NO CHEERLEADERS IN THE PRESSBOX: WHITLOCK-WILBON-AND JB!

BLEACHER REPORT REVISITED / HAROLD BELL JULY 3, 2009

I know this may sound familiar to some, but let me let Michael Wilbon introduce me in his own words, “Harold, I have not forgotten when I came to the Washington Post as a 22-year-old right out of college, I didn’t know diddly. You took me under your wing and had me on your sports talk show Inside Sports. You sit me down and made sure I knew the Good Guys and coaches in the city.

In 2009 there was a sports column written by Jayson Whitlock (Fox News Sports) titled “Jim Brown my Hero” the blog must have had the late legends Washington Post sports columnist Shirley Povich and Afro-American sports columnist Sam Lacey turning over in their graves.

Mr. Povich was the author of a best-selling book titled “No Cheering in the Press Box.” I admired and respected the man.  He and pioneers like Sam Lacey, Mal Goode (ABC News), and Wendell Smith (Pittsburgh Courier), stood for something and did not fall for just anything. These great men cleared a path for me and those who followed.  They wanted to be sure we would not have to face the same racism that hindered them during their distinguished careers, but we have come up a minute late and a dollar short when comes to media pressrooms at deadline. They are only second to a church on Sunday mornings when it comes to racism in America.

Legendary sports columnist of the Pittsburgh Courier, Wendell Smith was the man who had Jackie Robinson’s back during his difficult years with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I dared not miss their commentaries and columns here in my hometown of Washington, D.C. Never thinking one day instead of playing in the NFL, I would be a pioneer in sports talk radio. Their kind of sports writing and reporting has become an endangered species. They inspired me to write commentaries and host a Media Roundtable for my radio sports talk show, “The Original Inside Sports.”

I played my college football at Winston-Salem State in Winston-Salem, NC. After college I played two years as a wide receiver for the Virginia Sailors. They were Minor league champions for three straight years. The greatest minor league football team in the DMV.

Participating in my Media Roundtable were George Solomon, Byron Rosen, Dick Heller, Frank Pastor, Dave Dupree, William Rhoden, Kevin Blackistone, Sonny Hill, Dr. Harry Edwards, Tom Callahan, Howie Evans, and Larry Fitzgrald, Sr. Larry would introduce me to the Minnesota Vikings first black Head Coach, the trailblazing Dennis Green. He would also be the first black coach to be hired in the Big Big 10–Northwestern University. Dennis would become a regular on Inside Sports.

I remember Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., when he was in middle school. He would answer the phone when I called for his dad to participate on the Inside Sports Roundtable. He would yell, “Hey dad, its Mr. Bell in Washington, DC.” I also remember his late wife Carole, she would answer the phone, “Good morning Mr. Bell, I will get Larry for you.” Sometimes Larry would take a minute or two to get to the phone. She would stay on the line until he picked up. She would ask, “How are things in the Nation’s Capitol. She was always a sweet lady.

Larry Fitzgerald Sr. and his two sons-Larry Fitzgerald Jr. and Marcus

Now Larry, Jr. is headed to the NFL Hall of Fame as one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play in the NFL.” What a difference a day makes!

Jim Brown once said, “All Sam Lacey did was cover Jackie Robinson; he never really covered the NFL.”  Jim does not like being second fiddle behind anyone.

I wonder why Jim failed to remember in the late 40s and 50s, Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson were the most important black athletes of our time?

Afro-American legendary sports columnist Sam Lacy. He and Washington Post sports columnist Shirley Povich were the Deans/Godfathers of sportswriters in DC.
Mal Goode was the first black reporter on network television for ABC News. Mr. Goode is seen here at the United Nations in New York City interviewing Muhammad Ali, Rahman Ali, Malcolm X and the Prime Minister of Nigeria. He opened the door for the great Max Robinson and Jim Vance. He has never been given his just-do.

Mr. Whitlock’s ill-timed and idiotic column in 2009 defending Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan against Jim Brown’s accusations as “Do nothing Negroes” was cheerleading at its worst.  Plus, Jim Brown while he was calling the kettle black, had his own hidden agenda.

You would think Whitlock’s column would make the next sports columnist think twice before following in the same path. Enter, Washington Post columnist and ESPN’s PTI co-host, NBA Playoff analyst and “Expert” on everything sports, Michael Wilbon.

On July 1, Michael’s column in the Washington Post was titled “Tiger’s Actions Speak Volumes.”

Let me clear the air from the very beginning, I like Michael Wilbon, he is really a good person, but he is a go-along-to-get-along guy. He has never stood up for anything, including himself.

He has no track record of ever doing anything in the community before the Washington Post, but he should not feel like the Lone Ranger; he has plenty of company in the media.

During my radio days in the 70s and 80s, I had a pipeline into the Washington Post newsroom. My radio talk show, “The Original Inside Sports” was the No. 1 rated sports talk show in town.

Long-time sports editor George Solomon was my “Go to guy” in the sports department. George was a pretty smart guy, and much like Jim Brown, he thought he was smarter than anyone else.

My show was like a “Watering Hole” for writers and sports columnists at the newspaper.

Longtime Washington Post High School Sports Editor Donald Huff once said, “George Solomon runs the sports department like a Nazi Concentration Camp.” Despite that assertion, there were some great writers and reporters who worked for him, including Huff. My favorites were Shirley Povich, Byron Rosen and Tom Callahan (class acts). Huff once wrote, “Harold Bell gets his ratings off the streets of DC.”

If George wanted to know the latest on the Black Athlete or something going on in the black community, he knew he could hear it on Inside Sports.

He was a consistent contributor, he participated in-studio, and there were long-distance calls from Wimbledon and track meets and golf courses from around the World.

My community programs became one of his favorite hangouts, celebrity tennis tournaments, Christmas toy parties for needy children, etc.

Inside Sports Celebrity Tennis Tournament in Anacostia Park. George Solomon is kneeling in sunglasses. Howard White has his arm on George’s shoulder. White became Nike rep for NBA great Michael Jordan and he never came back!

His staff followed his lead: Rosen, Callahan, Wilbon, Dave Dupree, Donald Huff, and Dave Aldridge all became regulars on Inside Sports.

Somewhere in the 80s, I became a regular on the first televised Comcast Washington Post sports talk show.  George treated me like a member of the staff. 

Good Old Boys like Tony Kornheiser, John Feinstein, and hatchet-man, Leonard Shapiro, kept their distance.

I clearly remember Shapiro taking a gamble to come on Inside Sports to plug his bogus book titled “John Thompson: The Real Story.”

My first question to him was, “Leonard how could this be the Real John Thompson story when you didn’t interview him, or anyone in his family and you never interviewed me?” I am sure that was the longest hour he ever spent on the radio.

I have known John Thompson since he was in middle school. During his playing days on the playgrounds in Northeast DC. He could have easily played the role of the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz” (no heart).

I remember I had to chase him off the basketball court during a pick-up game. He wanted to be a jump shooter. I was capable of filling the bucket up myself, I needed a rebounder. He was not allowed back on the court until his protectors, Sandy Freeman and Bob “Batman” Grier showed up.  

John Thompson’s NBA basketball claim to fame: “I backed up Bill Russell.”  He backed Russell up so far, Red Auerbach put him in the NBA expansion draft the next year.  He was not tough enough during that era for the wars of the NBA.

In my opinion, he was also overrated as a college coach. With Big men like Pat Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Michael Graham, and John Turner, etc., he should have easily won two maybe three National NCAA titles.

When he was first hired at Georgetown, he could not buy a story on any sports page, or time on any radio or television station to promote Georgetown basketball.

I gave him a five-minute time slot every Monday evening on Inside Sports (W-O-O-K Radio) to promote his team. When he became “Big John Thompson” he hired a white boy to do the play by play for Georgetown basketball.

He became another “know it all” in the media with no community track record. He started out working for 4-H on his retirement from the NBA that was his introduction to the black community.

Big John Thompson and little John (directly under his right elbow) are Santa’s Helpers during my annual KIT Christmas toy party for elementary school children. Redskin LB Harold McLinton is in white tam standing behind Big John.
John Thompson in attendance at a Kids In Trouble basketball outing at the Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program. Special guest, NBA Hall of Fame player and native Washingtonian, Dave Bing.

He married a “Lady” named Gwen and started to smell himself as a lady’s man and an intimidator. When things went bad in the marriage he would show up at her residence unannounced. He would sit in a parked car and hide behind trees late at night. In the black community, we call it ‘Tree Boxing.’ He warned her he had Las Vegas connections and she better go quietly.

I assisted in her divorce. Gwen had her lawyer call me to tell her how to proceed with the divorce. I gave her all the skeletons in “Big John’s” closet.

She took him to court and to the bank to the tune rumored to be $6 million. It could have easily been $12 million but she wanted him out of her life.

John was a millionaire before he left Georgetown. He was taking money under the table from sports agent David Falk. That is the Real John Thompson story.  I exposed Falk 20 years before the sports department of the New York Times. I exposed him for stealing millions from NBA Hall of Fame player Adrian Dantley. The New York Times called him a NBA snake.

I was the first Nike rep on the East Coast and thinking John was my friend, I went to him with a proposal to bring Nike to Georgetown. We shook hands and agreed to meet the next day to confirm the deal. The Nike store was a mile from Georgetown University and before I could walk back to the store, he had called to Portland, Oregon and made his own deal. He was the supreme “Back Stabber.”

Congressman Walter Fauntroy (D-DC) receives a pair of Nike running shoes and accessories for his successful run for Congress. Nike store manager Laura Mays and I join him in his office on Capitol Hill.

Dave Dupree was the first to write a story on my community involvement (Christmas toy parties hosted by the Washington Redskins), but he started to smell himself after he became a columnist.

Dave and I fell out of love in the visitor’s locker room after a Bullets’ game. I jokingly asked him why was he a no-show on my talk show Inside Sports. He had a curt response, “I don’t work for Harold Bell. I took it as disrespect. I slapped him in his mouth and all hell broke loosemy bad!

Several of our colleagues stepped between us and I was hustled out of the locker room. I still regret the incident. Dave was not really a bad guy, he just got caught in the moment of trying to be cute. 

Co-host of the Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Show, WHUR Radio and Quiet Storm personality, the late Melvin Lindsey, WRC TV 4 News Anchor the late Jim Vance and celebrity model Washington Post sports columnist, Dave Dupree.

Here we were in the late 1970s, Dave Dupree (Washington Post), Ron Sutton (WHUR Radio), Greg Mosso (WHUR Radio), Chuck Taylor (TV 20), Gerald Burke (Afro-American), and we were still sitting in separate but equal seats at the press table in Landover a ten minute drive from the Nation’s Capitol.  Something was wrong with this picture.

I remember sports writer Frank Pastor and I were upstairs on the next corridor during half-time during a game and we notice the segregated seating. We walked down the steps to our seats, Frank went to the right and I went to the left. No one batted an eye.

The late Mark Splaver was the Director of Media Relations for the Bullets. One home game I arrived late after he had passed out media press guilds for the team. During half-time, I reminded him I had not received a press guild, he walked away without responding.

He returned in the third quarter and threw the guild on the table in my direction. I went after him for an explanation but Jerry Sachs the President of the team stopped me and asked me to let him handle it and I did.

At the next home game, Mark came to the press table and apologized.  I think he had not gotten over the way Frank and I brought equal opportunity to the Bullet’s press table.

It was integration without a protest sign or march, we just did a sit-in. The following season, the press table was fully integrated. Frank and I gave each other High Fives to celebrate.

The new owner, Ted Leonis, and PR man, Scott Hall are carrying on the same racist tradition. The secondary media, Afro-American and Informer Newpapers, Roundball Report, Inside Sports are separated from so-called major media, Washington Post, USA Today, Washington Times, etc. Major Media seats are on floor level and black/minority media in the bleachers (nose bleed section).

Chris Johnson and I in the nose bleed section at a Wizards’ game at the Verizon Center.

In 1954, Rosa Parks had refused to get up and give her seat to a white man on a bus, and in 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King gave his life in Memphis fighting for our civil and human rights.

I am appalled here we are in 2022, and blacks in media are still being treated like second-class citizens.

My problem with Michael Wilbon started in the Green Room on the campus of Howard University.  We were killing time waiting to go on a television talk show together with television talk show host Kojo Nmamdi (two-faces).  Suddenly Michael start to cry his heart out to me regarding his boss, George Solomon. 

It was here he confided in me that he didn’t like the way George was constantly looking over his shoulder and changing his columns.

Wilbon said, “He never does that to Tony Kornheiser. I am thinking since I am now a columnist, I should be free to write my own stories.”

Jill Nelson, a former Washington Post writer, wrote a book in 1993 titled “Volunteer Slavery/My Authentic Negro Experience.”

She wrote, ‘the Washington Post is The Plantation on the Potomac.’

My advice to Michael in the Green Room at the time was to take George to lunch away from the paper.

There he could let him know he appreciated his personal attention but thought that he could manage his column by himself.

I also advised him to leave George with the impression he had no problem calling on him if he got stuck.

It looks like Michael decided to kiss George’s jackass instead.  He is now saying, “Harold Bell, how do you like me now?” I wonder if a heart attack was it worth his peace of mind?

When I see Michael on television playing the “Expert” on anything and everything, I don’t find him believable. He is still not a free black man!

For a better understanding of Michael Wilbon’s Trials and Tribulations with George Solomon, I am sending him a copy of my re-visiting the Bleacher blog from 2009.

I am thinking he is much like James Brown, he has been brought and sold several times over.  There is a great possibility the system is telling him what to say and when to say it.  Ed Bradley (CBS 60 Minutes) must be turning over in his graveEd was a real stand up black man.

James Brown admitted he was not a free black man when he called administrators at DeMatha High School.  The call was made to apologize after he failed to mention former DeMatha High School All-American, Penn State All-American had died a day earlier. Steve was also 9-year vet NFL running/blocking back. He died on November 20, 2021, of Parkinson at the age of 57.   

He confessed he had no say-so of what was broadcasted as the host of NFL/CBS on Sunday’s half-time show?  I cannot understand that type of mentality.

James is living in a Fantasy World where it is okay to be someone you are not. For example; he pretends to be a minority MLB owner, and a pulpit pastor/minister!

I would guess it is easier for James and Michael to say, “I is rich instead of I is poor.”

Sam Jones (NBA), James Brown (CBS), H Bell, and Earl Lloyd (NBA) during a Black History Month tribute on Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC. “Harold Bell has always been a voice for people who didn’t have a voice.  He has
always called it as he saw it.  He has been an inspiration and motivation
for me and a lot of other black broadcasters.” James Brown (NFL/CBS Sports)
I often wondered how did James and his crew come up with “INSIDE” the NFL? He could have easily called me and said, “Harold I am giving you a heads up, we are going to call our half-time show “Inside the NFL.” This was after the Washington Post had stolen my tag in 1978 and set out for New York City to publish Inside Sports Magazine. The washinton Post gives an “Oral History of Inside Sports Magazine” all lies. They stole my title and now own the copyrights.

Much like Jayson Whitlock’s column on “My Hero Jim Brown,” Michael Wilbon has crossed the line over and over again. For example; He managed to kiss Tiger’s jackass and Jim Brown’s jackass in the same column.

Check out the third paragraph leading into the story Whitlock says, ‘Tiger’s Actions Speaks Volumes.

He says,Don’t get me wrong, I’ve admired Brown’s activism my entire adult life. One of the unforgettable experiences of my life came during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, when Brown through his determination, concern and sheer force of personality, persuaded gang members from the rival Crips and Bloods to call a truce to the violence and talk out their differences at Brown’s Hollywood home.” Would someone please get the toilet paperNo Cheerleaders in the Pressbox!

In Whitlock’s next breath, he goes on to tell how misguided Jim Brown is when it comes to Tiger’s contributions. He points out all the great things Tiger has done since he turned pro.

He reminds Jim that the Tiger Woods Foundation does not teach golf. He names the foundations’ activities; the courses taught at the academy such as engineering, robotics, and marine biology.

Then he cites the 25 scholars the programs have produced and the schools they attend like Georgetown, Florida A&M, Spellman, Penn State, UDC, Marymount, the University of Arizona, and the University of Idaho.

The learning center in California has had between 20,000 and 25,000 young people come through the doors.

Would someone please slow Michael down and fit him for a short skirt and pom-poms. No Cheerleaders in the Press Box!

The bottom line, is Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Michael Wilbon are nobody’s bargains in standing up for the rights of minorities. Jim Brown is heads and shoulders above the three, but he is also the great pretender!

On The Hill with Congressman Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) and NFL legend Jim Brown. Stokes was the first of three politicians to add my name on the House Floor to the Congressional Record. He cited my work with at-risk children and youth gangs in the inner-city.

Since Tiger has been on the pro circuit he has never hired a black caddy for the tour and he has had several opportunities to give a brother a chance to become a millionaire.

According to my former high school teammate and college roommate, Richard “Jelly” Hansberry, Tiger barely spoke to the black caddies on the tour. 

Jelly once served as the Caddy Association’s Vice-President. He has been on tour for several decades.

Black caddies have become an endangered species on the pro tour (I was one in high school).

When the ruling was made that the tour’s pro golfers had to start paying the caddy a percentage of their earnings, they immediately started to hire people that looked like them (family and friends).

I have no problem with that. Tiger, on the other hand, he hired people he wanted to look like.

Keeping it simple, track star legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Charles Barkley both got it right, Tiger and Jim Brown are about themselves aka Don King!

Michael Jordan used to be Wilbon’s go-to guy. He has evidently fallen out of favor since Wizards owner Abe Pollin ran Michael out of town with his tail tucked between his legs and his foot on the gas pedal crying “foul.

On the HBO special, Jim lumped Michael and Tiger in together, but Wibon never mentioned or defended MJ in his column.

Michael Wilbon is a contradiction. He closed his column with “I asked Tiger if it’s possible that a conversation with Jim Brown might be productive, and Tiger answered, ‘That depends on whether both parties show up open-minded.'”

Wilbon needs to get his own house straightened out before he can straighten out someone else’s.

In the three decades I have known Michael, he has never made an effort to donate a toy, book, shoes, a dollar or Send A Kid to Camp for my non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. I had to chase him down for a $1,000 to pay my rent, as I did with JB and David Aldridge (2). You talking about have to suck it up!

But Michael says “I have not forgotten.” He has made promises but has never followed through.  He is still a lovable guy, but he is misguided.

He should not feel like the Lone Ranger: neither have benefactors like John Thompson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Adrian Branch, James Brown, and Adrian Dantley (he almost lost millions of dollars to David Falk’s Ponzi scheme until I alerted him). He never came back to bring a toy or to help a child.

NBA Hall of Fame player, Adrian Dantley receives tribute as College Player of the Year (Notre Dame). Fred Thomas TV 7 news anchor makes the presentation at the Fox Trappe Club. The ocassion, Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Show. He never came back!

There are some champions and some chumps among the group, mostly chumps.

There is one thing that is certain, whatever they are doing in the community or in the media, they are all following my Footprints in the Sand and I followed, Mal Goode, Wendell Smith and Sam Lacey.

Michael would have a life and death health crisis. I e-mailed him wishing him well and a speedy recovery.

He responded with “I was not surprised to hear from you, and I thank you for the thought. I am just disappointed when you get upset when people disagree with you.”

Michael is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He has never expressed to me vocally or in a written word about something I had written that he disagreed with.

I e-mail James Brown, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Michael, whenever their names appear in my commentaries.

I don’t want them getting second-hand information.  He says, she says and anonymity is a dangerous weapon often used in the black community to purposely divide and cause confusion among the natives.

I understand that I am on the firing line every time I pen a commentary or column. My greatest asset is that I can tell the difference between Constructive Criticism and Destructive Criticism. My friends take everything personally, but I say, “if the shoe fits wear it.

We always want to hear the truth when it is about someone else, but we never want to hear the truth about ourselves?

On chance encounters with Michael over the years, for example, there was the time I bumped into him coming out of the Washington Post in 2004.

The first thing he wanted to talk to me about was the book he was writing with Charles Barkley. No mention of any conflict with me.

In another encounter, I went out to my first Wizards game to witness the return of the gambling czar of the NBA, Agent Zero aka Gilbert Arenas. The Wizards were facing the best team in the NBA, the LeBron-James led Cleveland Cavaliers.

I would meet Michael in the press room after the game and you should have seen the surprised look on his face when he saw me. The relief came when he saw I had my wife Hattie with me. She was his checks and balances.

He knew I would not be all over him with her by my side. We smiled and made small talk about his $1,000 suit and $500 pair of shoes.

There was never a word about my commentaries or columns about him or his colleagues.  Michael, proved there is still no defense against the truth.

Michael, I understand the need to have access to Tiger and have him on your side, but you don’t need to be a cheerleader or keep a roll of toilet paper in your glove compartment for whenever he shows up.  I suggest you try speaking volumes about your own life and let Tiger speak for himself.

Our problem is that we don’t have a clue to our rich history and to who we really are.

Motown legend Smokey Robinson got it right when he recently said on the View television talk show. He said, “I resent being called Afro-American. I think that when you call me an Afro-American you’re disclaiming all the things, the contributions that Black people have made to America. You see, I consider myself to be a Black American. I enjoy being called Black, and Black has been so negativized as a color down throughout our history, by those who wanted to negativize it. And so it spilled over into the Black community and to the Black people. And even Black people back in the day calling each other Black was a sign for a fight.

Black Americans have bestowed so much positivity and culture and have even given their lives to fight in all the American wars; they did not do so for Timbuktu or Kenya, but have spilled their blood for Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama. He emphatically states that our contributions should be appropriately recognized. 

He close saying, “I resent being called African American because Black people have contributed so much to the development of the United States of America.”

I wholeheartly agree, whether white America wants to recogonize my ancestors and my history, never the less Black America History is who I am.

When we lose great brothers like Steve Smith, his name should be shouted from the highest rooftop. It does not matter whether is CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX News or the Afro-America Newspaper, we should be made aware that he lived among us.  If you see something, say something.

SPORTS MEDIA ALERT for Michael Wilbon: “You still don’t know DIDDLY.”

IN MEMORY OF RENEE POUSSAINT–SHE WAS A TEAM PLAYER!

 

CIAA AND THE SPIRIT OF BIG HOUSE RETURN TO BALTIMORE!

Earl “The Pearl” Monroe celebrate the birthday of me and Bighouse at the Foxtrappe Club in Washington, DC
Basketball legends of the Winston-Salem Rams L-R President Kenneth R. Williams and the great Cleo Hill and the man that stood above the crowd–Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe

The cities of Winston-Salem and Baltimore lost a favorite son and sports legend, Monday, April 18, 2005, Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines died at the age of eighty-one. He was a true college basketball giant and icon.  

He is the winningest black coach in the history of college basketball.  When he retired in 1993 at the age of seventy-two he was the number one winning active coach, black or white in the country.  Big House was second only to Adolph Rupp of Kentucky University. He won 828 games to Rupp’s 876. He won eight CIAA conference titles and led the Winston-Salem Rams to an NCAA Championship, making them the first team from a black college to do so. 

Despite the naysayers “Big House” could have easily coached into his seventies if the talent pool was still available. Penn State’s Joe Paterno won the Big Ten football title when he was eighty years old.  

The athletic talent pools, at Black Historical Colleges, had been depleted by Division One Colleges.  Black Historical Colleges have not been able to match the package of white schools so they have followed the adage “If you can’t beat them join them.”

They have done so without financial success or a Final Four or Rose Bowl appearance. The losers are Black Historical Colleges. For example, when Big House retired the once vibrant CIAA Tournament was almost down to a “Skeleton Crew.”  Schools were jumping to Division One, including Winston-Salem.  The conference moved from city to city like a gypsy caravan chasing the almighty dollar.  

The price paid—–the loss of Black History. This made “Big House” sad, he was big on Black History.

During homecomings he would fix breakfast on Sunday mornings for about a dozen guys at his home for updates on our lives and the possibilities of us finding the next Cleo or Earl.

Despite the raids conducted by Division One schools for the black athlete “Big House” left behind a legacy of a winner on and off the court. He touched and won thousands of student/athletes’ hearts and minds with “Tuff love” during his forty-seven years on the Winston-Salem campus.

He left behind two families, first, his one-of-a-kind wife Clara, a daughter Lisa and a son Clarence Jr.  The second family was the athletes and students who called him “Daddy” on campus. There were hundreds more he touched on other Black Historical college campuses around the country. He was like a rock star during games and at the CIAA Tournament, many of his players thought they were the stars, but “Big House” usually stole the show.  It seemed like everyone wanted to talk with or touch him in those two settings. Many thought it was often like a scene from the movie “Godfather.”

During the Cleo Hill era, white fans would show up at our tiny gym and sometimes we were left on the outside looking in.  Cleo was the Michael Jordan of Tabacco Road long before MJ.  He was selected in the first round of the NBA draft in 1961 by the St. Louis Hawks (8th overall)  

I met Coach Gaines through an introduction by my Washington, DC Spingarn high school football coach, Dave Brown.  Big House was no stranger to the Nation’s Capitol. He was a graduate of Morgan State University in nearby Baltimore where he was a chemistry major and an All-American football player. He coached in the first-ever CIAA Tournament in D.C. at old Turner’s Arena in NW DC. in 1946.  The first six CIAA tournaments were held in DC and the seventh was held at Morgan State University.

I will never forget that summer day in 1958 when he walked through the DC pool room door like he owned it and asked, “Which one of you guys is Harold Bell?’ All pool table action stopped it was so quiet you could have heard a mouse piss on cotton. I took a minute before I responded, I was not sure if he was a cop or a Bounty Hunter. I thought to myself “I had never seen a cop or Bounty Hunter that big.” 

I identified myself and he sat down in a chair and waited until I finished my game.  His first question was, “son are you interested in going to college?” My response was “yes sir.” His next words were, “I am Clarence Gaines and I am the coach at Winston-Salem Teachers’ College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  If you are interested in going to college you must first graduate from high school.   When you do check with Coach Brown.”  He got up and left the poolroom without another word.  I was left thinking, “Where in the hell is Winston-Salem Teachers College?”  

The visit from “Big House” would turn out to be a lifesaver. The life saved would be my very own. 

“Big House” and Winston-Salem for almost five decades were the “Life Line” on the East Coast corridor (Boston, New York, New Jersey, Phila., Baltimore, and D.C.) for many lost souls like me.  

Alumni recruiters former Ram student/athletes Jody Wilson and HBell introducing Bighouse to several of the most sought after athletes in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Bobby Gardner kneeling second on the left is a Ram grad and played six years in the NFL with the St. Louis Cardinals (TE). Dozens of others have quietly graduated and have become pillars in their communities.

In the summer of 1959, I would find my way down Route One south to interstate 85 to Winston-Salem, NC. Alan ‘Stu’ Roberson was a senior at Winston-Salem. He would pile us into his car for the drive down Tobacco Road. Stu was a graduate of Spingarn High School and a senior starting guard on the Winston-Salem football team. He took the responsible for getting freshmen, Al Mayo, Richard Hansberry, and me safely on to the campus of Winston-Salem Teachers College.

My freshman year in 1960 was a disaster, I sat on the bench for almost the entire season. I stayed in the Big House Gaines ‘Doghouse.’ This was a Coach Gaines’ ritual for knucklehead egotistical freshmen like me. This was his way of keeping me grounded.  After the football season was over I was ready to try out for the basketball team.  Big House kicked me to the curb immediately, he said, “I have one basketball and that belongs to Cleo Hill.  Go to class and try to stay eligible for next season.”

The alumni team came up short for their annual game with the varsity, Big House reluctantly gave me the okay to play with them.  Jack DeFares an all-time Ram great had returned to school to finish work on his degree.  Jack was a super ball-handler and shooter.  He told me to keep my eyes on him, he assisted me for 23 points but we still lost.  Bighouse looked at me after the game and said, “You are still not playing varsity this year.”     

Bighouse finally gave me the green light fo play my junior year. It was too little to late. He killed my basketball spirit. He says it was all done in the name of love.
“I am open just throw me the dam ball”–my big mouth kept me in the Bighouse Dog House

I would be only 30 miles away when “The Greensboro 4” attending North Carolina A & T College sit-in at the all whites-only lunch counter at Woolworth’s department store downtown. Their act of defiance and courage would vibrate all the way to Winston-Salem.

Hattie T and I proudly pose in front of the stature reconizing the Greensboro Four on the campus of North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Despite the warnings of Big House for all athletes to stay away from downtown Winston-Salem during the protest, I followed my friend and senior co-captain Winston-Salem native, Vic Johnson to the march.  I would flunk out my freshman year simply because I was spending too much time hanging out in the city and not enough time hanging out in the classroom on campus.  

Big House would bring me the bad news. I had failed to meet the academic requirements of the school and I would be returning to the ghetto and poolroom where he found me.  He made it clear there was no money for dumb-ass athletes to attend summer school. 

Two weeks later he would return to the dormitory to tell me my high school coach Dave Brown had mailed a check to him for me to attend summer school. Now I had to find a place to live for six weeks. The men’s dormitory would be shut down for repairs during the summer.   

The first two weeks I would live with him and his family, wife Clara, daughter Lisa, and son Clarence, Jr. This was a first, no student/athlete had ever lived in the Gaines’ house. I paid the price, from scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom floors to cutting his treacherous uphill and downhill front lawn in the hot North Carolina sun.  He find me a place for me to stay and I was sad to leave the big guy–his “Tuff Love” saved my life.

My successful work with at-risk children and youth gangs in the streets of the inner-city is my way of repaying Coach Brown and “Big House” for reaching back to help me.

He and coach Brown both deserved an assist. During the summer months after college my first job was as a member of the DC Department of Reacreation as Roving Leader with the Youth Gang Task Force. I would often try to give the inner-city youth camping experiences out of town.

Dave Bing a native Washingtonian and NBA Hall of Fame legend provided them with their first camping experience in 1969. The experience took place in the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania.  Here they would meet Detroit Piston NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier and the late John Brisker.  

The Harlem Globetrotters when they played in DC, would invite youth to the arenas thanks to my friends CIAA legends Jackie Jackson (Virginia Union) and Curley Neal (J. C. Smith).

CIAA greats Curly Neal (Johnson C. Smith) and Jackie Jackson (Virginia Union) I miss those two brothers–they kept real.

There were camps organized by NBA pioneer Spencer Haywood in New Jersey, the John Chaney/Sonny Hill camps in Philadelphia, it was here they would meet NBA legends like Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Bill Bradley. Last but not least was the “Big House” Gaines camp on the Winston-Salem campus in North Carolina.  

This was the camp that made the biggest impression on the young men from the inner-city. All the NBA players they met were all voted into the NBA Hall of Fame and selected among the Fifty (50) Greatest to ever play in the NBA, but the man they remembered most never played in the NBA—-Bighouse Gaines. 

 

Earl Monroe and I hold happy birthday cake for me and Big House, our birthdays fell on the same day and month–May 21st.
Earl Monroe and Big House at the Foxtrappe in DC for one of my Celebrity Fashion Shows.
Inside Sports College Basketball Roundtable L-R Mike Jarvis (George Washington University), Clarence “Big House” Gaines (Winston-Salem State), Spencer Haywood (Host/NBA), HBell, Gary Williams (Maryland University) and Butch Beard (Howard University)

“Big House” and I were born on the same day and month, May 21st. We celebrated several birthdays here in D.C. during our forty-five-year relationship. It has been said, “They are like two Bulls in a China closet.” Others have described our relationship as one of “Love and Hate.”  Our zodiac sign is Taurus the Bull.

I loved him and he hated me or vice-versa, but love was always the common denominator.  

Big House reminded me of two other sports icons and friends, Muhammad Ali, and Red Auerbach. Ali and Auerbach just by their presence in a room made other men feel small and insignificant. “Big House” had that same kind of effect by just being himself.  

On June 25, 2004, in Chicago, I received the first annual “Clarence “Big House” Gaines Scholarship Award for Unsung Heroes.” It was an award honoring a student/athlete for community service. 

In Chicago for an alumni tribute to Big House. I was honored with the first Big House Gaines Community Service Award.
Chicago alumni tribute to Bighouse. Alumnus Minister Louis Farrakhan was in attendance.

I am honored that I had an opportunity to go one on one with him Up Close & Personal. 

“Big House” and I didn’t get a chance to have one of our face-to-face discussions at the last homecoming because of his health. I missed CIAA Tournament the following year in Raleigh, North Carolina. But it would be in Raleigh, where “Big House” would receive his last living tribute. The CIAA honored its All-Time greatest team, three of the ten players honored played for him, Cleo Hill, Earl Monroe, and Carlos Terry. 

He was also honored and named one of two coaches on the All-Time greatest team along with his friend John McLendon. He was still stealing the spotlight even as he made his exit.  

Harold Bell—— is a former student/athlete at Winston-Salem State and a pioneer in radio and television sports talk shows in Washington. D. C. His Inside Sports radio talk show changed the way we talk and reports sports in America and around the globe.

https://www.bigmarker.com/nabj/NABJ-Sam-Lacy-Awards-Program? bmid=99ea2ef240f2 / He received the 2020 NABJ pioneer award.

JOE GORHAM AND BILL LINDSAY: RUNNING AGAINST THE WIND!

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JOE GORHAM WAS A NATIVE WASHINGTONIAN AND A PRODUCT OF THE DC PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM AND A GRADUATE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. HIS CAREER IN RADIO AT WHUR RADIO IS LEGENDARY.
BILL LINDSEY FOXTRAPPE
BILL LINDSAY A NATIVE WASHINGTONIAN AND TRACK AND FIELD STUDENT/ATHLETE AT SPINGARN HIGH SCHOOL IN WASHINNGTON, DC PAYS TRIBUTE TO OUR HIGH SCHOOL COACH, DAVE BROWN ON HIS RETIREMENT.

DC lost Joe Gorham and Bill Lindsay days a part in 2022. They both were native Washingtonians and products of the DC Public schools system. Joe was a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of the District of Columbia. Bill was a graduate of Spingarn High School and attended Illinois Southern University on a track scholarship and transferred to Maryland University before being drafted into the military.

Joe Gorham was 69 years old when he was called home to be with the Lord. He was a veteran broadcaster of more than twenty years. Most of his many years in radio were with WHUR 96.3 in one capacity or another. He started as a freelance Technical producer for the Jerry Phillips (Spingarn alumnus) Morning Show in 1979. He went from the Jerry Phillips Morning Show to a freelance announcer and moved on to become a full-time staff performer. He accomplished all of this and more in his first ten years at WHUR.

What many of us missed was that Joe Gorham was a risk-taker. In 1991 he went to WDJY-100 FM and then to Atlanta’s WALR 104.7. His outgoing personality and being a “Team Player” were very important to his success in a profession that is overrun with player-haters, envy, jealousy and few opportunities for blacks. Joe never burned bridges and he was welcomed back to WHUR in 1994 to continue his dreams of making a difference.

When Joe retired he was still reaching back to help others. You did not have to be a member of the WHUR radio family for Joe Gorham to reach back and pull you along with him.

Joe and I were like ships passing in the night on the street corners, the political and community meetings in our hometown of DC. When Joe came into radio, I was on the way out as a controversial mover and shaker in the DC market. During our encounters, he would always say for everyone to hear, “Harold Bell the real DC legend.” It took me some time to get used to these shoutouts, I didn’t know if he was being sarcastic or being sincere.

My last encounter with Joe was at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown DC in 2019. The occasion was a long-overdue tribute to comedian Sylvia Morrison. Sylvia’s special guest was a lady that wears her heart on her sleeve when it comes to her people. The legendary comedian, Monique. She is the best stand-up comedian in America. Her act/routine includes, serious discussions concerning human and civil rights for blacks and other minorities. She speaks out when the voiceless cannot speak for themselves. Monique has more balls than most black men.

I was happy Sylvia was finally getting the accolades she richly deserved. There was a reception and folks were waiting for the arrival of Sylvia and Monique to say hello before the main event. The room was a little too crowded for me so I left my wife with some friends and left the room.

Monique and Hattie T share words and a hug during tribute to comedian Sylvia Morrison as I look on / photo credit Fred Sheppard

I am standing out in the hall and Joe Gorham comes out of the crowded room I had just exited. He sees me and says, “Harold Bell the real DC legend.”  He turns to go back into the room and hollers, “Harold do not move, I will be right back.”

He returns with this guy looking like he might be a member of the “Over the Hill Gang” for the Washington Redskins. Joe’s introduction, “Marc, I want you to meet the real DC legend, Harold Bell and Harold Bell I want you to meet Marc Clarke.” 

Marc and his wife, Allison Seymore were a husband and wife team during the evening drive for WHUR radio. Allison was also a morning news anchor for Fox Morning News. She has successfully made the switch to WUSA TV 9 as an anchor on the early morning news.

Marc invited Hattie and I to be guests on their radio show during Black History Month. Hattie’s family is the First Family of Civil Rights in Orangeburg, S. C. Her father, Dr. Charles H. Thomas, Sr. was the President of the local chapter of the NAACP, and a Professor of Psychology on the campus of South Carolina State University.

He started the first-ever voter registration drive on a college campus and it has since spreaded to college campuses all over America. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. Thomas died in 1977. He was inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2007.

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Joe let no grass grow under his feet. He was a brother on the go–have time he would travel.

Joe started out as a freelance Technical producer for the Jerry Phillips (Spingarn alumnus) Morning Show. In 1979 he was also the host of Legato Lycx on WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2 Monday thru Thursday from 7 PM-11 PM with a mixture of music WHUR originally brought to the attention of the Washington Metropolitan Area, with a twist of world music. What many of us missed, Joe Gorham was a risk-taker. He never thought about failure. He went from the Jerry Phillips Morning Show and, became a freelance announcer and on to becoming a full-time staff performer.

In 1991 he went to WDJY-100 FM and then to Atlanta’s WALR 104.7. Joe never burned bridges and was welcomed back to WHUR in 1994 to continue his dreams of making a difference.

On January 21, 2004, WHUR 96.3 FM made history becoming the first broadcast facility in Washington, DC to launch the new HD technology for the future. Joe made a historical contribution by reestablishing and rebuilding the WHUR music library to its former greatness.

He accomplished all of this and more in his first ten years at WHUR. His outgoing personality and being a “Team Player” were very important to his success, especially, in a profession that is overrun with player-haters, envy and jealousy.

In 2005 Joe was given the task of creating and establishing a format for this new technology in the form of WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2. The station featured the jazz artists that WHUR made famous in years gone by. As a result of this task, Joe was named the Music Director of WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2. He was also the Music Director for HUR-VOICES SiriusXM channel 141.

Thanks to Joe, Marc Clarke has since joined the Kids In Trouble/Speak the Truth team and my other community endeavors. We hope to continue to reach back to make a difference in the life of some kid in our ongoing journey as Joe would have wanted. In November of 2019, Marc helped to co-host the successful debut of my Muhammad Ali video trailer at the Miracle Theatre in NE DC with Sylvia Morrison and Gary Johnson.

CEO & Publisher of Black Men in America.com Gary Johnson and radio and television personality Marc Clarke co-host Miracle Theatre salute to Muhammad Ali in November 2019/ photo credit Fred Sheppard

Marc continued his reach back efforts when he joined the Morning Team on WUSA TV 9. October 30, 2021, marked the 47th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle. Marc used the historic occasion to air a segment of my one on one exclusive interview with Muhammad Ali. https://www.wusa9.com/video/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-washington/the-godfather-of-sports-talk-harold-bell-recalls-the-rumble-in-the-jungle-great-day-exclusive/65-189f236e-990c-486f-9259-9d8c07dde953.

Thanks to John Hollins Account Excutive and Sports Director Fred Kalil on CBS 46 in Atlanta, Ga. for following up with a similar segment of the Ali interview during Black History Month. Joe, Marc and John are the definition of “Networking.” A lost art in the black community. https://youtu.be/duGoaDIVZ6E 

Joe Gorham never got the opportunity to experience The Foxtrappe. When he joined the radio ranks in 1989, the Foxtrappe had gone dark (closed), but he had the spirit of Bill Lindsay.

Bill was a co-founder of the Foxtrappe. He 76 years-old when he was called home to be with the Lord.

The Foxtrappe Club opened its doors in 1975 and catered to the black Washington, DC, and beyond. The club was located on 1601 R Street in NW DC in a five-story mansion owned by the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.

The Foxtrappe was the brainchild of three native Washingtonians, Claude Roxborough, Malcolm Beech, and Bill Lindsay. This would become the place to be for DC’s elite for over a decade. During these times Washington, DC was still a closed city for blacks despite their influential government jobs, cash flow, and wardrobes to kill for. The downtown white restaurants and clubs were still off-limits. They viewed every black face as one of the participants in the 1968 riots who almost destroyed their city.

Bill was not only the face of the Foxtrappe, he was the bridge to the community. Claude and Malcolm were from another part of the world growing up in NW DC. Bill was from far NE DC and a product of the DC Public School system. He was a graduate Spingarn High School where he was also an outstanding student/athlete, participating and excelling in track & Field. He attended Southern Illinois on a track scholarship and transferred to the University of Maryland before being drafted into the U. S. Army.

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Bill Lindsay the Foxtrappe’s bridge to the community in Washington DC and beyond. The Foxtrappe was known around the world. Bill and I were friends before the Foxtrappe, we were both native Washingtonians, grew up in NE DC and were student/athletes at Spingarn High School. The friendship earned me a free club membership giving me unlimited excess for my community endeavors.

Bill and I met after an alumni basketball game between members of past Spingarn teams and the present varsity team. It was our basketball Coach William Roundtree’s idea of hosting the game during the Thanksgiving holidays. I remember the game like it was yesterday. The game gave me an opportunity to continue my head to head playground battle with rising star Dave Bing.

After we lost the final alumni match-up several of the athletes gathered at Sportys’ a popular carry-out located directly across the street from the school. Sportys’ had the best half smokes and hotdogs in town only Evelyn’s on U street had better.

Dave Bing is seen here going one one with Earl “The Pearl” Monroe as a member of the Washington Bullets. Dave was an All-American at Syracuse University and a first round pick of the Detroit Pistons. He was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1967, led the league in scoring the following year, inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1990. He was named one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players in 1996 and closed out his public life as the Mayor of Detroit. Dave and Elgin Baylor are the only two student/athletes in America’s public school system from the same high school inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. Not bad for for a young man from far NE DC.

The carry-out was very small and there was a crowd standing in line outside the door to the entrance. I worked my way to the front of the line and was ordering a hotdog when a voice from outside the door yelled, “Harold Bell make that two hotdogs and a coke.” He then passed a dollar bill up to me.

I noticed Dave was standing behind this guy smiling. I took the bill and ordered the two hotdogs. When I got outside, I asked the guy who had ordered the hotdog, “Do I know you?” His response, “My name is Bill Lindsay and I run track.” Dave came out and joined us and asked me had I met Bill? I had the feeling that I had just been played, it was the beginning of a great friendship–Bill was a class act.

In our adult years I was one of the founders of the Spingarn Alumni Association which was overrun by athletes and Bill would join us when his schedule allowed.

Bill was “The Go to Guy” at the Foxtrappe when you needed to settle a dispute at the entrance to the club, whether it had something to do with a lost membership card or someone challenging the dress code. He was the smiling face you wanted to see at the front door. Bill was the diplomatic muscle without using the muscle.

I remember the Ramsey Lewis trio recorded their classic “The In-Crowd” in 1965 at the legendary underground jazz club, the Bohemian Caverns in NW DC. I had just returned home from a failed minor league football tryout–my ticket to the NFL so I thought.

The Foxtrappe opened its doors in 1975 for the Nation Capitol’s black bourgeoisie residents. They were looking for an establishment they could hang out with the elite and call it their very own. Ten years after the Ramsey Lewis’ music classic “The In-Crowd.” The DC ‘In-Crowd’ would make their way to the Foxtrappe, when I hear it, I think of the Foxtrappe.

The club was housed in a red brick building at 16th and R streets NW. The club was so exclusive in its early days that it was rumored that music legend, Sly Stone, the flamboyant leader of Sly and the Family Stone, couldn’t get in because he wasn’t wearing a sports coat. I remember taking the heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali to the club for his first visit. His attaire was just a sport shirt and slacks. There were definitely exceptions to the rule.

The video produced by Don Baker, captured the beauty of Black Washington, DC in the 70s and 80s and the celebrities who made it their Foxtrappe. He forgot to mention that 90% of the celebrities that came through the Foxtrapp’s doors found their way there via Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports (BCRT).

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Foxtrappe: HBell and Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Earl Monroe, Don King, Clarence Bighouse Gaines, Sam Jones, Al Attles, Jim Vance, Lark McCathy, Melvin Lindsey, Dr J, Maureen Bunyan, Carole Randolph, Redskin players Roy Jefferson, Speedy Duncan, Donnie Simpson, Dave Robinson and Green Bay Packer great Willie Wood were among the personalities who found a home at the Foxtrappe.

EARL MONROE FOX TRAPPE
Foxtrappe Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Show: Models L-R Sonny Hill CBS/NBA)-Sugar Ray Leonard (Boxing) Ricky Jennings (NFL) HBell and Earl Monroe (NBA)
SANTAS HELPERS ALL-STARS
Kids In Trouble Santa’s Helpers L-R HBell-Al Attles (NBA)-Sam Jones (NBA)-K C Jones (NBA) and Roy Jefferson (NFL)

There was law and order in the Foxrtappe, DC Superior Court Judges, Luke Moore, Harry T. Alexander, Ted Newman, Eugene Hamilton and Henry Kennedy, Jr. They were all frequent visitors. Judge Kennedy would like to brag, “I met my wife Altomese at the Foxtrappe.” Burtell Jefferson DC’s first black police chief, Congressmen Walter Fauntroy (D-DC), Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) and other politicians would pop in out of the club to support my community efforts.

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Foxtrappe host Kids In Trouble toy drive party with Santa Helpers, DC Superior Court judges, Luke Moore, Ted Newman, Henry Kennedy, Jr. and Redskin WR Roy Jefferson.

Bill was the glue that made it happen. After the Foxtrappe closed in 1985, Bill and I stayed in touch when he and his wife opened a new restaurant in walking distant of the Foxtrappe. The new restaurant was called, Mingles.

Mingles would be the site of our greatest community endeavor–a thank you and tribute to our Spingarn Principal, Dr. Purvis Williams, his support staff of Vice-Principals, Annie Duncan and William T. Davis and our teachers. Their support staff, included nurse, Rossetta Holmes, police officer, Ray Dixon and our dedicated maintance staff. The Spingarn success stories are second to none in the history of the DC Public School system.

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Spingarn Principal Dr. Purvis Williams

Bill Lindsey and I were especially proud of being the host for this unique tribute coordinated by the student/athletes led by NBA Hall of Fame player, Dave Bing. This was an unheard of tribute by a group of students saying, “Thank You” to our extraordinary Principal and his team of teachers.

My success in the community and sports media was not because as some in media claim, I was a “One Man Community Action Program”—to be honest it took a a Village and the Foxtrappe!

I want to thank Joe Gorham and Bill Lindsey for “Running Against the Wind” and being the “Bridges” to the other side of the glitz and glamour of the Foxtrappe and WHUR radio. Thank you for reaching back to help others. You are gone, but you will never be forgotten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmrkY-EZy74

GARY JOHNSON: A REAL RENAISSANCE MAN!

FEBRUARY: BLACK AMERICANS MAKING AMERICAN HISTORY

Gary and Marc Clarke Co-host tribute to Muhammad Ali at the Miracle Theatre in NE DC.

As I celebrate 50 years of my radio sports talk show, Inside Sports, 50+ years of marriage, 50+ years of Kids In Trouble, and 50+ Christmas toy parties for elementary school children, I look back to see and thank those who lent a helping hand in all those successful endeavors–I now understand “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND!

I think of Gary Johnson when I count my blessings. He is a native Washingtonian and a product of the DC Public School system. Gary remembers having a small AM radio that he used to sit in his window for reception and listen to me on the W-U-S-T radio back in the day.

Gary was born into a DC working middle-class family with his sister Judy and a rotating cast of Aunts and Uncles who migrated from the coal mine town of Uniontown, PA, to the big city to make a life for themselves as they finished college.

Gary was born into a DC working middle-class family. His father was a cab driver, who went back to school and became a Maintenance Engineer at Police Headquarters.  His mother was one of the first black female police officers on the Metropolitan Police Department rising to the rank of Sergeant. His Godmother Mattie Taylor was also a DC cop and served on the first ever DC City Council.

In high school, Gary began to question the advice of his school counselors and advisors who were attempting to steer him into trade school instead of going to college. Gary was determined to take control of his life and not let other people define his success.

He graduated high school and attended the University of District of Columbia (UDC) as a full-time student. One year later Gary got a job with a government Intelligence agency as a Mail Clerk. He attended college during the day while he worked full time in the evening. A few years later at the age of 23, Gary was assigned to The White House where he worked for three Assistants to the President for National Security Affairs as an Intelligence Watch Analyst.

He left The White House after serving just under 4-years. Eleven years after graduating from High School, Gary graduated college with a BS degree in Organizational Behavior from Columbia Union College. He also attended Antioch University School of Law, where he studied in the Master of Legal Science program.

By now Gary was married with a child on the way. ​ His next job was as a Special Agent/Investigator and as a Management Trainer and Diversity Program Manager.

He worked 18-years for the federal government before launching his own businesses, where he was free to use his personal power to define his success. The same personal power that we all have, but don’t always know how to use.

Fast Forward to 1994. Gary is married with two small boys ages 4 and 7, Gary, Jr and Chris. He conducted an honest self-assessment of his situation and abilities and decided he was not living up to his potential. With his wife’s support, Gary walked away from a “good government job and a successful career”, because as he tells it, “I was not personally fulfilled, and I thought there was room for me to develop and contribute more to society outside of the government arena.”

His independence allowed him to spend more time with his two sons, Gary, Jr. and Chris.  For the first couple of years, he was a “Stay-At-Home” Dad. He secured office space 15 minutes from Gary and Chris’ school for his ongoing consultant business.  Self-employment allowed Gary to be a hands-on father and slowly grow his business.

When he was hired to go teach or coach managers at different companies, he would get on a plane and would be gone for 3-5 days at a time.  For example, he would go to NYC on Monday and teach on Wall Street and then he would head home on Friday. 

Gary would sometimes be home for the next 8 to 14 days until another client called.  There were times he got lucky and would get some federal government contracts which were local requiring no plane travel.  Even with this unpredictable work schedule, Gary was able to spend more time at home with his wife and kids.

In 1995, he launched a management training company bearing his name, Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates. Gary either independently or in collaboration with other HR firms, provided training, consulting, and facilitation services to numerous Fortune 500 companies in almost every industry, such as the airline, auto, chemical, agricultural, pharmaceutical, banks, Wall St. firms, and government organizations. Also in 1995, Gary conceived the idea to develop a website to balance the image of black men in America the day of the Million Man March on Washington. 

As the Internet started to grow, Gary saw this new medium as “the great equalizer” allowing him to provide a forum and a voice to the voiceless when it came to issues of interest to black men. Six years later, without any web training, Gary built a website and launched the site Black Men In America.com and marketed it as an online magazine. Today, Black Men In America.com (www.blackmeninamerica.com) is an award-winning top-rated website in the category of “African American Online Communities.”

Gary is using Black Men In America.com to help independent and black authors promote their books. He also helps black singers, actors and comedians have a place to promote their latest ventures.

Years later, Gary reinvented himself as “MasterChef Gary” and developed a line of premium organic seasoning, and built a website to market and sell the spices at MasterChef Gary.com.

Gary is the author of the book 25 Things That Really Matter In Life (Courtland Press, ISBN-13: 978-0-9791113-0-3 ) and was a contributing author to the books IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) — TRANSCENDING BOUNDARIES and The Black Fatherhood Perspective.

In the early 2000’s Gary and his business partner Chauncey Dunham helped the DC Public School System secure their first technology bus for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program called “Be The Game,” at McKinley High School in Washington, D.C.  The company secured a contract with the DC Public School system to help provide STEM education to underserved youth. Gary was able to hire high school students to teach elementary school and middle school students as Instructors. He along with his partners helped the DC Public School System secure their first technology bus.

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Gary keeps reinventing himself to improve the lives of all Americans and his children and their children.

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–-sports talk radio with classic interviews with sports celebrities, politicians and news makers of the day.  He changed the way we talk and report sports on radio and television. The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for 50+ years with the help of his wife Hattie through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site.  You can check out Harold’s work on this site by clicking here.

A First-Person Plea: Save the District’s Struggling Athletic Program and Its Children.

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Four decades later, Harold Bell is still making children first (1981-2021)!

Recently there has been talk about dropping or cutting back athletics in the D.C. public schools for the obvious reasons: personal cutbacks and a lack of available money to support the programs.

I hope it doesn’t happen.

For many of our inner-city youngsters, participating in athletics is still to some extent the main avenue to a better way of life. And the D.C. public schools have produced a long and distinguished list of student-athletes who have gone on to bigger and better things, in sports and other professions.

Many of these men and women, black and white, are now doctors or lawyers or professional football, basketball and baseball players. They used athletics and didn’t allow athletics to use them. There are thousands of success stories.

I’m not just talking about people like Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Maury Wills and Willie Wood, who are some of the city’s all-time great athletes. I’m also talking about Cecil Turner of Spingarn, who played for the Chicago Bears in the early 1960s and now is a special agent for the FBI, and Dick Drummond, a former all-Met running back from Wilson who is now a doctor, and Craig Anderson, who went from Anacostia High School to pitching for the New York Mets and now works as the business manager at Le-high University.

Let me tell you about another athlete, a young man whose junior high school principal, William B. Stinson of Brown Junior High School, once predicted would not live to finish high school.

That athlete went on to play football, basketball and baseball at Spingarn High School, but it never came easy.

During his senior year, his mother was hospitalized after a nervous breakdown and he and his three brothers were separated from each other, scattered to other families around the city.

The athlete literally lived in the streets, sleeping in cars and washing in public restrooms, carrying all his possessions with him because everywhere — and nowhere — was his home.

Many times he thought about dropping out of school, but because he was an athlete, because he loved the challenge of competition, he stayed in school.

The athlete was always in hot water with his coaches. Baseball Coach Leo Hill kicked him off the team because the athlete thought he was Willie Mays, trying to do it all himself. Football Coach Dave Brown once locked him on the team bus at halftime of a game against Phelps because the athlete chewed out his quarterback for not throwing more passes his way. Basketball Coach William Roundtree dropped him from the team for a selfish and self-centered attitude. He always wanted the ball when the game was on the line–he plays the Game of Life with inner-city youth the exact same way.

The athlete found himself playing musical chairs with his education. He transferred to Eastern High School and then to Fairmont Heights high School in Prince George’s County, where he finally graduated. But he always stayed in touch with his old football coach, Dave Brown, at Spingarn. And Brown talked Clarence (Big House) Gaines, the legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach at Winston-Salem State, into giving the athlete a scholarship.

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Harold Bell and DC Mayor Walter Washington pay tribute to Coach Dave Brown on his retirement.
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In Chicago in 2006 Harold Bell was named the recipient of the first Clarence ‘Bighouse’ Gaines Community Service Award.

The athlete, if you haven’t figured it out by now, was me, and everything that’s happened ever since — most of it good — I can honestly say I owe to the D.C. public school system and its athletic program.

By Harold Bell, recently named the 1980 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine for his work with DC youth.  He is also the host of a radio sports talk show, “Inside Sports.” Washington Post May 17, 1981

He was a footprint in American Education: Joe Clark dies at 83/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUWyTT0nX_c

I REMEMBER SANTA’S HELPERS AND BEST FRIENDS!

CHIEF ZEE SANTA'S no. 1 HELPER
HATTIE T AND CHIEF ZEE AKA ZEEMA WILLIAMS ARE KIDS IN TROUBLE SANTA’S HELPERS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv1oPvSg5G0

When my wife Hattie and found our non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. in December of 1968 we never thought we would be hosting this endeavor for 45 straight years without grants or loans.

Chief Zee and All-Pro NFL WR Roy Jefferson would lead the way as Santa’s Helpers for thousands of kids from the District, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) who benefited from our annual toy party for elementary school children (1968-2013).

Kids In Trouble, Inc. was the first to encourage, pro athletes, politicians, judges, law enforcement, entertainers, radio and television personalities to reach back into the community to enhance the growth and development of inner-city children. On these pages you can meet some of those who became Santa’s Helpers in the DMV and beyond.

1st TOYPARTY
THE FIRST FIRST KIT CHRISTMAS TOY PARTY AND SANTA CLAUS HELPER, MY VIRGINIA SAILOR FOOTBALL TEAMMATE LB, THE LATE GEORGE KELLY.
HaroldMcXmas
NFL WASHINGTN FOOTBALL PLAYER & LB THE LATE HAROLD McLINTON IS SANTA’S HELPER.
SANTAS HELPERS ALL-STARS
SANTA’S HELPERS L-R HBELL-AL ATTLES (NBA)-SAM JONES (NBA)-THE LATE KC JONES (NBA) AND ROY JEFFERSON (NFL)
chief-burtell-santas-helper
SANTA’S HELPER DC’S FIRST BLACK POLICE CHIEF, THE LATE BURTELL JEFFERSON.
SANTA AND A JUDGE
SANTA’S HELPER THE LATE DC SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE HARRY T. ALEXANDER AND HAROLD McLINTON (SANTA).
SANTA'S HELPERS HERE COMES THE JUDGES
HERE COME THE JUDGES: L-R LUKE C. MOOREHBELL-ROY JEFFERSON (NFL)-TED NEWMAN AND HENRY KENNEDY, JR
SANTA'S HELPER ALEX WILLIAMS
ANTONIO LOGAN-EL KIDS IN TROUBLE POSTER BOY WITH ME, JUDGE ALEX WILLIAMS AND BOXING HISTORIAN BERT SUGAR
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ANTONIO LOGAN-EL SANTA’S HELPER A DECADE LATER SERVING THE CHILDREN.
SANTA'S HELPER THURSTON
KIDS IN TROUBLE POSTER BOY THURSTON McLAIN (standing back row) A SANTA’S HELPER. A GRAD OF LANGSTON UNIVERSITY AND A CAPTAIN IN THE ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA FIRE DEPARTMENT (RET). HE COORDINATED CHRISTMAS TOY DRIVES IN ALEXANDRIA FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.
DUANETHOMAS
MR. & MRS DUANE THOMAS (NFL) WITH POSTER CHILD ROBIN SUGAR WILLIAMS
SANTA'S HELPERS ROBIN& THE JUDGE
ROBIN DEDICATES “YOU ARE MY HERO” TO JUDGE MOORE.
MIRACLE THEATRE 3 ROBIN AND BABY GIRL
NOW A SANTA’S HELPER GOSPEL VOCALIST ROBIN SUGAR WILLIAMS HAS TRAVELED THE WORLD. PROUD MOM WITH HONOR ROLL DAUGHTER-TAMARA. PASSING THE BATON TO A FUTURE SANTA’S HELPER.
SANTA'S HELPERS ALL THAT JAZZ
ALL THAT JAZZ ENTERTAINERS-DAVE YARBOROUGH & ESTHER WILLIAMS RECEIVE THE KIDS IN TROUBLE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
CHRISTMAS BELLS
HATTIE AND HAROLD FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOUR HOUSE. WE WISH ALL OF OUR SANTA’S HELPERS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR AND A BEST FRIEND LIKE THIS UNDER YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBtFTF2ii7U

SENIOR CITIZENS ARE THE TARGET OF OPEN ENROLLMENT!

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DR. PETER SWABY-THE SPOOK THAT SAT BY THE DOOR.

FIRST WE WERE SCAMMED OUT OF “40 ACRES AND A MULE” NOW AARP AND CELEBRITIES HAVE JOINED THE SCAM–ITS MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT!

My wife Hattie and I had a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Peter Swaby for close to two decades, starting in Bowie, Md in the early 2000s and ending the relationship in Suitland, Md in 2021. The relationship ended when he forgot to make his patients ‘First!’

There are three professional relationships one needs to thrive and survive in Black America, one is a good doctor you can trust, a lawyer you can trust and a honest auto mechanic you can trust! The operative word is–Trust. If you have all three, it is like hitting the lottery in the Game Called Life.

Once upon a time I had all three in Washington, DC, my doctor was Ben Jones (Urologist), Luke Moore lawyer/judge, and a brother named Joe Smith who lived in Ft. Washington, Md. We were friends and beyond, we had each other’s back and we trusted each other.

Ben Jones died of a heart attack playing golf, Luke died of a heart attack while shoveling snow for a next door neighbor in Atlanta and Joe just disappeared!

I received a statement from Dr. Swaby’s office making a claim that I owned $347.74 for two outpatient office visits. One was for 03/22/21 fee: $173.00, the second claim was for 04-28/21 Fee: $173.00. I immediately brough the billing error to his attention via email–he never responded! Another bill was mailed to me with the same identical claims.

In my October 3rd response, I wrote,

Hi Dr. Swaby, This email is in reference to “Bogus Bills” out of your office addressed to me: Claim filed: Medicare DC 3729-20  03/22/21 99213 OFFICE/OUTPATIENT VISIT, EST $173.00 3729-21 04/28/21 99213 OFFICE/OUTPATIENT VISIT, EST $173.00 I addressed this bogus billing out your office several months ago without a response.  Your claim I was no longer covered by Medicare was also a bogus claim.  You never lose your Medicare coverage despite supplementary insurance. Common sense would have told you I would not change health insurance and leave my wife in the same one we had for the past two decades? You like many other doctors are in bed with “BIG PHARMA” and it has become one scam after another, all in the name of a dollar bill.  Their reps walk in and out of your office like they own the place. There are so many reps in and out of your office they need a traffic cop.   I received a report from a staff member at the Bowie Senior Center during the pandemic you left a patient in her 90s in one of your rooms for over an hour while you met with BIG PHARMA reps.  I don’t appreciate the disrespect you have shown me and other seniors as it relates to this bogus billing.  If you want respect you have to give it. If you don’t respond I will deal with you like I deal with other frauds in our community via “Social Media Spotlight!”   

 HBell

Dr. Swaby’s response in letters dated to me November 4, 2021;

DR. PETER SWABY DISMISSAL 1
DR. PETER SWABY DISMISSAL 1
In these two “Dismissal Letters”, he told bold face lies. The first one read, “This was a billing issue that could have been resolved.” He never reached out to resolve the issue. The second lie read, VERBAL abuse to medical staff, on that same page appeared, Other, verbal abuse shown in email date 11/3/21? My wife Hattie is the type of person who sees the good in everyone she meets. She has met some character friends/associates of mine in our 53 years of marriage, some I would not trust as far as I could throw them, but she was impressed and they loved her. But when she saw what Dr. Swaby had put in writing about me–she would not have believed it if he had not put it in writing. She would have given me a hard time if he had not put those lies in writing. She adored the man. Swaby threw his two Hispanic receptionist/assistants under the bus. The two ladies Beatrice and Bertha are two of the nicest ladies you would ever want to meet. I have never had a cross word with neither one. Beatrice’s son is in the military and she she is very proud. I had come to know him through our conversations in the waiting room. I autographed one of my Inside Sports photo books (free) to mail him and on another occasion I autographed a photo of me and Muhammad Ali. Bertha is the youngest and she is a jewel of a lady. Hattie and I have had many discussions with her about her family. She would talk about her driving alone to North Carolina during the holidays to visit mother/grandmother who lived alone. In the decades we have visited Dr. Swaby’s office, I have yet to see a Black American employee. He was familiar with my non-profit Kids In Trouble, several of his patients recognized me and told him of my great work with inner-city youth and at-risk children. I remember on one visit I asked him for a donation for Kids In Trouble for a family I was trying to reach out to during the Christmas holidays. He said, “I help back home!” He didn’t consider America his home. I never asked him for a donation again!

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HERE COMES THE JUDGE: LUKE C. MOORE AND CHIEF JUDGE GENE HAMILTON OF THE DC SUPERIOR COURT. https://studio.youtube.com/video/Fkafk63frbg/edit?o=U

FAN LETTERS TO INSIDE SPORTS THREE DECADES LATER WARNED ME OF THE SCAMMERS IN OUR COMMUNITY AND BLACKS WHO DIDN’T THINK THEY WERE BLACK!

Dear Harold,
I was listening to your program this past Saturday, when you were talking about the name “Redskins” being offensive and that most of the players were not men enough to stand up and publicly object to the use of the name.
I started to call you and disagree with you, but I decided against that because I would not have had enough time to explain why I disagreed. So I am writing to tell you why. Harold, I am tired of my people (Black Americans) taking up the cause for everybody else, We have far too many problems, then have to worry what other ethnic groups of people are called. If the roles were reversed, would they care what we were called?
I didn’t see any Indians marching with Dr. King, and others for our civil rights and it is also true that the Indians named our ex-slaves the “Buffalo Soldiers,” because they said the slaves were black like the Buffalo and had woolly hair like the Buffalo.
We Black Americans are the least respected ethnic group in America. Other ethnic groups come to this country and look down on us, and think they are better than us. They will call us niggers faster than any redneck white southern cracker will, even before they learn to speak English-they learn to say, “Nigger!”
Harold, I feel that with this massive wave of immigrants that has hit this country with people coming here in groves, from every part of the world. We blacks who were born in this country and help build it need to come closer together and form a strong union, even if it means excluding other ethnic groups and taking care of our very own.
Most of these immigrants have newly arrived in this country and DC. I will guarantee you these people will become more demanding as they become more familiar and adjusted to our way of life. Just as the Hispanic community in Mt. Pleasant became upset and dissatisfied with the way they were being treated by the police. Their dissatisfaction resorted to violence and rioting last year.
We will begin to see the various ethnic groups become more outspoken and aggressive. So, Harold, I am saying all of this to say to you, that we do not have to rally behind any other ethnic group for their civil rights, if it is an important concern to them, they will succeed in making the change for themselves.
It is like Calvin Rolark often says, “No one will save us, but us,” and I am not particularly a Rolark fan (he is part of the problem), but he was dead right about that.
Harold, I drove a taxi-part time in this city for 10 years, the foreign cab drivers have just about taken over the industry. I was forced out, I no longer drive a taxi and whether you know it or not, these many, many new immigrants flooding this country, will have a tremendous impact on jobs, the economy, and the traditional American way of life, that we once knew.
I am sure that in your job in radio, you do not feel the effects of this massive foreign influx! Also, many white people do not feel the effects yet, but when they do you will see an end to this out-of-control immigration.
Harold, it is also strange to me that most talk show personalities, Cathy Hughes, Bernie McCain, Ernest White, and others will not touch this most relevant and emotional issue with a ten-foot pole. Why does talk show host avoid dealing with this serious immigration problem?
I think the immigration problem has had a negative impact on Black lives in America, as integration. If you closely observe these new foreigners who have come to America, you will see that they ban together, and employ and do business mainly with their people (a white tradition).
Those that come here from Africa may look like us, but they want nothing to do with us. They will only try to deal with us when it is beneficial to them. Otherwise, they consider themselves, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian or other. Some are here from Jamaica, Cuba, and the Caribbean. They are thankful to be considered anything, but a Black American!
So why in the hell do we bend over backwards to accept and identify with them? I think we need to be concerned first and foremost with Black people who are born in America and let those groups take care of themselves.
Harold, I guess that some of those Redskin players feel as I do. I would not stick my neck out for any other group of people, but my own (Black Americans) and say to hell with everybody else!
Harold, soon we will be complaining about racism from these other groups, as we do now from whites.

Sincerely.
Jim Hughes (February 2, 1992)

Dear Harold,
The last time I wrote asking why you were always castigating and degrading Coach John Thompson, you got mad. I still like and enjoy your program and I continue to listen. That is why I am taking the time to write again.
First, I want to thank you for your commentary on the life and times of the great Bubba Ellis. He was truly a great athlete and a good man. He should have played professional football, but because of his era and skin color, his full athletic potential was never known by many outside of this metropolitan area. I knew him personally and your commentary was fantastic.
Now comes the criticism, Harold I always thought I could depend on you to call a spade a spade. There is a certain radio station owner in this town who is hypocritical, vindictive, manipulative, and self-aggrandizing, and you use to warn your listeners about her. Now it seems that you have become aware of her power in the community and you have been letting her off the hook.
You are no longer critical of her, and your views of the Supreme Court nominee are the same as hers. You both say because Clarence Thomas is black we must accept him.
Harold, have you forgotten how you close your show every Saturday saying, “Remember every black face you see is not your brother and every white face you see is not your enemy?”
Your position, therefore on Clarence Thomas is hypocritical. I continue to lose faith in my fellow man, more and more everyday.
No one is willing to stand up and go against the grain, it becomes easier to go along to get along with the majority after a while, rather than face defeat along.

Jim Hughes (July 16, 1991)
P. S. Harold, what can listeners do to get your show hours extended? You should be on at least two hours instead of one.

Hello Harold,
I checked out your program on Saturday (January 20, 1990) when you were discussing Marion Barry, and I agreed wholeheartedly with everything you said about the Mayor and the cheerleaders around him.
I have written you before, and I get a kick out of your candid statements, there are not many like you around on the radio today, black or white. You don’t give a dam who you offend.
I like that policy in calling a spade a spade; others pretend to do that, such as Cathy Hughes, but she is as phony as a three-dollar bill. She will go any way the wind blows if it benefits her, and her radio stations. She sold black folks out with the Washington Post when she made a deal with Cathy Graham to sell out Congressman Walter Fauntroy and others who were boycotting the paper. Suddenly, the Grahams started to show up as her guest and sponsors were heard every five minutes of every day?
I have listened to this woman for years, I have heard her lie, be hypocritical, and make all kinds of ridiculous statements on air, but she has a following of fans you would not believe. Most of her gullible fans are from the deep south, or from areas where people have often been duped or scammed. These folks would not know a scam if it jumped on their backs and hitched a ride.
She uses race as a gimmick to entice people, making them feel like she is so black and she is in love with them. She is merely perpetrating a fraud, as you would say, “Every black face you see is not your brother or sister and every white face you see is not your enemy.”
When black people are oppressed, poor, and without hope, they see her as a Moses, to lead them out of their miseries. Cathy takes complete advantage of these fools. If you don’t believe me, Harold, listen to her program some morning.

James Wilkins (January 1, 1990)
P. S. I think W-U-S-T should extend your on air time to two or three hours. What can we the public do to get that to happen?

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CATHY AND ALFRED HUGHES: THE BONNIE & CLYDE OF MEDIA.

EPILOGUE:
First, we were promised “40 Acres & a Mule”, an Even Playing Field (still they made a white woman a ‘Minority’), lynching is still on the books on Capitol Hill (cops and guns have replaced ropes), our voting rights are being stripped away, Black History (CRT) is being suppressed in our school systems around the country and ‘The Dog Whistle’ is now “Education.” A whistle that will carry over into the 2024 Presidential campaign. Trump is back if he can stay out of jail.
The Black Farmers are dying and being run off their farms by the head of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. He is a Presidential appointee by the First Black President, Barack Obama, and reappointed by Obama VP President, Joe Biden who is now the President of the United States? https://blackfarmersinsearchofjusticefilm.com/

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Introduced former TV news anchor women Maureen Bunyan, Lark McCathy and DJ Donnie Simpson to black DC at the in-crowd Foxxtrappe Club in downtown DC. The ocassion was my birthday and to support the city of Atlanta in their efforts to help solve “The Atlanta Child Murders!”
HB MAUREEN ROY DERRICK
Aruba born Maureen Bunyan is seen here at the Foxxtrappe with former All-Pro NFL WR Roy Jefferson and Attorney Derrick Humphries during a KIT Christmas toy party drive for needy children. Maureen and my wife Hattie and I became good friends. She has had dinner at our apartment in Suitland, Md. and took a nap in our bed. She would make millions as a TV anchor and slum landlord. Jim Hughes was right on the money when he said, “The folks from Africa and the Islands will use you as long as it is beneficial to them.” Maureen never donated to Kids In Trouble or brought a toy to a party. DJ Donnie Simpson is from Detroit, not Africa or the Carribean Islands and he still bounced a check for toys for inner-city kids. Cathy and her son Alfred are benefactors of Kids In Trouble. Alfred was the benefactor of KIT basketball camps,with Earl Monroe, Bighouse Gaines and Sonny Hill. Cathy and Alfred wore Nike shoes and warm-ups given to them by me. They never donated a toy or a food basket to Kids In Trouble. The Africans and Islanders have plenty of company when it comes to no reach-back in Black America. The list reads like a Who’s Who of household names; Adrian Dantley, Lamont Jordan, James Brown, Doug Williams, John Thompson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Andrian Branch, Jair Lynch, Cornelius Greene, Tony Paige, Jim Brown, Don King, George Foreman, Tim Baylor, Dave Bing, Michael Wilbon, and the list goes on and on. Those who gave back include, Larry Brown (NFL) donated $5,000.00 received as NFL MVP (1972). It was manditory he donate to a non-profit. Gwen Thompson the former wife of Georgetown basketball coach the late John Thompson, donated $40,000 to Kids In Trouble and $10,000 to Hattie and I. This donation was made primarily, because I led her divorce attorney to the skeletons in her husband’s closet. Big John settled out of court.

Medicare Open Enrollment and Big Pharma with an assist from “Beware there is a Doctor in the House!” And let us not forget the chorus line of celebrities, Joe Namath, Joe Theisman, Jimmy Walker, Danny Glover and former boxing Heavyweight Champion of the World, George Foreman are paid endorsers.

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DID BIG GEORGE FORGET?

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THIS IS US

https://www.msnbc.com/deadline-white-house/watch/blaming-trump-is-too-easy-this-is-us-65354309615

MAKING A DIFFERENCE RUNNING AGAINST THE WIND (MEDIA)!

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KEN BURNS 40 YEAR LOVE AFFAIR WITH PBS

In a recent U. S. A. Today’s story written by Scooby Axson titled. “PBS doc captures Ali’s vigor,”  let me say right at the top, there is some good news and there is some bad news regarding the documentary and the Ali story. The good news first, the documentary was enlightening and a historical piece of black history. The research and the storytelling were magnificent. Burns and his partner Johnathan Eig with family members, daughter, Sara, and son-in-law, Dave kept the story flowing for four straight nights. There were few dull moments in the production.

The bad news, the production was a well-done professional “Cut/Paste” meaning that 80% of the film clips were in the Public Domain. Meaning, if you had the time, finances, researchers, and PBS as your homecourt, dozens of Black Americans could have produced the same product with a richer sense of history, because many of us have walked in Muhammad Ali’s shoes. We are still starting the race 10 yards behind Ken Burns.

The key to the Ken Burns success story is this message posted after his Ali documentary, it reads: Corporate funding for MUHAMMAD ALI was provided by Bank of America. Major funding was provided by David M. Rubenstein. Major funding was also provided by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by The Better Angels Society and by its members Alan and Marcia Docter; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Tudor Jones; The Fullerton Family Charitable Fund; Gilchrist and Amy Berg; The Brooke Brown Barzun Philanthropic Foundation, The Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation and The Augusta Brown Holland Philanthropic Foundation; Perry and Donna Golkin; John and Leslie McQuown; John and Catherine Debs; Fred and Donna Seigel; Susan and John Wieland; Stuart and Joanna Brown; Diane and Hal Brierley; Fiddlehead Fund; Rocco and Debby Landesman; McCloskey Family Charitable Trust; Mauree Jane and Mark Perry; and Donna and Richard Strong. And by viewers like you. How would you like to have those sponsors for your documentary projects?

Columnist Axson of U. S.A. Today pointed out, “For as much as Burns has contributed to chronicling different aspects of the world through his documentaries, he is still dogged by the various grievances about PBS’ perceived lack of commitment to diversity. The tipping point was earlier this year when dozens of BIPOC documentary filmmakers signed a letter, which was given to the network’s executives. Among the complaints in the letter was accusing PBS of having “systemic failure to fulfill (its) mandate for a diversity of voices and its issues of Burns four-decades partnership with PBS, which many have noted as an interdependence.” 

Ken Burns and Black documentaries have become American as Apple Pie on PBS. This would be called a monopoly in any other endeavor. The problem with BIPOC they are too busy being Exclusive instead of Inclusive. They cannot see the forest for the trees (GOOGLE). Their complaints against PBS are well-founded, but who is playing fair and show me an “Even Playing Field?” 

In 2021 a media press room at the deadline is second only to a church on Sunday as one of the most segregated institutions in America. Sportswriter William Rhoden’s best seller “40 Million Dollar Slaves” is a joke. He is the kettle (media) calling the pot black!

One of the problems, blacks in America don’t own any Major Media outlets, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX News control our history and the images of us seen on their television screens and in their newspapers. The ones who claim they are black-owned are perpetrating a fraud. Urban Radio One is own by Comcast. In January Comcast announced a television network partnership with Cathy Hughes.

Don’t believe the hype, Comcast will still make the final decision on programming. TV One has not been allowed to broadcast any high-profile sporting events in its history. The new television partnership with Comcast may change that perception. Hughes has been the spook that sat behind the door for decades.

W-H-U-R Radio and WHUT television are located on the Howard University campus (HBCU). The two stations have black-oriented formats, but they are controlled by Federal Government funding.

The closest black media own television network is with former Republican Senator J. C. Watts and his Black News Channel (BNC). Watts is the co-founder and chairman of the independently owned black channel. The 24/7 network launched in 2020. Watts says BNC will be more than just crime reports and sports scores. “I don’t want us to follow in the footsteps of CNN and Fox News”, said WattsOnly time will tell! Hispanics have their own television channels, including a Major League Baseball channel?

The greatest Muhammad Ali story has not been written or produced yet. I have the copyrights and original footage of my exclusive one-on-one interview with “The Greatest” in 1974. When Ali’s plane landed in the Big Apple on a Sunday evening from Zaire, Africa five days after “The Rumble in the Jungle”, he didn’t call Ed Bradley (60 Minutes)Bryant Gumble (NBC Good Morning America), or Howard Cosell (ABC Wide World of Sports), he called me, Harold Bell a little known sports talk show host/pioneer in Washington, DC.

The rest is American sports talk show history. I was the first to interview the champ on his arrival in New York City after he shocked the world with his historical 8th round knockout of the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion, my friend George Foreman.

The interview made me the first black journalist ever to interview an undisputed heavyweight champion one on one. It was a night I will never forget, Saturday, October 30, 2021 will mark the 47th anniversary of “The Rumble in the Jungle.”  I have had my interview for 47 years, Ken Burns knew I had it. He sent his partner Johnathan Eig to try to talk me out of it, but I said, “No money-No Mas.  The pimping and suppression of Black History stops with me. 

Don King, HBO, Dave Chappelle, Cathy Hughes, James Brown, Chris Thomas, Dave Bing, LeBron James, Daymond John, Show Time, Creative Artist Agency, Moxie Pictures they all knew I had the Ali interview and the brothers and sisters at BIPOC didn’t know? Our problem, we are always looking for love in all the wrong places.

Folks want to know how do I feel about being left out of the Ken Burns Ali PBS documentary? It was always a part of the plan, what many of us perceived as racism is not necessarily so. For example, some whites like having family and friends around them, that is who they trust and are comfortable with. Blacks are just the opposite, if it looks like they are about to come into some money or success is on the horizon, family, and friends in many cases they don’t want them anywhere in the same zip code.

This is an email I received from Burns’ partner Johnathan Eig. He contacted me several years ago about my Ali interview. He is listed in the credits as a “Consultant.”

The email read: “Hi Harold, this is little background on me. Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a “master storyteller.” Eig is the author of five books, three of them New York Times best sellers. He was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Eig is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal , where he remains a contributing writer. Eig has also written for The New York Times , The New Yorker, and The Washington Post , among others. Prior to The Wall Street Journal, he worked as a feature writer for Chicago magazine and as a news reporter for The Dallas Morning News and The New Orleans Times- Picayune . Eig’s books have been published in 13 languages. His first book, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig , won the Casey Award for best baseball book of the year. Ali was named winner of PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting; best book of the year by Sports Illustrated; and one of the ten best non-fiction books of the year by The Wall Street Journal. Ali won best biography and best overall book in the British Sports Book Awards. It also won the award for best biography or memoir from the Society of Midland Authors. It was a finalist for Mark Lynton History Prize; the Plutarch Award; the William Hill Award; the James Tait Black Award for biography; an L.A. Times Book Award for biography; and an NAACP Image Award. Eig has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and in two Ken Burns documentaries: Prohibition and Jackie Robinson . He is currently working with Burns and Florentine Films on a Muhammad Ali documentary. His next book will be a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Johnathan

We cannot keep blaming Trump and the likes of Ken Burns for our problems, they are who they are–the benefactors of “White Privilege.” Ken Burns’ relationship with PBS expires in 2022, the damage already done. He goes to the bank and we go back to the ghetto. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKiB0APdxTo

If you are a black man or woman in America, it would be best you know your enemy and he is not always white. Some blacks could teach whites how to be racist. Especially, those with dark complexions who will swear they are not black, because they are from somewhere off the Continent of Africa. The legendary Motown artist Smokey Robinson hit the nail on the head on Def Comedy Jam with his rendition of “A Black American.” 

It has often been said, “Until the lions hire their own PR team, the glory of the hunt will always go to the hunter.”  Those words apply to the news media “Gate Keepers.” 

In my domain of sports media they have hired assassins who could not shoot straight. There are Dave Kindred, Tony Kornheiser, John Feinstein, Norman Chad, Dave McKenna, Ken Burns, Earl Guskey, all took aim at me, but all missed their target–I still stand!

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DAVE KINDRED WASHINGTON POST/CBS 60 MIMUTES

Kindred was seen on a recent CBS 60 Minutes segment discussing how many stories he had written on Ali. He remembered during a press conference with Ali in bed, the champ invited him to get under the covers with him–Ali was naked!   My memories of Kindred are not so memorable. I do remember during his Washington Post days he was a regular on my sports talk radio show “Inside Sports.” 

When he moved to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution we stayed in touch. In the early 1980s Dominique Wilkins was a rising star for the Atlanta Hawks.  One evening I received a call from a friend living in Atlanta. My friend was a part of “Dominiques’ Posse” hanging out on the campus of Spellman College, the home of some of Atlanta’s prettiest ladies.  It seem like the normal thing to do for a young black athlete and a rising NBA star, until the posse was joined by alcohol and drugs.  

My friend felt Dominique was getting in a little too deep and wanted me to talk with him using my sports talk show as a cover about the evils lurking. He wanted me to invite Dominique on the show as a guest and then try to figure out the next steps leading to the Spellman scene.  He wanted to be a silent partner. I was not comfortable with the introduction and I backed off. 

I later remembered I had Dave Kindred in Atlanta and he covered the Atlanta Hawks.  I reached out to him for help and explained that my contact wanted to remain anonymous.  I told Kindred to approach Dominique as if everything he heard was just rumors coming off the campus. He said, “Harold I got it don’t worry”, famous last words. 

Two weeks later all hell broke loose when Dominique’s mother Gertrude called me out of the blue.  She started out in a sweet voice saying, “My name is Gertrude Wilkins and I am the mother of Dominique Wilkins” and it went down hill from there. She cussed me out for spreading unfound rumors of her son using drugs. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.  I had to endure at least 15 minutes of her tirade explaining how hard Dominique had worked to get to the NBA.  She wanted to know why would I use my talk show to spread such gossip on another black young brother. 

I never used my talk show to discuss rumors about Doninique’s drug use–he say, she say has never been a part of the Inside Sports’ format.  I never got the opportunity to explain my side of the story–she hung up on me. 

I would later discover that Kindred had gone directly to the Atlanta Hawk’s GM, Stan Kasten.  He called Dominique’s mother and gave her my number.  Kindred changed his number and has been in hiding for almost four-decades. I didn’t go looking for him–he is what he is! 

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NORMAN CHAD WASHINGTON POST THE CAPTAIN OF “DIVIDE AND CONQUER” IN SPORTS MEDIA.

Norman Chad, was the media critic for the Washington Post in June 1989 when sports editor George Solomon assigned him to write a column titled “Local Anchors: A Shutout.” based on a shortage of black sports anchors on local television in DC.    

The story line was to be about my pioneering efforts in sports talk radio beginning in 1972, but in mid-stream Solomon wanted to include all local blacks in sports media. I said, “Hell No” to the media tactic of lumping all of us together and I walked away. 

Two weeks later Solomon called me with a compromise, the Washington Post would write two different stories in the same edition.  One would be on all the local black sports media to include me on Page One and the other story would be on just me and my pioneering efforts on Page Three of the sports section (unheard of).  

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W-H-U-R SPORTSCASTER GLENN HARRIS AND I ARE ON PAGE ONE AND NBA LEGEND RED AUERBACH AND I ARE ON PAGE THREE OF THE WASHINGTON POST (JUNE 23, 1989)

In the story on Page Three, Chad plays a game of “Divide and Conquer”, using W-H-U-R sportscaster Glen Harris to down play my contributions in sports media.  Harris was quoted saying, “Harold Bell sometimes thinks the world owes him something, but the world does not owe anyone anything.”   

Check Page One and see if Chad poses a similar question to me concerning Glenn Harris.  He knew not to cross that line with me. The more things change the more they remain the same with “Fake News.”

The next day (Saturday) on my talk show Inside Sports I called Chad out for his poor judgement as it related to the Divide and Conquer tactics use by him in the story relating to me and Glenn Harris. He didn’t like my commentary and wrote me a “Dear John” letter much like Don King wrote ending our beautiful relationshp. King tried to pimp me with $10, 000 dollars claiming that was our agreement for the Ali project. I gave it back to him!  

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CAUGHT ON CAMERA AS I RETURN HIS $10,000 CHECK. MY BROTHER TYRIK WAS KING’S IN-HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER TOOK THE PICTURE.

Chad was last seen by me on television in Las Vegas as a color commentator in high stakes poker games.  He also wrote a column for the Washington Post titled, “The Couch Slouch!”  I understand he now has a weekly podcast called, “Gambling Mad.”  If anyone sees or hears from my old friend Norman Chad, tell him I still have his Dear John letter in my archives.  

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EARL GUSKEY THE LATE LEGENDARY SPORTSWRITER FOR THE L. A. TIMES

Sports columnist Earl Guskey of the Los Angles Times was bamboozled by Sugar Ray Leonard, Janks Morton (the spook that sat by the door) and the late Mike Trainer (Massa). It was during the 3rd Hearns fight in December 1983, Guskey wrote a column without conferring with me–about me. He didn’t do his homework and research. He took the word of a young man who was never the sharpest knife in the draw.

Ray claimed I was a member of his entourage. I was left behind for the big fight and I was angry. The next lie was worst than the first, he claimed I had asked him for a job and he had said “NO.” His nose must have grown to the size of Pinocchio’s after each lie, the last lie, “Harold was mad I didn’t donate to his favorite charity!”

The real story, I have never asked Ray for a dime, dollar, ticket and a job was out of the question. I became his mentor when he didn’t have two pennies to rub together. He had nowhere to turn and I help to point him in the right direction when Janks Morton and the late Dave Jacobs didn’t have a clue.

He did offer me some financial support after he beat Wilfredo Benitez for his first world title. He called me after the fight on the air live, on my sports talk show “Inside Sports” on WYCB radio.

Ray thanked me for my support, he said, “Harold I am the Welterweight Champion of the World tonight because you were there when no one else was and I thank you.”

Several evenings later we met at his mother’s new home he had just brought–my response was, “NO just comeback and help some kids like I helped you!” We shook hands–he never came back.

He never came back to support and be at the bedside of his dying best friend and his best man in his wedding, Joe Brody–he was nowhere to be found and Joe died alone.

In 2019 Ray Jr. invited his father to go around the country to talk about about Domestic Violence/Abuse. Ray Jr.’s mother, Juanita) was the punching bag for Ray Sr. during the marriage.

I told Ray Jr., “Young man you are in for a long wait, your father is too vain to take that journey.” Sugar Ray Leonard is the best example to me of a black man that let success handle him and he never handled success.

There is something about money and success in my community, I watched Ray Sr. go from a broke humble teary eyed human being to being a jerk in every sense of the word. It was like someone turning a light switch from off to on. When you ask family to sign a non-disclosure agreement or they will be cut-off financially, you have a lot to hide. Ray Jr. refused to sign–he was an eye witness and he is not fooled by the smile that has fooled millions.

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SUGAR RAY LEONARD IN THE L. A. TIMES TELLING LIES-A LIE WILL CHANGE A THOUSAND TIMES–THE TRUTH NEVER CHANGES.

My favorite media assassin, is Dave McKenna. He has written for several newspapers and blogs including the Washington Post, but  It was The City Paper that I had my close encounter with McKenna. I did not meet him until 1989.  He was covering a Black History Month tribute I was hosting in honor of NBA pioneer, Earl Lloyd on Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC.

This is how McKenna described the tribute, “Last week Harold Bell the sports talk show host, sportswriter, do-gooder and all-around rabble rouser threw a party to honor Earl Lloyd, the NBA’s first black player in a crowded ballroom at Bolling Air Force Base.  Folks who remembered Lloyd from his days across the river at Parker Gray High School in the mid 40s mingled with those who just wanted to be near the alarming obscure athletic pioneer who broke the NBA color barrier as a member of the National Capitols in 1950.  Lloyd for whatever reason never got his due around his hometown through the years and sadly he still isn’t likely to after this function.  Local daily newspapers and television stations along with major sports figures all stayed away from the tribute.  They all got press releases said, Bell, why didn’t they come?  Deep down Bell knew. The mainstream press and jocks didn’t come because of him.  Plenty of people including some of the biggest names in town wanted no parts of Harold bell or anything that he was associated with.”  

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McKENNA SPEAKS DURING A INSIDE SPORTS TRIBUTE HONORING GARY MAYS AKA “ONE ARM BANDIT” AT BENS CHILI BOWL IN NW DC. ESPN’S MICHAEL WILBON AND I LOOK ON.

Earl Lloyd was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003, a stature of his likeness can be found in his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia and on the campus of his alma mater, West Virginia State College.   

In Washington, DC the old Uline Arena Sports complex where Lloyd played his first NBA game has been renovated in NE DC. Outside of the new complex hangs a giant poster of him. None of these existed before my campagn to right a NBA wrong.

Noteworthy: The least talented sports media personality in America, Tony Kornheiser ran McKenna out of the Washington Post, much like NBA Super Stars Dave Bing and Bob Lanier ran Earl Lloyd out of the NBA.

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THE EARL LLOYD STATURE (WEST VIRGINIA STATE)

 

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THIS GIANT POSTER OF LLOYD HANGS OUTSIDE OF THE NEWLY RENOVATED ULINE ARENA SPORTS COMPLEX IN NE WASHINGTON, DC.
I AM THE ONLY SPORTS JOURNALIST IN MEDIA HISTORY TO SUCCESSFULY CAMPAIGN TO HAVE TWO PRO ATHLETES INDUCTED INTO THEIR HALL OF FAMES, NFL GREEN BAY PACKER GREAT WILLIE WOOD IN 1989 AND NBA PIONEER EARL LLOYD IN 2003.
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It was during dinner in 1972 when my wife Hattiegave me the TAG for my pioneering radio sports talk show “Inside Sports.” Inside Sports changed the way we talk and report sports in America and eventually around the Globe. In 1978 the Washington Post took my Inside Sports TAG without notifying me (The American Way) to New York City to establish and publish “Inside Sports Magazine.”

Their endeavor failed miserably, the magazine lost several million dollars in its two years of existence.

The problem, the Washington Post’s braintrust could not figure out how to transfer the success of my radio sports talk show into print media. Their only reward, they own the Trademark Rights to Inside Sports.

This Washington Post charde reminds me of how Christopher Columbus discovered America–a land already ocuppied by native American Indians and how the 10% took Wallace “Wally” Amos’ name and his chocolate-chip cookie and made it their own. The Kellogg Company recently sold its Keebler and Famous Amos brands for 1.3 billion dollars. The original Wallace “Wally” Amos’ networth in 2021–how about $20,000!

There will never an “Even Playing Field” in Black America. Everytime it looks like we might be gaining a foothole or America becoming an Even Playing Field, the 10% change the rules. They made the white woman a minority and now they are trying to deny us the right to vote! Let us not forget, “The Crabs in the Barrel” in our own community.

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When legendary Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen discovered me and my sports media and community history, this was the telephone message he left for me, “Harold this is Dale Hansen in Dallas (summarizing) everything you have done makes my little bit look like a page off the cover of WHITE PRIVILEGE!”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTWMUhYG0Y8

Portray as trailblazer
HAROLD BELL HOMELESS IN MAJOR MEDIA BUT MAKING A DIFFERENCE REGARDLESS. MY IMPACT IN SPORTS MEDIA IS SECOND TO NONE.

Thanks to the Maryland Public Television family, Charles Robinson and Jessica Campbell for inviting me to be a panelist with Sara, the daughter of Ken Burns and Dave McHahon his son-in-law on the eve of the PBS Ali documentary. Long live “The Greatest.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jPKCd3HoDE

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THE LATE GREAT HANK AARON ONCE SAID, “A MAN IS ONLY LIMITED BY HIS LACK OF OPPORTUNIES.”

DONOVAN MITCHELL REFUSES TO SHUT UP AND DRIBBLE-A FAMILY TRAIT!

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When politicians in Utah tried to ban Critical Race Theory from being taught in the Utah school system, my young cousin Utah Jazz star player Donovan Mitchell refused to go along to get along.  In other words, he blocked their shot in their attempt against teaching CRITICAL RACE THEORY in the Utah Public School system. He refuse to shut-up and just dribble–a family trait! 
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Attorney William B. James a civil rights and political activist in the 1930s in Sumter, SC.

Standing up for oneself all started with my great-uncle and his cousin William ‘Billy’ James. Uncle Billy as he was affectionately known to family and friends was an honor roll student and all-around athlete in high school in Sumter, SC in the 1930s. He was a graduate of Morris Brown College. He was inducted into their college Athletes Hall of Fame. Uncle Billy was the first black attorney allowed to practiced law in his hometown of Sumter. He was was no shrinking violet, he came out of the boxing demanding equal rights, equal employment and voting rights for the black community in Sumter. He was also inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2005 for his contributions as a civil rights’ activist and attorney.

My mother’s parents, his cousins were educators. My mother’s mother was a school teacher and her father was a principal. They became targets of the Klu Kux Klan after a cross was burned on the lawn of Uncle Billy. The family was chased out of Sumter led by uncle Billy. My mother’s parents were murdered by the KKK. Her brothers and sisters, Carl, Earl, Mary and Mae all fled north to New York City and Washington, DC with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

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We are family: sisters and brothers: My mother, Mattie, Uncle Carl, Aunt Mary and Uncle Earl (missing Aunt Mae)

Uncle Billy settled in DC and during the depression, he received a Presidential appointment from President Franklin Roosevelt. He served on the staff of the Civil Conservation Corps as an Educational Advisor. In the 50s he worked as an attorney with the Federal Government. Sumter was always home, when he retired from the Federal Government in the 60s he returned to his roots in South Carolina.

On his return to Sumter he received a heroes’ welcome, his success in Washington, DC as a presidential appointee and as an attorney for the federal government was well chronicled in the local newspaper.

Uncle Billy was thinking only of retirement when he returned to Sumter, but the community had public office on their minds and he could not say, “NO!” Unlike today’s politicians, he was well versed, super sensitive to justice for all and he worn his heart on his sleeve (aka Harold Bell). He won elected office and became the architect of single member districts in the county. A single member district is an electoral district represented by a single officeholder. It contrasts with multi-member districts, which is represented by multiple officeholders. These districts did not serve black voters well–he fought and changed the landscape for the black voter.

When Uncle Billy died on February 6, 1989 there was standing room only in the church, friends and admirers came from around the state to pay their respect. There was a story written that he once said, “I am a open book, my criticism was always aimed at the method and not the individual.” You can look up the definition of transparency and you will find the names of William B. James and Harold Bell.

My mother’s young brother Earl ‘Sparky’ Smith settled in Brooklyn, New York and became an All-City basketball player. He won a basketball scholarship to Virginia Union College in Richmond, Virginia to play for the great coach, Tom ‘Tricky’ Harris. He was named to the All-CIAA team, his junior and senior years. He was inducted into the Brooklyn Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. The Brooklyn Hall of Fame is second only to the NBA Hall of Fame (I traveled to Brooklyn for his induction).

I was born in Brooklyn, but I had never been back to the city. I had two friends who played at Virginion Union after Uncle Earl and were already in the Brooklyn Hall Fame. They were ‘Jumping’ Jackie Jackson and Eddie Simmons, affectionately known as ‘The Czar.’ Jack DeFares and Carl Greene two New York City playground legends and Winston-Salem alumnus threaten me if I didn’t show my face for the induction. Uncle Earl retired from the Brooklyn Public School system as a Principal.  

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Curly Neal and ‘Jumping’ Jackie Jackson

My younger brother Earl served two tours in the U. S. Army where he became a Sgt. for the Military Police (MP). He was also an outstanding fullback on the Army base football team, a heavyweight boxing champion, and a table tennis ping pong champion. Despite President Harry Truman calling for desgregation of the U. S. Armed Forces in 1948, two decades later racism was alive and well in the U. S. Army in 1968.

During his second tour racism raised its ugly head in Nuremberg, Germany. Much like Uncle Billy he met the challenge head-on with other black military personnel. They said, “Enough is enough” to the off base military housing segregation and a downtown Nuremberg discotheque that allowed only white military personnel admission.

A third tour in the U. S. Army went out the window when a white lieutenant came out of the stands to protest a call while he was umpiring a softball game. The lieutenant refuse to leave the field and Earl forteited the game to the opposing team. The lieutenant wrote him up for insubornation–marring his unblimished record, that was enough for him.

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His story and my story found its way into back to back Jet Magazine issues in July and August 1969. His woes of U. S. military racism and my visit to the White House to have lunch with an old friend, the President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon made international news.
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Sgt. Earl ‘Bull’ Bell-U. S. Army (MP)-DC cop and U. S. Army Heavyweight boxing champion. He was the only one playing fair

In 1969 he returned home to join the DC police department to face the same racism he thought he had left behind in Germany. The DC Police Department was governed by “The Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence” a system that overlooked racism and police brutality absorbed in the black community, 2021 a change has not come.

He stood his ground and never gave up or gave in to the bigots and ‘Good Old Boys’ who ran the department. His 14-year career ended when his car skidded into a 16-wheeler truck on an iced-over bridge one early morning on his way to a new job assignment for 30 days at the Police and Fire Clinic in SE DC. See his story written by Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam’s summary of “The Life and Times of Sgt. Earl ‘Bull’ Bell.”

DOT GILLIAM UP HILL CLIMB

When I arrived at the hospital that morning the doctors described his survival as a miracle. He spent the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair and rooting for the Redskins. He died in a nursing home, but he had the spirit of our great-uncle William ‘Billy’ James“See something, say something!” Earl was the best all-around athlete among the three of us.

My journey embodies the spirit of all three; the journey from an Outhouse in NE DC to the White House is a dream that I never thought possible.

It all started at Grandma Bell’s house in far NE DC after the one-room shack that my mother and I shared burned to the ground one cold November morning. I was about 4 years old. My mother had left the shack in the early hours of the morning to get some milk and bread at the corner store. A kerosence lamp was left burning to keep me and my dog billy warm, but one of us had accidently knocked over the lamp. When my mother returned from the store there were fire engines all over the street. I was sitting in the yard crying my eyes out with my dog Billy standing over me.

My mother thanked the firemen for saving me and Billy, but they refused to take any credit. They told my mother they found me sitting in the yard with my dog when they arrived. To this day I have no way of knowing how I got out of that burning shack, and Billy was not talking.

It was off to Grandma Bell’s house and Mt. Airy Baptist Church. Grandma and the church laid the foudation, it was there my late great-grandfather Alfred James Tyler, laid the first brick to build the church in 1893. Grandma laid the foundation that kept me afloat long after I left her and moved to the NE DC housing project called Parkside.

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I never got to know my grandparents on my mother’s side of the family. The KKK murdered them in Sumter. My father’s mother Amy Tyler Bell affectionately known as Grandma Bell carried the weight as our savior and hero. I never knew Grandpa Bell, he died before our birth. Grandma Bell became the backbone and matriarch of the family. She was truly our hero.

THE ROADS I TRAVELED THERE WERE NO “EVEN PLAYING FIELDS”

*First home-one room shack and outhouse in NE DC

*Grandma’s house

*DC housing project 1945 (Parkside)

*Spingarn DC High school Coach Dave Brown (1955)

*Tobacco Road and Clarence Bighouse Gaines (1960)

*The Charleston Rockets minor league football (1964)

*Petey Greene WOL Radio (1965)

*First job-United Planning Organization ‘Neighborhood Worker’ (1967)

*Met Muhammad Ali on the of campus Howard University (1967)

*First sports media personality to encourage pro athletes to REACH-BACK (1967)

*Walked the streets during the riots with nothing but DC Police Department badge (1968).

*White House Presidential appointment (1969)

*1972 first black to host and produce DC sports talk show (1972)

*1974 first journalist to interview Muhammad Ali (Rumble in the Jungle) 

*1975 first black to host and product sports special in primetime on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4

*1980 first sportscaster honored as Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine 

*Campaigned successfully to have Green Bay Packer All-Pro Willie Wood inducted into NFL Hall of Fame (1989)

*Campaigned successfully to have NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd inducted into NBA Hall of Fame (2001)

*Honored by National Association of Black Journalists with their 2020 pioneer award https://www.bigmarker.com/nabj/NABJ-Sam-Lacy-Awards-Program?%20bmid=99ea2ef240f2

I was not surprised by the Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell’s defiant stand against the Utah politicians’ trying to shove their definition of Critical Race Theory down the throats of the residents in Utah. He was just following the James/Bell tradition, seeing something and saying something!   

Donovan’s response to the politicians who claimed he didn’t understand what they were trying to do, he said, “I think the biggest thing, the part that I stand for, is education and being able to educate our children on racial history. I think that’s huge. I think that’s a big part of it, understanding the foundation of how we got to this point.”

https://www.sbnation.com/nba/2021/9/9/22664465/donovan-mitchell-was-crucial-in-derailing-plans-to-ban-critical-race-theory-in-utah

Donovan left Louisville University after his second year to pursue an NBA career. He was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He was traded later that same evening to the Utah Jazz. His rookie year he was named to the NBA All-Rookie team and won the NBA Slam Dunk contest and he has not looked back since.

In 2020 Donovan signed a 5-year, 195 million dollar extension with the Jazz. One of his first give back efforts was to donate 12 million dollars to help students and teachers at his old middle school in Connectcut. The school is where his mother was a teacher and he and his sister were students.

He did exactly what I had hoped the NBA-NFL-MLB and NHL pro athletes would do when I encouraged the likes of NBA and NFL Hall of Fame athletes, Dave Bing and Willie Wood to reach back into the community in 1967.

Donovan much like Uncle Billy and my brother Earl, he is an Independent Thinker. He came out of the box swinging.

I met Donovan through my mother’s cousin, Elaine Stone. She was living in Columbia, Maryland where she was celebrating her 100th birthday in June 2019. My wife Hattie and I had planned to attend the celebration, but my car had other plans–it refuse to go (start).

This was a first for me, a family member living to celebrate their 100th birthday. I immediately started to look for ways to make it up to cousin Elaine. First, I mailed her a check for one-hundred dollars and a new book (photo) I had just finished. The book was filled with photos of some the great athletes and sports media personalities I had interviewed on my sports talk shows down through the years. There was more I still wanted to do to celebrate her 100 years of life.

In November of 2019 I was planning to debut a segment of my exclusive never seen before one on one 1974 interview with Muhammad Ali. The Rumble in the Jungle with Ali’s stunning knockout of George Foreman was now a classic.

I received a call from cousin Elaine saying how much she enjoyed the book, and how I was not the only Super-Star in the family!  I laughed and said, ‘Cousin Elaine you are definitey a Super-Star,’  Her response, ‘No not me, you have a cousin that plays in the NBA, Donovan Mitchell.’  I really didn’t have a clue to whom Donovan Mitchell was. I seldom if ever watched the NBA All-Star Game anymore and therefore, I missed the All-Rookie game and the slam dunk contest. 

All these 2018 NBA showcases were the home of Donovan Mitchell during NBA All-Star Weekend.  I did a little research and discovered this young brother was truly a rising star in the NBA.

Cousin Elaine had another nugget to drop on me.  She revealed that Donovan Mitchell, Sr. was working in MLB with the New York Mets’ organization.  More research, I discovered he had been a player in their Minor League system for almost a decade. He was hired by the Mets after his career move to the major leagues was stalled.  I made a call to the Mets administrated office and asked to speak to Donovan Mitchell. I introduced myself as his cousin via cousin Elaine. He had not spoken to cousin Elaine who help to raise him in 28 years?

In November my Muhammad Ali documentary was ready to make its debut on the Big Screen 45 years after the fact.  The vehicle would be the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill, Sunday November 24, 2019.  Hattie and I decided to invite cousin Elaine and celebrate her 100th belated birthday.  I called Donovan, Sr. and invited him to be a part of the celebration live or by memorex, he chose memorex.

The documentary debute of “I Remember Ali” celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle was a smashing success.  Cousin Elaine stole the show when I introduced her to the audience and gospel vocalist Robin Sugar Williams led us into singing “Happy Birthday” to her.  MC Sylvia Traymore (comedian), Black Men in Americ.com (CEO and Publisher) Gary Johnson and Marc Clarke (W-H-U-R Radio) presented her with a bouquet of flowers.  She enjoyed every moment and so did we.  The video tribute from Donovan Sr. arrived late and I could not add it to the program.

VIDEO TRIBUTE FROM DONOVAN SR. IN HIS OWN WORDS 28 YEARS LATER!

“Hey Aunt Elaine, its Donovan, I just wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday—I know I am late please don’t hold that against me, but I love you and I miss you.   I am wishing you the best.  Wish I could have been there with you for your birthday, but I just been running around doing a lot of things.  I know it has been awhile since I seen you and the family, but a lot of things have changed. I got my two-kids.  I am still working with the NY Mets.  I have been in professional baseball for 27 years. But all the love and support you guys gave me when I was growing up I am still chasing these dreams!  I want to wish you the best, thank you for everything—and I hope you are well–take care of yourself.” 

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Cousin Donovan Mitchell Sr. in the minor leagues
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November 24, 2019 tribute to Muhammad Ali turned out to be a tribute to Cousin Elaine. She stole the show on her 100th belated birthday at the Miracle Theater in Washington, DC
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Hattie T and I are hanging out with Cousin Elaine and her grandson Deon in Columbia, Maryland January 2019

On February 28, 2020 I would meet my young cousin Donovan Mitchell, Jr. for the first time.  The Utah Jazz would be visiting the Washington Wizards at the Capital One arena in downtown, DC.  I almost blew the opportunity to meet the rising NBA star.  I had mis-read the Wizard’s schedule.  The game was played on a Sunday evening.  Things got worse when I could not find Donovan on the floor or on the bench during the first half of the game.  I was beginning to think he didn’t make the trip or had taken ill.  During half-time I checked with one of the security people for the Wizards and discovered Donovan was being held out this game and was relaxing in the lockerroom.  The Jazz coaching staff was right, they didn’t need him to beat the Wizards.

My friend Larry Law and I waited outside the lockerroom waiting for the all clear signal to enter.  The first player in the door way to the lockerroom was Donovan.  He was standing there and talking with a friend/fan with a big smile on his face.  I waited my turn to introduce my self. Finally, I was able to say hello and tell him I was a long lost cousin via  the James/Bell Family Tree.  Like most of today’s young people he was not aware of his family history.

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Meeting my cousin Donovan Mitchell in Wizards’ lockerroom for the first time in February 2020. He was humble, gracious and a class act.

His broad smile never left his face during the conversation.  I told him I had talked with his father in New York several days earlier giving him an update.  I asked him if he was aware that he had a great-aunt living here in the area who had recently turned 100 years-old?  His eyes got bigger with the response, “I had no idea!”   You could tell he was a people person.  There are times when young pro athletes experience his kind of early success early in their careers, they withdraw and are sometimes hard to find and harder to deal with. 

I was disappointed he had no clue he had a 100-year old aunt Elaine living 40 minutes away from downtown DC, living in Columbia, Maryland. Her grandson and his cousin Deon living in Atlanta about his same age! Cousin Elaine is a big time sports fan, her son Deon’s father was a high school coach.

Cousin Elaine, celebrated her 102nd birthday with Donovan’s grandmother Tina in Florida now her new home. Tina drove to Columbia in June and drove cousin Elaine back to Florida to live with her. Maybe Donovan Sr. will find the time to introduce Donovan Jr. his mother, and sister to their aunt Elaine. She can then introduce him to his cousin Deon. This should be a no-brainer since aunt Elaine is now living under the same roof with his mother. Hopefully, 30 years later is not too late to meet your family!

If you want to know how Donovan Jr. got to this point as it relates to human rights, civil rights and his love for children–see our family tree.

You can also see link below on the Critical Race Theory https://www.proquest.com/openview/7c48c3007025c0862e2e871eb9e510fa/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=26506

ROOTS

THE JAMES/BELL FAMILY TREE- ART BY THE LATE GEORGE NOCK & POEM BY THE LATE POET MURRAY BROOKS–THE FRIENDS OF KIDS IN TROUBLE, INC.

FOOTNOTE: Utah Jazz in concert with Donovan Mitchell as it relates to his stand against banning Critical Race Theory curriculum in Utah schools.

9-11 WHEN AMERICA DISCOVERED FREEDOOM AIN’T FREE!

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On Tuesday September 11, 2001, militants associated with Islamic extremist group Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. I remember exactly where I was when terrorist aircraft struck.  

 First, two of the planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, I was on my way to Ben’s Chili Bowl to meet with my friend music promoter Robert Brown, when a third hit the Pentagon just outside of the Nation’s Capitol in Washington, DC.  

 I was meeting with Brown to discus a fund raising Fashion and Hair Show for my non-profit organization, Kids In Trouble, Inc later that evening.  I was co-hosting the show at the Sports Bar located in the MCI Center in downtown DC. I remember my neighbor and friend, Gil Hoffman was driving me to the meeting. We were headed south via 395 to the 3rd street tunnel when I noticed smoke shooting skyward in the direction of Pentagon City.  I never thought of the possibility of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. Without a lot of conversation about the smoke Gil dropped me off at Ben’s Chili Bowl and he headed back home to South East DC. 

When I walked into Ben’s Chili Bowl it was then I was told of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Robert Brown had yet to arrive for our meeting. I immediately called him to tell him to cancel and we would talk later.  My route back home to South East DC was safety first, instead of taking the subway directly across the street from Ben’s, I hesitated  thinking there was the possibility of terrorists making the subway one of its targets, I took the bus on U street to the National Guard Armory in North East DC.  I caught the subway one stop back to Potomac Avenue and boarded a bus to Suitland Road and Southern Avenue–once across the bridge, someone on the bus said, “We are safe now, SE is the last place the terrorist would attack!”  While others laughed, the thought just brought a smile to my face–I was still nervous.   

I called Robert as soon as I arrived home and we both were in disbelief what had just taken place in New York City and Virginia.  Now there was news of a 4th plane crash in Pennsylvania. Flight 93 had crashed into a field in Somerset County (Shanksville). It was reported several passengers and crew tried in vain to take control of the plane before it crashed. 

It was business as usual for Robert, he was already thinking about re-scheduling the show for October–he said, “the show must go on!”          

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Robert was at the top of his game as a promoter and marketing guru in the music business in the Nation’s Capitol. James Brown “The Godfather of Soul” and “The Ice Man” Jerry Butler were just two of the great acts he promoted.

James Brown Aug 22 & 23
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 It was two decades ago nineteen hijackers committed murder-suicide. There were 2,977 lives lost and 6,000 others were injured. Three-hundred and forty-three heroic firefighters lost their lives when they went into the World Trade Center to save others. There were 55 military personnel lost at the Pentagon and 265 lives lost on the four planes.  The attacks remain the deadliest in American history.  I often wonder did we learn anything from the terrorist attacks 20 years ago? I remember reading a Heritage Foundation story written by by David Inserra relating to the attack.  Inserra was a former policy analyst for Homeland Security issues, including cyber and immigration policy as well as critical infrastructure. 

He wrote, “The U. S. mindset irreversibly changed that day.  No longer did we perceive a world largely at peace following the end of the Cold War. Instead, evil came and found us.The warning signs had been there for years. The World Trade Center was first bombed in 1993. Also during the ’90s, U.S. embassies and military assets overseas had been attacked. The Taliban had sunk Afghanistan into poverty, violence, and religious persecution and was already known to provide a haven for al-Qaeda. We even knew some of the men who would become 9/11 hijackers and had bits of information about them and their possible activities. Since that fateful day 18 years ago (2021 makes 20 years), we have revolutionized the way we combat terrorism.”

Have we? 

The lessons of war have been hard and deadly. For example, we just walked away from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.  We left the Taliban back in control once again. When the Taliban fighters rode triumphantly into Kabul airport last week, they did so in U. S. pick-up trucks wearing American-made uniforms and bandishing American M4 and M16 rifles. They inherited tens of millions of dollars of aircraft and armored vehicles. The group’s fast sweep through the city netted them billions of dollars worth of U. S. military equipment and weaponry. The Taliban then spent hours examing the wealth U. S. troops left behind–they must have felt like they hit the U. S. Lottery and didn’t need a ticket. 

It is going to get worst according to the New York Times, one headline read,  “America Stretches Across Political Divide to Welcome Afghan refugees.”  But you ask yourself, how can this be when we cannot get American politicians to stretch across the political divide to abolish lynching in America and the right to vote? 

There are rumors the U. S. is bringing close to fifty-thousand refugees back to America to house, feed, and find them employment to live the American Dream?  It has been reported that the Taliban terroist are holding six American aircraft hostage and not allowing U. S. citizens to fly out of Kabul airport–a ransom note can be expected.  The more thing change, the more they remain the same. 

In the meantime, tax-paying Americans are being evicted from their homes, their unemployment has expired, forest fires, floods, and thugs and cops are playing like it is  “The Wild-Wild West” in American cities.  

Our problem, now we have to sleep with one eye open and one eye closed to stay alert for the next Taliban attack with our own weapons of mass destruction.  Now we have terrorists within and without; Trump and his boys, mass shootings, our kids are in trouble (Covid 19 and gun violence), seniors are being scammed out of close to 2 billion dollars annually (greed), and unpredictable weather across the country. 

There are some who claim love is the answer, but as vocalist Tina Turner said,  “What does love have have do with it?  Freedom ain’t free and the price being paid by our children is much too high!