REVISITED: I REMEMBER THE ATLANTA CHILD MURDERS!

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The Atlanta Child Murders captured the imagination and the attention of the entire country from 1979 until 1981. Will Packer Productions aired the first one of three documentaries in March. The documentary re-opened the investigation and will try to bring some closure to many families who feel the real killer or killers are still out there.

This case was just a footnote in Atlanta history, until the national spotlight shined its bright light back on this horrific crime. The Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms last month announced plans to re-open the case and that the Atlanta Police Department will use technological advances to re-test the Atlanta Child Murders evidence.

The documentary tells the story that began in 1979 when two 14-year-old black boys went missing. Several days later a woman discovered their bodies. One boy was shot and the other was choked to death. This incident started a grim and horrifying 23 months, with a total of 28 black children and men were murdered and no one had a clue. Will Packer media will produce this documentary with Jupiter Entertainment.

Packer executive produces this documentary with Kelly Smith, Harrison Land, Mike Sheridan, Allison Wallach, and Pamela Deutsch. This case remains one of our countries’ most perplexing mysteries, and at ID we are proud to shine a light on every angle of this largely forgotten story,” said Schleiff. Will Packer’s vision to revisit this national tragedy through the never-before-heard perspective of the victims’ families bring home the true devastation.”

“Having lived in Atlanta for over 20 years, the story of this senseless tragedy is personally important to me, and the echoes of what happens 40 years ago still resonate in the city,” added Packer. I am proud to give a voice to the victim’s families, many of whom still seek closure to this day, and analyzed how this story is more relevant than ever in today’s environment.”

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Where were you in 1979-1981?

My path to Atlanta started in 1965 when I was hired by the self-help community organization UPO ( United Planning Organization). The CEO Jim Banks hired three Neighborhood Workers for the Shaw/Cardozo community. He hired the legendary radio and television personality, Ralph ‘Petey’ Greene, the legendary civil rights activist, H Rap Brown and yours truly.

In 1968 I was caught in the middle of the worst riot in the history of my hometown. I was an employee of the DC Department of Recreation & Parks’ “Roving Leader Program.” The program was an elite group that addressed the problems of youth gangs and at-risk children. During the riots, I was given a badge (deputized) by DC Assistant Chief Timon O’Bryant the city’s highest-ranking black law-enforcement officer. The badge allowed me to cross the police and military barricades set up around the city’s trouble spots. My role was to try to keep the peace. Chief O’Bryant was the original ‘Officer Friendly!’

After the tear gas, smoke and dust had cleared the streets of the city, I married my wife Hattie in November of 1968. She was also caught in the middle of riots while teaching at Cardozo High School located in Shaw/Cardozo the worst hit corridor in the city. In December 1968 we found ‘Kids In Trouble” our non-profit organization hoping to really ‘Make Children First’ and we did.

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Child victims in the dangerous streets of Shaw/Cardozo during the 1968 riots.

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‘Boys in the Hood’ participate with ‘Officer Friendly’ Charlie Robinson in a uneasy truce after the riots.

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The late Redskin LB Harold McLinton is Santa’s Helper at a Kids In Trouble toy party for elementary school children.

In 1969 I was honored with a Presidential appointment by Richard M. Nixon.
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President Nixon welcomes Hattie and me to the White House. We visit the Nixon Library in 2017 fifty years after I first met Nixon at the all white Burning Tree Golf Course in 1957. I was a caddy and he was the Vice-President of America.
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In 1970 I found the first ever half-way house established for juvinile deliquents on a military-installation on Bolling AFB in SE DC.

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In 1972 I became the first black to host and produce my own radio sports talk show, ‘Inside Sports’ in Washington, DC. NBA Legend the late Red Auerbach is my co-host.

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In November 1975 I became the first black to host and produce my own television sports special in prime-time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4. My special guest, The Greatest, Muhammad Ali.

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In 1980 I was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine making me the first ever sports media personality honored in the history of the magazine.

Hattie and I were both concerned about the black children losing their lives in Atlanta. We decided to combine all of this high profile notoriety on my 40th birthday to raise monies for the victims of The Atlanta Child Murders. The fundraiser was held at the in-crowd Foxtrapp Night Club in NW DC. Radio and television personalities, pro athletes, judges, and everyday people helped me raise over $1200 for the Atlanta Child Murders’ fund.

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Televison anchor Maureen Bunyan (TV 7), Lark McCarthy (TV 5) and radio personality Donnie Simpson were some of the participants at the fund raiser.

My hat is off to Mayor Bottoms and Will Packer for not forgetting to make our children “FIRST” and having the courage to re-open this important unsolved piece of history in Black America. This is another example; if we don’t stand for something we will fall for anything.

Take note it was a Podcast and Will Packer Productions that lead the way to re-open the case and not mainstream media.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s Inside Sports lead the way in seeking the truth in our community via radio and print.

“Harold, congratulations, your archives are valuable and should be given the broadest possible exposure. Your discs and videos of your programs belong in the new Smithsonian Institution of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). A wing of the new museum will be dedicated to the struggle in sports and will be titled “Leveling the Playing Field”. Your work was a major force over the years in leveling the playing field, especially in terms of the struggle to define and project “Our Truth.” Dr. Harry Edwards

“Until the lions hire their own PR team, the glory of the hunt will always go to the hunter!” Thanks, Will Packer.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Click Here To Check Out Harold Bell’s Posts on Marion Barry – The Premier Online Magazine for Black Men

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