Bing was never the sharpess knife in the drawn dating back to his high school days or at Syracuse University!
Today in the black community we honor thieves and liars. Butch McAdams had a fullhouse, he was honoring several liars with a joker in the deck (Dave Bing).
We name streets and buildings after these liars and thieves. Their hand prints can be found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, their names in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL halls of fame, statures of them can be found in the public square and in front of sports stadiums. There are streets and buildings named after them on college campuses!
These same liars and thieves can also be Mayors of our inner-cities and others nominated to the Federal and Supreme Courts for life and voted President of the United States! Adults are always asking, “What is wrong with our children”? The question should be, what is wrong with us the so-called adults?
I was embarrassed, when I heard the podcast In and Out of Sports host Butch McAdams allowing four of the five wanna-bees former Spingarn athletes play him like a drum. He knew absolutely nothing about DC playground basketball history played in the 50s-60s and 70s. Whatever he knew was all, ‘he say she say’. It was the blind leading the blind.
You can tell a lie on me and hope I don’t hear about it, but don’t tell a lie on a dead man when he cannot defend himself. Coach Roundtree was a jewel in the black community. He is no longer with us–gone too soon (2005), because these same hypocrites did not support and help him to smell the flowers while he lived.
The former players, George ‘Dee’ Williams, Roy ‘Monk’ Wilkins, Ollie Johnson, Donald ‘Pom Pom’ Hicks and Dave Bing were the guest on the podcast.
Butch should have swore in each guest in like they do in a court of law, make them put their hand on the Bible and swear to “Tell the truth and nothing but truth, so help them God”! Four out of five were born liars and a stack of Bibles would have been in vain. One thing is evident, Butch didn’t learn from me, ‘When you don’t know you ask someone’.
The playgrounds we played on were Brown, Henry T. Blow, Carver, Watts, and Kelly Miller. It was the 50s and 60s and all five were younger than me, but listening to the interview you would have thought these guys had come down with a case of dementia. Dementia was not the problem and were too old to sound so stupid. I didn’t recall any of the BS that had Butch McAdams jumping up and down and sounding like a “Groupie”! Some of the lies that were being told you have would thought they played somewhere in the twi-light zone or on planet Mars far from the playgrounds in NE DC which were my domain.
These so-called legends, especially, Dave and Monk Wilkins, they played Butch McAdams like a drum. First, Butch didn’t do his homework and they took advantage of him because he didn’t know or understand the landscape of NE playground basketball.
My problem, I found troubling, Dave Bing using our Coach Dr. Rev. Roundtree’s name in vain.
For years Dave answered all my calls when it came to the community. He was a participant on Inside Sports whenever I needed him, but some how he lost his way when it came to his former teammate and friend Bernard Levi. He also came up short with Coach Rev. Roundtree. He failed miserably when he did not reach back to to help those that knew him when he had nothing. Dave never seem to understand that the only thing in America a black man owns is his word.
Among the guest on In and Out of Sports, one is liar and he was also a petty theft (Bing), one was insecure because he never got a college education (Monk), one is a born cheerleader and was near a nervous breakdown while working in Detroit (Hicks), one shot and almost killed his high school teammate while playing with a gun (Dee). The other is a nice guy who was a No. 1 draft of the NBA Boston Celtics (Ollie). He was cut after he led the team in scoring and rebounding during the exhibition season.
Despite Bill Russell, he refuse to finish last by reaching back to help others. Bill’s problem, he was pissed off because Ollie had broken every record he own at the University of San Francisco. Ollie’s No. 32 jersey was retired in 1974 and he was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in January 2014.
Ollie is the only one to get a “PASS” from me. He returned from a tour of playing basketball in Europe to take a job with Giant Food and for several decades proceeded to reach back to hire dozens of brothers and sisters from “The Hood”! His older brother Andrew filled his void of supporting our coach, Rev. Roundtree.
When Coach Roundtree retired from the DC Public school system he gave up the finer things in life. He brought his ministry and his family to the inner-city on Good Hope Road in SE DC to enhance and improve the lives of young people. He opened the SE Youth Development Center for the neighborhood and held Church on Sundays. It was a pretty rough neighborhood. I would stop by to check on him from time to time and offer any support that I could. My non-profit Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports programs were well established in the DMV in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
This success would not have been possible without my coaches, teachers, the maintance workers and a beat cop who had my back. My senior year at Spingarn I was homeless. In 1986 I decided to host a ‘Thank You Tribute Luncheon’ for those unselfish core of public servants.
I met with my partner in all things community, friend and former high school teammate, Andrew Johnson. He had a successful and legendary career in law enforcement. He was a DC beat cop and a successful homicide detective. He retired as a supervisor for the DEA. Andrew joined me in supporting Coach Roundtree–we felt we owed him that much.
In the meantime, we had to locate our teachers, coaches, the maintance workers and the beat cop to invite them to the luncheon. Our principal Dr. Williams jumped right in and provided addresses for all the teachers and maintance workers who no longer worked in the system. Doc was a happy camper, he kept asking us whose idea was this? He was heard saying, “I have never heard of anything like this”.
Bill Lindsey was one of the founders and owners of the popular Foxtrappe Night Club and he was a track and field star and a Spingarn alumnus. He was now the owner of Mingles Restaurant located at 14th and L streets NW. He loved the idea and we moved forward. It was my most satisfying reach-back program. It was a great outing, thanks to Bill Lindsey and his staff–first class.
Andrew tracked down officer Dixon and several other students and teammates. My wife Hattie mailed the invitations and made calls to former student/athletes. I made the calls to Elgin Baylor (GM LA Clippers) and Dave Bing they were at the top of my list. Bing accepted the invitation and Elgin had the usual excuse when he was asked to come home and participate in a community event, “Harold, I am sorry I have a conflict”! Somethings never change.
“Happy Youngsters Flock to Roundtree City Mission”!
A reporter from the Washington Times Gail Campbell covered the luncheon. She interviewed several former students about how were they influenced by our teachers and coaches? There were several interesting paragraphs in the story describing Coach Roundtree and his impact. Her story read, “As coach of the school’s varsity basketball team , he made some of his lasting friendships—supporters who today are trying to help him raise enough money to expand the Southeast Youth Development Center into better quarters.
One of his most notable former students is Dave Bing, formerly a player for the NBA Detroit Pistons and Washington Bullets. Dave was quoted saying, ” I grew in Washington and my whole high school career was under him (Roundtree)”. Mr. Bing said from his office in Detroit where he is president of Bing Steel. “He inducted me into the Michigan Hall of Fame a couple of years ago (1984) .”
“It is too bad there are not a lot more Dr. Roundtrees,” Mr. Bing said. He had a very positive impact on my life.One of the things I can remember under his tutelage is that he tried to get me to develop to the fullest.”
“He always stressed how important it was to compete by getting a good education, not just athletically. It did not surprise me when he went into the ministry. He was never a macho kind of person. He was always very low key and straight forward, Mr. Bing said.
“I have promised him that I will support him financiallyfor a new center and I fully intend to do just that. Famous last words!
Dave never kept his word, he never came back to the SE Youth Development Center or Rev. Roundtree, the man he once claimed was like a father to him! After one financial struggle after another, Coach Roundtree died in 2005 dead broke!
I was surprised, I was the first to introduce Dave on how to use his NBA notoriety to reach back into the community and help others.
It all started in 1967 Bing’s rookie year in the NBA, he was named to the NBA All-Star team. The game would be played in the Baltimore Civic Center in February. On Friday two days before the game there was a shooting after a high school basketball game between Spingarn and McKinley Tech on the campus of Spingarn. A Spingarn student was the victim, but he would live to tell about it. There was talk of revenge, I was a member of the DC Recreation Department Roving Leader’s Youth Gang Task Force.
I was assigned to go to the scene of the crime. The thinking was since I was a Spingarn alumnus and former athlete I might be able to quell the talk of revenge. When I arrived on the scene several students were talking loud and saying nothing that made any sense. The cops on the scene didn’t seem to have a clue. The student with the biggest and loudest mouth I pulled him to the side trying to figure out their next plan of action. He looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. This was a deadend street, I had to come up with my own plan of action.
I walked to the other side of Benning Road to an old student hangout, Sporty’s carry out. I ordered a hot dog and soda. It was a beautiful evening. I went outside and sat on someone’s front steps and enjoyed my hot dog and soda.
There were two’brothers’ standing at the bus stop talking basketball and one said to the other, “Man you know the NBA All-Star game is in Baltimore on Sunday!” He immediately got my attention reminding me Dave Bing was voted on to this year’s team–jackpot problem solved.
I had known Dave since he was a youngster growing up on the playgrounds of Watts and Kelly Miller in NE DC. I watched him go from a playground “crybaby” to a full blown All-American and NBA Hall of Fame player. Playground basketball in the 50s, 60s and 60s was played like a version of the NFL “bump and run” very physical, but seldom dirty!
Saturday morning I was headed to Baltimore to rendezvous with Dave. I arrived in Baltimore around 9:30 am and camped out in front of the Baltimore Civic Center player’s entrance. Dave arrived with his teammate Bob Lanier about 10:45 am. He was surprised and glad to see me. He introduced me to Bob and we sat outside to talk about why I was there. I updated him on the shooting at Spingarn and that I needed him to come to the school on Monday morning after the All-Star game to speak to the students. He agreed to meet me at the school. This was his first reach-back effort as an NBA player-perfect timing.
When he walked into the Spingarn auditorium on that Monday morning, the students gave him a standing ovation. They had just seen him on national television the day before playing in the NBA All-Star Game representing Spingarn High School. His words of wisdom quelled the talks of revenge and there would be peace in the streets until the next shooting!
Dave came home that summer after being named “NBA Rookie of the Year”. I was sitting in my favorite restaurant ‘Franks’ on the U Street NW corridor having lunch and in he walks with my childhood friend, Arnold George. We hug and shook hands and I congratulated him on being named NB Rookie of the Year. He says, “Harold Bell you help prepare me for the NBA”! I was lost for words and we just laughed.
I knew exactly what he was talking about. He was a crybaby and I went nose to nose with him when we met on the playground or in Spingarn’s annual alumni games during the holidays. I would call him out and say, “Stop crying MF and play”. During that era there were several who tried to intimidate you if you let them, but I was not an intimidator or one to be intimidated.
The intimidators had names like, Gene Strong, Pete Lee, Gary Mays, Earl Richards and big mouth Zack Malachi. I never backed down from them either. John Thompson’s high school teammate Tom Hoover tried to bring his Parkview playground bully tactics to Brown one weekend and I said, “Hell no” with Sandy Freeman standing nearby!
I will never forget there was one Sunday at Brown playground Sandy saved me from a good ass whipping from one my heroes, intimidator Earl Richards. Earl and I grew up in the same Parkside neighborhood. He was a great all-around athlete at Armstrong High School and St. Augustine College in North Carolina. I looked up to him.
On this paticular Sunday we had gathered to play and Earl challenged me to a one on one until we had enough players to run whole court. I was shooting lights out then, I knew better than try to drive to the basket on him, if I did there was the possibility my lights would definitely be out.
If I remember correctly, I was up by two and Earl left an opening for me to drive to the basket and close him out. I did–big mistake. The next thing I knew I was getting up off the court bleeding from the mouth and he was standing over me. I picked myself up went into my pocket for my trusted razor and it was not for a shave. Thank God for Sandy Freeman, he jumped in between the two us. Sandy didn’t only protect John Thompson, he also protected dam fools like me.
In 1968 the DC Recreation Department sponsored a trip to Michigan State University for a youth and police seminar. I was among the Roving Leaders selected to make the trip. We arrived on a Sunday morning and Dave picked me up on campus that evening. The two of us had dinner and I spent the night at his home. On the ride back to campus the next morning, he talked excitedly about a basketball camp he would be having in the Poconos Mountains (Pennsylvania) during the summer. He invited me to bring some kids to the camp–done deal.
In that 1974 Washington Star-News paper story written by J. D. Beatha, wrote, “If success is measured in terms of financial reward, here’s a man who hasn’t made it. But there are hundreds of inner-city kids who will vouch for the success of–HAROLD BELL.
When Bernard Levi got locked up I started to think about ways to get him out of the jail. One of the first things I did was to call Dave asking him to write him a letter to let him know he was not forgotten. I waited a couple of weeks and never got a response, but rumors started to circulate among his cheerleaders saying, “Dave didn’t want to be associated with any criminals”! I was not a happy camper hearing those rumors. I would use my White House contacts to connect me to Mr. Norman Carlson, the Director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. My brother Earl and I would later drive to Lewisburg Prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to meet with Levi and later with Mr. Carlson.
Santa’s Helper Byron Kirkley stands next to his coach Rev Roundtree during Kids In Trouble annual toy party for the Youth Developement Center. Byron was the only one of the Spingarn team to return to lend a helping handfor his former coach.
The Levi family live several blocks from Mr. Jackson. On the way back home my mother would stop to visit Mrs. Levi. Bernard, Earl and I would use this time to walk over to the basketball court behind Carver Elementary School. We would play one on one until one of his sisters came to tell us my mother was ready to go home.
Bernard was facing 10 to 20 years for felony bank robbery. He was release after serving three years, thanks to Mr. Carlson.
The two-faces of Bing would resurface in the NBA when he and his teammates conspired to get NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd fired from his head coaching job with the Detroit Pistons. Earl should have been the the first black NBA hire, but imbedded racism in the Detroit Piston organization placed him second behind Bill Russell. Earl hailed from Alexandria, Virginia and played his playground basketball in DC (Parkview and Bannecker).
Earl and his first wife Ginny told me the story of the NBA munity led by Bing. It gets worst, when Dave made his NBA stop on the way out with the Washington Bullets, he brought some of that same baggage to DC. He has a history of bad mouthing his coaches. It all started with Earl Lloyd.
Dave changed his tune on In and Out of Sports, he claimed Earl Lloyd ‘The Best coach he ever played for’, and Dick Motto and KC Jones the worst. Meet the two-faces of Dave Bing. I would not buy a use car from this guy.
All of this backstabbing of K C came after a red hot Golden State Warriors’ team swept the Washington Bullets in four games in the 1975 NBA finals. Bickerstaff made similar statements around the league to several NBA referees that K C had no clue and he was actually doing the coaching.
KC hired this Negro with no NBA playing time or NBA experience. There is no loyalty among black men! Bernie has backstabbed his way around the league. He had several head coaching and front office jobs in the NBA, but never won a Championship. He brown-nosed long enough to get to the White House with the Chicago Bulls and get his son JB Bickerstaff a head coaching job in Cleveland in 2020 where he is now on the scouting staff-what price success!
I was one of the first to meet with Dave on his arrival in DC. We met at his Marlborough House apartment in Hillcrest Heights, Md. He had been in town for less than a week and the first thing that comes out of his mouth was, “KC Jones is a drunk and he is over rated as a coach”!
I jumped all over him right then and there. My question to Dave, “Why don’t you sit down with KC man to man and talk it out, he has the utmost respect for you”? His response, ‘I think its a little too late for that’. This sounded like a carry-over from Bernie Bickerstaff.
Dave repeated himself again on the Fake News show “In and Out of Sports” with host Butch McAdams, he claimed Bullet’s Coach Dick wanted him to change his style of play and he refused. Motto won an NBA championship in 1978 with the Bullets–Dave never won or played on a championship team.
Dave was so anxious to prove how successful he was after his career was over and done, he invited 30 of his teammates, friends, and family, mixed with several cheerleaders to Detroit. It was a “Show and Tell” about him. He paid for their roundtrip airfare and hotel lodgings.
He held parties for them at the hotel, and at his home in the suburbs. There was also a tour of his auto parts business in the city. Guess who was not invited to the tour with the rest of his high school teammates–their coach, Rev. Roundtree.
A guilty conscience and karma can and will comeback to hunt you. One of Dave’s ass kissers more than likely, Donald Hicks tried to talk Bernard Levi into making the trip, but Levi had not forgotten, how Dave had turned his back on him.
I was making plans to attend the hall of fame ceromonies when I stopped by the SE Youth Development Center to check on Coach Roundtree. I told him I was on the way to attend the Naismith Hall of Fame inductions this coming weekend. He took the high road, saying how happy he was for Dave and Wes Unseld the inductees, but he would not be attending!
This was a setback for me and I took it personal. Dave went on the record (newspaper) promising Coach Roundtree he would help to find him another center for the kids and he would support him financially. I watched Coach Roundtree struggle trying to hold things together and watched his health deteriorate.
My plans were to drive to Philadelphia and take a chartered bus to Springfield. The trip had been coordinated by NBA Hall of Fame and playground legend Sonny Hill. Earl Monroe a hometown boy was being inducted with Bing and Unseld. Earl and I had become close friends through our association with Winston-Salem State University legendary coach, Clarence BigHouse Gaines.
I called Sonny and told him I needed another ticket for the hall of fame and I would be bringing Coach Roundtree with me. He had three tickets left.
On our arrival in Springfield, Massachusetts it was beautiful sun shiny day. There were plenty of familiar faces, teammates, family and friends of the inductees. My first encounter was with Tim Bing a cousin of Dave. He wanted to know why Dave and I were beefing. I told him it was a long story and let it go at that. Trying to explain to someone’s relative why you are beefing with his kin is a no win situation–blood is thicker than water!
The great Oscar Robertson presented Dave at the induction. This where it gets tricky, I was there because I was associated with three of the inductees, Dave Bing, Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld. Coach Roundtree and I were sitting at Sonny Hill’s table when the introductions and the players were being inducted.
I am thinking the players were being presented in alphabetical order, Dave definitely went first, Earl behind him and Wes. During Dave’s presentation he thanked his family and finally got around to Coach Roundtree who was sitting next to me. Dave had him stand and thanked him for all that he had done to help make this honor possible.
Earl followed Dave to the podium and thanked his family, friends, Coach Bighouse Gaines, Sonny Hill and to my surprise he had me stand and thanked me for my community reach back in DC through my non-profit Kids In Trouble, Inc. During his career Earl was a mainstate at my Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Shows and Tennis Tournaments. The look on Dave’s face was a Kodak Moment!
I flunked out of Winston-Salem my freshman year. I was still trying to go to hell in hurry. Bighouse broke the bad news to me. He said, “We don’t have any money for summer school for dumb-ass athletes” you can get ready to head back to the ghetto.” I was ready to go home with no ‘Game Plan’ of what I was going to do once I got back to D C
Several days went by waiting for Bighouse to bring me my bus ticket back to the ghetto. He finally shown up and told me that my ‘Guardian Angel’ had come to my rescue. He said, “Your daddy send you money for summer school”! My daddy? I had seen my father once in 10 years. He was talking about Coach Dave Brown.
Bighouse told me I needed to find a job and a place to stay. He took care of both, he got me a job in a unforgiving hot tobacco factory and I stayed with him, his wife and kids until he could find me a room in the city. I was scheduled to be a starting WR the next year, and hopefully win a spot on the basketball team, but he killed my basketball dreams because of my grades.
I never finished my degree in Elementary Education at Winston-Salem, but my educational sense, Street Sense, Common Sense and Book Sense was enhanced thanks to Bighouse and the Winston-Salem family. I left to chase my NFL dreams and check on my younger brother and mother who had been hospitalized with a nervous breakdown in DC.
Some of the best advice ever given to me was by Grandma Bell. I remember when I started to smell myself as an athlete and media personality, it was one Sunday she sat me down after church and said, “Grandson I want you to promise me one thing, you will always tell the truth, because a lie will change a thousand times, but the truth never changes”!
I never questioned Grandma, and never knew what made her want to pass that advice on to me, but it has served me well.
When I received the 2020 National Association of Black Journalist Pioneer Award, I thanked Grandma Bell–it was the icing on the cake.
I was not sitting around waiting for the NABJ’s stamp of approval–God already knew my story. Their approval proved, the hard truths, and the no holds barred interviews that highlighted my media career were not in vain.
A lot of sports history was made in 1972 and beyond. Inside Sports made its debut on talk radio on 1450 AM W-O-O-K Radio. I became the first black to host and produce his own sports talk radio show in DC. Inside Sports changed the way we talk sports in America and the show became the talk of the town.
In 1972 John Thompson Jr. made sports history when was named the head basketball coach at Georgetown University, it also made him the first black to hold the position. He struggled in those first years to win games had little or no following. Radio, television, print media outlets ignored him and his struggles.
I was the only black media personality with a sports talk show. I had known John since he was a student at Brown Middle School in NE DC in the 50s. I gave him five-minutes every Monday to promote Georgetown basketball–no charge.
1972 in Cleveland, Ohio Muhammad Ali makes Don King the first ever black boxing promoter. Ali, “It was my biggest mistake.”
Richard M. Nixon on August 8, 1974 announced he was resigning as President of the United States due to the Watergate scandal. I met Nixon at the exclusive Burning Tree Golf Course in Bethesda, Md. in 1957. He was then the Vice-President of the United States.
Sugar Ray Leonard returns home with gold medal around his neck looking for a ticker tape parade, but media calls him out for having a baby out of wedlock. He loses his self-esteem and goes into hiding. Harold Bell becomes his mentor and leads him out of the darkness. He beats Wilfred Benitez for welterweight boxing title in 1979. He becomes boxing ‘Cash Cow’. He makes pro boxing history and becomes the first professional boxer to earn 100 million dollars.
The Washington Bullets win their first ever NBA Championship in 1978 beating the Seattle Super Sonics 105-99 in seven games.
In 1978 Corporate America was written on everything I touched. There was more success when I became the first hired Sports and Marketing consultant/rep for Nike Shoes and Sports & Marketing rep for Budwiser all in the same calendar year. There were spooks who sat by the door at each stop. There was GT Coach John Thompson, Jr. with Nike and Walter Ray with Budwiser Beer.
In 1980Washingtonian Magazine named me one of their Washingtonians’ of the Year, making me the first sportscaster to be honored.
In 1984 John Thompson, Jr. became the first black to win a NCAA Division One basketball championship.
In 1988 Inside Sports was the No. 1 sports talk show in the DMV. My sponsors were the Maryland Lottery and Coca-Cola. Kids In Trouble was headed into its second decade.
When QB Doug Williams arrived in Washington, DC in 1986 his friend Bob Piper asked me to protect his back. In 1988 Doug became the first black QB to win a Super Bowl in NFL history. He led the Washington Redskins over the Denver Broncos 42-10.
As we arrived we heard the oohs ahhs coming from the court and there was Earl spinning and twisting around defenders like they didn’t exist. He was making shots that looked impossible. I waited my turn to play against him and I got the same treatment as the previous defenders–he was the real deal.
Also noteworthy, Dave asked our homeboy and Spingarn great alumnus Elgin Baylor to be his presenter for his Naismith Hall of Fame induction, Elgin’s response, “I have a conflict”! He settled for Oscar Robertson as his presenter.
Earl Monroe was a special guy to me. I met him for the first time off the campus of Winston-Salem State University in 1963. I remember my roommate from Chicago Barney Hood running into the cafeteria one afternoon. He was out of breath and all excited about a player he had seen on the basketball court near the campus. Barney was a hell of a varsity basketball player in his own right, so I dropped everything and headed to the court to checkout this player.
My visit to the playground was the beginning of a great friendship. I hated to see Earl leave Baltimore for New York City, but he told me, it was all about The Benjamins (money honey). Earl and I still remained close despite the miles apart. Hattie and I decided to go to New York one weekend and take in a play and I called Earl to see if we could hook up for lunch or dinner. He took it to another level. He got us tickets to the Knicks game, tickets to the play, gave us the keys to his apartment and took us to dinner after the game. It was a great weekend–thanks Earl.
Dave would eventually badmouth ‘The Pearl’, he told several of his cheerleading buddies that he had to lend Earl $25,000 dollars because of bad investments he made during his NBA career. It was no secret about Earl’s bad investments, but why tell everyone? Dave was insecure and this made him look like a big man–bigger and smarter than ‘The Pearl!’
Sometime around 2000 Dave invited The Usual Suspects/cheerleaders to a Detroit “Look at Me” affair, that included a tour of his business enterprises and his home in the suburbs. He would pay for their roundtrip airfare, hotel room, but they would have to pay for their own meals and bring their own pom-poms–Hicks was assigned to bring as many rolls of toilet paper as he could get in his suitcase.
There were at least 30 guest that included teammates Ollie Johnson, Donald Hicks, Monk Wilkins, Garland Logan and the late Byron Kirkley. The brothers Doc and Skeezie Payne, Fatty Taylor and others who I cannot ID at the moment were all in attendance.
I just don’t understand how brothers get so selfish when they get two-dollars and a little bit of fame. I went from a NE Outhouse to a NW White House and sat on a Mountain Top with the Greatest, Muhammad Ali–it does not get any better than that. None of those feats ever required me to kiss ass. Dave’s guilty conscience would not allow him to invite Coach Roundtree to Detroit. Coach would have enjoyed being among his former players.When you don’t keep your word–this is the type of BS that says who you really are!
I knew Marvin Gaye from the street corner do-wop sessions in Parkside and from my church, Mount Airy Baptist Church located on North Capitol and L streets NW. My great-grandfather laid the first brick to build the church in 1893.
One Sunday Marvin shown up at the church with his father who was a mininister to take part in a revival. We must have been 14 or 15 years old at the time. When Marvin spotted me he immediately put fingers up to his lips. He didn’t want his father to know he had been hanging out in my housing project singing do-wop, according to his father was the devil’s music.
My mother moved us from Parkside to 58th Blaine Streets NE in 1956 to ‘Simple City’, Marvin moved right down the street from us with Grealdine Adams aka ‘Peasey’. She was our baby sitter in Parkside for me and my brother Earl when our mother went out to party on the weekends.
Marvin later told me his father had put him out and he moved in with Peasy, but he was going to join the service. We use to catch the bus in the morning heading to school, him to Cardozo and me to Spingarn. A week later he broke the news to me he was joining the Air Force.
Dave even lied about his relationship with Marvin. He made a claim that he played against Marvin at Watts playground in his neighborhood. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marvin and I were good friends and never once did he mention or say while we were living on 58th Blaine Street NE, “Harold lets walk around to the playground and shoot some hoops.”
Marvin and I met by surprise at Caesar’s Palace in 1979 at the weight-in between Sugar Ray Leonard and Andy Price for the Welterweight Championship. I had no idea that Marvin own 1/3 of Price’s contract. Leonard and Price were both undefeated. When I told Marvin I was in the Sugar Ray Leonard’s camp he laughed and said, “When Andy knocks Ray out you can come and work for me”! Famous last words.
Marvin sung the national anthem and before he could get back to his seat Ray had knocked Price out in the first round. Marvin and I had made plans to play tennis the next morning, but with Andy getting knocked out in the first round I did not think it was going to happen. It was around 7 am the next morning he called and told me to me him for breakfast. We spend two-hours talking about our hometown and my plans for the future. It was like a family reunion between the two of us. Ray Leonard and Andy Price never entered our conversation. He made arrangements to get me tickets for the Diane Ross concert in Caesar’s Palace later that evening. We met at the theatre and he gave me two tickets for me and my friend George Nock and disappeared.
Our next time to meet was to be in Detroit when Thomas ‘Hit Man’ Hearns met Pipino Cuevas in 1980. The Hit Man needed only two rounds to win his first championship. Sugar Ray Leonard and the ‘Hit Man’ were on a collision course.
My last communication with Dave was when he came home in 2008 to make the announcement he was running for Mayor of Detroit. The announcement was to be made at the Fontainebleau on 450 in Lanham, Maryland. I could not understand why he was running for Mayor of Detroit and I decided to attend the event. He was made to feel right at home the cheerleaders were everywhere.
I approached him shortly his announcement and asked the question, “Dave why are you running for Mayor of Detroit, its a “Deadend Street”?
Everyone of them use Coach Roundtree’s name in vain! Butch, I know of no one who has reached back into the community other than Marion Barry? He forgot Dave Bing made his community debut at Hillcrest Saturday Program. Officer Ray Dixon never mentioned! Closing of Spingarn?
Washington DC, Prince Georges County and the country recently lost a true public servant, Daryl Pennington. Congressman Steny Hoyer went to the House floor on Wednesday September 16th to disclose his friend and trusted community advocate for Prince Georges County’s 5th District, Daryl Pennington was called home to be with the Lord.
Daryl Pennington was more than a community advocate to those she served in the name of Congressman Steny Hoyer. I have broken bread with some of the most powerful politicians in America, the good, the bad and the ugly. President Richard Nixon being at the top of the list, followed by Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Bob Dole (R-Kan), Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore), Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga), Walter Fauntroy (D-DC), Perrin Mitchell (D-Baltimore), Hank Johnson (D-Ga), and local politicians, Mayor Walter Washington (D-DC) and Mayor Marion Barry (D-DC), none were blessed with the likes of a Dary Pennington on their team.
I was introduced to Daryl by her close friend Gloria Gaddy a community and senior advocate in Bowie, Md. over a decade ago. My wife Hattie and I were having a problem with the Social Security Administration and later a problem with a local bank. First, Congressman Hoyer made an inquiry by letter to Social Security (problem solved) and a telephone call to the local bank ( problem solved). What made Daryl so special to me was sometimes weeks would go by and you would think she had forgotten and she would call and say, “Mr. Bell, I am on top of it”. I can imagine her caseload was off the charts, but she always found time to reach out and reach back.
For example, it took me 45 years to edit an exclusive one on one 1974 interview (Rumble in the Jungle) with the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, Muhammad Ali. I finally arranged to debut the documentary/interview on the big screen at the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill in NE Washington, DC, I invited Gloria and Daryl to my coming out party with Muhammad Ali.
In the meantime, Daryl brought my Ali project to the attention of Congressman Hoyer. On Sunday November 24, 2019 she read a proclamation from the stage of the theatre from the congressman congratulating me on my historical accomplishment.
Daryl, was all over the place when it came to her friends and the constituents of Prince Georges County, When Gloria had her house warming last summer she was there. Gloria and her daughter Candi have a young man in their new home, their grandson and son, his name is Miles. He is a high school teenager and sometimes he strays a little off the beaten path, Daryl teamed up with Gloria and Candi as a mentor to help keep him grounded. I am sure there are dozens of other stories of her good works in our community.
Thank you Congressman Hoyer for sharing Daryl with us, her light will continue to shine bright–gone too soon. Peace and blessings.
CONGRESS STENY HOYERS’ REMARKS ON THE HOUSE FLOOR ADDRESSING THE SPEAKER OF HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 16, 2020.
“Madam Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I share the news that a great friend and public servant has passed away. Daryl Ann Pennington was a dear friend, trusted member of my staff, and a tireless advocate for Maryland’s Fifth District. For the past twelve years, Daryl served as a caseworker in my office in Greenbelt, Maryland, serving Prince George’s, Calvert, and Anne Arundel counties. Earlier, she had worked for former Maryland State Senator Ulysses Currie. She knew the Fifth District and its communities better than almost anyone.
“And she cared deeply about the people who called, emailed, and wrote to us asking for assistance with federal agencies and help accessing government services. In particular, Daryl was a fierce advocate for our district’s seniors. But she was also a mentor to countless young people, including interns who came to our district office and learned lessons from Daryl not only about serving our constituents but how to approach life through perseverance, faith, and positivity.
“Daryl drew heavily on her personal faith as a member of the Evangel Cathedral Church in Upper Marlboro for more than a quarter century and as a partner with Dr. Corinthia Ridgely Boone of the International Christian Host Coalition organizing the National Capital Region’s Day Of Prayer for many years. She believed strongly that prayer was a powerful tool – not only to connect with her Creator but to connect with others here on Earth, to communicate her love for others, and to spread peace and joy to those around her.
“Her sense of humor, her wit, and her warmth will all be sorely missed. I – and all of us who worked so closely with Daryl – will miss her very much. Daryl had so many spiritual daughters in the many young women who looked up to her over the years as a mentor and friend. But her pride and joy were her five children – Laura, Christie, Toi, Peter, and Lenny – as well as her grandchildren, to whom she was devoted.
“A native of Rochester, New York, Daryl made her final journey home in July, when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and departed Maryland to seek treatment closer to family at the University Of Rochester Medical Center. We had all hoped to welcome her back soon, but sadly Daryl’s condition worsened quickly last week, and she passed away on Saturday morning, with her family by her side.
“Daryl was a true friend and partner in service to the people of Maryland’s Fifth District. She will long be remembered by those she helped and by those of us who worked closely with her. Her passing is a great loss to my constituents, to our office, to this House, and to our country.
“I hope my colleagues will join me in offering her family the condolences of the whole house and the thanks of a nation grateful for patriotic Americans like Daryl Ann Pennington who serve their country and communities so dutifully. Now, Daryl rests in peace with God, whom she served so faithfully throughout her life.
Video of Congressman Steny Hoyer’s remarks on the House floor