Major League Baseball Trailblazer Jackie Robinson
TV 4 Anchor Jim Vance left a trail in media for others to follow
It is often said, “Time brings about a change” but change this time was for all the wrong reasons. George Washington University located in the Georgetown section of DC decided to phase out the Jackie Robinson project that had been housed in the university for over two decades. Jackie broke the color barrier in Major Baseball on April 15, 1947. On that day in baseball history Jackie took a major step in the direction of Civil Rights. His courage and crusade for a equal oportunity for everyone forever altered the social landscape of the country. Jackie is one of my heroes along with the great athlete/actor Paul Roberson. They will always be defined by their courage. I was not aware that George Washington University house a Jackie Robinson exhibit.
Jackie was a talented and versatile athlete, he also ran track, played football and basketball. NBA icon Red Auerbach said, “He was a better football player than a baseball player. When it comes to naming the greatest all-around athletes of all-time, two names always surface, Jim Brown and Jackie Robinson.” The Board of Directors are taking steps to assure that Jackie Robinson’s name will never surface again on the campus of George Washington University.
Hopefully, I will get a chance to visit the exhibit before it disappears without a trace.
In the meantime, across town in NE Washington, DC on the campus of Archbishop John Carroll High School, philanthropist Richard Dyer a former John Carroll student and President/General Manager of W-U-S-A TV 9 made an endowment of 5 million dollars to the Jim Vance Media Program. The program will be a highly competitive for incoming freshmen interested in making television journalism a career. The scholarship will include full-tuition scholarship support for 20 students annually. In the spring of 2019 the school will break ground for major renovation to include recording studios, editing booths, suites and master control rooms. Richard Dyer and men like him is one of the reasons I close my Inside Sports talk show with “Every black face I see is not my brother and every white I see is not my enemy!” What makes this story unique is that Jim Vance (WRC-TV 4) and Richard Dyer (W-U-S-A TV 9) worked for two different competitive news media outlets competing for their share of the DC market. This gesture tells you a lot about the man Richard Dyer.
Jim hailed from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Education was always big with him, he taught school before pursuing a career in media. He joined the WRC-TV 4 news team shortly after the 1968 riots. He became a fixture in the DC community when he became a part of my non-profit Kids In Trouble team in 1969. Along with Judge Luke C. Moore and his colleagues of the DC Superior Court and members of the Washington Redskins, Roy Jefferson, Harold McLinton, Larry Brown and Ted Vactor we became a inseparable and one of a kind team in the DC community.
W-H-U-R- Radio icon Melvin Lindsey and Jim Vance co-host my annual toys for tots drive.
Jim and I wait for our mentees at the Roy Jefferson (NFL) Learning Center in NW DC.
The Jackie Robinson Museum is scheduled to open in 2019 and it will be located in lower Manhattan. Rachel Robinson will be 98 years old in 2019 this was her project and this museum will be her dream come true.
The year 2019 will also mark the United States Post Office displaying a commemorative stamp with the photo of my friend and homeboy, the great Marvin Gaye.
And last but not least November 2019 will be the 45th anniversary of “The Rumble in the Jungle.” This fight has been called the greatest in the history of boxing, the undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the World, George Foreman vs The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Ali’s stunning 8th round ko of Big George was heard around the world. November 23, 2019 will mark the historical 44th anniversary of my television debut as the first black to host and produce his own television special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4. My special guest was Muhammad Ali. I have to thank my friends and partners in high places for making my dream a reality—Muhammad Ali and Jim Vance. Jim sold the show to the NBC WRC-TV 4 producers making history.
“UNTIL THE LIONS HIRE THEIR OWN PR FIRM, THE GLORY OF THE HUNT WILL ALWAYS GO TO THE HUNTER!”
The late WHUR sports talk show host Ron Sutton shares a laugh with me at an integrated Bullets’ press table in Landover, Md.
It was during Thanksgiving 2018 I took the opportunity to step back and think about how blessed I have been to live to be 80 years as a free black man in America. Still there is the possibility I could leave my home today and be shot dead while driving or walking black (DWB) by a cop because of the color of my skin.
Sports have been a major part of my life starting in elementary, middle school, high school, college, minor league football and sports media as a pioneering radio sports talk show host in my hometown of Washington, DC. Those experiences have taught me that pro sports and media press tables are still the last plantations.
I remember in the early 70s my white colleague Frank Pastor and I were attending a NBA Washington Bullets’ game at the Capital Centre in Landover, Md. Frank was a regular guest on my monthly Inside Sports media roundtabe show. It was half-time and we were standing at the top of the arena waiting for a break in the action so that we could return to our seats at the press table. I noticed there was a dividing line that separated black media from white media. Blacks were seated on the right and whites were seated on the left of the half court line. I brought it to Frank’s attention. We decided to switch seats and intergrated the press table for the first time. The rest of the league followed quietly.
I don’t compare our accomplishment to that of Claudett Colvin who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested on March 2, 1955. This was nine months prior to Rosa Parks famous arrest for the same offense. The press tables in pro sports arenas have changed very little. They are now dressed up in camouflaged credentials. There are so-called “Major Media” they are folks who work for the Washington Post, USA Today, NY Times, LA Times, etc. They are on their last legs thanks to the internet. These are the media outlets who foot the bill for their reporters to travel with the home team out of town. They are called “Beat Reporters!” On too many occasions they are the last to know when it comes to identifying who are the alcoholics, drug abusers, gamblers, domestic violence abusers, gun toters, party annimals, etc. Most “Beat Reporters” think they are smarter than the guy sitting in the bleachers above them. They don’t understand they were chosen because they are considered “Safe.” They will go along to get along. They are often compared to “The House Negro” during during slavery.
I have been a free lance writer and free man for the Afro-American, New York Amsterdam, Washington Times, Washington Post newspapers and blogged for the now nationally televised Bleacher Report. I was one of its most widely read writers. I moved on because I was not considered “Safe” and I exposed their Sacred Cows!
In 2009 when Wizards’ superstar guard Gilbert Arenas and his teammates were playing a high stakes card game called “Booray” similar to poker on the planes, buses and in hotel rooms, the “Beat Reporters” were the last to know. They had no idea (or went along to get along) money was flowing like they were playing Monopoly and some players were in over their heads. The showdown would be between two street dudes in what would resemble a Wild-Wild West shoot out in the Wizards’ lockerroom. Gilbert Arenas who had a salary in the neighborhood of 16 million (Penthouse & Mansion) and Javaris Crittenton who had a salary in the neighborhood of 1 million (Section 8 housing). Guess which one was in over his head? Gilbert would later say, “It had nothing to do with the money–it was the trash talking (egos)that made them bring guns into the lockerroom.” Arenas was a NBA superstar and he was out of the league in two-years. Crittenton a role player is now in jail for shooting and killing a 24 year old woman. His release date is 2036.
Now many are wondering whether John Wall and Bradley Beal are headed for a similar fate. Newcomer Dwight Howard is in the news (social media)for all the wrong reasons. “The Beat Reporters” are as quiet as mice as his video and instgram links have gone viral on social media. Don’t look for any breaking news on ESPN, CBS, Comcast or The Athletic.com until they receive their “Marching Orders” from their publishers, editors and Washington Wizards.
The Beat Reporters and Editor in-chiefs are now playing the role of “The Three Little Monkeys” they hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil and therefore they write no evil. Michael Wilbon and Stephen A. Smith(ESPN) and Dave Aldridge (TNT/The Athletic.com) were all on the scene of the Gilbert Arenas’ potential shootout and wild west show in 2009, but looked the other way.
First, these guys lack common sense and street sense, they think that book sense is the means to all ends. Book sense will not allow you to be a peace maker similar to former player Caron Butler when it comes to calming down the likes of Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton who were locked and loaded. You cannot run to a book and see how to bring peace to this kind of chaos. I have been there and done that, but I was armed with STREET SENSE, COMMON SENSE and I was blessed by the best.
Plus, I was a decent athlete that played to win the game. It all started in middle school, high school, college and minor league football. My work in the inner-city working with youth gangs and at-risk children is legendary. I molded many of them into super stars in the game called life. Aldridge, Wilbon and Stephen A have never known the agony of defeat and the thrill of victory on or off the field. Kevin Durant described them at what they do best, “Fanboys!”
In 2016 without a national platform (NBC, CBS, ABC or Fox News) I was armed only with a social media platform I uncovered a scam involving several NBA players. The players were Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, Carmelo Anthony of the NY Knicks, and Chris Paul of the LA Clippers they were being duped into investing their money in a scam documentary/movie titled, “The First to Do It” based on the life story of my friend and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd. I alerted Coach Greg Popovich and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver bringing the scam to their attention. I received a response from Commissioner Silver (see below).
The documentary/movie disappeared shortly after the NBA All-Star Game in February 2017. It makes you wonder where were Aldridge, Wilbon, Brown and the likes of Stephen A. Smith? Aldridge and Wilbon (former ‘Media Hit Men’ Mike Wise and Dave McKenna) all were aware of the scam but ignored my warnings.
On Monday November 27, 2018 I spotted Wilbon in the corner of Capitol One Arena whispering to someone and Dave Aldridge was in the press room sitting in his cubicle office in his new role as Editor in Chief of a subscription blog called the Athletic.com? It appears he is in bed with the Wizards and there is a possibility you can find his by-line on their website! Wilbon has been called by his Washington Post colleague John Feinstein the biggest “Ass kisser in pro sports” and Aldridge thinks all pro sports personalities are “Sacred Cows?” How can you trust what they write or say when there is no objectivity? I have known both up close and personal since their days at the Washington Post.
Dave Aldridge is the new editor in chief of The Athletic.com a subscription blog with a potential for “Fake News”—buyer beware!
I remember Wilbon being a regular on Inside Sports and often turning to me for advice as it related to the DC sports landscape and his editor George Solomon. In 2000 he called me for advice in regards to racism in pro sports relating to a column he was writing on Buffalo Bill DE and NFL Hall of Fame player Bruce Smith. Smith had been traded to the Redskins. Wilbon wanted to know what I thought of Smith’s complaints about racism that he encountered in Buffalo. He was looking forward to coming home to DC (home by way of Norfolk, Virginia) to escape racism. My response, “trying to out run racism in America is like trying to out run the sun.” Wilbon would use my quote in his column. Nothing has change my thought pattern and Wilbon has not proven Feinstein to be a liar!
Wilbon joins the late legendary DC athlete Gary Mays known as the one-armed bandit and me during Black History Month in DC.
James Brown (CBS), Sam Jones (NBA) and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd join me in a Black History moment on Bolling AFB.
I had a discussion with Scott Hall who is in charge of Community and Press Relations for the Wizards. The discussion was relating to a Wizards visit to a youth center here in the DMV. The purpose of the visit was to take a new Wizards’ player Dwight Howard to talk with incarcerated youth. I questioned his selection of media who were going to cover the outing. First, the selection process was bogus and the two media “Beat Reporters” he chose like him didn’t have a clue as it relates to incarcerated youth or the facilities that house them. Neither one had any history working in the the war zones of the inner-city or having spend any time working in the criminal justice system with judges, cops, parole boards, the juvenile court system, etc. My life’s work has been working with youth gangs and at-risk children, but still he wanted to leave me out of the process–their motives are personal, racist at the same time it looks like they were trying to hide something. I have a history with the NBA they would rather forget when it comes to racial bias. All I am saying is, “Not on my watch!”
Former NFL Chicago Bear WR and kick returner DC native Cecil Turner and I host a pass catching clinic with Lorton inmates.
Native Washingtonian Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Atlanta) and I have spend time at the DC Youth Center talking to young people about the consequences of their bad behavior.
I could not blame the Wizards’ player for being led to the youth center. He certainly had no clue since he had just arrived in town. The bottom-line; the victims as always would be our children. The last thing they need is a visit from a group of experts who don’t have a clue of how they got to the youth center. The visit was later cancelled after the star player Dwight Howard was mysteriously hurt and will be out of action until at least February 2019!
This gave me an opportunity to talk with my INSIDERS working in the youth center facility. They saw it as nothing more then a photo opt for the Wizards’ organization and the Wizards had set the ground rules for who would attend. The group had no history with any of the youth centers in the DMV. I also saw them using the visit as a opportunity to put their own progaganda spin on the organization’s caring spirit for troubled youth in the DMV. Aldridge, Comcast and the Washington Post would spread “The Fake News!”
I found Kids In Trouble in 1968 and the first ever half-house for juvenile deliquents on Bolling AFB in 1970. My work with youth gangs and at-risk children in DC is legendary. The problem, I am not a “House Negro.”
Trying to keep peace in “The Hood.” Officer Friendly Charles Robinson and I talk with a couple of inner-city youth Ricky Dargan and Kirby Burkes in NW DC.
Aldridge is a DC native who knows absolutely nothing about the inner-city, he attended DeMatha HS and American University, those two institutions are as far away from the inner-city as you can get. James Brown falls into that same catergory. Wilbon is from Chicago.
Inside The NFL and Bryant Gumble’s “Real Sports” sounds like Inside Sports to me. James Brown is and was a contributor on both shows–coincident?
I have no problem with these pro athletes and so-called major media personalities (House Negroes) giving away toys or feeding the hungry but they cross the line when they try to play games with the feelings and minds of our children. My advice to Aldridge, Brown and Wilbon “stay in your lane.”
Brothers like Aldridge, Wilbon and Brown are so safe that when it comes to taking a stand on an adverse condition in the black community, they could jump up and down on a egg and never crack it!
The PR guys in the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NHL are overwhelmingly white. Their agenda is to hire black young men and women on their staff and give them a title and assign them players to lead around and spy on them and report back. These brothers have never known the agony of defeat and have never been in a winner’s circle. They are basically, cheerleaders without the pom-poms and short skirts. The PR guys in charge will use these brothers to cover up their racist offenses and will say, “I can’t be racist look at all the blacks on my staff!”
I will wait until all of these charades play out (Wall, Beal, Howard, Kevin Durant, Draymond Greene, Eric Reid, Kareem Hunt and the Doug Williams and LB Reuben Foster charade). I will then write and tell my “Inside” story. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Dave Aldridge, Comcast and the Washington Post to give you the Inside scoop on the Wizards. Stay tune!
This team lacks the veteran leadership that former Boston Celtic Paul Pierce brought to the organization in 2015.
Now back to my blessings, it does not help that the envy, jealousy and player hating found among blacks is often the result of a plantation mentality that brought us to America over 400 years ago. We cannot seem to shake that mentality, especially in media and pro sports arenas around America.
NBA Super Star Kevin Durant recently echoed my thoughts on “Today’s In House Negro” in pro sports media pressrooms. He said according to an interview on Bleacher Report, “So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people. He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. Especially, when the attention is bullshit attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all; it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on his every word.” I could not have said it better myself!
There will never be a “Even Playing Field” in America. For example, there is no economic relief in sight as the practice of Redlining continues at our banks. In 2018 as we fight for equal pay for women a black man in America is still paid half the salary of a white man, and when there are gains like affirmative action they throw us a curve and make a white woman a minority! Since affirmative action the people suing for discrimination as it relates to academic admissions process are white women. White women are the biggest winners which means the white man wins “The Power Ball.” He goes to sleep and wakes up with his ace in the hole. The Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court is living proof she stands by her man.
In the meantime; the truth is being assualted, surpressed, and challeged by folks who would not recognize it if it was sleeping in the bed with them.
This Thanksgiving I realized how truly blessed I was, when one of my young men whom I touched along my journey in the byways and alley ways of the inner-city said on Face Book, “Harold Bell you are the true example of what God has put on earth to represent his blessings that he instills in a man and woman that lives amonst his people. Congratulations, many thanks for staying the course and continue the journey-stay blessed!!! Those were the words of Rev. Joel Dearing. Which brings to mind I have two other young men in the ministry, Rev. Ricky Williams and Rev. Salim Edwards these two brothers have been truly a blessing in my life. There is also Lonnie Taylor. Lonnie is from the hood, he was the first black hired as a Chief of Staff for a white congressman on Capitol Hill (see body of letter below).
August 1, 1989
Dear Mr. Bell,
It was great seeing you at Secretary Jack Kemp’s address sponsored by the Heritage Foundation.
As I stated then, as a former resident of the 14th and W Street area, I owe you many thanks for the things you did on behalf of the city’s youth. Believe me Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program brings back fond memories. You should take pride in the fact that your example of selfishlessness continues in so many of us today. Thanks for all that you have done and still do.
Lonnie P. Taylor
Chief of Staff
Jack Buechner (D-Missouri)
“Whats Going On?” I was further blessed when it was announced that my homeboy and friend the late great Marvin Gaye’s photo will be on the U. S. Postage stamp in 2019. It does not get any better than that! Despite his demons he was a beautiful and caring human being that never forgot who he was and where he came from.
RIP my brother!
A rainbow of children attend the annual Kids In Trouble, Inc Christmas toy party. Children are not born to hate–racism is taught!
The only thing to top the campaign wins of people of color and women on election night was a little two-year old kid giving free hugs as he was leaving a park. He inspired America and truly gave us hope! This month (November) will mark the 50th wedding anniversary of my wife Hattie and me. We also found Kids In Trouble, Inc. 50 years ago (December). It became our battle cry (save the children). We were able to touch thousands of kids and adults successfully without lying, cheating and stealing. My 1974 interview with Muhammad Ali inspired me to continue to make children first.
Ali pictured at the Cleveland Hospital for sick children with the little folks he loved.
The kid that gave free hugs was a referendum on NFL great Jim Brown’s bold statement to me several years ago, when I said, “We have to do better by our kids because they are our future.” His response, ‘Harold kids don’t vote!’ It was a wake up call for me I was finally seeing the real Jim Brown. His appearance in the Oval office with Kanye West last month was not by accident, he was following the money. The visit came after his bank account had grown from two-million to 50 million dollars. He is now own by the politicians and his past efforts of fighting and standing up for the poor and down-trodden took a big hit on his legacy. The Crips, Bloods and other gangs around the country made note of his appearance at the White House. The brothers in prisons he plans to visit were not fooled and they will be reminding him how he sold out!
Congresswoman and his friend Maxine Waters, track and field great Jackie Joiner Kersey and NFL Coach/Administrator for the Cleveland Browns Mike Holmgren were all right about him hustling the black athlete (aka John Thompson). In 2007 I organized a tribute to my homeboy and friend Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame defensive back Willie Wood. The tribute was held on the Water Front in Georgetown. The goal of the tribute was to raise monies to help pay Willie’s nursing home expenses. He was suffering from dementia and had fallen behind on his bills.
Willie’s lawyer Bob Schmitz a former teammate at the University of Southern California was one of the organizers. He assigned his family to collect the funds being donated at the door. Willie’s Green Bay Packer teammates came out big time, they included, QB Bart Star, RB Paul Hornung, WR Boyd Dowler, and DE Willie Davis. They were joined by players from all over the league, LB Sam Huff, RB Calvin Hill and WR Charlie Taylor (Redskins), WR Lance Alworth ( San Diego Chargers), TE John Mackey (Baltimore Colts), RB Jim Brown (Cleveland Browns) and a host of other players.
The great NFL Hall of Fame LB Sam Huff shows his support for Willie. Sam recently came down with dementia.
The tribute looked like a success. Several days later Willie Wood ask me how much money was raised and where was his money, I told him his lawyer Bob Schmitz and his family had his money. I then tried reaching out to Schmitz for several days without success. My next move was to call Washington Times’ sports columnist Dick Heller a long time friend of Willie’s. He had covered him since his high school days an played an important role in getting him inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989. Dick reached out to Schmitz and got through. He promised Dick he would be holding a press comference in the next several days and would make a report on the $57,000 raised and where the money was being kept.
We waited one week and no press conference. Dick tried reaching out again but Schmitz had disappeared without a trace. I called my ace in the hole Jim Brown and explained the situation to him and he agreed to call Schmitz. I gave Jim the number with the stipulation that I wanted Willie’s sister Gladys to participate in the call since she was family,(street sense and common sense kicked in), Jim agreed.
I waited two days for a follow-up report from Jim and Gladys but there was no call forthcoming. On the third day I decided to call Gladys for an update. Her response was not music to my ears. She said “I was on the call for two minutes when Jim ask me to excuse myself and he would take it from there!”
My next call was to Jim and his response was definitely not music to my ears. After I asked him what were the results of his conversation with Schmitz and why did he dismiss Gladys from the the call! His reponse, was one of foul language use by some of today’s Rappers. First, I thought I had dialed the wrong number and I had got Snoop Dog by mistake. Jim wanted to know why in the F was I questioning him about this BS. He started to use words like, MF, bitches and whores. His rant caught me completely off guard. He hung up on me and I spend the next couple of days trying to figure out what had just happen. I was thinking I should have left him in jail. My best guess, he had made a deal with Schmitz and was given a cut of the money–it fits his Mode of Operation. The $57,000 is still missing.
Jim Brown’s role with the Cleveland Browns had diminished and his excess to the players cut, and contributions to his non-profit Amer-I-Can were dropped from the Cleveland Brown payroll. All this took place after Holmgren took over as team President. Later in a interview hearn on WSKO radio in Syracuse, NY, Jim said, “I am a very sensitive person. I do like to be respected. I’m very loyal. I like it to be a two-way street.” Loyalty is any thing but a two-way street with him–its Jim Brown’s Way or the Highway! Former teammates and friends who really know him will tell you the same thing, but they will request anonimity because he has been known to go into his “Gangster Mode” if you crossed him.
The late Redskin LB Harold McLinton and boxing great Thomas Hearns making children first.
In 1996 I returned a $10,000 check to Don King, he claimed in a letter to me he wrote “Promises Made Promises Kept.” He was referring to a partnership deal he had reneged on relating to my Muhammad Ali project. After telling me he owed me because I was the only one in sports media who vocally and in writing had his back when mainstream media was dragging his name through the mud. He was referring to me writing lionizing commentaries in the Afro-American Newspaper, or I was heard on my Inside Sports radio talk show promoting his fight cards. I was seen on national television defending his rights for a second chance in the work place as the first black boxing promoter. He had served time in jail for killing a man over a number bet. In the meantime, I had to chase him around the country trying to get him to keep his word. He finally got pissed off at me and wrote the check. I returned the check to him as he was hosting one his boxing shows at the DC Armory here the nation’s capitol.
The look of surprise on King’s face as I return his $10,000 pimp check. My younger brother Tyrik who he hired as a photographer took this photo.
Don has always had a very vindicted personality, later that evening I went to the media window at the Armory to pick up my press credentials there were none. He had given instructions to Charlie Brotman to deny me credentials. He hired Brotman to promo the fight card and assign seats at the press table. I was not really surprised he had made it difficult for me aquire credentials at most of his boxing shows and he played a game of hide and seek. He hid in a trailer off site making it difficult for the media to comfront him. The problem, I would not laugh at his jokes unless they were really funny and I would not kiss his ring or his jackass for credentials.
Later that evening during the fight at the Armory I went over to say a few words to a guy I respected highly and considered my big brother. He was legendary R & B vocalist, Lloyd Price. Sitting with Lloyd was another musical giant Kenneth Gamble of Gamble & Huff. The legendary duo out of Philadelphia (Philly Sound). Lloyd was surprise to see and gets up and gives me a big hug. He then introduces me to Kenneth and then he heaps on me all this praise about the great things I was doing in the community and sports media, suddenly he goes completely silent and I follow his eyes into the boxing ring. We both see Don giving us this ice-cold stare from the ring. Lloyd returns to his seat and I walk away. The irony of Don King intimidation stare down, it was Lloyd who was responsible for Don meeting and connecting with Muhammad Ali. He was responsible for the crazy hair-do. I was in Cleveland for the exhibition that Ali fought for Children’s Hospital and this is where the introduction took place.
I had breakfast the following morning after the fight with Don and the late DC sports columnist, J. D. Beathea. J. D. was interviewing him for a story for the Washington Star Newspaper. When the interview was concluded, Don looked at me and said, “Harold Bell stick with me baby we are going places!” The last time I looked he went by himself. Lloyd was responsible for it all, but Don being Don kicked him to the curb, like he did Ali me and hundreds of others he could not buy off. It is often said, “You can take a N out of the ghetto but you can’t take the ghetto out of him”–meet Don King! King and Lloyd have since kissed and made up. I am still on the outside looking in, but my peace of mind is not for sale.
I signed off of Inside Sports every Saturday saying, “Every black face I saw was not my brother and every white face I saw was not my enemy!” Meet Don King again.
I have never forgotten how he use one of my written commentaries in his boxing program for a Mike Tyson vs Pinklon Thomas fight in Philadelphia in 1987 without my permission. I was walking around the hotel and everyone was congratulating me for a nice column. I didn’t have a clue to what they were talking about. I arrived in the media room and there in the program was my commentary I had written in the Afro-American. I was overjoyed and pissed off at the same time. He never got my permission to use my commentary for the program. As fate would have it I would get on the same elevator with him and the first thing out of his mouth, “My man Harold Bell, man I didn’t know you could write like that (BS).” My response was ‘For free!’
I had never forgotten Don’s ‘Right Hand’ Connie Harper telling me in his New York office shortly after he moved from Cleveland. ‘Harold don’t ever take any money from Don unless you earned it!’ I had earned it, but he was in a pimping mode and ignored the expression of discontent on my face.
I was also seen on the Geraldo Rivera national television show. I was pitted against Geraldo who seem to hate Don with a passion, columnist Jack Newfield who had won a Pulitzer Prize for his book and documentary titled “The Life, Lies and Crimes of Don King” and my dear friend the late boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar. It was three against one. When I saw the panel I said to myself, “Oh shit how did I get myself into this mess!” I was there sitting in for the Washington Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon. He had chicken out at the last minute. He found out that the topic was going to be about Don King. He said, “No way.” He then called me to sit in The Hot Seat for him. I now truly understand why Wilbon’s colleague Washington Post columnist John Feinstein once said, “Michael Wilbon is the biggest ass kisser in sports media.” I cannot vouch for that but I can say. he is one of the biggest liars in sports media and courage is not one of his strong suits.
ESPN’S Michael Wilbon a smiling face telling lies
On one of Jim Brown’s visits to DC I was taking him back to his hotel and Mike Tyson’s name came into the conversation. This led to a rant about how King was a treacherous MF and he was robbing Mike blind. He said, ‘I would advise you to put that n—-r in the wind.” One year later Jim and I are having dinner at Face’s Restaurant on Georgia Avenue in DC. The conversation turns to Don King again and he completely switches gears on me. He claims. ‘Don is a good guy he is just misunderstood.’ I almost choked on the sandwich I was eating. I later discovered his real beef with Don was he was blocking Mike from donating to the Amer-I-Can program. All is well that ends well, the two are now the best of friends, Don wrote a three figured check to the Amer-I-Can program. George Foreman has written many checks to the Amer-I-Can program. And according to my friend Prentis Byrd (Kronk Gym), Jim Brown successfully intercepted a letter I had addressed to George reminding him he was to come to DC for a fundraiser for Kids In Trouble. The bottom-line for Jim Brown is a dollar bill–his dollar bill.
The great Congressman from Ohio, Lou Stokes. He was one of the original members of the first Congressional Black Caucus that crew of Ron Dellums, Walter Fauntroy, Bill Clay, and Perrin Mitchell among others. They don’t make them like those brothers any more.
Jim Brown pretending kids are first.
The kid that gave free hugs and the thousands that walked out of school and went to the polls for the first time are keeping ‘Hope Alive’ for America. The gesture by the little kid took me back to my one on one exclusive 1974 interview with The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. He explained to me why he loved kids of all colors. His explanation will warm you heart. I am in the process of having it put on CD so that I can share it with the World. Lets follow the lead of the little kid and give a hug to someone today and maybe someday we will all be free.
When a hug is much better than a bullet!
The day I lost my hometown of Washington, DC forever–burn baby burn!
Ben’s Chili Bowl along with Industrial Bank of Washington and Lee’s Flower Shop are three of the landmark survivors of the riots. When the White House ordered the shutdown of all businesses in the city, U S Federal Marshall in Charge Luke C. Moore called President Lyndon Johnson and asked him to allow Ben’s to stay open-request granted. Luke would later go to become a sitting judge on the DC Superior Court. Luke, Willie Wood (NFL) and I walked arm in arm down the U Street corridor the first day of the riots.
Judge Luke Moore and Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton of the DC Superior Court attend annual Bolling Air Force Base Kids In Trouble toy party.
A story written by me in 2004 in the Washington Post titled “Breaking the Faith” based on my up close experience of how black crooked politians, pulpit pimps, cops, judges and spooks that sit by the door sold us out and one of the reasons why we have the DC we see and hear today!
I recently read in a post shared by George Coustantin on Face Book relating to a lost city known as the “Harlem of the West,” Five Points, in Denver, Colorado. Five Points was a predominately black neighborhood. The community of nearly 6,000 residents included black doctors, lawyers, dentists, clergy, railroad porters, as well as cooks, janitors, domestic servants and funeral directors. The community was created when Black Americans were prohibited from buying in other areas of Denver. I grew up in a similar community called Parkside/Mayfair/Eastland Gardens in NE DC.
The community’s Welton Street was home to over fifty bars and clubs, where jazz musicians Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and others performed. The Rossonian Hotel, built in 1912, was where many Black Americans stayed when they visited town due to Jim Crow laws (don’t forget Black Wall Street and DC Chocolate City).
Good cops: in 1968 my friend in the community former Assistant Chief Tilmon O’Bryant ask me to put my life on the line when he issued and swore me in as a DC cop with nothing but a badge. The badge allowed me to pass freely through the police and military barricades set up around the city. Cops on the beat Charles Robinson and Andrew Johnson (not pictured) teamed up with me to help bring peace to our streets–but were sabortaged by the FOP!
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture says,
“Part of our mission is to work with individuals, organizations, regional museums, and historical societies to identify treasures and reclaim them for future generations to enjoy. We’re excited to partner with the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, and the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center in Denver for our Community Curation Program. Join us to learn how to preserve your family history.” If these are really the words of the Smithsonian National Museum they are talking out of both sides of their mouth!
December 1968 shortly after the riots my wife Hattie and I found our non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc in the Hillcrest Children’s Center (now the YMCA). Redskin players RB Larry Brown and LB Harold McLinton are seen teaching water safety to inner-city kids as NFL Films record promo.
My wife Hattie T teaching potential merimaids of Cardozo HS how to swim
When we tried to recruit black volunteer mentors from Howard and DC Teachers colleges none were to be found. We had to bus white students in from a Seven-Day Adventist Church in Tacoma Park, Md. every Saturday to meet the needs of kids in trouble.
I don’t know how the Black History in Denver, Colorado was lost or suppressed, but I clearly know how my history is being lost and suppressed. For example; my history is being lost because of black folks like Lonnie Bunch and Damion Thomas who are suppose to be “The Gate Keepers/Curators” of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) instead they are looking like “The spooks that sat by the door.” Their Assignment, ‘block other blacks!’ To show you how small and petty they are they denied me press credentials for ‘The Grand Open’. Control freak boxing promoter Don King must have told them I don’t kiss rings or jackasses.
I am a pioneer in (audio, video and oral testimonies) in sports talk radio and television. I changed the way we talk sports in America and I also changed the way we talk sports around the World.
How could I have touched the lives of all the names listed below and they can have buildings and streets named after them and be considered for a place in any hall of fame or museum without me? How can the ‘The Gate Keepers’ at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), ignore the fact in writing that the owners of the Washington Post Katherine and her son Donald Graham kidnapped my tag ‘Inside Sports’ my popular sports talk show and made it their own in 1978? It sounds a lot like ‘Old Christopher Columbus’ discovering America to me. The two Grahams assigned a staff of writers to take my title and go to New York City and publish ‘Inside Sports Magazine.’ The magazine folded two years later after losing millions of dollars because they could not transfer my radio success into print. In the meantime, Newsweek owned by the Washington Post also now own the Copy Rights to Inside Sports!
Talking about “Breaking the Faith” these are the same two Grahams who convinced Cathy Hughes in 1986 to sell out Congressman Walter Fauntroy and dozens of other black community activist as they were participating in a boycott of the newspaper giant for racial discrimination in advertising.
Hughes in the cover of darkness made her way up the backstairs of the paper and made a deal with the Grahams to call off the boycott without the knowledge of Fauntroy and other partipants. This was the birth of Radio One with the Grahams providing financial support.
Other testimonies; “Harold and I have a lot in common. He has persevered and stood fast for the principles in which he believes.” Muhammad Ali
“Harold, you help prepare me for the NBA.” Dave Bing (NBA Hall of Fame)
“Harold if you had been white you would be a millionaire and they would have been calling Howard Cosell the white Harold Bell.” Ali Business Manager, Gene Kilroy
“Harold, I am the Welterweight Champion of the World today, you were there when no one else was. Sugar Ray Leonard
“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)
Benefactors of Kids In Trouble & Inside Sports
David Aldridge (Washington Post/TNT)
Tim Baylor (NFL)
Raymone Bain (Michael Jackson publicist)
Dave Bing (NBA)
Kevin Blackistone (ESPN)
Larry Brown (NFL MVP)
Jamie Foster Brown (Sister 2 Sister Magazine)
Jim Brown (NFL)
James Brown (CBS/NFL)
Adrian Branch (NBA)
Maureen Bunyan (TV 7)
Adrian Dantley (NBA)
Bobby Gardner (NFL)
Cornelius Greene (Ohio State)
Larry Fitzgerald, Sr. (ESPN)
Glen Harris (DC Sports talk radio)
Darryl Hill (Naval Academy/University MD)
Grant Hill (NBA)
Robert Hooks (DC Black Rep)
Cathy Hughes (Urban Radio & TV One)
Tracy Jackson (NBA)
Lamont Jordan (NFL)
Mark Too Sharp Johnson (Boxing)
Don King (Boxing)
Randy Kennedy (Harvard Law Professor) Alfred Liggins (Radio and TV One) Earl Lloyd (NBA Pioneer)
Jair Lynch (Olympic Gymnast)
Sugar Ray Leonard (Boxing)
Butch McAdams (DC Sports talk radio)
Vasti McKenzie (the first female Bishop in the AM & E church)
Tony Paige (NFL)
Lavonia Perriman (Radio talk show host)
Bill Raspberry (Washington Post winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
Bill Rhoden (NY Times & ESPN) Darrell Sabbs (Cardozo HS)
Donnie Simpson (WKYS/Bet)
John Thompson (GT Basketball)
Roland ‘Fatty’ Taylor (ABA/NBA)
Lonnie Taylor (Capitol Hill )
Cecil Turner (NFL)
Chris Thomas (Comedian)
Omar Tyree (Author)
Jim Vance (DC TV-4 anchor)
Michael Wilbon (Washington Post/ESPN)
Michelle Wright (DC Radio personality)
Alex Williams (Federal Judge)
Doug Williams (NFL Super Bowl & MVP) Robin Sugar Williams (gospel vocalist)
Willie Wood (NFL)
The bottom-line black folks are still comfortable in letting others (mainstream media) pick and chose our heroes. The latest example; NBA great LeBron James, he has been selected as “The Chosen One!” How do I know–I have seen several of The Chosen Ones’ up close and personal to include, Magic Johnson, Sugar Ray Leonard and now LeBron James.
HBO recently named James and his partner Maverick Carter the Executive Producers of a two part Muhammad Ali documentary titled “What’s My Name.” First, I would like to know who advised James he was an authority on Muhammad Ali? There are some who think because he is the greatest basketball player in the NBA and he has millions of dollars in his bank account that qualifies him to be executive producer of a documentary of one of the most admired black men in the World?
The recently released 41 second trailer was the worst I have ever seen representing Muhammad Ali. Judge for yourself/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5CZ7p6F_vI
*Check out the voice impersonation of Ali (fraud)
*There is nothing in the trailer that resembles Ali (photo or live shot)???
Jarrett Bell NFL columnist for USA Today called me in November last year to ask me to lookout for his friend Branson Wright. Branson is a columnist and sports talk host in Cleveland and was coming to DC to promote a documentary. The documentary was relating to a former Ohio basketball phenom who had lost his way because of drugs and the criminal justice system. I thought to myself there must be dozens of those stories on the playgrounds of DC! I have already covered most of them up-close and personal. But I can never say “No” and I told Jarrett I would do what I could to connect his friend.
I don’t know if it was by coincident but his friend would becoming to town the same week that LeBron James and the Cavaliers would playing the Wizards. The Cavaliers would beat the Wizards in OT. I gave Lebron a copy (teaser) of my one on one interview with Ali after the press conference. He has not even had the professional courtesy to get back to me. This made me do further research on Branson Wright the sports columnist and why would he travel all the way from Cleveland to promote his documentary and seek financial relief for his project? He is a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a sports talk show host and beat reporter for the Cleveland Cavaliers–home of “King James.”
In conversation with a Cavalier player that knows both men I was told that Lebron and Maverick Carter were the first to see Branson’s documentary, but did not acknowledge or support the project. He said, “I was not surprised, Lebron is a very selfish guy and you better keep a close eye on your Ali interview!” I called and asked Branson about LeBron being the first to see his documentary, his response was “No Comment!” I then called the player back to tell him Branson would not confirm, he said “I understand LeBron and his crew are very vindictive, he is not as black as many think. The school is a sham all he did was put up the money the city owns the school and there seem to be more white teachers than black, but I still applaud him for the effort.”
Now after seeing the Ali trailer. my conversation with LeBron’s teammate and the silence of Branson Wright made my antenna go up. I am now thinking Lebron and his crew are thinking of trying to use some of my Ali interview footage despite my copy right protection. I know for a fact there is limited original footage available for a two part documentary as they claim.
I have already been burned by Corporate America once (Washington Post) see https://sundaylongread.com/2018/01/28/inside-inside-sports-the-oral-history/
My interview footage is one of a kind, but a thief is a thief, especially when they think money makes them smarter than the black brother they just left behind. I not only know Muhammad Ali’s name but I know his history.
Coming soon to social media a one part slide show documentary titled,
“Uncovered & Uncrowned: Harold Bell & Muhammad Ali”
Introduction: George Foreman-Geraldo Rivera-Don King and Muhammad Ali
TOPICS OF DISCUSSION AND ALI’S RESPONSE IN OUR ONE ON ONE INTERVIEW:
Ali-The difference between a fighter and boxer (Photos of Joe Frazier & George Foreman)
Ali-The eyes of God
Ali-Our precious gift: Black women and children
Ali-Personal Goals in ‘The Game Called Life’
Bert Sugar-The Greatest
THE BROTHERS’ REFLECTIONS:
Roy Foreman-George’s state of mind in Zaire
Rahman Ali-Just the two of us
Closing: slow motion Sonny Liston-Joe Frazier-George Foreman
Theme song: Muhammad Ali
“Harold and I have a lot in common. He has persevered and stood fast for the principles in which he believes.” Muhammad Ali
“Harold if you had been white you would be a millionaire and they would have been calling Howard Cosell the white Harold Bell.” Ali Business Manager, Gene Kilroy
“Harold, I am the Welterweight Champion of the World today, because you were there when no one else was. Sugar Ray Leonard
“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)
“Harold Bell is the Godfather of sports talk—the good kind.”
Dick Heller (Washington Times)
“Harold Bell is the Heavyweight Champion of sports talk.”
Don King (Boxing Hall of Fame)
NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd was heard on the ESPN John Thompson sports talk radio show saying “Harold Bell maybe controversial but I have yet to hear someone call him a liar.”
“Birds of a feather flock together” GT Coach John Thompson and Cathy Hughes of Radio and TV One benefactors of Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports.
Let me remind Lonnie Bunch in the words of Dr. Harry Edwards the architect of “The 1968 Olympic Project.” The project spotlighted the raised black gloved fist of sprinters and medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos. They were protesting racism in America. He said, “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 the words of actor Jack Nicholson in the movie a Few Good Men, “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has named October 19th as Robert Hooks Day in Washington, DC in recognition and in honor of the DC Black Repertory Theater Company he found in 1971. The company and its alumni association and multi-media training institute will honor Ed Murphy and 11 other luminary leaders who were an integral part of the company during the two day celebration from Thursday thru Friday. The celebration will include an exhibition of 26 years of theater memorabilia that will be on exhibit on Thursday afternoon at Bus Boys and Poets located on the corner of 14th & V Streets, NW from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
The celebration will continue the following day Friday October 20th at the Lincoln Theater for a Gala tribute and awards celebration. Actor/producer Robert Hooks proves the old adage “You can always come home.” He returns to Washington, DC after almost an in and out four decades of now you see me and now you don’t. He returned to Hollywood in 1978.
Robert/Bobby is a native Washingtonian he grew up in the Foggy Bottom section of NW DC now known as Georgetown. A section of town he will hardly recognized as his birth place as well as his old haunts of the Nation’s Capitol (F Street—14th Street –U Street and Georgia and Florida Avenues).
Robert/Bobby and Murph were close friends and colleagues throughout the decades of the 70s. Everyone is aware of the story of how he came back home in the 70s with this grandiose ideal of starting a theater company but had no place for an office and workshops. It was then Murph stepped in and offered the use of his warehouse (free of charge). The warehouse was located next to his restaurant. “It was only then could we begin to recruit the local talent. Without this gracious and heartfelt gesture by Murph it would have been much more difficult to get the company off the ground,” Robert/Bobby says.
He remembers, their friendship was found and shared on their love for DC and its people. “We wanted to see the city make a strong comeback from the upheaval after the 1968 riots.” The present day 2018 upheaval was not what they had in mind (gentrification). If I had to describe the relationship of Murph and Robert in a movie title, it would be “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”—much like Paul Newman and Robert Redford, they had each other’s back.
Time always brings about change and in the 90s Murph constantly re-invented himself to rise up with even more creative and unique business ventures. His attitude was if one thing failed he had no problem in trying and trying again. He could go from Superman, to Batman to Spiderman in the blink of an eye. He was always ready for the next challenge and he never needed a phone booth to change into his next suit or uniform.
In 1992, he founded the African-American Business Association (AABA), which addressed the needs of small businesses in the heart of the black community. Long before President Obama told the Congressional Black Caucus to stop whining, groaning and complaining, he was telling the black community to stop complaining and practice ‘Self-help’ and support each other, but his shout-out was all about love for his people. Murph was black and proud long before soul brother James Brown’s classic “Say it loud—I am black and proud!”
Murph’s was a hustler and gambler and his street name was ‘8 Ball’. He seldom saw a pool table he didn’t like. I met Ed in 1965 my partner and mentor Ralph ‘Petey’ Greene introduced us. H Rap Brown, Petey and I were standing in front of Sam K’s Record store located at 7th and T Streets, NW on a bright sun shiny day. The three of us had just been hired by the United Planning Organization a community self-help organization as Neighborhood Workers in the Cardozo/Shaw Community. From that day on I watched Ed play the Game called Life by his own rules without fouling out.
I first became aware of the “Power Lunch” was in the 70s when DC’s In-Crowd would gather every day during the week at Ed Murphy’s Super Club for lunch on the Georgia Avenue corridor near the Howard University campus. You could find politicians, judges, entertainers, media personalities, athletes and everyday people sitting at the bar or at their favorite table having lunch. Petey and I would meet there several days a week. We made the restaurant our secondary office.
During the holidays leading up to my Christmas toy parties for the kids, Santa’s Helpers who had names like Black Danny, Slippery Jackson, Bob Wayne, Dog Turner, Phila. Jake, Zack, Shep, etc would leave toys or evelopes for my parties at the restaurant. Ed would joke he was going to start charging us rent.
One year Joe Nesline left an evelope for me with Ed. This was strange because he usually left toys or money at Billy Edwards’ boxing gym at 9th & S Streets, NW. During lunch one day Ed came over to the table to chit chat with me and Petey. He handed me an evelope and waited until I had open it. The evelope had five one-hundred dollar bills in it and a note from Joe saying “Merry Christmas.” Ed looked at me and Petey and said, ‘No charge.’ I think Joe’s visit was out of curiosity about Ed and the restaurant. The restaurant and Harambee House Hotel had become land marks in the Nation’s Capitol.
There were other black restaurants in town during that era, Sylvia’s and Billy Simpson’s but none could match the locker room camaraderie of Ed Murphy’s Supper Club—when you walked in you could feel the energy and everyone felt connected!
Face’s Restaurant was another Georgia Avenue landmark that came close to matching Murph’s supper club but in the final analysis it was still a distant second.
Murph, had no problem calling out politicians, ministers, business leaders to support each other. He was convinced if we spend just a portion of our 4 billion dollar annual income within our own community, we would be upholding the true meaning of Harambee (Swahili pulling together). He, was unlike today’s businessmen, ministers, politicians and community advocates, he was a man for all seasons and all people. He made an effort to be Inclusive instead of Exclusive.
It was nothing unusual to walk into the restaurant and see me having a “Power Lunch” with Boston Celtic greats Coach Red Auerbach and KC Jones, or Roy Jefferson, Jim Brown, Willie Wood, Bert Sugar, Spencer Haywood, etc.
Murph, also started the Annual Small Business Awards dinner, each year he honored small business leaders who were often overlooked. He was an advocate for small business. He coined the motto and creed for (AABA) “Spending our dollars where we create jobs and opportunities for others in our community”. Ed and Pearl became a team in—–and found the African-American Media Incubator which was the first African-American broadcasting school in the country.
Gentrification was not a part of their ‘Game Plan.’
Ed and Robert friends to the end–it was one for all and all for one.
Ed hit the jackpot in 1991 when he married Sharon Pearl Murphy. There was now a sheriff in town and she had his back. There many great community and business projects they collaborated on but founding the African-American Media Incubator (AAMI) was truly a milestone. It was the first African-American radio broadcasting school in the country.
On Saturday October 15, 2011 the legacy of Ed Murphy lived on as City Leaders met on the front lawn of Howard University Hospital. They re-named Byrant Street, N. W, “Ed Murphy Way.” He lives on now again as the DC Black Rep remembers him, a man who did it his way! Ed Murphy’s Supper Club was one of a kind much like the man himself.
P. S. There will be two more men receiving DC Black Rep Luminary Awards who touched me and inspired me to be all that I should be, my mentor and go to hell friend, Ralph ‘Petey’ Greene. I became a mentor to Darrell Saabs when I was on the football coaching staff at Cardozo High School in the late 60s. He was a first team All-Inter-High defensive back. Congratulations!
Who will save the babies—not the cops, politicians or the preachers!
Edward Matthew Glass again I want to thank you for that nugget of a phrase I found from you in my email. I could not have said it better—it was PRICELESS!
If you missed what he said about the worst kind of racism found in the black community. He said, “It is the kind of racism you have to fight off with one hand because the other hand is too busy writing trying to keep slave negroes (including family) from attacking me (behind my back) while I defend them.”
He hit a homerun with me. In 1970 on my successful sports talk show “Inside Sports” I coined a phrase I closed out my show every Saturday evening with. “Every black I saw was not my brother and every white face was not my enemy! I learned the hard way thanks to John Thompson, Sugar Ray Leonard, James Brown, Dave Bing, Adrian Dantley, Darryl Hill, Adrian Branch, Cathy Hughes, Chris Thomas, Cornelius Greene, Michael Wilbon, Jair Lynch, Kevin Blackistone, Bill Rhoden and Larry Fitzgerald, Sr. Each one of them came through Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports before their 15 minutes of fame. The common denominator after success, they all disappeared without a trace. And then there were the already made super-stars who faced racism despite their star-status and had to turn to me for help and support, they include, Jim Brown, Calvin Hill, Don King, and Doug Williams.
NFL runners Jim Brown and Calvin Hill smiling faces telling lies
What made me and Inside Sports different from today’s media personalities—I was a community personality and star all-around athlete when I hit the airwaves in 1965. It all started with radio talk show icon, Petey Greene. He was my partner and mentor. Petey gave me 5 minutes on his show, “Petey Greene’s Washington” every Sunday evening on W-O-L Radio to talk sports and the rest is sports talk radio history. Today’s black media personalities only become experts as it relates to the black experience after they are hired as a writer at the Washington Post, New York Times or become an reporter on one of the local TV channels. Check their backgrounds and track records for working in the war zones of the inner-city in the fight for civil and human rights before they became media personalities—you will come up with zero. Their only hands on black experience is walking and driving while black.
WR for the champion Virginia Sailors minor league affiliate Washingto Redskins
The real problem in the black community it is overrun with Player-Haters. They bring with them, envy and jealousy traits that run deep. Success of any kind experienced by another person of color whom does not sell-out and can think for one’s self are often seen as a “Trouble Makers!”
Far too many blacks think white folks hate them—the truth told is that white folks envy us and want to be like us! For example; the suntan lotion business is a trillion dollar industry and it is not because our cabinets and shelves are overrun with the product. Why do you thing big butts, big lips, big noses are the in-thing with white folks today? They take our soul and jazz music and claim it as their own. They even take our gestures, high fives, fist bumping, dance routines (NFL). Do you remember the big deal they made over The President and First Lady Fist Bumping on National television? They also take our radio sports talk formats “Inside Sports” aka Washington Post. Read below of how the Washington Post and its owner Katharine Graham stole Inside Sports while I was in studio doing my show. She liked the show so much she took it and I was only five minutes away with her sports editor George Solomon and Michael Wilbon, Dave Dupree, Donald Huff, Byron Rosen, Leonard Sharpiro in studio talking sports. No surprise this has been their mode of operation for over 400 years.
Washington Post sports editor George Solomon kneeling with sun glasses 2nd from right
This is letter I received from Katharine Graham’s son Donald as they were in the process of stealing my show tag Inside Sports asking for anonimity.
The problem is that we don’t like ourselves. When are we going to understand that the 1% are not going to volunteer to give their Power & Money to us (reparations or out of the realm of logical thinking in 2018). Those of you who think you have made it are in for a rude awaking. You can run, but you cannot hide behind those Gated Communities forever. It’s a given you will eventually have to come out and join “The Real World’ and when you do there is the possibility you or your children will encounter racism in the blink of an eye.
Racism comes in all sizes and colors the worst kind is an encounter with a white or black racist cop with a badge and gun on a lonely and dark road. The road can be in Rock Creek Park in the Nation’s Capitol, or a stretch on Lottsford Road in Prince Georges County or DaKalb County in Atlanta. When that scared cowardly cop gets out of his or her car and approaches your vehicle with their hand on their gun before he ask to see your driver’s license and registration the first thing he sees is your black face—you are guilty as charged with a DWB (driving while black).
You won’t have time to explain that you are from, Trinidad, Haiti, Jamaica or some other Caribbean Island and you are not black—too late. He has already determined who you are by your black skin (the big N). Racism/Police Brutality is American as Apple Pie. It is often said if you don’t know your history you are bound to repeat it. In 2018 we are repeating the 1800s. I am going to give you a quick History Lesson 101 as it relates to racism and police brutality in America. It all started during slavery when the slaves ran for their freedom and were chase by the slave owners with guns, dogs, whips, ropes and house nigras. Many slaves were caught and hung by their necks from the nearest tree. Today little has changed because the former slave owners became card carrying members of the KKK and they were the first to infiltrate today’s police departments all across the country. They found the FOP and the FOP is now the KKK.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser appointing troubled cop Peter Newsome as new DC Police Chief. His past history is of domestic violence and a known alcoholic. He was found in a DC street lying drunk with gun in hoster. Help is definitely not on the way in DC.
I spent 50+ years working in the streets in the District, Maryland and Virginia with police officers in each jurisdiction. I have seen “The Good, Bad and Ugly when it comes to cops”. My two brothers were law-enforcement officers. I was up close and personal as they experienced “The Thin Blue line and the Code of Silence” from their fellow officers while trying to be ‘Good Cops in the hood’ in corrupt departments (U. S. Marshall & DC cop). My best friend Andrew Johnson was a DC cop and homicide detective and he retired as a Supervisor with the DEA. My mentor Luke C. Moore the first modern day U. S. Marshall appointed by the President of the United States. We walked arm and arm with Willie Wood (NFL) during the 1968 riots on the U Street corridor.
Judge Luke Moore and Redskins LB Harold McLinton (Santa), WR Roy Jefferson and Hall of Fame LB Dave Robinson play Santa’s Helpers for needy children.
DC’s first black chief Burtell Jefferson meets Top Cop Sgt Earl ‘Bull’ Bell
Luke was later appointed as a judge for the DC Superior Court and maintained his relationship with Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports. During the late 60s I was a youth gang task force member with the DC Department of Recreation and Parks Roving Leader Program. DC’s first Black Mayor Walter Washington appointed former New York City Police Chief Patrick Murphy as his Public Safety Director. I was one of the Roving Leaders assigned to meet with Mr. Murphy once a month to discuss a strategy to overcome our gang problem. Patrick Murphy later became known as the “Godfather” of Police Community Relations in America.
Politico Magazine in 2014 published an article titled “PG County the Ferguson Next Door.” The article is about the lessons we should have learned from PG County’s History of Police Brutality (one of the worst in the country). In 2007 a young black man who was arrested for the hit and run death of a PG cop was found hung in his cell in a Upper Marlboro jail (on Chief Melvin High’s watch). A jail security guard was charged with conspiracy in his death.
I was overjoyed that my friend Federal Judge Alex Williams a regular on Inside Sports and a member of the Board of Directors of KIT was the sitting judge. He sentenced the jail guard to a year in jail for conspiracy. The real killers are still on the loose. Last year two cops from the PG County Police Department on appeared on Fox 5 News wearing a hood talking about the rampant racism in the PG County Police Department. Several months later another PG County cop appeared on NBC TV 4 news echoing the same concerns.
Former Federal Judge Alex Williams participant in a KIT Forum
The Chief Hank Stawinski claims “There are no racial problems in his department and requested the two officers to bring their complaints to him!” Fat chance, if these officers are scared of their own colleagues what chance do we have as black residents in the county and in this country? In 2016 I wrote an open letter and send it Priority Mail requesting a signature to Gov. Larry Hogan. My complain “Cowboy Cops” patrolling the streets harassing residents in packs of threes. I also challenged him to go to the Upper Marlboro Court House on any given Monday morning (Under Cover Boss). I suggested he sit in traffic court and count the number of blacks vs whites (8-1). I never received a response. His office confirmed he had received my letter.
Governor Larry Hogan–the buck stops at the top. No light at the end of the tunnel.
I also emailed Pastor John Jenkins of First Baptist Church of Glen Arden and asked him for his support, his response, “Dear Brother Bell, I feel your frustration, but I am in contact with our Chief of Police and our States Attorney and we are going to work through this. We must pray and keep the faith.” Recently two poorly trained cops were shot by a resident while trying to serve a warrant on the wrong home. Have we forgotten this same scenario took place in Tennessee several years ago where a husband and wife were watching the evening news on television in their home when police broke down the door in a raid of their home only to discover too late they had the wrong apartment! They were met with gun fire from the husband John Adams who was shot and killed. The white officers were 24 and 25 years old. Mr. Adams was 61 and black. A jury not representing the black community consisted of eleven whites and one black. No surprise they acquitted the white Lt. Steve Nokes who led the raid and the two white cops walked away free men to kill again.
Lets fast forward to Dallas, Texas and Renee Hall the black chief of police who claims she cannot fire officer Amber Guyger after she shot and killed 26 year old Botham Jean in his own apartment. He was unarmed—I will bet you Chief Hall has been brain washed with “It’s us against them” mentality. The next time a cop tells how dangerous their job is remind him or her they volunteered and they were not drafted.
It is amazing how silent the politicians, ministers and community advocates have become during these tubulent times of police shootings of unarmed black men in our community. It makes you wonder what Pastor Jenkins is talking about with the Governor, Chief and States Attorney? We can measure if a change is going to come when our New County Executive takes office in November. Her top priority should be change at the top of the PG County police department. If there is no change–things will remain the same and the cops will keep shooting and we will keep ducking!
https://blackmeninamerica and purchase my new book “The Legends of Inside Sports: My Walk Through Sports History with Champs & Chumps!
Book signing Sunday September 30th @ Q Ball’s Billiards 7945 Central Avenue, Capitol Heights, Md. 6 pm until 8 pm
With Muhammad Ali looking over our shoulders Robert and me are seen hanging out at a local gym on one of his recent visits back home to DC.
The DC Black Repertory Company was to celebrate its 47th Anniversary the weekend of September 14th in Washington, DC. The founder actor, producer and director, Robert Hooks a native Washingtonian was to be front and center. The tribute was cancelled due to a state of emergency declared by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser pertaining to Hurricane Florence. The tribute was long overdue, but will be re-scheduled later in 2018.
Profile: Robert Hook’s career as a producer and political activist in Washington, DC is second to none. He is most recognized for his over 100 roles in films and television to include, Reeve Scott in Hurry Sundown (1967), Mr. T. in the blaxploitation film Trouble Man (1972 musical score by Marvin Gaye stole the show), grandpa Gene Donovan in the comedy Seventeen Again (2000), and Fleet Admiral Morrow in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
He also appeared on television in an episode of the NBC crime drama series The Eddie Capra Mysteries in 1978 and portrayed Doctor Walcott in the 1980s television series Dynasty. Robert has been regarded, as a gifted artist who broke the color barriers in stage, film and television before the term “colorblind casting” even existed, and he was a leading man when there were no African American matinee idols. He originated roles on the New York stage in such classics as Dutchman, A Taste of Honey and Where’s Daddy, for which he won the Theatre World Award. He was the first African American lead on a television drama, the original N.Y.P.D. with one of my favorite actors, Karl Malden. In 1968 he was the host of a new public affairs television program, titled “Like It Is.”
The golden nugget of his career was in 1967 when he and Douglas Turner Ward found The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC). The NEC is credited with the launch of the careers of many major black artists of all disciplines, while creating a body of performance literature over the last 40 years, providing the backbone of African-American theatrical classics. Additionally Robert is the sole founder of two significant black theatre companies: the DC Black Repertory Company, and New York’s Group Theatre Workshop, built to mentor the talents of New York’s disadvantaged youth.
He was nominated for a Tony for his lead role in the musical, Hallelujah, Baby!, Robert has received both the Pioneer Award and the NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement, and has been inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. He also won an Emmy for his PBS special “Voices of Our People”.
Proving that an apple does not fall too far from the tree, it was 46 years ago that Robert’s son Kevin got his first taste of Hollywood starring along side of Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson in the critically acclaim movie “Sounder.” The movie was based on a novel of a young boy living with his sharecropper family when his father is imprisoned for stealing a ham. To make matters worse his dog runs away. The dog is later reunited with his master (Winfield). One night the two leave the house to go hunting. The dog returns home without his master. The son (Kevin) goes to look for his father and finds him dead. The dog later crawls up under the porch and dies.
Kevin now carries the titles of actor, writer, director and producer, but after the dog he gets mixed up with a sick cat. Here he stars as a 10 old year name JT in a television episode on the CBS Children’s Hour. The episode won a Peabody Award. Kevin graduated to television with a series titled, White Shadow, and Aaron Loves Angela. He is now producing and directing for NBC. His signature and credits can now be found on shows like, The Color of Friendship, Sarafinaskin, The Power of One, Cry Freedom, Roots, The Gift, Heat Wave and strictly business.
In a recent interview on Inside Sports, Robert reminded me that “Little Kevin” got his first taste of pro boxing when I organized a bus trip to the Baltimore Civic Center to see the pro boxing debut of Sugar Ray Leonard. Ray was facing the undefeated Luis ‘The Bull’ Vegas (no contest). Kevin was a 18 year old senior at Potomac High School in Prince Georges County. He was the youngest among the in-crowd of adults on the bus who were just excited as he was to witness the boxing debut of Sugar Ray Leonard–how time flys.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dya-RNZlflI / You Tube Legends of Inside Sports
Jimmy Hooks the brother of Robert is seen on the dance floor with me looking like we could dance at a charity basketball game at Howard University.
My celebrity fashion shows, tennis tournaments and annual Christmas Toy Drives for needy children, Robert was in the house.
In 1979 I suggested to Robert it was time to cut his losses and head back to Hollywood to start the second act of his career. I coordinated “The Going Away Party” at the Charpter II Club in SW DC and the in-crowd was in the house, Jim Vance, Carole Randolph, Roy Jeffeson, George Nock, Sonny Hill, Martin Wyatt, Judge Luke Moore and the Welterweight Champion of the World–Sugar Ray Leonard.
This weekend tribute will kick-off Friday at 1:00 p. m. at the Wilson Building with the DC Mayor and City Council proclaiming it “Robert Hooks Day” in Washington, DC. He will probably be given the key to the city which will probably have double locks on every door. The evening will conclude with a VIP Reception at Bus Boys & Poets located at 14th & V Street, NW. The celebration continues on Saturday evening at the Lincoln Theater with a Gala of Stars saluting Robert. He will share the spotlight and tribute with former repertory board members and COMMUNITY activist and two of his buddies, the late radio and television icon Petey Greene and businessman and entepreeur, the late Ed Murphy. Robert credits Ed with the survival and success of The DC Black Repertory Theater.
Murphy was known in the streets as “8 Ball” and he and Robert were joined at the hip. Ed Murphy’s Supper Club and the Harambee House Hotel located on Georgia Avenue, NW were the playgrounds for the DC in-crowd. This is where “The Power Lunch” was coined and established. Between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm you could find politicians, pro athletes, actors, entertainers and media personalities hanging out between the hotel and the supper club.
There were the likes of Ossie and Ruby Davis, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Harry Belaforte, etc. When I say “Playground for the stars” that maybe an understatement. I remember when Robert torn ligaments in his knee and Petey Greene and I paid him a visit at the Washington Hospital Center late one evening. We walked into his room and there were ‘The Wilson Girls’, legendary vocalist Nancy Wilson and Mary Wilson of the Surpremes reading him a bedtime story. They were a tough act to follow. We immediately said, ‘Goodnight Robert!’ On the way down we met Ed Murphy on the way up.
There are hundreds of stories in the Nation’s Capitol as it relates to Robert Hooks and the DC Black Repertory Theater. This week’s tribute could never record all the sacrifices made by one of DC’s finest who has comeback home from Hollywood for this great weekend tribute—CONGRATULATIONS Robert Hooks.
P.S. see reviews for new book “Harold Bell’s Legends of Inside Sports: My Walk Through American Sports History With Champs & Chumps!” @https://blackmeninamerica.com
ALERT: TRIBUTE TO ROBERT HOOKS HAS BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL NOVEMBER. DC MAYOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY. HURRICANE FLORENCE AN UNINVITED GUEST IS EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE!