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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
THE ROADS I TRAVELED THERE WERE NO “EVEN PLAYING FIELDS”
*First home-one room shack and outhouse in NE DC
*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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.
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!”
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.
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.”
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!
Dear Ms. Jenkins,
My name is Harold Bell and I am a card-carrying member of AARP. There seems to be no checks and balances as it relates to senior citizens.
There are 30-50 million senior citizens (55+) on the rolls of AARP and they are being scammed by Corporate America, other small-time gangsters, and thugs 24/7. Seniors are being scammed annually to the tune of nearly 2 billion dollars. The question, does anyone really care?
I am somewhat familiar with the pros and cons of the AARP. The former AARP CEO Addison Rand’s father was my mentor back in the day when the son was at the Xerox Corporation here in DC. The son would sometimes stop in Face’s Restaurant (the home of the DC in-crowd) and have lunch with his father. I met him in passing. His father was a street smart and no-nonsense guy. He was my checks and balances when I was a sports talk radio pioneer and personality during the 70s and 80s. You could carry his WORD to the bank. When his son took over as the CEO of AARP I took notice, “The Fat Cats kept getting fat”!
Things have come full circle since that time and I am now using social media as my vehicle to continue to enhance the growth of our children with my non-profit organization, Kids In Trouble, Inc (KIT). I have since added Seniors In Trouble to my portfolio. In other words, I try to be a voice for the voiceless. There seems to be a scam around every corner when it comes to senior citizens. There are car dealerships, use car salesmen, Insurance agents, overcharges and redlining at the banks, cable companies with hidden fees and hikes, home improvements scams.
I remember seeking employment after the politicians ran me off the airwaves, I took a job as a new car saleman in Silver Spring, Md. I was fired trying protect a little old white lady from being scammed out of her great running use car. My advice, “try to sell your car on your own, the dealership would not be giving you a fair price”. When the final pitch was made by my boss, she told him what I had said! I have told some lies, but that would not be one of them.
In 2009 CBS sportscaster James Brown was named AARP’S Community Ambassador, it was then I knew the organization was heading in the wrong direction. Here is a black man who grew up in DC, but never learned how to give back to those who helped him. Despite his lack of not helping others, his former boss at the Xerox Corporation Addison Rand hired him as a reach-back Ambassador as a voice to keep senior citizens fooled and he did.
This guy never reached back to help anyone but himself. During his tour as ambassador he talked to seniors about his childhood and how he learned about giving back to the community. JB as he likes be called, encouraged senior citizens to take their life experiences and make a difference in the life of a child. His advice, “Use old school values that have contemporary applications.” He knows absolutely nothing about “Old School”. This guy would not know an “Old School” if one fell down in front of him!
He got his start in broadcasting following my lead, but he went off the beaten path when he went behind the back of black Bullets/Wizards’ color analyst Chuck Taylor. He asked star player Wes Unseld to put in a good word for him with owner Abe Polin to hire him for Chuck’s job.
He participated in my non-profit organizations Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports fund raising programs and never brought a toy or Send a kid to camp or college. When the politicians ran me off the air and my sponsors the Maryland lottery and Coca-Cola reneged on written contracts, I lost my home in foreclosure. I remember, having to chase him down for a month’s rent to keep a roof over my head. He reluctantly wrote me a check for 1,000 dollars and blamed his wife for not giving me more. It made me wonder where she was when he was spending thousands on cocaine.
Playground basketball legend Jo Jo Hunter served eighteen years in jail for armed robbery until I campaigned to get his release. He says, “JB, Bernie Bickerstaff, Spencer Haywood, Eddie Jordan, Bruce Johnson, Jim Vance were among some his biggest clients when he was slinging drugs”. Jo Jo could not believe his main man JB would turn his back on him. He refuse to answer Jo Jo’s calls and meet with him.
When I was campaigning to get NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame, I invited NBA legend Sam Jones, upcoming sports talk show host, Christy Winters-Scott, Andrew Dyer, and Butch McAdams to meet James and myself for lunch. The table talk at Union Station was centered around NBA All-Star weekend in DC in 2000. I wanted to honor hometown boy, Earl Lloyd (Alexandria, Virginia).
JB agreed to co-host the tribute with Sam. Red Auerbach and Congress John Lewis were a part of the team I had asembled for the weekend tribute. James Brown was a no-show. When I called him out face to face several months later, he said, “I don’t remember making the commitment”. This the same brother that now calls himself, Rev. James Brown. The lies continue, he also lied about being a “Minority Owner” for the Washington Nationals.
As a minority owner for the Nationals, you wonder how much imput JB had when the Learner brothers, the team owners refuse to interview Frank Robinson for the job? Frank was one of the greatest players to ever play in the Major Leagues. He is still the only player in Major League history to win MVP in the American League and the National League. Frank was also had one of the games’ greatest minds. The Learners passed on hiring him. Ditto for Dusty Baker another great player they hired for peanuts. Dusty took the Nationals to two straight play-offs, never before in team history had a manager had that type of success. The learners refuse to sign him for third year and hired a hispanic, Dave Martinez to quell the cries of racism. Martinez won a World series with Dusty’s team. In the meantime, JB took on the role of the Three Monkeys!
No surprise when it comes AARP and James Brown, birds of a feather flock together. Earl Lloyd was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003 and a recent stature was erected in his honor at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in his hometown of Alexandria–no thanks to JB. He maybe fooling a whole lot of people with his lies, but the one person he is not fooling is God. There is also the Willie Wood story, but there is not enough space in this blog to chronicle all his lies.
“Harold 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)
As a senior citizen I have been a victim of several scams, in 2016 I took a dental insurance policy out with Careington Dental International. Shortly after taking the policy out, I discovered there were little or no changes in dental fees. There were several dentist offices I visited that did not honor the Careington Dental insurance plan. I immediately canceled in 2016. In 2021 while I was trying to balance my account at Industrial Bank, I noticed there was a $99.00 charged item I was not familiar with.
I called my bank to question the $99.00 fee that was being deducted. It was then I discovered that Careington Dental was still deducting fees from my account. They were not only still deducting the $99.00 annual fee, but there were fees of $50.00, $149.00, $149.00, and $169.00 five different fees deducted to include $99.00. In 2017 there were no deductions? I could not hold Industrial Bank responsible, because I did not alert them relating to the cancellation.
I contacted Careington about the fraudulent fees being withdrawn from my account and the Rep Ms. Carole Johnson claimed that it was not fraud, but just an honest mistake. Ms. Johnson said Careington would make my account whole again and she was sorry about the mix-up. The next correspondence was in February 2021 when I received the above mention email from Ms. Johnson. Since that February email, I have been getting the run around by Careington, and no settlement in sight.
On May 20, 2021, my wife suggested that I call AARP Fraud Watch Network for some assistance. I was skeptical, but I placed the call anyway. I got a representative named Doris and she walked me through my complaint.
She determined that my complaint was real and promised she would have a fraud rep contact me in the next 24 hours. A rep by the name of Dan contacted me two hours later. I was encouaged, because this was really unheard of customer service.
Dan heard out my complaint and he also agreed that it sounded like a good complaint. He suggested that I write a letter to Careington and put a stamp on it and put it in the regular mail and wait for a response.
I was willing to do that until I found the smoking gun (letter) from Careington confirming my complaint and agreeing to refund me my money.
I then reached out to Dan to let him know there was a better way with the letter, the dates of deductions, five different deductions amounts coming out of my account, despite no claims for dental work. I tried calling Dan on the same number he called, but the responding recorded message said, “A mailbox has not set up to respond to your call”???
Ms. Jenkins, AARP is much too big and represents too many senior citizens not to have a better line of communications for us to communicate with AARP reps. How can there be no email addresses to contact different departments of AARP? Especially, after you have made contact with a rep and he knows your story–I think email addresses are still free!
These big corporations should not be allowed to keep scamming senior citizens without repercussions.
Ms. Jenkins it is reported you have a salary in the neighborhood of $300,000+ annually and AARP has an estimated $325 million dollars in the bank. It is estimated there are 60,000+ volunteers in your organization. There is something wrong with this picture!
Should I believe that AARP cannot afford to hire a Fraud Unit to help curtail the 2 billion dollar scams perpetrated against senior citizens annually and Dan the Volunteer is the best you can do? The lobbyist you have scattered on The Hill, whose interest do they represent, yours or senior citizens? AARP had 50 lobbyist on the Hill in 2018 at a cost of $8,290.000 per lobbyist and 30 revolvers (revolving door reps).
I am looking forward to your response and you are invited to be our guest on ZOOM SUNDAY “SPEAK THE TRUTH” on any given Sunday. We would like to clear up any misconceptions that we have as it relates to AARP’s commitment to your membership.
202 707 xxxx 202 707 xxxx 202 707 xxxx 941 9555 xxxx 703 780 xxxx + more???????????? These bogus AARP numbers sounds like they are for someone in the witness protection program!
My Scam History
CAREINGTON HISTORY DEDUCTION FEES FROM MY BANK ACCOUNT!
FEB 11, 2021 CAREINGTON FEES NCID04232601484 $99.00
JAN 08, 2020 CAREINGTON FEES NClD006326011484 $99.00
JAN 14, 2019 CAREINGTON FEES NClD1432601484 $50.00
JAN 07, 2019 CAREINGTON FEES NCID00432601484 $149.00
JAN 08, 2018 CAREINGTON FEES NClD005326011484 $149.00
JAN 2017 CAREINGTON FEES NO DEDUCTIONS????????
DEC 16, 2016 CAREINGTON INTER CAREINGTON M8797702829 $169.00
FIVE DIFFERENT DEDUCTION FEES AND ONE NO DEDUCTION FEE??
———- Original Message ———-
Date: 02/05/2021 9:16 AM
Subject: Cancel Confirmation- With Refund
Member ID: 32601484
Dear Harold Bell,
Your membership has been canceled with an effective date of 01/01/2021 per your request. You have been refunded, minus your processing fee, per your plan’s Terms and Conditions. You may call our Member Services at 1-800-290-0523 with any other questions concerning your account.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and we value your business.
Sincerely, Rep Carole Johnson
Barbra L. Falsoa
Chief Executive Officer
Enrollment OperationsCAREINGTON International Corporation
1 866 929 1853
CAREINGTON INTERNATIONAL CORP 7400 Gaylord Pkwy Frisco, TX 75034
CAREINGTON WITHDRAWALS INDUSTRIAL BANK OF WASHINGTON, DC:
January 7, 2021–$99.00 / January 8, 2020–$99.00
January 7, 2019–$50 / January 14, 2019–$149.00
January 8, 2018–$149.00 / December 30, 2016
GEICO AUTO INSURANCE
In August 2020 after a ten year association, I cancelled my auto insurance policy with corporate giant, Geico Auto Insurance Company. The reason, Geico for some reason unknown to me, were not able to withdrawn my monthly insurance premium from my Industrial Bank account. On several ocassions I connected the bank manager and Geico Customer Service reps, but still they could not figure out the problem.
In the meantime, Geico gave up on trying to with drawing my premium from my bank account and my premium went from $102.43 to 143.00. This was a blow financially to me and my wife trying to survive on social security I cancelled my Geico auto insurance in August after 10+ years accident free and signed with Kemper Insurance on August 5, 2020.
Shortly there after I would receive a notice from a bill collector representing Geico Insurance claiming I had a past due balance of $143.00. I immediately called Geico Customer Service about their claim. I was advised by Geico Customer Service to have Kemper email them documents proving I had coverage during the month of August. The documentation was provided by Kemper that I was covered in August, but the past due claims kept showing up in my mail box.
I contacted Geico Supervisor Andrew Duran whom I had met when a deer crossed in front of my vehicle in broad daylight in Bowie, Maryland. There was a dispute with the autor repair shop relating to timely repairs that were taking much too long. Mr. Duran came out to intervene. I was impressed with his professionlism. We later had several telephone conversations relating to the withdrawal on my monthly car insurance payments. He turned it over to a subordinate and the issue was never resolved. Instead of paying almost $50 dollars more for car insurance I cancelled. I have the same $500 dollar deductible and plus home insurance for less than $100.00.
I turned to Mr. Duran to investigate the $143.00 past due claim, but after several weeks of reaching out I have not received a response. My Kemper agent Sharon Till reached out also and received the same non-response. Geico and Mr. Duran are now a part of this scamming process.
I am apalled that Corporate Giants like Careington Dental, Geico, and cable companies can be involved in scamming millions of senior citizens while AARP stands on the sidelines and act like “The Three Little Monkeys”, they see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil? In the meantime, AARP represents in the vicinity of close to 50 million senior citizens (over 55) who are the victims of scams costing them nealy 2 billion dollars annually!
AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins has a six figure salary 300 thousand dollars+ a year. AARP has 1.697 billion dollars in the bank and claim they have 1.696 billion dollars in expenses leaving them with a billion dollars to hire a paid fraud department. Something is wrong with this picture! Corporate America is allowed to stick up Senior Citizens up without a gun and AARP driving the get away car. When do senior citizens say, “Enough is enough”?
Kids In Trouble, Inc.
Author’s Note: Thanks to Black Men in America’s CEO Gary Johnson through some last minute research that I had overlooked, he found a weekly podcast titled “The Perfect Scam” the podcast tells the stories of people who find themselves the target of a scam. Host Bob Sullivan introduces listeners to those who have experienced scams first hand, as well as professional con artists and leading experts who pull back the curtain on how scammers operate. https://www.aarp.org/podcasts/the-perfect-scam/?intcmp=AE-SCM-FRD-SUBNAV-TPS. AARP rep Dan never mention the podcast and neither did the rep that referred me to him–something is wrong with this picture! How is a podcast sponsored by AARP and their reps don’t have a clue?
Gary Johnson-CEO and founder of black men in America
Muhammad Ali is No. 1 and everyone else is No. 2 when it comes to the boxing WORLD. Show Time’s documentary of “The Kings” features the little guys of boxing, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durant, and Marvin Hagler.
The documentary covers the most exciting era of boxing history second only to Muhammad Ali and Harold Bell was an eye witness to both eras. His voice can be heard in every segment of the documentary. He was up-close and personal with Muhammad Ali and two of “The Kings”.
Ali made him “The Chosen One” in sports media in 1974. On his return to America after the biggest fight of his career in Zaire, Africa. In Zaire he stunned the world when he knocked out the undisputed and undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, George Foreman. Ali returned home to stun the sports media world when he bypassed, Ed Bradley (60 Minutes), Bryant Gumble (NBC) and Howard Cosell (ABC Sports). His first call was to Harold Bell a little unknown sports talk show host in Washington, DC. His sports talk show “Inside Sports” was the talk of the town on W-O-O-K AM radio in DC in the 70s and 80s.
Ali surprised him with a telephone call near midnight five nights after the fight asking him to meet him in New York City for the interview he had promised him in Chicago before leaving for Zaire. Harold had refused Ali’s invitation to fly to Zaire for the interview, his excuse, “I was scared to fly across the ocean”.
Harold and Ali met on the campus of Howard University in 1967 during Ali’s surprised visit to DC. He spoke on the steps of the campus office building. His topics, were all things boxing and racism in America. Hundreds of students hung on his every word. Harold would later volunteer to take Ali on a walking tour on the legendary Georgia Avenue corridor to the sounds of honking horns and pretty ladies jumping out of cars to kiss Ali. The rest is boxing and sports media history. Never in the history of boxing had a heavyweight champion chose to give an exclusive one on one interview to a black journalist in media. The rest is sports talk radio and television show history.
In 1972 Harold Bell became the first black to host and produce his own radio sports talk show “Inside Sports”! In November 1975 he became the first black to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 in Washington, DC. His special guest was the Greatest, Muhammad Ali.
In 1980 he was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. The honor made him the the first sportscaster given the award. November 2019 he celebrated 45 years of the Rumble in the Jungle with his historic one on one interview (trailer) with Ali on the big screen at the Miracle Theater on Capitol Hill in NE DC. The National Association of Black Broadcasters (NABJ) honored him with their 2020 Pioneer Award. The recognition of his sports media and community youth advocate careers were against all odds. He is the only sports talk host to campaign for two black pro athletes and successfully have them inducted into their hall of fames. The campaign started after they were blackballed by their sport. Willie Wood was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989 and Earl Lloyd inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003. His legacy continues in the “The Kings” documentary, thanks to The Greatest Muhammad Ali.
His contributions in sports media ranks right there with the legendary contributions of Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier and Sam Lacey of the Afro-American newspapers. Harold Bell and Inside Sports changed the way we talk and report sports in America and around the globe. Every radio and television sports talk show seen and heard have all copied the Inside Sports talk format. He is definitely, THE KING of sports talk radio and television.
“If an American Black man works as a butler in the home of a poor white man, the weak economic position of of the “Boss” will reflect itself in the overall appearance of the black butler. If the “Boss” suddenly becomes wealthy, naturally the butler will also make more money and become wealthy, too. He will wear better clothes, he will eat better food, and perhaps house his family in a better community and his children may have access to better schools. A casual observer will think this black butler has made great material progress. But has he? His position has not really changed. He is still a servant and the white man is still his boss”.
On February 29, 1965 the above statement was given to A. Peter Bailey by Malcolm X. Bailey was the editor of The Organization of Afro-American Unity News Letter. Malcolm X was assassinated the next day February 30, 1965.
In 2019 the median white household held $188,200 in wealth—7.8 times that of a typical black household ($24,100). If you are black and looking for an “Even Playing Field” you won’t find it in America!
As we remember black soldiers on this Memorial Day lets remember those who fought on every battlefield that an American white soldier fought on defending America, but once the black soldier returned home it was the same old song. They returned to the back of the bus, to homes on the wrong side of the tracks, red lining at their banks, they were spat on and hung from the nearest tree, while still in their military uniforms. Never forget “Black Wall Street, Emit Till, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and the list goes on and on. Let us forgive, but not forget. Let us also remember U. S. Army Coporal Rupert Trimmingham!
TIME MAGAZINE by Mathew Taub July 28, 2020
For Coporal Rupert Trimmingham, it came as no surprise that he’d have to eat inside the lunchroom’s kitchen, he was invisible to the diners enjoying table service. This was 1944, and the deep south. Trimingham and eight other Black soldiers were en route from Louisana’s Camp Claiborne to Arizona’s Fort Huachuca and, as he later wrote, he knew the only boss was “Old Jim Crow”.
But what Trimmingham and his companions saw as they looked out at the lunchroom from inside that kitchen defied even their expectations. About two dozen German prisoners of war entered with their American guards sat at the same tables, had their meals served, talked, smoked, in fact had quite a swell time. In a April 1944 letter to Yank, a weekly Army Magazine, Trimmingham asked the obvious: “Are these men” Nazi troops who’d been captured while fighting on Hitler’s behalf—swored enemies of this country? Then why are they treated better than we are?”
Nineteen years after Corporal Trimmingham encountered white U. S. soldiers dinning and entertaining Nazi German prisoners. My younger brother Earl “Bull” Bell a Military Police staff sergeant in the U. S. Army had a racist encounter in downtown Mannheim, Germany, it was 1963. He had served two hitches in Germany, was the country’s heavyweight boxing champion, first string fullback on the Army football team, ping pong champion, and served as a platoon supply sergeant in Nurenmberg from 1966 until his overseas tour ended in August 1968. Along this military journey he was noticing racial bias in promotions and in disciplinary actions against black soldiers.
Blacks who dared to speak out were labeled “Troublemakers,” and sympathetic whites were branded “nigger lovers” and were disciplined as badly as blacks if they violated any rules. Worse still, my brother complained, black officers (spooks who sat by the door) protecting their own positions, did little to correct inequities.
In 1965 Earl tried uncuccessfully to have segregated off-base housing in Nuremberg declared off-limits, but was rebuffed. He complained to Rep. Charles C. Diggs (D-Mich) and the Pentagon. Finally, he obtained adequate housing at the Army camp for his wife and two children, but the struggle for equality never ended.
My brother’s relentless drive for his and other’s human rights reached a head in downtown Nuremberg at a segregated discotheque called ‘The Cage“. He had been refused admission previously because of the color of his skin, but this time he returned with 35 black militant troops on a march that almost ended violently. Military Police his co-workers (mostly white) were rushed to the scene to quell the disturbance. He turned out to be the peacemaker and out of respect for him everyone backed off.
A month later May 30, 1969 after the night club incident, his perfect service record was marred while he was umpiring a softball game. He drew a $30 fine for identfying himself to a white lieutenant as “Mr. Bell”! He insisted that normal military courtesy regulations are waived during athletic competitions. The lieutenant was a spectator and grandstanding. He joined the argument between the two players and my brother on the field of play. He was out of order and still wrote the citation to get back at Earl. It was then my brother said enough was enough and decided not to sign up for a 3rd tour of the U. S. Army–too much racism.
I remembered my freshman year at Winston-Salem State during homecoming weekend, Earl hitched hike from DC to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He made the trip to tell me he was going to join the U. S. Army. I was so happy he was going to get off the mean streets of DC. We were not expected to survive those mean streets, but we did.
I found it interesting how Jet Magazine (July 31, 1969 & August 28, 1969) made it looked like while my brother was fighting racism in the military I was home playing footsie at the White House with Richard Nixon.
The stories read, ” With their contrasting outlooks, Harold and Earl share the same poverty-ridden background. The four Bell brothers (including Alfred, now 31, a tire salesman; and William, 20, a Marine Corps Private/First-Class) were raised without their father in a DC low-income housing project. Still youngsters when their mother was on welfare , they grew up on the black ghetto’s proverbial “Dead-End street.”
I am proud of all three of my brothers who served this country, William the youngest separated from the Marines and returned home to be an outstanding photographer. He worked for the notorious boxing promoter Don King for several years. My older brother Bobby and I never served in the military, we were classified 4-F (health issues).
Bobby graduated from Maryland State on the Eastern Shore and he was a U. S. Marshall for 20 years. He inspired me to pursue athletics. I was in middle school when I spotted him playing second base for Armstrong High School with the great Willie Wood (NFL). I had no idea he was an athlete. He was raised by our hero and matriarch, Grand-Ma Bell. My mother Mattie, I am sure was proud of all four of us–not bad.
Malcolm X knew America like the back of his hand. As we close out Memorial Day, we must remember “Black Wall Street, Jimmy Lee Jackson in Selma, Eric Garner in New York, City, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and hundreds of other black unarmed men and women shot and killed in American streets by racist cops, too many were white and some black.
One-hundred years later Anneliese Bruner the great-granddaughter of Mary E. Jones Parrish, a teacher and a journalist lived to tell her story in a book. Ms Bruner who now lives in Washington, DC says from accounts as described by her great-grandmother, “the Tulsa race riot was actually something that was akin to an act of war where the country turned on its own citizens.” Philonise Floyd after visiting the White House made one of the most profound and provacative statements I have heard in my life time. He said, “If Congress can pass legislation to protect endandered birds, they can also pass legislation on police reform to protect people of color.”
He is hoping that civilized white men can come together and pass legislation on police reform when they can’t come together and pass a anti-lynching law, that is like pissing against the wind and exposes who they really are in America!
Racism is embedded in our fabric, its a baby white America cannot throw out with the bathwater-its here to stay! White folks do not have a copyright on racism, there are some black folks who could teach them “Racism 101”.
Black America has always famously preached how to beat the system of racism in America. The logical choice has always been education. I have some good news and some bad news for Black America. Education is great to use as a deterrent, but the real deal to success in America if you are black, you need a white man or white woman in your corner and avoid the spooks who sit behind the door (family and friends)! They can truely be crabs in a barrell.
I am speaking from what I know and not what I heard. A lot depends on what your definition of success? It maybe money or it maybe peace of mind–but peace of mind is not for sale.
It has always been peace of mind for me. I have traveled in the circles of the rich and famous and the life style was never a good fit. I was an eye witness up close and personal as 30+ pro athletes, radio and television personalities became millionaires and benefactors of my non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. and Inside Sports, my radio talk show. I watched 2% come back and reach back to help a black child.
Thousands of blacks, hispanics and white children participated in our Christmas toy parties for forty-five straight years (1968-2013). My wife Hattie and I owe our success to, Dr. Nicholas Long (Director of the Hillcrest Children’s Center), Richard M. Nixon (U. S. President), Red and Dotie Auerbach (NBA Boston Celtics), Bert R. Sugar (Boxing historian) and Angelo Dundee (Boxing trainer) all white/Jewish men. They are the reason, I closed out my sports talk shows with, “Every black face I see was not my brother and every white face I see was not my enemy”! I am living proof that success is not measured by a dollar sign. The road to success is helping others.
This Memorial Day I remember my brothers Earl and William and the brothers and sisters (black and white) who are in this struggle to be free, but they must remember, freedom ain’t free and “This America is Us”.
I’m thankful for Donald Trump because he served as the catalyst which brought racists and spooks who have been sitting by the door out of the shadows into the open.
For years the Karen’s and Ken’s of the world lived a secret life. By day they were bankers, business executives, teachers, politicians, police officers, actors, models, artists, and even members of the House and Senate. They mostly kept their views to themselves, played by the rules, and seemed like well adjusted members of the multi-cultural society that has been America, well, since it’s founding. They knew how to play the game and what, and what not, to say in order to get along and advance in their world.
Like most Americans who were told they were white, they had been raised from birth on a revisionist version of American history in which slavery was but a small blemish upon America’s past perpetrated by an unenlightened misguided minority in the South. White civilization in the North had righted the ship, realizing that slavery was in fact not in keeping with the teachings of Christianity, or for that matter, the ideas set down in the U.S constitution by the founding fathers, that formed the moral fabric of their society.
They were taught that the civil war was related to, but not really fought over slavery. Rather, it was a war fought between two highly civilized groups who only came to arms because one, the North, wished to subdue the other, the Confederacy, who wished to secede from from the Union. In their story there were “very fine people on both sides” that were driven to war because they reached an impasse and were simply trying to protect their families, property, and way of life.
This version may be one of the most naive and only war retellings throughout history where there is neither aggressor nor villain. Of course, if this version were true, then the actual history which directly arose from the civil war would not exist. There would’ve been no need to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, black people would’ve received the 40 acres and a mule that they were promised, the Black Codes would never have been written and adopted, there would be no need for Jim Crow laws, thousands of lynchings would’ve never taken place, Black Wall Street would still exist, a black Harlem would be thriving today, the entire civil rights movement would’ve been redundant, Rosa Parks would’ve been allowed to sit at the front of the bus like all the other ladies, Ruby Bridges wouldn’t have needed a police escort to walk to school, four little girls would now be four grandmothers with large families to show, MLK, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and hundreds of other black activists would’ve chosen other vocations and might still be alive, the G.I bill would’ve been an equal opportunity affair, redlining would never have happened, historically underserved black communities would instead be thriving multi-cultural metropolises, mass-incarceration would not exist, neither would gentrification, there would be no need for Black History Month because black inventors and innovators would not have been written out of the American story, jazz and so many other black musics would celebrate their actual black origins, a black life would carry the same worth as a white life, so Black Lives Matter would never need be said, and a black president may have been elected 100 years earlier, followed by many others.
Instead America swallowed whole the white-washed fiction of the confederacy along with the belief in a persistent Black Menace, who secretly wanted revenge for slavery, and who might slaughter their families and impregnate their daughters, if given the opportunity. Birth of a Nation was not just some black and white silent movie, it was the encapsulation of an entire belief system that was viewed by white Americans everywhere, including in the White House itself. ANTIFA and BLM are nothing but modern day incarnations of this same menace and thus one more reason for why so many white people are obsessed with gun ownership and the second amendment. Thus, it wasn’t just Karen and Ken who believed in this narrative which made no sense, it was the vast majority of white and white adjacent America, who seemed fine on the surface, but below something far more sinister stirred. Behind closed doors, and when in like company their true colors and characters came out.
This true character stayed mostly hidden. With the many victories won during the civil rights movement, and with the passage of federal laws which prohibited racial discrimination, going all the way back to the Klu Klux Klan, most who did not support black and brown progress learned to hide in plain sight. In more recent times they quietly donned confederate battle flags stickers on trucks, revered confederate monuments, re-enacted the civil war, and mostly only used the N-word in private. Believe it or not, they actually considered this to be a form of oppression. If they considered the Clinton through Bush presidencies to be inhospitable to their true beliefs, then the Obama presidency was like being Jewish in Germany in the 30s. For them Obama represented 8 years of hell and the rapid decline of what America was all about.
The truth is that America’s issues actually began when the first European slaughtered the first Native American, and then continued while the founders of the resulting European colonies committed serial genocide, then kidnapped and transported millions of native Africans in the greatest forced migration (or just plain kidnapping) of people that the world had ever seen. Murdering, brutalizing, kidnapping, transporting and then forcing millions of human beings to work for free over hundreds of years took a great deal of hate and effort. The Transatlantic Slave Trade made the world a darker place and the people who were responsible in many ways had to sacrifice their own humanity in order to excel at it.
The cultures which sprang up around such slave colonies were truly evil, and the unbridled hatred, which they nurtured, tainted every man, woman and child, perverting every facet of their characters and lives, from their versions of Christianity to their versions of history and ultimate world views. They elevated brutality and hatred to high arts. This went on for hundreds of years, until in America even white Southern children could see nothing wrong in the ownership, brutalization, and raping of their black childhood friends. All they saw was the natural order of things.
The South was not alone in its brutality to those of the darker hue. Others, at home in the U.S and around the world in the colonies of the West Indies, Australia, South America, Asia and Africa, echoed the same beliefs, structures and behaviors. What America did provide in a post slavery world was the normalization of modern racism through a focus on capitalism. Without the support of America (and others like Britain) South Africa’s system of apartheid would never have survived for so long. And indeed, once that support was finally withdrawn in the 1990s, it crumbled.
Like other cultures based on white supremacy, Southerners actually viewed the events which led up to the American Civil war as an attack on their culture, way of life and livelihoods, which was entirely supported by slave labor at the time. To them their ancestors fought to retain who they were as a people, and though they lost, many never truly surrendered their beliefs. They simply buried them, or transformed them into some modified form which the North might turn a blind eye to.
An egotistical bigot billionaire con man turned reality TV star realized this and went about riding this wave of historic white grievance all the way into the White House. How did he do it? He made it cool to be openly racist again. He gave America’s bigots permission to let their bigot flags fly. He restored white pride. He retweeted the grievances of “oppressed whites” throughout the world, including white South Africans, and drew connections with what some thought might happen in the U.S, if liberalism were allowed to continue along it’s present politically correct trajectory.
Trump attacked any and everything liberal, from Climate Change to abortion and gay marriage. He promised whites in the U.S that they would always come first. He celebrated white privilege. He demonized nations South of the Border, and “shithole countries with majority non-white populations. He attacked the left and cozied up to racist extreme right groups, becoming their long awaited messiah. Through people like Steve Bannon he reached out to other right leaning groups and movements around the world, forming an alliance, which would rewind the clock on progress.
Thus, the entire Trump presidency was really about one thing from beginning to end; The restoration and preservation of White Supremacy throughout the world. Just like Jim Crow, its true intentions were dressed up in a lot of words, but when naked it was clearly all about preserving one of the oldest stratification systems on earth, racism, so that people who believed themselves to be white could finally walk with their heads held high again. And they did. The behavior which was once reserved for gatherings of the likeminded exploded into an openly racist resurgence which saw thousands of people gathering at rallies, reminiscent of those huge rallies which took place in Nazi Germany after Hitler seized power. Nationalism became a good word, and even had its own slogan; America First. Despite the inclusion of a few lost and confused people of color, America First, its MAGA twin, and Brexit counterparts were clearly for white people.
One could draw a line directly from the emergence of the Birther Movement to the storming of the U.S Capitol. In the birther movement Trump sought to redefine what it meant to be an American, and thus be a legitimate American President. His problems with Obama were centered around questioning his American citizenship, but they were actually about his skin color. In the storming of the U.S Capitol Trump sought to embolden racists and bigots all over the world to “take their countries back” from people like Obama. His actual goal was far more selfish; A second term as president and the protection that this offered from the mountains of lawsuits headed his way in his post presidential life.
Even now, Trump’s situation is dire enough that he is prepared to burn down everything and tear America to shreds in the process in order to achieve his objective. He is perfectly prepared to push the country into a second civil war, if it will save him from prosecution. It will not be over and we will not be able to breath that long overdue sigh of relief until every single shred of power that he was awarded as president is rescinded.
Like Hitler, Trump’s ability to broadcast his vile and hateful message (over any and all platforms) needs to be suppressed, and to speak very plainly, he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for his part in enabling his followers, both the radical terrorists and idiot sycophants, who stormed the Capitol. Those in Congress who supported his rise, and who even now support the disenfranchisement of millions of voters to win him a second term, need to pay a high enough political price that no politician of sound mind would ever consider following the same path in the future.
When Trump assembled, riled up and sent that mob down to the Capitol, he placed the safety of millions in jeopardy. When he refused to call out the national guard or do anything to address his supporters for hours he intensified this threat. When he finally did address his supporters, without condemning their actions, and even while telling them that he “loved them”, he legitimized their coup attempt. The attack on the Capital was an attempted bloodless coup, but if Trump had the loyalty of the U.S military, he absolutely would’ve graduated to a more standard version, which all but certainly would’ve been more bloody. All of this is before we even consider his total failures around dealing with the pandemic.
If America wishes to remain a democracy it must stand against all those who seek to seize power by other means, even if that person is the sitting president. They say that presidents cannot be sentenced to prison, but I humbly suggest that Trump may be one hell of a candidate for that policy’s revision.
Noteworthy: I did not write this blog-Author unknown
Wendell Smith and Sam Lacey of the Pittsburgh Courier and Afro-American newspapers respectively are considered the greatest black American sportswriters of the 20th century. They now have to move over and make room for Harold Bell whose legacy carries him into the 21st century.
He was always first, in 1972 he became the first black radio sports talk show host to produce a talk show in his hometown of Washington DC. He was the first to use the INSIDE SPORTS tag to ID his radio sports talk show. Inside Sports is now global. The format was unique to sports talk radio, it dominated the Washington market. The tag would be later hijacked by the Washington Post. In 1978 the paper published “INSIDE SPORTS MAGAZINE” in New York City. They failed to the tune of several million dollars and two years later packed their bags and headed back to DC. They could not figure out how to transfer my talk radio success into print. The INSIDE SPORTS copyrights are now owned by the paper.
Bell was the first sports media personality to mix sports and politics successfully. He was the first to play message music long before NWA ( What’s Going On, Who Shot the Sheriff & Wake Up Everybody). He was the first to write sports media commentaries, first to establish media roundtables, first to convene police and youth forums, first to encourage pro athletes, politicians, law enforcement, judges, and media personalities to reach back into the community. He was the first to host celebrity fashion shows and tennis tournaments, the first sports media personality to be named “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian Magazine. He was the first DC sports media personality to be cited in the Congressional Record (Lou Stokes, Bob Dole, and Eleanor Holmes Norton). He was the first sports media personality to buy time from a radio station (unheard of).
In 1969 he became the first Youth Advocate/Sports Talk Show Host to receive a Presidential Appointment from (Richard Nixon). He was the first sports media personality Muhammad Ali contacted on his arrival back in the U. S. after his historic beat-down of George Foreman in Zaire, Africa in 1974. In 1975 he became the first black to host and produce his own television sports special in primetime on NBC affiliate WRC TV 4, his special guest was Muhammad Ali.
When Georgetown University basketball icon the late John Thompson could not win a game in his first year and the media completely ignored his struggles, Harold Bell gave him five minutes on Inside Sports every Monday to promote Georgetown basketball. He reached out to Sugar Ray Leonard and gave him a platform to help him to regain his lost self-esteem after the 1976 Olympic Games. Leonard won a Gold Medal and returned home expecting a ticker-taped parade in his honor, the media blindsided him by exposing him of having a baby out of wedlock with his girlfriend Jaunita. He hid in the house in Palmer park and refused to come out.
Janks Morton Ray’s trainer would travel to Anacostia Park in SE DC to plea with Bell to go and talk with Ray. He did and became Leonard’s mentor. Ray would go on to become one of the greatest boxers of all time and the first pro boxer to earn over one-hundred million dollars. Leonard went from being an introvert to being a pathetic liar and forgetting who he was and where he came from. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sV-uSNzfZo/ The lie!
Bell was also the first media personality to provide platforms on Inside Sports for James Brown (CBS/NFL), Michael Wilbon (ESPN), Dave Aldridge (TNT), Bill Rhoden (NY Times), Kevin Blackistone (Washington Post). The late legendary sports writer Dick Heller of the Washington Times newspaper said, “Harold Bell is the God Father of sports talk the good kind”.
Darryl Hill is a pioneer in college football. He was the first black to play at the Naval Academy and the University of Maryland. Maryland recently named a building in his name. Hill is also a disciple of Bell.
Harold Bell was the first black media personality recognized as a “TRAILBLAZER” by William Taaffe of the Washington Star (1978). In an unheard-of first, he was the first black sports media personality ever spotlighted in lead stories in the Washington Post, on pages ONE & THREE (June 1989). The title of the stories, “Local Anchors: A Shut Out and Turn the Sound On, Hear Bell Sound Off”. No issue was off-limits when it came to children. His work with youth is legendary.
He was the first sports talk radio host to point out the embedded racism in pro sports. The racism was found on every press table on every pro sports team in America. In 1974 a white reporter Frank Pastor and Bell changed seats at the press table during an NBA Washington Bullets’ home game. Thanks to Pastor the press table was integrated without a picket line or word said in anger.
In the 90s he was the first to ID crooked sports agents stealing from the black athlete: Adrian Dantley & Dave Falk and Sugar Ray Leonard & Mike Trainor. The agents were the scammers and the players were being scammed for millions. It took the New York news media almost two decades to discover Falk was robbing, Dantley, MJ, etc?
Bell was the first Nike Shoes Sports & Marketing rep in DC and the first Anheuser Busch Beer Sports & Marketing rep in DC. He was the first media personality to coordinate and host Christmas toy parties for needy children. For forty-five straight years he and his wife were the host from 1968-2013. His 501 C3 non-profit organization Kids In Trouble never received a grant or a loan. Inside Sports was 7 On Your Side before Paul Berry got the bright idea while being a guest on his talk show. Now every television network in America has a version of 7 On Your Side.
He was the first sports media personality to campaign successfully to have the blackballed Willie Wood (NFL) and Earl Lloyd (NBA) inducted into their hall of fame. A stature of Lloyd was recently placed in the Charles Houston Recreation Center in his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. Wood has a street named after him in his old NW neighborhood in DC. Bell, he has been blessed by the best.
Bell was the first sports media personality to campaign and get early jail releases for sports icons Jim Brown (NFL) and DC basketball playground legends, Bernard Levi and Jo Jo Hunter among others.
https://www.bigmarker.com/nabj/NABJ-Sam-Lacy-Awards-Program? bmid=99ea2ef240f2 / Sam Lacey Pioneer Awards
“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
In 2021 he is still a voice to be heard. May 11, 2021, he will be a co-host with long-time friend and mentee, talk show host Lavonia Perryman on iHEART radio out of Detroit. The show will air every other Tuesday between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
It is rather ironic he finds his way back to Detroit, it is the home of the first pro athlete he encouraged in 1967 to reach back into the community, homeboy Dave Bing. Bing is a native Washingtonian and was named NBA Rookie of the year in1967. When Bing heard of Bell’s radio voice coming to Detroit his email read, “Harold just be yourself, you are more appreciated than you know.”
The great Marvin Gaye and Bell were childhood friends, Emanuel Stewart and Thomas Heards of the Kronk Gym were supporters of Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports, the great pro basketball pioneer Spencer Haywood was a frequent contributor on Inside Sports, “Great Scott” WR Freddy Scott of the Detroit Lions was a frequent flyer in and out of DC for his Kids In Trouble, Inc Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Shows and Tennis Tournaments, NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd was a benefactor of Inside Sports, and last but not least his dear friend the late Wayne Davis was the first black FBI agent in-charge of the Detroit office.
He met Davis during the 1968 riots in DC. Davis was working undercover and he was working with youth gangs using the cover of a DC police department badge. The badge allowed him to breach police and military barricades. In August 1980 Bell and Davis watched together as Thomas Hearns knocked out Pipino Cuevas in the second round. It was Hearns first title win. Wayne Davis was a stand up brother.
On Tuesday May 11, 2021 on iHEART radio “The Lavonia Perryman” talk show in Detroit from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm, the country will have a ringside seat and understand why Radio Fly Jock Tom Joyner said, “Harold Bell is a little know Black History Fact”.
The late NBA great Red Auerbach said, “Jackie Robinson may be America’s greatest all-around athlete in history!”
Black Minority Owners in pro sports are nothing but window dressing!
On April 15, 2021, MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson Day for 18th since its inception in 2004. Hundreds of players paraded around the playing field wearing his trademark number 42. My question, is baseball integrated? Looking at MLB today it is nobody’s success story, if you take Jackie’s number 42 and let only Black Americans wear it on the field of play on that day honoring Jackie, only then would you have an accurate count of how many Black Americans are on MLB teams. April 15th has been a cover-up for the lack of Black Americans playing in the league. Today there are Less than 8%.
MLB is the second richest pro sports’ league in America, but they have the First Lady of MLB, Jackie’s wife Rachel on hold while they try to locate financial support to open the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City. She has been on hold for close to 10 years. Ms. Rachel Robinson is approaching 100 years old—-MLB has to stop faking.
When I asked ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon about the museum and what the problem was, he said, “Harold I am meeting Commissioner Bud Selig next week and I will pose that question to him?” Talking about famous last words, that was Wilbon five years ago!
The late great Hank Aaron was not a “Happy Camper” with the racism and The Good Old Boys that still run the league.
To make things worst there are still too many Spooks that still sit by the Door in media and baseball front offices. We got brothers pretending they are minority owners and front office executives, for example, in 2005 DC’s own James Brown CBS/NFL studio host is one of them. The Lerner’s gave him the ceremonial title of being a minority owner. His official duty as a minority owner was carrying the opening day lineup card out to the umpire or being the opening door announcer reading the starting line-up over the Public Address system.
As a so-called minority owner, he made no baseball decisions, He was never in the room for the big trade or the hiring or firing of personnel. It took me a minute, but I kept reminding him he was being used.
He finally went on the late George Michael’s Sports Machine television show and confessed, “I make no baseball decisions”. I have not forgotten how the Lerner brothers disrespected the late great Frank Robinson. Frank was one of the greatest players of all time, but he was also a great manager, when the Lerners became the owners, they made it clear they didn’t want him around. Frank never forgot and he refused to come back for a “Frank Robinson Day” charade tribute! He saw them for what they were, Good Old Boys in a suit and tie.
The Lerners after several losing seasons hired Dusty Baker, they were desperate to put a winner on the field for as cheap as possible, and Dusty was available. He was the man for the job. He took them to two straight play-offs but was victimized by untimely bad hitting and bad pitching in both play-off years. Everyone who knew anything about the game knew this was a championship team.
What did the Lerners do–they fired Dusty? First, they didn’t want to pay him what he was worth, so they kicked him to the curve and hired a Hispanic manager Dave Martinez to cover up their racist act—he came cheap also.
Guess what happens–the exact team Dusty was the manager of won the World Series for Martinez? My question, where was minority owner James Brown when the decision was made to fire Dusty and hire Martinez—he was nowhere to be found.
It is just not James Brown, it’s Magic Johnson with the World Series-winning LA Dodgers. He is the same smiling face that was hanging out with racist Donald Sterling the LA Clippers owner before he was made to sell the team. Now his smiling face has been hired to hang out in Dodger Stadium pretending he is a minority owner, like James Brown and Derek Jeter he makes no baseball decisions.
Let us not forget in 2017 Derek Jeter became the so-called CEO and minority owner of the Miami Marlins. He has a 4% stake in the team and NBA hall of fame player Michael Jordan has a half-percent stake for the same team. Jeter and MJ own less than 5% together!
Remember Jeter’s first official act was “Hatchet Man” for the new owners. He had Mike Hill another black executive to fire two black high-profile Marlin executives they were baseball hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, two of the most popular former players in Miami.
To add insult they were told if they wanted to stay with the team they have to take a $60,000 pay cut to $25,000. It got worse, they were then told if they took the offer they would not be allowed to wear the Marlin uniforms around the clubhouse or on the field.
One of the owners told Dawson to check back in two years after Jeter had an opportunity to evaluate him, Dawson’s response “I need to evaluate him.”
Hill had three years left on his contract with the Marlins as GM so he was safe when Jeter arrived. Jeter showed him the door once his contract expired. Hill is now working in the front office of MLB.
These brothers calling themselves minority owners—the only thing they own is going to the bathroom by themselves.
This is the plantation mentality that controls pro sports. Black NFL owners in 2021–ZERO. A Pakistani man and a Asian woman are NFL owners, would someone please name me one Pakistnani man or Asian woman who has played in the NFL. There is Zero co-ownership or complete black ownership in MLB, the NBA has Michael Jordan as the lone owner in the NBA—the NHL is out of the question the Commission Gary Bettman is a well-known Proud Boy!
I met Bettman when he was the legal counsel for the NBA in the late 70s. John Phillips and I were the Nike reps for the NBA. Rod Thorn was the VP for player personnel and the Security Director was the late Horace Bowman. We met to clear the air on player participation in All-Star Games during the off-season.
The problem, the owners didn’t want the players to play in a charity game in St. Thomas the Virgil Islands, the home of Mycal Thompson of the LA Lakers. The meeting got a little heated when Bettman claimed that the NBA owns the players, there is no way that Bettman’s plantation mentality has changed as the Commissioner of the NHL.
Today after games black NHL players in some cities have to have police protection to get to their cars.
Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams are the latest “Smiling Black Faces for Hire” in the NFL. It is rumored they are now minority owners of the NFL Miami Dolphins? Their NFL credentials as minority owners read rumored dates with LB Lavar Arrington and WR Keyshawn Johnson.
In the NBA former NBA star and future hall of fame player, Dwyane Wade has been offered a minority ownership stake in the hottest team in the NBA, the Utah Jazz. NBA rules state a minority owner must own at least 1% of the team. Baseball owners have different rules Michael Jordan owns only one-half-percent of the Marlins? I would be surprised if Wade would settle for being just a “Black Smiling Face” for the Utah Jazz.
The NBA-NFL-MLB and NHL leave little doubt birds of a feather flock together. Black Minority owners remember if you are going to soar with Eagles you cannot hang out with chickens. Someday we will all be free but it won’t be on Jackie Robinson day!
NOTEWORTHY: All eyes on the Negro League Museum in Kansas City as it relates to receiving monies from MLB to support the facility. No monies from MLB should exchange hands until the Jackie Robinson Museum open its doors.
Harold Bell was the first African American to host and produce his own sport’s talk radio show Inside Sports in Washington, DC in 1972.
On his “Inside Sports” radio show he interviewed some of the most famous athletes in pro sports. In 1975, Bell interviewed Muhammed Ali after he knocked out George Foreman in Zaire, Africa on WRC TV 4, the NBC afilliate in Washington, DC. The show made him the first African American to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time. The late DC Superior Court Judge Luke Moore said, “Harold you are our voice in the community!”
His interviews and friendships with Muhammed Ali and Red Auerbach put his “Inside Sports” talk show on the map and changed the way we talk sports around the globe. Many have copied the Inside Sports talk format, but none have been able to duplicate it. Bell interviewed hall of fame athletes like Jim Brown, Spencer Haywood, Harry Edwards, Sonny Hill, Don King, Bighouse Gaines and John Chaney just to name a few. These relationships became valuable when he was advocating for NFL All-Pro Willie Wood and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd to be inducted into their Hall of Fames after they were “Blackballed” by their leagues.
When Earl Lloyd called Bell asking him to campaign for his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame, he in turn called NBA Godfather Red Auerbach and Washington Times legendary sports columnist the late Dick Heller for support. His next call was to an old friend, Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis asking him to join the campaign team for Lloyd. Bell was no stranger to the city of Alexandria, he had worked closely with “The Untouchables” founders, Dr. George Logan-El, Lawrence Brown and Michael Johnson. They helped him to coordinate his annual toy party for needy children leading into the Christmas holidays in Alexandria.
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES/HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-WASHINGTON, DC 205-1005
October 25, 2000
Mr. Earl Lloyd
P.O.B. 1976-Fairfield, Tenn.
Dear Mr. Lloyd:
As a colleague in the civil rights struggle, I am proud to say congratulations to you in celebrating 50 years of integration in the NBA. There is is little doubt that is in 1950 your NBA debut was greeted with cheerleaders and pom-poms by NBA owners and fans. . I really appreciate the sacrifices made by you on behalf of today’s players . I hope that one day soon they will understand who prepared the table for their present day success.
It is great that the NBA and the New York Knicks are finally reconizing your pioneering efforts in New York City on October 31, 2000. Thanks to the efforts of my friends Harold Bell, Sam Jones, and Richard Evans of “Kids In Trouble Inc” we are together in planning a reception on Capitol Hill in your honor.
In closing, I hope you enjoy your special night in New York City. I am looking forward to meeting you on Friday February 9, 2001 during the NBA All-Star weekend next year.
John Lewis / Member of Congress
Thurston McLain would follow his lead from DC into the Alexandria community. Bell was his mentor during Thurston’s early childhood days, first at Harrison Elementary School to the Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program. He graduated from Cardozo High School and went on to Langston University in Oklahoma where he became and All-American linebacker. Thurston returned home to join the Alexandria Fire Department and made Christmas toy parties for needy children an annual event during his fire fighting career. He retired as a Captain.
During NBA All-Star weekend in Washington, DC in 2001, Bell’s non-profit organization Kids In Trouble organized a Earl Lloyd Day in Alexandria. The Saturday festivities included a basketball clinic at the Charles Houston Rec Center. NBA stars, Bob Lanier, Al Attles, Phil Chenier, KC Jones, Sam Jones, Earl Monroe among others were in attendance.
Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore declared it “Earl Lloyd Day” in the state of Vrginia. The historic jazz and blues club, “The Bohemian Caverns” in Washington, DC was the site that closed out the Earl Lloyd festivies with Red Auerbach and basketball legend Sonny Hill co-hosting the tribute on Saturday night. Earl was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003. Thanks goes out to Congressman John Lewis, Red Auerbach, Dick Heller and Harold Bell for carrying the torch for the Alexandria, Virginia NBA pioneer.
He participated in the documentary “The First to Play” based on the NBA trials and tribulations of Earl Lloyd’s NBA journey. Segments of the documentary were video taped in Alexandria at the Departmental Club with several of Earl’s friends, including, the legendary James E. Henson.
The film producer Arka Sengupta was found to be a scammer and a fraud. Bell again contacted friends he knew in the NBA as well as TNT NBA analyst David Aldridge who assisted him in exposing the fraudulent producer. He later received a thank you letter from NBA Commisioner Adam Silver.
Bell’s passion is helping inner-city children who are at risk. He and his wife, Hattie found Kids In Trouble, Inc., and the Hillcrest Saturday Program in 1968 shortly after the Washington, DC riots. Harold and Hattie’s work with at-risk-children did not go unnoticed; President Richard M. Nixon invited them to the White House and acknowledged their work with at-risk-children in Washington, DC. Harold and the President became friends when he was in high school and caddied on the weekends at the exclusive Burning Tree Golf Course in Bethesda, Maryland. Mr. Nixon was then the Vice-President in the Dwight Eisenhower administration.
Harold helps kids because someone was there to help him, the only reason I’m still standing strong today is because of my high school and college coaches, Dave Brown and Bighouse Gaines. They were there to prevent me from going to hell in a hurry.”
Bell is that type of person who fights and advocates to make things right. He was born on May 21, 1938, he is a 4th generation Washingtonian. His great grandfather Alfred Tyler laid the first brick to build historic Mt. Airy Baptist Church in 1893. The church is located in the shadows of the nation’s Capitol in NW DC.
He attended Spingarn High School where he was an all-around athlete playing three sports, football, basketball and baseball. After high school, Bell attended Winston-Salem State University where he played football and basketball. He met his wife, Hattie a teacher at Cardozo High School in 1967 and they married after the DC riots in 1968, and out of those ashes they found their non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc.
Today, Bell has his own weekly program “Speak the Truth” Zoom Show every Sunday and Inside Sports Detoxx video show on You Tube. In addition, he is the most read and most popular blogger for Black Men in America.Com. There are over 500 black websites on the world wide internet, Black men in America in ranked in the top 10.
For Black Americans in Alexandria, we thank you Harold Bell for advocating for Earl Lloyd and getting him into the NBA Hall of Fame-thanks for being a Torch Bearer!
Editor’s Note: Famous Last Words
“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.” Dave McKenna City Paper 1998
Char McCargo Bah is a published author, freelance writer, independent historian, genealogist and a Living Legend of Alexandria. She maintains two blogs, http://www.theotheralexandria.com and http://www.findingthingsforu.com
It was 2 am Tuesday morning I was sitting in front of my computer when I decided to check my email box for the last time before heading to bed–the first email read, “Harold, why don’t you do a piece on Elgin? When I came up, he was, not only my favorite basketball player, but my favorite athlete too (He and Willie Wood). You know baseball was the thing back then. Elgin, Willie Mays, and Lenny Moore were my favorites. I was a Baltimore Colts fan. My brother liked Cleveland, so I couldn’t pick Jim Brown. I know Elgin’s legend has died out for the youngsters nowadays, but he is more than deserving of a final tribute, from those of us who are still left to remember how truly great he was. He was in a category with Wilt, Russell and Oscar, without question. You, more than anyone, should know that. In another strange way, he was a lot like the one-armed bandit, only Elgin had two arms. They were both D. C. legends, with talent that was freakish. I remember the day he scored 64 points. Everybody was up Ridge Road saying they were “Elgin Baylor.” (But in my mind I was the real Elgin Baylor).
I know Bing, Austin Carr, Reggie Rucker, Dantley and a lot of the few ballplayers left from those times, would really appreciate the memories. It would be a great Post-Black History tribute to one of our greatest athletes. The D. C. legends know that Elgin was the best to come out of D. C. This would be another feather in your own hat when it comes to the real history of DC.
As I try to be unbiased and thorough in my assessment of all time great pro basketball players, I just can’t leave him off of my top 10 list. I heard Dantley, and others on the news say a little about him and they felt like me. John Thompson used to say that you put Elgjn at the top, skipped 2nd, 3rd and 4th, then continued your list of all time greats with number 5 and so on.
I vaguely remember seeing him play in the pros. I must have been around 8-10 years old, or maybe a little older. My cousin used to take me to sports games. He was a semi-pro baseball player, maybe a little older than Elgin.
His death reminded me of how great he was.
Harold, you knew Elgin personally so who would be better to do this than Harold Bell? You are still here today to do things like this.
Harold, when I close my eyes, I can still see Elgin bouncing that ball up and down, in cadence with his famous head bobbing up and down, just before driving in for the kill. Even Wilt didn’t want to mess with that.
Lord God, thank you for Elgin, may he rest in peace. Amen.” Bro. Lawrence Brown
ELGIN BAYLOR HANGING IN DC BEFORE HE HUNG IN THE NBA!
Just in case there is someone in the DMV and they are not aware of who is the greatest basketball player ever to lace up a pair of basketball shoes in this city–Elgin “Rabbit” Baylor is his name. The late John Thompson, the fraud of the city was right, when he said, “when there is a conversation about the top five or top 10 players in DC, you start with Elgin.” I am here to remind you who he was.
I remember Elgin, the memories start when I was a student at Brown Middle School in NE DC. Every weekday morning I would take the bus from my NE Parkside Housing project to 24th and Benning Road. The first landmark I would walk past would be the Langston Golf Course, the home of golfing legend, Lee Elder. The next landmark would be Spingarn High School the home of Lieutenant/Coach Dave Brown and Elgin Baylor. I would stop and mingle with the students, some I knew from my neighborhood. They would be hanging out in front of the building and on the sidewalk leading into the school. There was this cop, officer Ray Dixon who was the keeper of “The Hill.” It seems like he would eyeball me like he knew I didn’t belong among this crowd. He would bark “Keep it moving” and he was never smiling–I kept it moving!
After school was out at Brown I would sit on the grass above the Spingarn practice field and watch the athletes practice baseball, football, or the track and field guys workout on the fringes of the field. It was there I discovered my older brother Bobby playing second base for the Armstrong baseball team with the great Wilie Wood as a teammate. I never knew he was playing baseball for Armstrong because he lived with my grandmother. Watching my big brother play inspired me to become an athlete.
The one place I wanted to be was in the Spingarn gym watching Elgin practice or play in a game. Every time I attempted to find a way into the gym it seems like Officer Dixon could smell my presence and give me that look.
My Spingarn teammate and friend, Andrew Johnson lived in Langston Terrace, the Spingarn gym was a few minutes away from where he lived. Langston Terrace is the second oldest black housing project in America (Atlanta 1933 & DC 1938). Andrew recently described to me how he sat in the Spingarn gym and watched Elgin score 64 points against rival Phelps–priceless!
I remember the day Armstrong played the BIG game against Spingarn and the One-Armed Bandit, Gary Mays became an American folk hero. The morning of the game I got off the bus and started my usual journey to Brown and all I heard was talk of the BIG game being played that evening for the championship. George Deal a teammate of Gary remembers, Armstrong Coach Charlie Baltimore preparing for the rematch and giving specific instructions to Gary, “If Elgin goes to the bathroom, I want you right there behind him.” Coach Baltimore had not forgotten earlier in the year Elgin had torched Armstrong for 45 points.
Deal, also remembered Elgin being an excellent free throw shooter. “We beat him up pretty good that game and most of those 18 points came from the free throw line. I never saw him miss a free throw until he got to the pros!”
Elgin was averaging in the neighborhood of 30 points a game when Spingarn and Armstrong had the face-off on The Hill that day. Spingarn lost by 3 points killing their undefeated season. Gary was given the credit for the defensive stop, but according to Deal, “the media tried to give the credit to another player and playground legend, Terry Hatchett.”
Amstrong and Spingarn High Schools are the only public high schools in America that can showcase four pro athletes in the pro sports hall of fames. There are Len Ford and Willie Wood in the NFL Hall of Fame (Armstrong), Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing (Spingarn) in the NBA Hall of Fame. The common denominator, both schools have been shut down and that important history has been lost.
I never had the opportunity to be an eye witness and watch Elgin torch Armstrong for 45 points, Phelps for 64 points, or watch the One Arm Bandit literally hold him to 18 points in a championship game, but I was there to watch him perform his magic during his tour of the DC basketball courts from Lincoln, Bannecker, Park View, Henry T Blow, Brown and Kelley Miller playgrounds.
It was at Kelley Miller where he and Wilt Chamberlain would go head to head. Every basketball fan and sports writer and talk show host in the DMV claim they were there or had first hand knowledge. I had a heads up from my long time friend Dave Harris who was Wilt’s roommate at Kansas on their time of arrival at Kelley Miller. When they pulled up in that bright red convertible Oldsmobile on 49th street NE, Dave threw me the keys to park the car.
I read where some of these wanna-bees claim they played against Elgin on the playgrounds like Kelley Miller, Henry T Blow, Brown and Watts, the domains of playground basketball in NE DC. If Elgin was there nine times out of ten I was there. I introduced Elgin to the Brown basketball court located directly across the street from my Brown Middle School. He had never played there until he moved to Mayfair Mansions in NE in 1958.
I got to know Elgin that summer of shortly after his NBA rookie year and he married Ruby Saunder. Wilt was a member of the wedding party. After the wedding Elgin and Ruby moved to a housing development in NE DC called Mayfair Mansions. The development was located directly across the street from my Parkside Housing Project.
Elgin had taken a summer job with the DC Recreation Department, and worked evenings at Bannecker Playground in NW DC. His introduction to Brown playground basketball–I led the way. I would be on the corner of Haynes Street and Kenilworth Avenue in the evenings when he would be heading to work. I would hitch a ride with him to 24th and Benning Road. I would then walk from Benning Road to Brown playground for an evening of basketball.
This ride share would go on for the entire summer. There were times I would be running a little late and he would be parked waiting for me. One evening he dropped me off at the playground to check things out, but no one was there. He got out the car and got a basketball out of the trunk. We shot baskets for about 20 minutes and then other players started to arrive. He left the basketball with me and went to work–that was his introduction to Brown.
The one thing Elgin and I had in common was our high school Coach Dave Brown. There would be no Elgin Baylor and Harold Bell without Dave Brown. With all these so called know it alls as it relates to the legend of Elgin Baylor, how many in media or other wise have you heard or read about the man who guilded him to the NBA–Coach Dave Brown?
Dave Brown was his first coach at Phelps the first two years. He left for Spingarn in 1953, leaving behind Elgin’s playmaker guard, Maxwell Banks aka Max Julien. According to J. A. Preston a native Washingtonian an outstanding track and field star at Armstrong High School, Max played an important role in Phelps’ success those first two years.
J. A. was also an accomplished actor on stage and screen (A Few Good Men and the Spook That Sat by the Door). He says, “Maxwell was one of the best guards in the city bar none. He was the cornerstone of that Phelps team with Baylor. He would go on to become best known as an actor for his off-Broadway performances, but it was Hollywood where he received critically acclaimed fame for his role as Goldie in the1973 blaxploitation film,’The Mack.’ He also appeared in Def Jam’s How to be a Player. Max Julien was also a great writer, he wrote and produced Cleopatra Jones starring Tamra Dobson and Bernie Casey. He and comedian the late Richard Pryor became great friends.”
Timing was everything, Elgin and his 1954 teammates never got the opportunity to play against their white counter parts in the DMV. They were one year away when my Spingarn teammate Spotswood Bolling a student at Sousa Middle School in NE was the lead petitioner in Bolling vs Sharpe when it became a landmark in the United States Surpreme Court case. The attorneys argued that the Constitution prohibited segregated public schools in the District of Columbia. The decision was originally argued on December 10-11, 1952 a year before Brown vs Board of Education, but Bolling vs Sharpe was re-argued again in 1953 before it was passed, cheating Elgin and the black DC Public high school athletes out of their just do on an “Even Playing Field!”
With Coach Brown it was always tough love–but love never the less. There are rumors that Elgin ran afoul of coach during a game, and at half-time Coach Brown settled the matter by locking his star player in the lockerroom. I could not verify that rumor, but I can verify being locked in the school bus during half-time of a football game against our rival Phelps. The game was played at Eastern High School. The team won without me and Coach Brown got my undivided attention. Thanks to him I didn’t go to hell in a hurry as predicted by Mr. Stinson.
I would not see Elgin again until my freshman year at Winston-Salem State University in 1960. The Minneapolis Lakers were in Greensboro, N. C. for an exhibition game before heading to their new home in L. A. I decided to travel to Greenesboro the home of the N. C. A & T aggies to see if I could catch up with Elgin. The drive was 30 miles north of Winston-Salem.
First, I tried to convince my homeboy Donald “Duck” Wills to go with me, but he begged off claiming he had a date. I was disappointed because Donald’s brother was the great shortstop for the L. A. Dodgers, Maury “Sonny” Wills. Elgin and Maury were great friends from their Stonewall days in DC. Maury was a great all-around student/athlete at Cardozo. He played football for the Stonewall, AC football team during his off-season in the minor leagues.
I remember Coach Brown inviting the Stonewalls to particpate in a scrimmage against the Spingarn varsity in 1957. It was MEN against BOYS. Sonny was a great punt and kick-off returner and running running back, but during the scrimmage he played defensive back. He lined up in front of me and he never allowed me to catch a pass from his brother QB Donald Wills. After the scrimmage he would tell us, “You guys are going to be all right” and we were!
Back to Elgin, my plans were to double team Elgin with Donald, but it looked like I had to go at it alone. I borrowed my roommate Arnold McKnight’s (former DC Boxing Commissioner) car to make the trip down highway 85 to Greensboro.
I had no problem finding the Lakers’ motel a friendly cop gave me the directions. I went to the front desk and the lady gave me Elgin’s room number (what a difference a day makes). I took a deep breath and knocked on the door. He opened the door and the first words out his mouth were, “Bell what in the hell are doing way down here?”
I told him Coach Brown had talked me into taking a scholarship to Winston-Salem Sate University. He smiled and said, “The old man is still at it huh!” He invited me in and we talked about the Lakers move to L. A. He was overjoyed about the move, the weather was the determining factor. He ordered room service and we ate and talked until it was time for him to head to the arena. He gave me four tickets, a twenty-dollar bill, a Lakers’ jacket (too big) and I headed back to Winston-Salem. I gave the four tickets to the lady at the front desk and it made her day.
My next encounter with Elgin would be my first NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas (80s). Former playground legend and all things basketball in Philadelphia, Sonny Hill convinced me to apply for press credentials for the game. It was a great trip but I had a problem getting press credentials and I had a strange encounter with Elgin.
Thanks to Dotie Auerbach (Red’s wife) and NBA PR man, Brian McIntyre we were able to work things out for the credentials. Mr. McIntyre would become a great friend and lifeline for my future endeavors whether it be NBA press credentials for me or the “Roundball Report” a local cable television show in Prince George’s County.
Elgin was another story that I am still trying to figure out today. Mr. McIntyre gave me my credentials and I headed up to my room that I was sharing with Sonny. I got on the elevator and it stopped at the next floor and who gets on but Elgin Baylor and a pretty lady holding on to him. He looked right through me. We rode at least six floors and he never uttered a word. When he and the lady got off, he looked back and said, “Bell it was nice seeing you.”
I could not wait to get to the room and tell Sonny about the encounter. Sonny swears that Elgin could walk on water if he had to and leaves little doubt that Elgin is the NBA G. O. A. T. His response was, “Elgin was just being Elgin, Harold, he did acknowledge you as he was leaving, some folks don’t get that!” All I could do was smile.
My last encounter was in the 80s, I was hosting a retirement tribute to our high school coach, Dave Brown. He was closing out his DC Public Schools coaching and teaching career. I called Elgin to invite him to come home and be a part of the tribute, not knowing what to expect, he took my call. I explained we were doing a tribute to Coach Brown and I would like for him to come home and surprise his coach. He begged off and said their was a conflict in his schedule for that date. The same exact thing he told Dave Bing when he asked Elgin to introduce at his NBA Hall of Fame induction. Elgin did send a telegram thanking Coach Brown for all that he had done for him and wishing him and his family nothing but the best. I never read it!
Sonny Hill once reminded me, “Your hometown will be the last to show you any appreciation and love!” I use to get pissed off at Elgin, Maury and Marvin Gaye because neither ever came back to DC to reach back and pull others with along with them, but they had plent of company.
It is possible they learned early in life that this town was and is overrun with Player Haters and envy and jealous black folks. I have never seen, Marvin, Maury, Elgin, John Thompson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dave Bing, Len Ford, Willie Wood, all hall of fame athletes photos on Ben Chili Bowl’s Wall of Fame? I remember when they open in 1958, I was senior at Spingarn and hanging out at 7th and T streets around the Howard Theatre and the U street corridor.
I was the Historian at the Chili Bowl for six years-I know the Real history! My childhood friend the late John Snipes became a well known businessman in the U street corridor and the honorary “Mayor of U Street!” I suggested to Kamal who has been the Wind Beneaght the Chili Bowl’s Wings since he was a little kid. He was Mommy’s Baby and Daddy’s maybe. He help keep the bowl afloat during some difficult times. His father Ben decided to go and live in Las Vegas and his older brother Sage left for Hollywood leaving him, baby brother and his mother Virginia to run the business. Kamal carried the load.
The suggestion was to name the room where I was doing the history presentations after John Snipes. The reason, it was Snipes who I first saw escorting white folks around the U street corridor showing them the landmarks of U street after the riots. He had a office over the Chili Bowl. The suggestion went nowhere–Sonny Hill was right.
Elgin died in L. A. at the age of 86 on Monday March 22, 2021. Let me remind those who didn’t know, Elgin was a NCAA Final Four MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, named to the NBA All-Star First Team 10 straight years and he still holds the record for most points scored in a NBA final’s game, 61 points against the Boston Celtics. His NBA career scoring average of 27 points is ranked only behind Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
Elgin Baylor invented “Hang Time” in the NBA but it was just a carry-over from the playgrounds and the Division ll basketball that was played in the all black DC Public High Schools in the early 50s. During his NBA career he averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds. He is only one of two players to average those numbers, the other is Wilt Chamberlain. Elgin’s best year as a pro was the 1961-62 season when he averaged 38 points a game.
Elgin and Coach Brown started out at Phelps in 1952. Coach packed his bags and moved next door to Spingarn the new kid on the block in 1953. Elgin dropped out of school because of a young baby. He took the responsibility to help raise the child. Many thought this would be the end of the line for him. Coach Brown kept a light in the window and Elgin returned to Spingarn for that 1953-54 history making season. He was in the first graduating class for the new school and he became the first black to make the Washington Post All-Met basketball team.
The segregated schools where he became “Mr. Basketball” were comprised of Dunbar, Armstrong, Cardozo, Phelps and the last to be built was the home that Elgin Baylor and Lieutenant/Coach Dave Brown built, Spingarn.
“The Hill” was the most unique educational hill in America. There were four schools in walking distance of the second black housing project built in America, Langston Terrace. The four schools starting at the bottom of the Hill (Benning Road), were Spingarn, Charles Young Elementary, Phelps Vocational, and Brown Middle School at the end of the road, the home of Principal William B. Stinson. He predicted to my mother I would not live to get out of high school. If you lived in Langston Terrace you never had to leave the neighborhood to complete your formal education. “The Hill” was the first and last word in education in the hood.
My high school basketball memories would take me from Lincoln, Bannecker, Park View, Henry T Blow, Brown and Kelley Miller playgrounds and all stops in between. Elgin would would later take his show on the road in 1954. He was led to Idaho by Warren Williams aka W. W. Warren was a two sports star at Dunbar (football and basketball). They were joined by homeboys, Armstrong phenom, Gary Mays aka One Arm Bandit, and Francis Saunders his Spingarn teammate. They took the Idaho community and college basketball program by storm, especially when R. C. Owens joined them on campus and became the leading rebounder for the team.
R. C. would later play in the NFL where he became an All-Pro wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. The Alley Oop pass play became folklore when in 1957 he and QB Y. A. Tittle created the pass play. Y. A. would throw a high pass to R. C. downfield and R. C. would jump over the shorter defensive back and catch the ball (today’s NBA jumpball).
Racism would chase Elgin out of Idaho when the team became too successful for some white folks. The opposing coaches and other whites in the town started to whisper about the grade point averages of the black athletes. This would lead Elgin to transfer to Seattle University where he would lead them to a failed Final Four appearance and to the NBA in 1958 as No. 1 draft choice of the Minneapolis Lakers. The team would leave Minneapolis in 1960 for L. A. and all things Hollywood. The legend of Elgin Baylor took root in 1953 (media) and ended in L. A. on Monday March 22, 2021. All these frauds/folks coming out of the woodwork confessing their love for Elgin Baylor don’t even know how to spell the word. His legend will hang in L. A. forever and a day–in DC he will just be a memory not on a wall.