Jack Johnson exhibit visit Charles Houston Community Center in Alexandria, Virginia. L-R Co-host and boxing legend Tony Suggs-HB & Hattie T-Gloria Ortiz and daughter-James Henson, Sr-Julius ‘Juice’ Gatling
DC Youth Advocate Lawrence Brown joins Aaron Snowell at the Ridge Road Community Center in SE DC during the Jack Johnson exhibit.
Will Williams and Aaron Snowell meet SE Dream Center Director Ernest Clover
Dream Center Assistant Director Tina Henderson sharess WBC Community Service Award with center youth.
In the 80s and 90s, I remember watching CBS on Sunday Mornings with host Charles Kuralt. He traveled the country interviewing people from all walks of life, it was not only entertaining television, but it was also enlightening and educational television. Meet Aaron Snowell without the television format during much the same thing with the Jack Johnson exhibit. He travels the country with his side-kick Will Williams and Johnson’s niece, Linda Haywood trying to educate the masses.
In February Aaron made a stop here in the Nation’s Capitol visiting community and recreation centers to spread the word about the first and greatest heavyweight boxing champion of all time. I know the first name that comes to your mind is Muhammad Ali–meet Jack Johnson. In December 1908 Johnson knocked Tommy Burns out to become the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World.
There were similarities, when Johnson knocked out Burns in 1908 he stood close by yelling for him to get up. Muhammad Ali seen in a similar pose in 1964 after his first round knockout of Sonny Liston, yelling “Get up sucker!”
It took 97 years for Jack Johnson to be granted a pardon that he asked President Woodrow Wilson for while he was serving a 10-month stint at Leavenworth prison in 1921. On Thursday, May 24, 2018, President Donald Trump finally answered that letter, granting Johnson a full and unconditional pardon for his 1913 conviction of a crime that amounted to traveling with a white woman. As Johnson sat in prison to serve a one-year sentence for violating the Mann Act. Even the attorney general serving under Wilson at the time had reservations about the case since the Mann Act was intended to punish human trafficking — not consensual relationships.
By all accounts a model prisoner, Johnson sent his pardon application to President Wilson in February 1921, but by the time it got to the White House Warren G. Harding had been sworn in. And for a brief moment, it looked like the Harding administration might actually grant it.
Harding’s attorney general, Harry M. Daugherty, told reporters he “might consider” a pardon for Johnson. He changed his mind four days later. The mere suggestion of a pardon had provoked an angry reaction.
“Do you know his crimes against white women?” read one letter, discovered by The Associated Press in the National Archives in 2011. “Why pardon the negro Johnson who should have 50 years in prison for his crimes against white women?” read another. The file was then closed for another 83 years.
Many thought President George W. Bush would grant Johnson a pardon, but it never happens. President Barack Obama elected the first black President of the United States surely would be a slam dunk to pardon the first black heavyweight champion of the world. The only slam dunks President Obama cared about were the ones found in pick-up games with his boys on a basketball court. His boys, Michael Jordan, and Charles Barkley.
The pleas for a Presidential pardon evidently fell on deaf ears. The pleas came from biographers, boxing champions, senators (Senator John McCain was very vocal), journalists, historians, actors, and musicians. Eight years later President Obama never looked back as it related to a pardon for Jack Johnson, his next stop, “Show me the money!”
Ultimately it was actor Sylvester Stallone, his conversation with Trump about the Johnson case led to just the third posthumous pardon knowingly granted by a president.
President Trump shows signed pardon given to former Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson. Johnson great-niece Linda Haywood looks on with approval. WBC Heavyweight Champion Deotay Wilder, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, Actor Sylvester Stallone (facilitator) and former heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis are in attendance.
Aaron takes his show on the road again as he takes the Jack Johnson exhibit to Montebello, California for the National Boxing Hall of Fame Inductions. This year’s inductees include former World Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko, 4th Division World champion, Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales and former Middleweight Champion, Winky Wright.
He then makes a U-turn and heads back to New Jersey for the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday, June 23rd. The inductees will include an all-star lineup, Bernard Hopkins, Roberto Duran Sr, Virgil Hill Sr, Mickey Ward, Iran Barkley, Tim Witherspoon Sr, Bouie Fisher, Butch Lewis, Jimmy Binns and a host of other honorees. Charles Kuralt would be proud of the Aaron Snowell Road Show with Jack Johnson, the Greatest of All-Time.
Dave Bing and Earl Monroe go one on one NBA style
ESPN’s airing of “Black Magic” chronicling the rich history of black basketball in America was a buzzer beating jump shot to win and a controversial foul call at the end of the game to lose. It was also the most watched documentary in the history of ESPN television. The first segment aired in 1.2 million homes beating the old record of 1.1 million.
The four hour two-part television show carried black basketball from the playgrounds, high schools, colleges and on to its final destination—the NBA. This brought full circle the hopes and dreams of most black athletes, a life in the fast lane of professional sports. For some it was their only way out.
The show’s title, “Black Magic” was the footprints in the sand of the man who revolutionized offensive guard play in basketball—Earl Monroe. He is also a part-time magician. I found the show to be enlightening and educational even though I lived most of it as a student/athlete. I played football and basketball for the legendary Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines at Winston-Salem State. During my era (59-63) I was the only athlete under 6’5 he permitted to play two sports. Tim Autry and Emit Gil my football teammates could not chew bubble gum and dribble at the same time but they were tall. He called Tim and Emit “My Special Effects.”
Earl and Bighouse participate in The Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Show
Winston-Salem greats: Cleo Hill and Earl Monroe
My freshman year I scored 27 points in a losing effort in the annual Alumni vs. Varsity basketball game. My friend and mentor the legendary Jack DeFares had returned to Winston-Salem to finish work on his degree. He lobbied for me to play for the shorthanded alumni. It was easy to see why Jack was a New York playground legend and an All-Time great at Winston-Salem. He simply said, “Keep your eyes on the ball and follow my lead.” His slick ball handling and moves to the basket was responsible for me leading both teams in scoring. Bighouse knew I could do two things well, catch a football and score on a basketball court. But he made it clear that year he had only one basketball and it belonged to Cleo Hill. Like it or not I had to wait my turn. I satisfied my basketball hunger for the game by playing at the local YMCA and on the Inter-Mural team on campus called the “DC 5.”
I was in a unique position at Winston-Salem State I was there to compare three of the greatest players to ever play for “Bighouse,” Jack DeFares, Cleo Hill and Earl Monroe up close and personal.
I was there for the return of Jack DeFares, I was there for the departure of Cleo Hill and I was there to witness the arrival of Black Jesus better known as Earl “The Pearl” Monroe among other names.
Black Magic participants Al Attles and Earl Lloyd were two of my friends. I was in Landover, Maryland when Al and the Golden State Warriors upset and beat another close friend K. C. Jones. The Warriors beat the Washington Bullets in four straight games to win the NBA Championship. Al and K. C. made pro sports history by becoming the first two Black Americans to face-off in a pro sports championship final.
I was there also to encourage the late great legendary Red Auerbach to step in support Earl Lloyd’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The NBA had overlooked his career. Thanks largely to Red the Basketball Hall of Fame finally inducted him in 2002 as a contributor. He was the first black to play in the NBA.
The CIAA barely beat the NBA. Fifty years after graduating from West Virginia State they finally pulled his number for induction into the CIAA Hall of Fame in 2000. Thanks to an assist from Bighouse Gaines.
Hopefully, Mike Wise of the Washington Post was watching ESPN and received an education on who was the first and last word when it came to “The Improviser” of guard play in the NBA. Mike and his colleagues are the best examples on why we need to celebrate Black History 365 days of the year. If we don’t our youth would believe that “Pistol Pete” Maravich revolutionize guard play in the NBA.
Mike wrote those exact words in his column during the NBA All-Star Weekend. Pete was a great player in his own right. As Black Americans we must be careful of what we read and who we read. I will be looking for his column saying “I made a mistake” but I am not holding my breath.
The enlightening stories for me, started with Perry Wallace, Athletic Director at American University and the first black to play at Vanderbilt University, the perseverance of NBA player Bob “Butter Bean” Love and without a doubt the hidden story that Ben Jobes was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. Coach Jobes’ accomplishments and basketball success stayed under the radar of major media for decades. ESPN’s Black Magic made it perfectly clear he could have easily been a success on any level, but was denied recognition because he was black.
The real story of the NBA lynching of Cleo Hill by the St. Louis Hawks was long overdue. In Black Magic there was mention of Cleo being the greatest player of his era. He could have been the greatest player of any area where he was allowed to play.
Cleo had every shot imaginable. He is the greatest offensive basketball player I have ever seen with the exception of Washington, DC’s Elgin Baylor. He was “Michael Jordan” in North Carolina long before Michael Jordan. Jordan didn’t really blossom into a great offensive ball player until the pros. Cleo was a basketball icon and legend on Tobacco Road long before his pro career. To believe it you had to be there to see him. When Cleo played you would have thought the ACC Tournament was being held on the campus of Winston-Salem State. White folks traveled from all over the state to see him play.
Cleo Hill was worth the travel time and price of admission. There were times when our own students could not get into the games. There was nothing Cleo could not do on a basketball court. His offensive arsenal consisted of left and right hand hook shots, set shots, a jump shot from any and everywhere, a great rebounder when he needed to be, he was fearless driving to the basket and he was an 80% foul shooter. Cleo could dribble the ball up court to break the press. He was no slough on defense either, when “Bighouse” needed someone to stop the other team’s hot shooter, he looked no further than Cleo or teammate Tommy Monterio.
Cleo was drafted No. 1 by the St. Louis Hawks in 1961 and everything was uphill from there. When he arrived in St. Louis the KKK better known as “The Nest” was waiting for him. The “Nest” consisted of players Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and Clyde Lovellet. They did everything but string him up by his neck. When Coach Paul Seymour took a stand against “The Nest” the owner Ben Kerner fired him. When Cleo returned to campus to finish up his classes to graduate after his rookie year he was a beaten man. He would come around to our room and sit and talk with my roommate Barney Hood and me for hours about life with the St. Louis Hawks. His story was something out of the 1800’s. Little has changed black men are still having their ideas and goods stolen and are asked to go in the backdoor and side doors to re-claim them. Spooks are still sitting by the door opening it for some and closing it for others.
When we start to talk about the injustices of the sports establishment you have to look no further than Coach John McLendon. White coaches led by the legendary Dean Smith stole his ideas and made them their own. The basketball establishment led by the white media had fans believing for years that Coach Smith invented “The Four Corners.” A strategy devised by Coach Mac to take time off of the clock in the closing moments of a game while sitting on a lead.
How can you vote one of the greatest innovators of the game into the hall of fame as a contributor? Check the records and see if Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith have Contributor before or after their names. In all fairness if Coach Mac is a Contributor than every coach who followed James Naismith into the hall of fame is also a Contributor.
The word “Contributor” needs to be changed, as it relates to Coach Mac and Earl Lloyd. If history is the judge “Brothers and Sisters” in media will see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and write no evil.
Johnny McLendon was definitely “An Officer and a Gentleman” he was in a class by himself when it came to having a compassion for helping others. Johnny Mac was a pleasure to be around. He is one of the best examples on how one can be a class-act and black folks will Player Hate on you anyway. Barney Hood and I would often talk about Coach Mac and how he would always be uplifting when talking about his friends and former players. Fairness is a lesson that never seemed to have rubbed off on some of his colleagues.
The man many of us called “Big Daddy” when others called him Bighouse would sometimes forget we were watching him. He could be very selfish and self serving. Bighouse had a big heart but he could also be heartless. He went ballistic when his friend and colleague Coach Tom “Tricky” Harris of Virginia Union hired a white coach, Dave Robbins (in-focus). Coach Gaines and Harris were poker pals and shared a lot of basketball history. When his buddy hired a white coach he felt betrayed. Bighouse slowly burned when CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry (out of focus) and his cohorts hijacked the conference right before his eyes. Some of the things he said about his colleagues and student/athletes made many us wonder whether he really liked himself. None of us escaped his wrath including me, Cleo and Black Jesus.
In many ways we have taken on the characteristics of the establishment. When it comes to fairness it is becoming a lost art in the black community. We have also become more exclusive instead of inclusive. Black Magic for example; How were the contributions of icons Sam Jones (It is rumored he wanted to get paid), Spencer Haywood, Curly Neal and last but not least Red Auerbach and Walter Brown of the Boston Celtics be overlooked?
Sam Jones is in the NBA Hall of Fame and voted as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest, he could have easily added more insight. His mentors were two of the greatest coaches of all time, Johnny Mac and Red Auerbach. Without Red’s contributions “Black Magic” would still be out of focus and a dream deferred. Spencer Haywood’s contribution turned the plantation mentality of college basketball and the NBA into a “Pay Day Heaven” for today’s NBA players.
In a landmark decision Spencer successfully challenged in court and won his case to enter the NBA draft before graduation. He became the first ever NBA Hardship case. Every NBA player making over $5,000 owes him a debt of gratitude. He should be in the NBA Hall of Fame and a member of The 50 Greatest Players ever, for his play on the court and his legal battles in court. He was working in the community long before the NBA CARED and he put the POWER in Power Forward. He is being Black Balled by the NBA for standing up to be a man in America and for his alleged drug use. If drug use is one of the measuring rods used for his induction, than the hall should be almost vacant. One of the show’s characters, drug dealer Pee Wee Kirkland is a New York Playground basketball legend and former Norfolk State player. I saw some his best customers in “Black Magic.” Curly Neal is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and his name is synonymous with the internationally known Harlem Globetrotters, he was also out of focus in Black Magic!
How could Black Magic forget New York basketball icons Pop Gates, Jack DeFares and Carl Green?
Sound bites we could have done without: Some things are better left unsaid, playground and NBA Broadcast legend Sonny Hill describing former Tennessee State and New York Knicks’ guard Dick Barnett was definitely out of focus. He said “Dick Barnett was a functional illiterate.” Dr. Dick Barnett graduated from Tennessee State and now holds a PHD Degree.
ESPN NBA studio analyst and Winston-Salem State alumnus Stephen A. Smith and basketball scrub was blackballed from the show for stepping on “Superman’s Cape.”
Bighouse Gaines was having trouble winning games at the end of his career (828 wins) Smith writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer made the mistake of calling for his firing. He has been out of bounds and out of focus ever since. What is my excuse for being out of focus? I walk and march to a different drum beat.
The Atlanta Child Murders captured the imagination and the attention of the entire country from 1979 until 1981. Will Packer Productions aired the first one of three documentaries in March. The documentary re-opened the investigation and will try to bring some closure to many families who feel the real killer or killers are still out there.
This case was just a footnote in Atlanta history, until the national spotlight shined its bright light back on this horrific crime. The Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms last month announced plans to re-open the case and that the Atlanta Police Department will use technological advances to re-test the Atlanta Child Murders evidence.
The documentary tells the story that began in 1979 when two 14-year-old black boys went missing. Several days later a woman discovered their bodies. One boy was shot and the other was choked to death. This incident started a grim and horrifying 23 months, with a total of 28 black children and men were murdered and no one had a clue. Will Packer media will produce this documentary with Jupiter Entertainment.
Packer executive produces this documentary with Kelly Smith, Harrison Land, Mike Sheridan, Allison Wallach, and Pamela Deutsch. This case remains one of our countries’ most perplexing mysteries, and at ID we are proud to shine a light on every angle of this largely forgotten story,” said Schleiff. Will Packer’s vision to revisit this national tragedy through the never-before-heard perspective of the victims’ families bring home the true devastation.”
“Having lived in Atlanta for over 20 years, the story of this senseless tragedy is personally important to me, and the echoes of what happens 40 years ago still resonate in the city,” added Packer. I am proud to give a voice to the victim’s families, many of whom still seek closure to this day, and analyzed how this story is more relevant than ever in today’s environment.”
Where were you in 1979-1981?
My path to Atlanta started in 1965 when I was hired by the self-help community organization UPO ( United Planning Organization). The CEO Jim Banks hired three Neighborhood Workers for the Shaw/Cardozo community. He hired the legendary radio and television personality, Ralph ‘Petey’ Greene, the legendary civil rights activist, H Rap Brown and yours truly.
In 1968 I was caught in the middle of the worst riot in the history of my hometown. I was an employee of the DC Department of Recreation & Parks’ “Roving Leader Program.” The program was an elite group that addressed the problems of youth gangs and at-risk children. During the riots, I was given a badge (deputized) by DC Assistant Chief Timon O’Bryant the city’s highest-ranking black law-enforcement officer. The badge allowed me to cross the police and military barricades set up around the city’s trouble spots. My role was to try to keep the peace. Chief O’Bryant was the original ‘Officer Friendly!’
After the tear gas, smoke and dust had cleared the streets of the city, I married my wife Hattie in November of 1968. She was also caught in the middle of riots while teaching at Cardozo High School located in Shaw/Cardozo the worst hit corridor in the city. In December 1968 we found ‘Kids In Trouble” our non-profit organization hoping to really ‘Make Children First’ and we did.
Child victims in the dangerous streets of Shaw/Cardozo during the 1968 riots.
‘Boys in the Hood’ participate with ‘Officer Friendly’ Charlie Robinson in a uneasy truce after the riots.
The late Redskin LB Harold McLinton is Santa’s Helper at a Kids In Trouble toy party for elementary school children.
In 1969 I was honored with a Presidential appointment by Richard M. Nixon.
President Nixon welcomes Hattie and me to the White House. We visit the Nixon Library in 2017 fifty years after I first met Nixon at the all white Burning Tree Golf Course in 1957. I was a caddy and he was the Vice-President of America.
In 1970 I found the first ever half-way house established for juvinile deliquents on a military-installation on Bolling AFB in SE DC.
In 1972 I became the first black to host and produce my own radio sports talk show, ‘Inside Sports’ in Washington, DC. NBA Legend the late Red Auerbach is my co-host.
In November 1975 I became the first black to host and produce my own television sports special in prime-time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4. My special guest, The Greatest, Muhammad Ali.
In 1980 I was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine making me the first ever sports media personality honored in the history of the magazine.
Hattie and I were both concerned about the black children losing their lives in Atlanta. We decided to combine all of this high profile notoriety on my 40th birthday to raise monies for the victims of The Atlanta Child Murders. The fundraiser was held at the in-crowd Foxtrapp Night Club in NW DC. Radio and television personalities, pro athletes, judges, and everyday people helped me raise over $1200 for the Atlanta Child Murders’ fund.
Televison anchor Maureen Bunyan (TV 7), Lark McCarthy (TV 5) and radio personality Donnie Simpson were some of the participants at the fund raiser.
My hat is off to Mayor Bottoms and Will Packer for not forgetting to make our children “FIRST” and having the courage to re-open this important unsolved piece of history in Black America. This is another example; if we don’t stand for something we will fall for anything.
Take note it was a Podcast and Will Packer Productions that lead the way to re-open the case and not mainstream media.
In the 70s, 80s and 90s Inside Sports lead the way in seeking the truth in our community via radio and print.
“Harold, congratulations, your archives are valuable and should be given the broadest possible exposure. Your discs and videos of your programs belong in the new Smithsonian Institution of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). A wing of the new museum will be dedicated to the struggle in sports and will be titled “Leveling the Playing Field”. Your work was a major force over the years in leveling the playing field, especially in terms of the struggle to define and project “Our Truth.” Dr. Harry Edwards
“Until the lions hire their own PR team, the glory of the hunt will always go to the hunter!” Thanks, Will Packer.
If Mayor for Life Marion Barry had heeded my advice “The Bitch Would Have Never Set Him Up. The Eye Witness to the conversation was police officer William Stays. Marion’s last stop on the way to jail was W-U-S-T Radio/Inside Sports to apologize. He said, ‘Harold Bell I should have listen to you.’ The Eye Witness, DC Boxing Commissioner the late Dr. Arnold McKnight. The Beat goes on and on.
50 YEARS LATER HAROLD BELL & INSIDE SPORTS STILL NO. 1
Black Men in America.com the on-line magazine is ranked No. 6 among the 50 most read on-line black websites in America.
The No. 1 blogger and most popular search engine is HAROLD BELL. He ruled sports talk radio in the 70s, 80s and 90s in DC.
The Top 500 Sites On The Web (African American Communities) Alexa an Amazon Company
Bet.com – Network programming schedule for the BET network.
Blackplanet.com – A community for African Americans, that provides an interactive forum with chat, photos, games.
Blackamericaweb.com – African American perspective on news, travel, entertainment, business, technology, and sports.
Dallasblack.com – Featuring Dallas/Ft.Worth African-American community events, businesses, scholarships, job post.
Africanamerica.org – Intelligent. Black. Community.
Blackmeninamerica.com – Black Men In America.com is one of the most popular online magazines in the country.
Cityalert.com – CityAlert.com is one of the leading online destinations for Urban trendsetters.
Mybrotha.com – Online magazine dedicated to providing information, education and entertainment resources.
Blackvoices.com – African-American community offering news and entertainment and cultural resources.
Blackhaven.yuku.com – Online forums dedicated to ETHNOcentric discussions of issues pertaining to the African diaspora.
Top Keywords from Search Engines
Which search keywords send traffic to this site?
Percent of Search Traffic
1. HAROLD BELL
2. african american spending habits
3. black consumers
4. black yacht club
5. all in one master tonic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAZVZjGeYpY / H Bell profile
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk0Tfng1g1w / Ali Uncovered
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nygALb50FV4 / Geraldo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEC9hX3jQVo / Don King & Sugar Ray Leonard
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swmNaP76IEA / White Privilege in America
Harold Bell’s legacy in cement
He campaigned and successfully got two pro athletes inducted into their hall of fames after they were blackballed.
*Willie Wood (NFL Hall of Fame 1989)
*Earl Lloyd (NBA Hall of Fame 2003)
*He campaigned and successfully got Jim Brown (NFL) an early release from jail in 2000 (Domestic Violence) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk0Tfng1g1w
When Stanford University fired head coach Johnny Dawkins in March 2016 in the middle of March Madness, it was then I knew that college sports and its administrators were out of bounds. I was really upset because I thought Johnny would coach at Stanford forever or leave for the NBA on his own terms (I no longer wish the NBA on him).
This story is re-visited because the last time I saw Johnny was the summer of 2015 at Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, DC. I was the restaurant’s in-house/outhouse historian. I remember it was a bright sunshiny day and I was standing out in front of the restaurant waiting for my next group of clients. I suddenly looked up to see a group of young men coming toward me. As they approached I asked, “Where are you guys from” and several young men proudly said, ‘Stanford University!’ I said to myself, ‘That sounds familiar.’ I looked through the rainbow of faces and spotted the smiling face of Johnny Dawkins. I was surprised and caught off guard because all I knew was I had a group at 1:30 pm, but I never checked to see who they were and where they were coming from.
The Stanford basketball team poses with restaurant owner Virginia Ali
I grabbed Johnny’s hand and said, “Johnny where in the hell did you come from?” He laughed and said, ‘California and we are headed to Europe for a little vacation before school starts.’ I then escorted him and his team to the backroom to have lunch and talk sports and discuss the history of his hometown.
During the discussion, I talked about Johnny’s legendary status among DC’s basketball elite. Those words were hardly out my mouth when he said, “If I was such a legend why didn’t you invite me on ‘Inside Sports?’ I was lost for words. Until he said, ‘Its okay Harold, I forgive you.’ I still cannot understand how I missed having him on Inside Sports. When I named my All-Time DC Basketball Legends All-Star team last year (1950-1975) he missed the cut by three years.
The most impressive thing about Johnny’s visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl was that I discovered on his staff there was another Washingtonian, Charles Payne, Jr. He was the grandson of my mentor Everett Payne, Sr. His father Charlie was the son of one of the greatest all-around athletes to come out of DC. Mr. Payne’s nickname was ‘Cookie’ to his followers and admirers at the historic Langston Golf Course located directly across the street from Spingarn High School in NE DC.
Mr. Payne was a father figure not only to his sons, Everett was better known as ‘Doc’, Carrol better know as ‘Skeezie’ and youngest son Charles, but he was like a father to guys like me who had no father.
Mr. Payne wore many hats, he was one of the first black DC cops hired by the DC Metropolitan Police Department in the early 50s. He walked a beat in the rain wind and snow. Blacks were not allowed to ride in cars until years later.
He moonlighted as an assistant coach on the staff of Spingarn High School. The Head Coach Dave Brown had no problem allowing parents and others outside of the system to volunteer. Mr. Payne was also a scratch golfer (shot under par) and taught golf at the Langston Golf Course. He taught me how to run a down and out pass pattern. The pattern made me unstoppable and a First Team All-High player. He also kept me out of Coach Brown’s doghouse when I would bark too loud for the ball. There were several coaches who wanted to banish me from the team, but ‘Cookie’ saved me.
My hero Everett ‘Cookie’ Payne, Sr. and his crew: son, Charles, grandson Mookie, son, Skeezie and grands.
Johnny Dawkins made me proud when I discovered that Charles, Jr. better known as ‘Mookie’ was on his staff. Johnny was not only a great athlete and great coach, but he was also and is a better human being. As a young man, you could see he had his priorities in order. He had no problem in pulling other homeboys along with him as he moved up life’s ladder of success. This is seldom done with other DC success stories. Too many let success handle them and they seldom handle success.
DC basketball legend Johnny Dawkins and Charles Payne, Jr., brothers in the struggle leading by example.
As a native Washingtonian and basketball legend to me, Johnny was a “Quiet Assassin”. He was unlike the great trash talking in your face jump shooter extraordinary Willie Jones, but the end results were the same. They both were winners.
DC Playground Legends (1950-1975): There was Elgin Baylor and then there was Willie Jones
Johnny Dawkins “Basketball Assassin”
Aubrey Dawkins “The next Johnny Dawkins?”
I think Johnny had known since high school that the most important game being played in the world was not football, basketball or baseball—it was the Game Called life-it was here he became a Super-Star. He played by the rules and played with the hand that Duke and Stanford Universities had dealt him–the hand, academics and not jump shots were the rule.
Johnny played basketball at Mackin Catholic High School several blocks from Ben’s Chili Bowl, before enrolling at Duke University. He would become the team’s all-time leading scorer with 2,556 points, which stood until 2006 when J. J. Redick surpassed it. In Dawkins’ senior year at Duke, the 1985–86 season, the Duke Blue Devils attained a won-lost record of 37–3, which was an NCAA record for both games played and games won in a single season. They reached the 1986 NCAA championship game, where they lost to Louisville, 72–69. In his senior season, Dawkins averaged 20.2 points per gameand won the Naismith College Player of the Year Award, presented to the nation’s top Collegiate Basketball Player. He also served as an alternate on the 1984 United States Olympic basketball team. He graduated with a degree in political science.
His jersey number 24 was later retired. Johnny was also given a number of honors, including being named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men’s basketball team honoring the 50 greatest players in Atlantic Coast Conference history and being named the 78th greatest player in college basketball history by The Sporting News’s book, Legends of College Basketball, in 2002.
In the 1986 NBA Draft, Johnny was the No. 1 pick of the San Antonio Spurs the 10th pick overall. He appeared in the 1987 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, where he finished sixth out of eight. He ended up playing in the NBA for nine seasons, also playing for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons. In his NBA career, he averaged 11.1 points, 5.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds.
Stanford Athletic Director, Bernard Muir was quoted saying after he fired Johnny, “This decision was not easy, and it was a very difficult discussion for both Johnny and me, but like everything else during his tenure at Stanford, he handled it with class, respect and the utmost concern for his student-athletes…There are so many great things that Johnny was able to accomplish including, he improved the graduation rate, achieving an Academic Progress Rate of 1000, an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and two NIT championships. The student-athletes Johnny coached during his tenure at Stanford represented the University with class and humility.” You would have thought with such a glowing resume the university would have extended his contract for at least another eight years, but instead, they fired him with two-years left on his contract!
Stanford women’s coach Tara VanDerveer was quoted saying, “I don’t believe they can hire a better man. He’s a fabulous person. He is a class act in everything he does. … Quite honestly, he handled it better than I did. I was really upset. … I love him, and we’ll miss him terribly.”
Johnny woke up the next morning unemployed and I know that didn’t feel very good. But honestly, when was the last time you heard that level of admiration and accolades for a guy who had just been fired? He had a lot to be proud of.
The early names associated with the opening was his Duke backcourt teammate Tommy Amaker. Tommy was the logical choice and the only guy on the list who was prepared to handle the academics at Stanford. He made the right decision, he is still the head coach at Harvard University another academic challenged institution. After witnessing the charade of firing Johnny his decision to remain at Harvard was a no-brainer. Jerod Haase was finally hired to replace Johnny.
Coincidentally, Johnny Dawkins and Tommy Amaker were born and raised in the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia). Johnny is a native Washingtonian and Tommy was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. It was hard to believe they both played in the same backcourt for legendary Duke University coach, Mike Krzyzewski! Johnny arrived before Tommy and was the designated ball handler, shooter and leader of the Duke Blue Devils. Tommy arrived later and was made the point guard and in your face defensive stopper. Johnny was made the designated shooter and success followed.
After his nine-year NBA career Johnny returned to Tobacco Road to work as an assistant coach for eight years at Duke before he was hired by Stanford.
He and his staff were surprised by how difficult admissions were at Stanford, but the transition was smooth and his eight years as head coach, there was never any hint of short-cuts to academic success for his athletes. He was in many ways a great fit, as indicated above by the comments from his colleagues and friends. Johnny Dawkins was solid, but it was not an easy job–Far from it.
“We are Family” Coaches Johnny D and Coach Mike K
After the lost Johnny could be heard in the locker room consoling his players. You could hear them crying and sobbing in the background. He told them “We are in tears because we have invested so much in each other. I love you guys. It has been amazing in coaching this group. I am proud of you. You left it all on the floor.” He reminded them, ‘I had been in the same exact situation when Duke lost to Louisville 72-69 in the NCAA finals in 1986.’
Lost in the loss to Duke was how a father and son teamed up to give us one the most exciting finishes in the NCAA run to the Final 4 so far in 2019. The son Aubrey scored a game-high 32 points and the father coached the best game in the showdown between the pupil and his mentor.
I counted 5 straight missed free throws in the closing minutes that cost UFC the game. UFC had a dismal free throw percentage entering the game, 64%. It’s hard to coach free throws. You can bet free throw practice will be at the top of Johhny’s list of “Things to do” heading into the NCAA basketball regular season in 2020. The UFC battle cry after the game, “Family on three–Family on three.”
Thank you, Johnny Dawkins, for keeping it real and being a Super Star in the most important game being played in our community in 2019, ‘The Game Called Life!’
Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones kneels with players during the national anthem
Former Dallas Cowboy broadcaster Dale Hansen says, “Jerry Jones changed for the worst and I didn’t know him anymore.” He quit his Dallas Cowboy radio job and teamed up with ESPN’s Stephan A. Smith to shame the owner.
AN OPEN LETTER TO DALLAS COWBOY OWNER JERRY JONES!
Dear Mr. Jones,
On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, your friend and former employee sportscaster Dale Hansen was in Washington, DC to receive a Life Time Achievement Award from the Radio-TV- Digital News Foundation. I had never heard of Dale Hansen or the RTDNF until a friend brought them to my attention in February of 2019. Mr. HANSEN’S commentary “White Privilege” had gone viral. My friend claimed he sounded much like me when I ruled sports talk radio here in DC during the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
In his commentary, Mr. Hansen admitted he had been a benefactor of white privilege. He claimed he had eleven jobs in his life and had been fired from eight of them and he moved up the job ladder after each firing. In the black community, we have always felt there was White Privilege, but we had never heard anyone own up to it—until Dale Hansen. I Googled his previous commentaries (60+) to check for consistency and I found there were similarities to my commentaries written back in the day. The only difference, I was far from being a Benrfactor of White Privilege or Black Privilege.
Mr. Hansen did not make his debut with his segment of “Unplugged” until 1993 twenty years after ‘Inside Sports.” My format changed the way we talk sports in America and around the world. Inside Sports has been stolen and copied by hundreds of radio, television and print “Fake News” media organizations including the Washington Post. See link to hijacking below. https://sundaylongread.com/2018/01/28/inside-inside-sports-the-oral-history/
Washington Times legendary sports columnist the late Dick Heller said, “Harold Bell is the ‘God Father’ of sports talk–the good kind.”
NBA Legend the late great Red Auerbach shares a laugh with tennis great Jimmy Connors via telephone with wife Dotie on Inside Sports.
Mr. Jones, according to the dictionary “Plagiarism” is defined as the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own, to me that sounds like Dale Hansen. But I collected myself and said, ‘Sour Grapes’ and I wrote him a letter congratulating him on admitting he was the benefactor of White Privilege. I also mailed him a copy of my new book titled, “My Walkthrough American Sports History with Champs & Chumps.”
Several days later I received a telephone call from Mr. Hansen with the following message, “Harold this is Dale Hansen in Dallas, I lost your phone number when you called the other day. I finally tracked through your notes to find it. Sorry I didn’t get back to you. Your stuff is fantastic to read about, everything you have done makes my stuff a little bit of peeling off the cover of White Privilege seem rather insignificant. I hope this message gets to you, Dale Hansen, thank you, thank you, sir.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swmNaP76IEA
I was a little surprised there was no update letting me know he was going to be in DC a few days later and no attempt to call me after he had arrived just to say, “Hello.”
It looks like he called his partner in crime Stephan A. Smith after the fact (after his telephone message to me) to inquire about me—too late. What is it they say about a guilty conscience? “It is the part of your mind that tells you whether what you are doing is right or wrong.” Meet Dale Hansen and his guilty conscience.
Mr. Jones, a reliable source from ESPN told me that he and Stephan A. Smith conspired in a smear campaign against you and the Dallas Cowboy organization to satisfy their own egos. It looks like they aimed too high. Smith is a well-known loud mouth liar who claims he played basketball for Winston-Salem State and my mentor the late Clarence ‘Bighouse’ Gaines. I am an alumnus of Winston-Salem and I played football and basketball for Bighouse. Mr. Smith came behind me, but according to Coach Gaines he could not play ‘Dead.’ He never got off the bench (check his scoring average during his college career 0.1).
Mr. Smith held a grudge against Coach Gaines for many years. Bighouse was the No. 1 ranked living coach in NCAA basketball wins before the flight of the black athlete to Division One schools. During a bad stretch at the end of his career, he had a difficult time winning games. The black talent pool was no longer available.
Stephan A. Smith used this opportunity to call for his firing. Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe, Timmy Newsome, me and several other high profile athletes called Smith out. He disappeared without a trace and backed down and apologized. This BS about how much he loved Coach Gaines is for the birds.
I am in Chicago receiving the first ever Bighouse Gaines Community Service Award. I lived with Coach and his family after I flunked out my freshman year.
Congratulating Bighouse on his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Winston-Salem State University alumni, the late Carlos Terry (NBA), Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe (NBA) and former Cowboy Timmy Newsome (NFL) are among the celebrity participants in the 1982 Inside Sports/Kids In Trouble Celebrity Tennis Tournament in Washington, DC
Stephan A. Smith ESPN’s No. 1 clown shows up in Dallas to call out the Cowboys and its owner Jerry Jones.
Dale Hansen’s acceptance speech during the awards’ ceremony was full of “Fake News”. There is one thing that I detest is a liar and a hypocrite and Mr. Hansen are both. During his acceptance speech, he leaned on and includes his granddaughter hoping this will solidify his hypocritical life and past. He wants us to believe that he does not write for a check or awards–he writes for his granddaughter. He made sure that everyone knew his granddaughter was black.
In one of his commentaries, he writes that you had a problem signing all-world wide receiver Randy Moss, because of his checkered past but was quoted saying, “All the rich white men in Dallas and Cowboy fans would have shot black Cowboy players, Pac Man Jones (thug) and Greg Hardy’s (Domestic violence) ass through the glass if they had shown up on their doorsteps for a date with your daughters.” What a hypocrite, like he knew his daughter was sleeping black and approved!
He closes saying, “I hope my granddaughter will be the recipient of a better World than the one I grew up in.” Dale Hansen, it could be a better World, but a better world all starts with her grandfather telling the truth.
In closing, Dale Hansen and Stephanie A. Smith are the bearers of Fake News in sports media. Mr. Jones, I wish you well and many more championships. God bless.
Harold K. Bell
Washingtonians of the Year: Redskin QB Joe Theisman shares the honor with me.
This scene brought back painful memories–many described it as a chapter out of a slave auction.
President Trump has a full house of props. Omarosa Manigault, Ben Carson and Lynne Patton.
For those of us who are familiar with black history, politicians have been using black props for over 400 years. We first appeared at the slave auctions, but in modern times this latest prop-up by the Republicans was the worst that I can ever remember. Especially, with social media and a camera and microphone in every nook and cranny recording our every move. Their strategy backfired as it should have.
The appearance by Lynne Patton reminded me of how the white slave owners use to bring their designated slaves to the auction block for sale. For those of you who think going through an airport security check is an ordeal, its a cake walk compared to what slaves had to endure on the auction block. Patton was treated similarly to the slaves–she was not allowed to speak.
It is nothing unusual for most white folks who are in power to have favorite blacks on their jobs or in their community that they can point to and say, “she or he is my friend!” This as close as it gets to be called a “House Nigger.”
I have been there and done that in the political arena in Washington, DC. I went from a NE outhouse in 1940 to the Pennsylvania Avenue White House in 1969 as a guest of the President of the United States of America. How did I get there?
My wife Hattie and I visited the White House in 1969 as a guest (Prop) of President Richard M. Nixon and Attorney General William Rogers. Nixon much like Trump was under fire as a racist President.
In 2017 Hattie and I visited the Nixon Library and Museum in Yoba Linda, California. The Library was on our “Bucket List” of things to do. February 2017 marked 50 years since I first met the President in 1957 at Burning Tree Golf Course. The visit was a wake-up call for me. There were few black visitors (mostly Asians) and black faces on exhibit were few, far and in-between. It was Black History Month so there was a photo of Rev. Martin Luther King and President Nixon together (Prop) at the entrance of the museum. I had to search for other blacks in the administration it was almost like looking for a needle in a haystack. There was a photo and a video presentation by Bob Brown (HNIC).
I was really disappointed not to see any mention of my friend Arthur Fletcher (Prop) a real warrior for civil rights in the Nixon administration. He was the Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Arthur was known as the Godfather of “Affirmative Action.” He put his life on the line several times traveling from union city to union city. He faced hostile white union leaders who didn’t want to hear anything about Affirmative Action and threaten his life if he didn’t get out of town.
There were no photos or mention of my mentor, White House Communications Director Herb Klein (my go to guy). He was the most honorable man I met in the Nixon White House. His honesty would cost him his position in the administration when Watergate hit the front pages of the Washington Post. President Nixon felt Herb could not be trusted to go along to get along and he left quietly. I had lunch with Herb years later (early 80s) at Union Station here in DC. He was in town on newspaper business representing the San Diego Union-Tribune. The hurt was still there. He was loyal to Nixon and I could tell he felt betrayed.
Herb was headed to New York City for another meeting but before he boarded the train he said, “Harold Bell I am proud of the way you used me and the administration to help your community. You were a bright light for this White House and you should send your newspaper clippings and your memorabillia to the new Nixon Library in Yoba Linda so that they can put them on display. I will mail you an address and contact person when I get back to San Diego.” He boarded the train and that was the last time I saw Herb Klein. He was true to his word and mailed me the address and contact person for the new library. Herb died July 2, 2009 in San Diego of heart failure (broken heart). I mailed my newspaper clippings and memorabillia to the address and contact person as Herb had suggested and I received the ‘thank you’ letter seen below.
Needless to say there was nothing on display saying “Harold Bell lives here!”
In 1994 Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan) proped me up again in the Congressional Record on the House Floor to recall my relationship with the late President Richard M. Nixon.
The list of black props who found their way to the Richard Nixon White House reads like a Who’s Who in Black America: Sammy Davis, Muhammad Ali, James Brown (soul brother No.1), Duke Ellington, and Jim Brown (NFL). Jim is the richest prop ever. He recently accepted a 50 million dollar check from Trump disguised as “Prison Reform.”
My journey to the White House started in Kings’ County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York in 1938. My mother Mattie was a country girl from Sumpter, SC. She was six months pregnant with me when she decided to follow my father Alfred (Papa Was a Rolling Stone) Bell a native Washingtonian and playboy to the Big Apple.
Two years later she found her way back home to DC alone with me. My father had officially become a “Rolling Stone and where ever he roamed was home!” Some way somehow she found a one bedroom shack and an outhouse on Douglas Street, NE. She would call this shack, home. One year later the shack had burned to the ground. One cold morning with me sleeping (she thought), she left me with my dog Billy to go to the corner store for bread and milk. When she returned fire engines were all over the street and I was sitting in the yard crying with Billy standing over me. Evidently, one of us had knocked over the kerosene lamp. The firemen had no clue how I managed to get out of the house and the dog refused to talk.
My mother took me to Grandma Bell’s house where my older brother Alfred Robert had already claim residence.
Amy Tyler Bell aka Grandma Bell, matriarch and my hero. The three tall guys in the back are my brothers, Alfred, Earl and me. Next to me is cousin Carole and her sister Ronnie standing in front of her and cousin Tommy standing on the right next to Grandma Bell.
Grandma Bell laid the foundation for her grandchildren to be of high character, to include, honesty, integrity and always tell the truth because a lie will change a thousand times but the truth never changes. The best advice I ever got.
The grandchildren spend a lot of time in Mount Airy Baptist Church located in the shadows of the Nation’s Capitol on North Capitol and L Streets, NW. My great-grandfather the Rev. Alfred Tyler Bell laid the first brick to build the church in 1893. The Tyler House a senior residence one block north of the church is named after my great-uncle the Rev. Earl Tyler.
In 1945 my mother came to gather her three boys up that now included my brother Earl. She was working at the General Accounting Office as a clerk typist and had qualified for public housing in a NE housing project called Parkside. Before heading out to our new home Grandma Bell made her an offer she could not refuse. Mother could take me and Earl but Alfred the oldest would continue to live with Grandma. Earl and I cried our eyes out because we wanted to stay with grandma also. It was deal or no deal–done deal.
The move to Parkside ended up being a great move for Earl and me. We were free at last from the apron strings of Grandma Bell. The celebration didn’t last long, two years later our mother had lost her good government job. It had something to do with “the last hired-the first fired.”
It was an uphill battle to survive after that. Earl and I became juvenile delinquents. We both were trying to go to hell in a hurry. Mother had already visited my middle school twice about my unruly behavior. Yet she received another note from Principal William B. Stinson. This time he warned her if I didn’t get my act together I would not live to get out of high school. My younger brother William Sterling Bell was born before Earl and I had graduated from middle school bringing the total to three knuckle heads in the house.
To help my mother make ends meet I started to carry groceries on the weekends at the Safeway food store on the other side of the railroad tracks that separated the black community from the white community. Earl and his crew of bandits started to do strong-arm robberies and hit cash registers left unattended in the H Street NE corridor.
I remember one evening mother had gone out to play cards somewhere in the neighborhood. Earl and I were left to babysit our younger brother William. There was no food in the house and we were hungry. William must have been 3 or 4 years old. We put him to bed and told him to stay there until we got back. It was a Wednesday or Thursday night and we headed to the Safeway to see if we could earn a few dollars to get something to eat. We both knew our chances of earning some money on a weekday evening were slim and none.
I entered the store by the back door and Earl entered by the front door. As luck would have it the store was pretty crowned. We walked around the store for a few minutes asking customers if they needed help, but there were no takers. We then stuffed lunch meats and cheese into our coats and pants. We disappeared into the night with our dinner. As we were approaching our railroad track exit to the other side a cop car jumped the curb and cut us off. Two white cops jumped out screaming with guns drawn “you two niggers hold it right there” and we did. They threw us in the back of the car and pulled off with sirens blasting. We were scared as hell as one cop held his gun on us the entire ride.
When the cop car pulled into the 6th District Police Station on Benning Road NE. Earl and I had put our ill-gotten goods under the back seat of the car. We figured someone had seen us and snitched. We were hustled into the station and found this little old white lady waiting to identify us, but she screamed at the top of her lungs, “Those are not the two niggers who snatched my purse.” Nigger never sounded so good. The cops pushed us out the door and told us to walk our black asses home. As we were taking a shortcut through the woods known as G Man Diamond it struck us that our food was still under the seat in the police car. We circled back on our hand and knees and got our food. We were now happy to begin the journey home with our bellies full and our lives intact.
My mother later became a housing project entrepreneur and started to sell bootleg liquor and dinners on the weekend. Poker games (cards) were added to the weekend entertainment at 715 Kenilworth Terrace, NE. She would cut five-cents on every dollar won and that could really add up to a great weekend of profits to include dinners and alcohol sold. Things were looking good as the money started to roll-in at Club 715. I had made the transition to Spingarn High School by then.
I never gave up my job of carrying groceries at the Safeway on the weekends and my brother Earl was still causing havoc on the H Street NE corridor.
Mother was doing well at Club 715 and she added a number book (today’s lottery) to her project repertoire. There was a number backer in the nearby community called Deanwood and it was there Mr. Billy Jackson was Lord and King. My mother was lucky when it came to hitting the numbers. She could dream a number one night and hit it the next day. Mr. Jackson thought it best to give her a book for the projects.
Her heart was as big as the housing project and anyone with a sad story she would help them out financially–bad move. Envy and jealousy followed and suddenly the cops started to raid our house in the wee hours of the morning–someone was snitching. My brothers and I watched as our mother was led from our home in handcuffs while we sit on the steps crying. She would always look back and say, “You kids go back to bed I will be back in time to get you ready for church in the morning” and she always would return as promised. But it took a toll on her and she had a nervous breakdown and would spend the next 30 years in and out of St. Elizabeth’s a mental hospital. During that time she was away from home we had to fend for themselves. My younger brother William was taken in by our next door neighbors Ms. Winniefred Powell and sons, Gaylord and Sonny. Earl was shipped off to juvenile detention by a DC Juvenile Court Judge and my new home became my Aunt Doretha’s parked car and my Aunt Evelyn’s basement (both were my mother’s cousins).
Against all odds her four boys still made an impact in their community;
The Bell boys: Harold-Mommy B-Earl and Alfred
Robert Alfred Bell would graduate college and work for 20 years as a United States Marshall.
Sgt. Earl “Bull” Bell
He would graduate from Spingarn high school and become a Military Policeman in the U. S. Army and an All-Army Heavyweight Boxing Champion in Germany. He returned home to become a DC Top Cop for 14 years rising to the rank of sergeant against all odds (Thin Blue Line & Code of Silence) before an untimely automobile accident ended his career and eventually ended his life.
“Bull Bell” U. S. Army heavyweight champion working out on heavy bag
William Sterling Bell
aka Puddin/Billy/Tyrik served in the U. S. Army and was a lead photographer for boxing promoter Don King.
Harold Bell / Athlete–Pioneer-Youth Advocate-Hero-Author
In 1965 after chasing unsuccessfully my dream of playing in the NFL I returned home to DC. The United Planning Organization hired three Neighborhood Workers, my mentor Petey Greene who would later become a legendary radio and television talk show host, Civil Rights icon H. Rap Brown (Chairman of SNCC) and me. In the summer of 1965 on the campus of Howard University, I would meet The Greatest Muhammad Ali. We would become lifetime friends. See DVD interview from 1974
In 1968 I walked the streets in the Cardozo/Shaw community the worst hit during the riots. I had nothing but a DC police badge for protection as I tried to save young lives. The riots nearly destroyed my hometown. When the tear gas and smoke had cleared I found my non-profit organization, Kids In Trouble, Inc. My wife Hattie and I coordinated 45 straight years of Christmas toy parties for needy children without grants or loans. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and the NHL have all copied my reach-back community programs. NFL great Willie Wood and NBA great Dave Bing were the first pro athletes to join the Kids In Trouble team in 1968.
In 1971 I organized the first Celebrity Tennis Tournament for the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend at the Hilton Hotel on Connecticut Ave. NW. On Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC, I found the first ever half-way house for juvenile delinquents on a military installation. I crossed over on both sides of the political aisle to make it happen.
Military history: Department of Defense teams up with DC government to open a half-way house for juvenile delinquents on Bolling Air Force Base. As a DOD Domestic Actions coordinator, me and Bolling base chaplin, Col. Charles Reider spearheaded the project.
Hattie and I honor Senator Strom Thurmond on his 90th birthday
Nike rep Laura Brown and I present Congressman Walter Fauntroy with a pair of running shoes to help him prepare for his next run for Congress.
In 1971 CBS/NFL Films video tape first ever promo for national television.
Washington Redskin and NFL MVP RB Larry Brown and LB Harold McLinton teach water safety at the Kids In Trouble Saturday Program as I look on.
In 1972 I became the first black to host and produce his own radio sports talk show in the Nation’s Capitol on W-O-O-K Radio. My Inside Sports talk show format is now copied around the world.
NBA legend Red Auerbach co-host Inside Sports
In 1974 Congressman Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) cited me in the Congressional Record on the House Floor for my work with at-risk children and youth gangs in DC.
In 1975 I became the first black to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 in Wahington, DC. My special guest, The Greatest Muhammad Ali.
In 1980 Washingtonian Magazine named me “Washingtonian of the Year.” The honor made me the first sports broadcaster ever recognized by the magazine.
“Washingtonians of the Year” Redskin QB Joe Theismann and I shared the honored
In 2010 Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton honored the late boxing historian and Washingtonian Bert Randolph Sugar for his work with Kids In Trouble. On Saturday March 19, 2011 she declared “Bert Randolph Sugar Day in the Nation’s Capital.”
Hattie T, Bert and HB celebrating his day in DC
The benefactors of Kids In Trouble/Inside Sports before their 15 minutes of fame read like a Who’s Who:
John Thompson Georgetown basketball/ the first black to win an NCAA Division One basketball championship. Before Thompson’s 15 minutes of NCAA basketball fame when he could not win a game I gave him 5 minutes to promo Georgetown basketball on W-O-O-K Radio every Monday.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson co-hosting KIT toy party with Washington Redskins at the Twin-Bridges Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Future Georgetown coach John Jr. seen under his father’s right elbow looking up to him. Santa’s helper Redskin Harold McLinton in white cap standing behind John.
Georgetown players led by Captain on left Merlin Wilson help serve the children.
Sugar Ray Leonard won Olympic Gold in 1976 but didn’t have two pennies to rub together. He lost his self-esteem after his hometown media called him out for having a baby out of wedlock. He refused to come out of his house until Harold Bell was asked by his trainer Janks Morton to intervene. I became his mentor. Results; the first pro boxer to earn 100 million dollars.
Boxing Roundtable: Sugar Ray Leonard, HBell, Don King and Larry Holmes
James Brown NFL/CBS Studio host, I welcomed him to be a part of the Kids In Trouble/Inside Sports team when he was nothing but a Xerox salesman. He was the host for his 9th Super Bowl in 2019. His hometown newspaper The Washington Post proped him up in a front-page story in the sports section leading up to the Super Bowl. The story was titled, “Black Santa” in February, Black History Month, “he went along to get along.” He has definitely forgotten.
Michael Wilbon, Washington Post/ESPN/when he joined the staff of the Washington Post as a writer and columnist he sought my advice and I gladly gave it. He lost his way and according to his two-faced colleague John Feinstein he is the biggest ass kisser in sports media and from my up close and personal relationship, he is also the biggest liar–he forgot.
Cathy Hughes, owner of Urban Radio & TV One / She was a receptionist at WHUR Radio when she asked me to be a “Big Brother” to her son Alfred. She made a deal with the owners of the Washington Post, Katerine and son Donald Graham to sell out the community for a piece of her “Pie in the Sky.” She forgot.
Dave Aldridge, Washington Post/TNT/The Atlantic– a nice guy who is in over his head. In 1987 in his debut as a Washington Post sportswriter he followed his colleagues and became a contributor on Inside Sports. He didn’t forget, but he thinks I trash pro athletes whom he considers “Sacred Cows” aka John Thompson!
Doug Williams, in 1986 was introduced to me by his friend Grambling alumnus the late Bob Piper. Bob said, “Harold Bell will protect your back from all the DC Free Loaders!” In 1988 He became the First black QB to win a Super Bowl and MVP–he forgot.
Tim Baylor, Kids In Trouble benefactor, Cardozo High School and Morgan State graduate. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts and also played for the Minnesota Vikings. I was a member of his wedding party and named the Godfather of his first child. He later told a friend in a social gathering, “You know Harold Bell is stealing money from the kids!” This is a brother that became an entrepreneur after his NFL career owning several McDonald’s restaurants but still never brought a toy to a Kids In Trouble Christmas party or sent a kid to camp or college. KIT has never received a grant or donation, whose money was I stealing? Baylor now lives in Minnesota and for the past 10+ years he has disappeared without a trace.
Tim Baylor receiving KIT Community Service Award during KIT Celebrity fashion show.
Dave Bing, up close and personal during his high school and playground basketball days. In his face and jock strap from one end of the court to the other end. After being named “NBA Rookie of the year”, it was during a chance meeting at a DC restaurant, I congratulated him and he said, ‘Harold Bell you help prepare me for the NBA.’ He came back and then forgot our high school coach Rev. William Roundtree.
Adrian Dantley, I alerted him that his sports agent David Falk was using his money (several million) to invest in his own personal projects. He had to go to court to get his money returned. He never said, “Thank you” or donated a toy to KIT.
Adrian Dantley receiving KIT Community Service Award from TV 4 anchor Fred Thomas.
Cornelius Greene, DC Dunbar High School and first Black QB at Ohio State. Kids In Trouble/Inside Sports paid tribute to him and his teammates and Coach Woody Hayes at the Shoreham Hotel in DC. I gave him his first experience in broadcasting. He was my broadcast partner at RFK Stadium for the DC Public High School championship game. The game was broadcasted by W-O-O-K radio. He forgot and became a con man and shakedown artist.
L-R Coach Woody Hayes, Cornelius Geene, Woodrow Roach, Archie Griffin, Lenny Willis and HB.
Other benefactors with selected amnesia and two-faces: Olympic gymnast Jair Lynch / NFL Lamont Jordan / NBA Adrian Branch / NBA Olden Polynice/ Michael Jackson’s Publicist: Raymone Bain /ESPN Kevin Blackistone / Actor Robert Hooks / Federal Judge Alex Williams.
My entire career in sports talk radio spent on the AM dial, the weakest signal in the radio format. Despite that obstacle, I was able to campaign successfully to get two pro athletes inducted into their hall of fame after being blackballed. NFL great Willie Wood of the Green Bay Packers was finally inducted in 1989 and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd was inducted in 2003.
I combined my radio format with my political contacts to get several playground legendary athletes released from jail early. They were DC playground basketball legends Bernard Levi, and Jo Jo Hunter and NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.
The benefactors of Kids in Trouble/Inside Sports number in the thousands, but there are few who standout like Lonnie Taylor that makes the time spent worthwhile. Lonnie was a Hillcrest Saturday Program participant. He later became the first black chief of staff for a white congressman on Capitol Hill. See his letter dated August 1, 1989.
In 1974 sports columnist J. D. Bethea of the Washington Star-News wrote a column titled simply “Harold Bell,” ‘If success is measured in terms of financial reward, here is a man who hasn’t made it. But there are hundreds of inner-city kids who will vouch for the success of Harold Bell. He may be the only black guy living who ever grew up in a ghetto, in real poverty, but never learned to play the game, that great American pastime.
Everybody plays the Game to some degree. That is what success is all about. Playing the Game. Being alternately malleable and assertive with the right people at the right time. Bell never learned. If he had, given his drive and single-mindedness of purpose, he would probably be dangerous (Spook who sat by the door).’
Gene Kilroy Muhammad Ali’s business manager said something similar, he said, “Harold if you had played the game you would be a millionaire and they would have been calling Howard Cosell the black Harold Bell.”
Others have given similar advice, but I look around me and see millionaires that came through me or by me and I look at their selfishness and their selected amnesia of who they are and where they came from and I still say, “Hell no to playing the game!” How can one play a game where no one is playing fair but the underdog?
The common denominator these guys share, they all started out as decent human beings. The problem, success handled them and they didn’t handle success. Fortune and fame in the black community is often our worst enemy and not white folks. I base my success on the premise I saw human beings and not Republicans or Democrats or black and white, still I never said I was color blind!
If I had to come back this way again I would not make any changes, simply because my peace of mind is not for sale.
Important Foot Note: Even though I say that the Inside Sports talk format changed the way we report and talk sports in America, sometmes I wonder. And then I heard this guy Dale Hansen out of Dallas, Texas. He not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk. When I heard his commentary on how he walked away from the radio broadcast team of the Dallas Cowboys (America’s team) I was stunned. He told one of the NFL’s most powerful owners, Jerry Jones, “I thought you were a good man, but I don’t know you any more.”
I started to check him out on You Tube. His commentaries on White Priviledge were off the chart. I have often said, “some white folks don’t know that they are racist, but how can they know when they have never walked in my shoes.” This guy sounds like he has been there and done that. He writes commentaries like my friend the late great WRC TV 4 anchor Jim Vance once did. There are the sounds of a rhyme and rhythm to all of Hanson’s commentaries. I am a fan and I hope he keeps lighting up the airwaves. My opinion his commentary on the hiring of Pac Man Jones is one his best. Dale Hansen is living proof that I was correct in how I closed my talk shows when I coined the phrase in 1972, “Every black face I saw was not my brother and every white face I saw was not my enemy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8rZmPENqU4/