Has anyone seen my old friends–you look around and they are gone?

In 1906 the cry “Read All About It” (metaphor) was a headline found on the front page of a San Francisco newspaper “Earthquake and Fire San Francisco in Ruins.” The newspaper was, The Call–Chronicle-Examiner.

I decided to research the history of today’s local newspapers and what role did they serve and play in local communities!

The Library of Congress BLOG has an interesting take on their role in a blog written by Matt Raymond on June 7, 2009.

He said, “Resources for local history, no form of publications captures the day to day life of a community and its citizens better than the local newspaper. Alongside the headlines proclaiming great and small events are editorials, human interest stories, obituaries, sporting events and business reports that as a whole provide a record of the community in which those events take place.

For historians, genealogists, and other scholars, newspapers provide first-hand and sometimes the only account of local news. Even in the most extreme instances, when the editorial content of the newspaper reflects journalism at it outrageous, the ordinary details of life can still be found and appreciated. As a primary source of local history information, all newspapers metropolitan dailies, suburban papers, rual weeklies and the rich ethic press are worthy of retention and preservation by libraries and archives”.

The only exception I found is the news and stories bypassed in the black community. We are given little credit for living and no credit at all for dying when it comes to local media. And many times it has nothing to do with whether the messenger is black or white. Fatty and Gary were born with strikes against them. Being born black in America was one strike for Fatty and two strikes for Gary. He was born black and later at the age of five lost an arm.

James Brown (CBS/WUSA TV 9), Michael Wilbon (ESPN), David Aldridge (TNT/NBA.com), Kevin Blackistone (Washington Post/ESPN), Coby King (Washington Post), Courtland Milloy (Washington Post)and Bruce Johnson (WUSA TV 9)all received the memo and email alerting them of the passing of these three sports/community icons. I heard hall of fame GT coach John Thompson even paid his respects at both celebrations. On the way into the church I saw playground basketball legend Sandy Freeman leaving. Sandy was John’s protector on the playgrounds. Sandy was a knockout artist and one of the nicest people you ever wanted to know until you got him wrong. He said, “Harold, Big John said “You hold a grudge too long” and we both laughed. You can forgive, but you don’t ever forget. Once again, a lie will change a thousand times, but the truth never changes.


Sam Jones, James Brown, HBell and Earl Lloyd Black History Month Bolling AFB

Michael Wilbon, a former Washington Post sports columnist and co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interuption. He is a benefactor of Inside Sports and he was in attendance for a 2011 Inside Sports Black History Month tribute to Gary Mays.

Dave Aldridge is a benefactor of Inside Sports and native Washingtonian. He is a former Washington Post sports columnist. He is now an NBA sideline reporter for TNT. Dave received the memos and he lives only minutes from the 19th Street Baptist Church (one of the “Good Guys” hopefully he was out of town).

Kevin Blackistone is a native Washingtonian before his 15 minutes of fame with ESPN and the Washington Post he was a benefactor of Inside Sports. He got the memos. Courtland Milloy a career Washington Post columnist holding on for dear life at the paper as they are looking for an excuse to force him out. He got the memos. Colby King a native Washingtonian and long time columnist for the Washington Post. He was a student at Dunbar High School next door to Armstrong High School. This was during the era when the One Arm Bandit Gary Mays was the talk of the town. In 2011 Gary was visiting my home in Bowie and I put him on the telephone with Coby. The two relived their high school days for at least an hour. Colby promised to attend the tribute and write a column relating to Gary’s unbelievable success as a athlete and a man. Colby thanked me for the connection and said, “Harold you know my son is an editor for ESPN and I am going to connect him and Gary.” Famous last words, Colby was a no-show for the tribute and never contacted Gary again. He also lived only minutes from the 19th Street Baptist Church and he got the memos. https://youtu.be/CXKpTLDsSa8

Bruce Johnson a long time reporter and anchorman for WUSA TV 9. His career in television is similar to the “Cat with 9 Lives.” Through no fault of his own he is clueless when it comes to the DC community, but he faked his way through it all. I remember he would show up in the black community so often after a shooting, the residents nick named him “Black Death!” This was simply because if he was on the scene they knew someone was dead. He got the memos.

The recent passing of Norris Roy, Roland ‘Fatty Taylor’, and Gary Mays aka One Arm Bandit, is the best example of what the media thinks of black life. I will never forget how the Washington Post published a PAGE ONE story to promote a DVD about the life and crimes of Rayful Edmonds. In the 80s Rayful was considered the Nation’s Capitol most notorious drug dealer. The paper did not publish the positive stories and contributions of Norris Roy, Fatty Taylor and Gary Mays, but published the story of a drug dealer who took lives of countless black young men. And to be honest, only a few of these media personalities can take a camera crew out on their own without the consent of an assignment editor who usually does not look like us. The one think they can do on their own is show some respect by showing up.

The three were great athletes and community icons. Their passing was just a blur on the local media radar screens in Washington, DC. You had to go to social media to find their stories of their lives and deaths.

There was a great tribute paid to Gary written by his friend, sports columnist Dave McKenna on the ESPN blog “Deadspin.” Wilbon became a deaf, dumb and blind.


“I read of a friend who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on his tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted first came the date of his birth and spoke of the following dates with tears but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represented all the time he lived here on earth and only those he loved knew how much that little dash was worth.
He said, for it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash. What matters is how he lived and loved and how he spent that dash.
So think about this long and hard are there things you like to change? For you never know how much time is left—–that you can still re-arrange.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what is true and real and try to understand the way other people feel. Be less quick to anger and show appreciation more—love the people in our lives like we have never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and often wear a smile remembering this special dash will only last for just a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read and your life’s actions are being rehashed will you be proud of the things they say and how you spent your dash?”

The celebrations of life of Norris, Fatty and Gary have left me thinking will I be proud of the way my “DASH was spent?”

Santa’s Helper, first black DC Police Chief Burtell Jefferson

Lets take a look and see how my DASH has been spent so far? I was the First, community advocate to host and coordinate a Christmas toy party that benefited thousands of needy elementary school children in DC, Md. and Virginia without grants or loans. First, community advocate to coordinate a city-wide DC Public Elementary School touch football league. First, student/athlete to pay tribute to his Spingarn High School administrators and teachers for their dedicated service. First, black to host and produce his own radio sports talk show in DC. First, radio and television personality to encourage pro athletes to reach back to enhance the growth of inner-city kids. First, black to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4. My special guest, Muhammad Ali. First, sports media personality to be named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. First, sports media personality to be cited in the Congressional Record on three different ocassions for work with inner-city kids. First DC Nike Sports & Marketing rep and the first DC Anheuser Busch Sports & Marketing rep. The first student/athlete to recieve “The Clarence Bighouse Gaines Community Service Award, Coordinated the first Celebrity Tennis tournament for the first ever Congressional Black Caucus Weekend at Hilton Hotel. The first sports media personality to campaign and get two pro athletes inducted into their halls of fame, Willie Wood (NFL 1989) and Earl Lloyd (NBA 2003). The radio and television personalities who came through Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports before their 15 minutes of fame read like a Who’s Who.

willie wood
Willie Wood NFL Hall of Fame

Earl Lloyd NBA Hall of Fame

Note Worthy: The Earl Loyd documentary “The First to Play” is a scam. All have received the memo including the NBA Commissioner.

A DASH well spent.

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