Four decades later, Harold Bell is still making children first (1981-2021)!
Recently there has been talk about dropping or cutting back athletics in the D.C. public schools for the obvious reasons: personal cutbacks and a lack of available money to support the programs.
I hope it doesn’t happen.
For many of our inner-city youngsters, participating in athletics is still to some extent the main avenue to a better way of life. And the D.C. public schools have produced a long and distinguished list of student-athletes who have gone on to bigger and better things, in sports and other professions.
Many of these men and women, black and white, are now doctors or lawyers or professional football, basketball and baseball players. They used athletics and didn’t allow athletics to use them. There are thousands of success stories.
I’m not just talking about people like Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Maury Wills and Willie Wood, who are some of the city’s all-time great athletes. I’m also talking about Cecil Turner of Spingarn, who played for the Chicago Bears in the early 1960s and now is a special agent for the FBI, and Dick Drummond, a former all-Met running back from Wilson who is now a doctor, and Craig Anderson, who went from Anacostia High School to pitching for the New York Mets and now works as the business manager at Le-high University.
Let me tell you about another athlete, a young man whose junior high school principal, William B. Stinson of Brown Junior High School, once predicted would not live to finish high school.
That athlete went on to play football, basketball and baseball at Spingarn High School, but it never came easy.
During his senior year, his mother was hospitalized after a nervous breakdown and he and his three brothers were separated from each other, scattered to other families around the city.
The athlete literally lived in the streets, sleeping in cars and washing in public restrooms, carrying all his possessions with him because everywhere — and nowhere — was his home.
Many times he thought about dropping out of school, but because he was an athlete, because he loved the challenge of competition, he stayed in school.
The athlete was always in hot water with his coaches. Baseball Coach Leo Hill kicked him off the team because the athlete thought he was Willie Mays, trying to do it all himself. Football Coach Dave Brown once locked him on the team bus at halftime of a game against Phelps because the athlete chewed out his quarterback for not throwing more passes his way. Basketball Coach William Roundtree dropped him from the team for a selfish and self-centered attitude. He always wanted the ball when the game was on the line–he plays the Game of Life with inner-city youth the exact same way.
The athlete found himself playing musical chairs with his education. He transferred to Eastern High School and then to Fairmont Heights high School in Prince George’s County, where he finally graduated. But he always stayed in touch with his old football coach, Dave Brown, at Spingarn. And Brown talked Clarence (Big House) Gaines, the legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach at Winston-Salem State, into giving the athlete a scholarship.
The athlete, if you haven’t figured it out by now, was me, and everything that’s happened ever since — most of it good — I can honestly say I owe to the D.C. public school system and its athletic program.
By Harold Bell, recently named the 1980 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine for his work with DC youth. He is also the host of a radio sports talk show, “Inside Sports.” Washington Post May 17, 1981
He was a footprint in American Education: Joe Clark dies at 83/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUWyTT0nX_c
When my wife Hattie and found our non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. in December of 1968 we never thought we would be hosting this endeavor for 45 straight years without grants or loans.
Chief Zee and All-Pro NFL WR Roy Jefferson would lead the way as Santa’s Helpers for thousands of kids from the District, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) who benefited from our annual toy party for elementary school children (1968-2013).
Kids In Trouble, Inc. was the first to encourage, pro athletes, politicians, judges, law enforcement, entertainers, radio and television personalities to reach back into the community to enhance the growth and development of inner-city children. On these pages you can meet some of those who became Santa’s Helpers in the DMV and beyond.
FIRST WE WERE SCAMMED OUT OF “40 ACRES AND A MULE” NOW AARP AND CELEBRITIES HAVE JOINED THE SCAM–ITS MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT!
My wife Hattie and I had a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Peter Swaby for close to two decades, starting in Bowie, Md in the early 2000s and ending the relationship in Suitland, Md in 2021. The relationship ended when he forgot to make his patients ‘First!’
There are three professional relationships one needs to thrive and survive in Black America, one is a good doctor you can trust, a lawyer you can trust and a honest auto mechanic you can trust! The operative word is–Trust. If you have all three, it is like hitting the lottery in the Game Called Life.
Once upon a time I had all three in Washington, DC, my doctor was Ben Jones (Urologist), Luke Moore lawyer/judge, and a brother named Joe Smith who lived in Ft. Washington, Md. We were friends and beyond, we had each other’s back and we trusted each other.
Ben Jones died of a heart attack playing golf, Luke died of a heart attack while shoveling snow for a next door neighbor in Atlanta and Joe just disappeared!
I received a statement from Dr. Swaby’s office making a claim that I owned $347.74 for two outpatient office visits. One was for 03/22/21 fee: $173.00, the second claim was for 04-28/21 Fee: $173.00. I immediately brough the billing error to his attention via email–he never responded! Another bill was mailed to me with the same identical claims.
In my October 3rd response, I wrote,
Hi Dr. Swaby, This email is in reference to “Bogus Bills” out of your office addressed to me: Claim filed: Medicare DC 3729-20 03/22/21 99213 OFFICE/OUTPATIENT VISIT, EST $173.00 3729-21 04/28/21 99213 OFFICE/OUTPATIENT VISIT, EST $173.00 I addressed this bogus billing out your office several months ago without a response. Your claim I was no longer covered by Medicare was also a bogus claim. You never lose your Medicare coverage despite supplementary insurance. Common sense would have told you I would not change health insurance and leave my wife in the same one we had for the past two decades? You like many other doctors are in bed with “BIG PHARMA” and it has become one scam after another, all in the name of a dollar bill. Their reps walk in and out of your office like they own the place. There are so many reps in and out of your office they need a traffic cop. I received a report from a staff member at the Bowie Senior Center during the pandemic you left a patient in her 90s in one of your rooms for over an hour while you met with BIG PHARMA reps. I don’t appreciate the disrespect you have shown me and other seniors as it relates to this bogus billing. If you want respect you have to give it. If you don’t respond I will deal with you like I deal with other frauds in our community via “Social Media Spotlight!”
Dr. Swaby’s response in letters dated to me November 4, 2021;
FAN LETTERS TO INSIDE SPORTS THREE DECADES LATER WARNED ME OF THE SCAMMERS IN OUR COMMUNITY AND BLACKS WHO DIDN’T THINK THEY WERE BLACK!
I was listening to your program this past Saturday, when you were talking about the name “Redskins” being offensive and that most of the players were not men enough to stand up and publicly object to the use of the name.
I started to call you and disagree with you, but I decided against that because I would not have had enough time to explain why I disagreed. So I am writing to tell you why. Harold, I am tired of my people (Black Americans) taking up the cause for everybody else, We have far too many problems, then have to worry what other ethnic groups of people are called. If the roles were reversed, would they care what we were called?
I didn’t see any Indians marching with Dr. King, and others for our civil rights and it is also true that the Indians named our ex-slaves the “Buffalo Soldiers,” because they said the slaves were black like the Buffalo and had woolly hair like the Buffalo.
We Black Americans are the least respected ethnic group in America. Other ethnic groups come to this country and look down on us, and think they are better than us. They will call us niggers faster than any redneck white southern cracker will, even before they learn to speak English-they learn to say, “Nigger!”
Harold, I feel that with this massive wave of immigrants that has hit this country with people coming here in groves, from every part of the world. We blacks who were born in this country and help build it need to come closer together and form a strong union, even if it means excluding other ethnic groups and taking care of our very own.
Most of these immigrants have newly arrived in this country and DC. I will guarantee you these people will become more demanding as they become more familiar and adjusted to our way of life. Just as the Hispanic community in Mt. Pleasant became upset and dissatisfied with the way they were being treated by the police. Their dissatisfaction resorted to violence and rioting last year.
We will begin to see the various ethnic groups become more outspoken and aggressive. So, Harold, I am saying all of this to say to you, that we do not have to rally behind any other ethnic group for their civil rights, if it is an important concern to them, they will succeed in making the change for themselves.
It is like Calvin Rolark often says, “No one will save us, but us,” and I am not particularly a Rolark fan (he is part of the problem), but he was dead right about that.
Harold, I drove a taxi-part time in this city for 10 years, the foreign cab drivers have just about taken over the industry. I was forced out, I no longer drive a taxi and whether you know it or not, these many, many new immigrants flooding this country, will have a tremendous impact on jobs, the economy, and the traditional American way of life, that we once knew.
I am sure that in your job in radio, you do not feel the effects of this massive foreign influx! Also, many white people do not feel the effects yet, but when they do you will see an end to this out-of-control immigration.
Harold, it is also strange to me that most talk show personalities, Cathy Hughes, Bernie McCain, Ernest White, and others will not touch this most relevant and emotional issue with a ten-foot pole. Why does talk show host avoid dealing with this serious immigration problem?
I think the immigration problem has had a negative impact on Black lives in America, as integration. If you closely observe these new foreigners who have come to America, you will see that they ban together, and employ and do business mainly with their people (a white tradition).
Those that come here from Africa may look like us, but they want nothing to do with us. They will only try to deal with us when it is beneficial to them. Otherwise, they consider themselves, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian or other. Some are here from Jamaica, Cuba, and the Caribbean. They are thankful to be considered anything, but a Black American!
So why in the hell do we bend over backwards to accept and identify with them? I think we need to be concerned first and foremost with Black people who are born in America and let those groups take care of themselves.
Harold, I guess that some of those Redskin players feel as I do. I would not stick my neck out for any other group of people, but my own (Black Americans) and say to hell with everybody else!
Harold, soon we will be complaining about racism from these other groups, as we do now from whites.
Jim Hughes (February 2, 1992)
The last time I wrote asking why you were always castigating and degrading Coach John Thompson, you got mad. I still like and enjoy your program and I continue to listen. That is why I am taking the time to write again.
First, I want to thank you for your commentary on the life and times of the great Bubba Ellis. He was truly a great athlete and a good man. He should have played professional football, but because of his era and skin color, his full athletic potential was never known by many outside of this metropolitan area. I knew him personally and your commentary was fantastic.
Now comes the criticism, Harold I always thought I could depend on you to call a spade a spade. There is a certain radio station owner in this town who is hypocritical, vindictive, manipulative, and self-aggrandizing, and you use to warn your listeners about her. Now it seems that you have become aware of her power in the community and you have been letting her off the hook.
You are no longer critical of her, and your views of the Supreme Court nominee are the same as hers. You both say because Clarence Thomas is black we must accept him.
Harold, have you forgotten how you close your show every Saturday saying, “Remember every black face you see is not your brother and every white face you see is not your enemy?”
Your position, therefore on Clarence Thomas is hypocritical. I continue to lose faith in my fellow man, more and more everyday.
No one is willing to stand up and go against the grain, it becomes easier to go along to get along with the majority after a while, rather than face defeat along.
Jim Hughes (July 16, 1991)
P. S. Harold, what can listeners do to get your show hours extended? You should be on at least two hours instead of one.
I checked out your program on Saturday (January 20, 1990) when you were discussing Marion Barry, and I agreed wholeheartedly with everything you said about the Mayor and the cheerleaders around him.
I have written you before, and I get a kick out of your candid statements, there are not many like you around on the radio today, black or white. You don’t give a dam who you offend.
I like that policy in calling a spade a spade; others pretend to do that, such as Cathy Hughes, but she is as phony as a three-dollar bill. She will go any way the wind blows if it benefits her, and her radio stations. She sold black folks out with the Washington Post when she made a deal with Cathy Graham to sell out Congressman Walter Fauntroy and others who were boycotting the paper. Suddenly, the Grahams started to show up as her guest and sponsors were heard every five minutes of every day?
I have listened to this woman for years, I have heard her lie, be hypocritical, and make all kinds of ridiculous statements on air, but she has a following of fans you would not believe. Most of her gullible fans are from the deep south, or from areas where people have often been duped or scammed. These folks would not know a scam if it jumped on their backs and hitched a ride.
She uses race as a gimmick to entice people, making them feel like she is so black and she is in love with them. She is merely perpetrating a fraud, as you would say, “Every black face you see is not your brother or sister and every white face you see is not your enemy.”
When black people are oppressed, poor, and without hope, they see her as a Moses, to lead them out of their miseries. Cathy takes complete advantage of these fools. If you don’t believe me, Harold, listen to her program some morning.
James Wilkins (January 1, 1990)
P. S. I think W-U-S-T should extend your on air time to two or three hours. What can we the public do to get that to happen?
First, we were promised “40 Acres & a Mule”, an Even Playing Field (still they made a white woman a ‘Minority’), lynching is still on the books on Capitol Hill (cops and guns have replaced ropes), our voting rights are being stripped away, Black History (CRT) is being suppressed in our school systems around the country and ‘The Dog Whistle’ is now “Education.” A whistle that will carry over into the 2024 Presidential campaign. Trump is back if he can stay out of jail.
The Black Farmers are dying and being run off their farms by the head of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. He is a Presidential appointee by the First Black President, Barack Obama, and reappointed by Obama VP President, Joe Biden who is now the President of the United States? https://blackfarmersinsearchofjusticefilm.com/
Medicare Open Enrollment and Big Pharma with an assist from “Beware there is a Doctor in the House!” And let us not forget the chorus line of celebrities, Joe Namath, Joe Theisman, Jimmy Walker, Danny Glover and former boxing Heavyweight Champion of the World, George Foreman are paid endorsers.
WORDS OF WISDOM
“You’re an excellent writer Harold Bell—with the benefit of having something to say. Consider writing an extended essay about your Kids In Trouble program—what you saw happening that prompted you to found it, how you and Hattie kept it going for 45 years without grants and loans and what you learned about the nature of the trouble and the solution.
People out here now trying to figure out what you have known for years, given your affiliation with politicians, athletes, judges, law enforcement and the many kids in trouble.
Just a suggestion. You have been schooling people about your city for decades. I know there are more lessons and since you’re still firing on all cylinders might as well tell all.”
Courtland Milloy–Washington Post
Courtland, it is easy to write when you are telling the TRUTH it’s difficult to write when your TRUTH is a LIE!
“Harold, that could be the foreword to your book. ‘Easy to write the truth…’ And that is true. You have principles; people without principles lie easily. But people with principles see through the lies.
I like that saying about not hanging with chickens if you want to soar with eagles
You could write a collection of truth sayings. Hang with chickens; can’t fly with eagles The one about smiling in your face, stabbing in the back—you called it typical DC. But that’s not your crowd. Your guys are Muhammad Ali, Red Auerbach, Brian McIntyre, Bert Sugar, your brothers even Thorpe, just to name a few straight shooters.”
In a recent U. S. A. Today’s story written by Scooby Axson titled. “PBS doc captures Ali’s vigor,” let me say right at the top, there is some good news and there is some bad news regarding the documentary and the Ali story. The good news first, the documentary was enlightening and a historical piece of black history. The research and the storytelling were magnificent. Burns and his partner Johnathan Eig with family members, daughter, Sara, and son-in-law, Dave kept the story flowing for four straight nights. There were few dull moments in the production.
The bad news, the production was a well-done professional “Cut/Paste” meaning that 80% of the film clips were in the Public Domain. Meaning, if you had the time, finances, researchers, and PBS as your homecourt, dozens of Black Americans could have produced the same product with a richer sense of history, because many of us have walked in Muhammad Ali’s shoes. We are still starting the race 10 yards behind Ken Burns.
The key to the Ken Burns success story is this message posted after his Ali documentary, it reads:
Corporate funding for MUHAMMAD ALI was provided by Bank of America. Major funding was provided by David M. Rubenstein. Major funding was also provided by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by The Better Angels Society and by its members Alan and Marcia Docter; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Tudor Jones; The Fullerton Family Charitable Fund; Gilchrist and Amy Berg; The Brooke Brown Barzun Philanthropic Foundation, The Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation and The Augusta Brown Holland Philanthropic Foundation; Perry and Donna Golkin; John and Leslie McQuown; John and Catherine Debs; Fred and Donna Seigel; Susan and John Wieland; Stuart and Joanna Brown; Diane and Hal Brierley; Fiddlehead Fund; Rocco and Debby Landesman; McCloskey Family Charitable Trust; Mauree Jane and Mark Perry; and Donna and Richard Strong. And by viewers like you. How would you like to have those sponsors for your documentary projects?
Columnist Axson of U. S.A. Today pointed out, “For as much as Burns has contributed to chronicling different aspects of the world through his documentaries, he is still dogged by the various grievances about PBS’ perceived lack of commitment to diversity. The tipping point was earlier this year when dozens of BIPOC documentary filmmakers signed a letter, which was given to the network’s executives. Among the complaints in the letter was accusing PBS of having “systemic failure to fulfill (its) mandate for a diversity of voices and its issues of Burns four-decades partnership with PBS, which many have noted as an interdependence.”
Ken Burns and Black documentaries have become American as Apple Pie on PBS. This would be called a monopoly in any other endeavor. The problem with BIPOC they are too busy being Exclusive instead of Inclusive. They cannot see the forest for the trees (GOOGLE). Their complaints against PBS are well-founded, but who is playing fair and show me an “Even Playing Field?”
In 2021 a media press room at the deadline is second only to a church on Sunday as one of the most segregated institutions in America. Sportswriter William Rhoden’s best seller “40 Million Dollar Slaves” is a joke. He is the kettle (media) calling the pot black!
One of the problems, blacks in America don’t own any Major Media outlets, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX News control our history and the images of us seen on their television screens and in their newspapers. The ones who claim they are black-owned are perpetrating a fraud. Urban Radio One is own by Comcast. In January Comcast announced a television network partnership with Cathy Hughes.
Don’t believe the hype, Comcast will still make the final decision on programming. TV One has not been allowed to broadcast any high-profile sporting events in its history. The new television partnership with Comcast may change that perception. Hughes has been the spook that sat behind the door for decades.
W-H-U-R Radio and WHUT television are located on the Howard University campus (HBCU). The two stations have black-oriented formats, but they are controlled by Federal Government funding.
The closest black media own television network was with former Republican Senator J. C. Watts and his Black News Channel (BNC). Watts was the co-founder and chairman of the independently owned black channel. The 24/7 network launched in 2020. Watts had said, BNC will be more than just crime reports and sports scores. “I don’t want us to follow in the footsteps of CNN and Fox News”, said Watts. His chance to follow in their footsteps ended in 2022 when the network went dark and shut down.
Hispanics have their own television channels, including a Major League Baseball channel?
The greatest Muhammad Ali story has not been written or produced yet. I have the copyrights and original footage of my exclusive one-on-one interview with “The Greatest” in 1974. When Ali’s plane landed in the Big Apple on a Sunday evening from Zaire, Africa five days after “The Rumble in the Jungle”, he didn’t call Ed Bradley (60 Minutes), Bryant Gumble (NBC Good Morning America), or Howard Cosell (ABC Wide World of Sports), he called me, Harold Bell a little known sports talk show host/pioneer in Washington, DC.
The rest is American sports talk show history. I was the first to interview the champ on his arrival in New York City after he shocked the world with his historical 8th round knockout of the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion, my friend, George Foreman.
The interview made me the first black journalist ever to interview an undisputed heavyweight champion one on one. It was a night I will never forget, Saturday, October 30, 2022 will mark the 48th anniversary of “The Rumble in the Jungle.” I have had my interview for 48 years, Ken Burns knew I had it. He sent his partner Johnathan Eig to try to talk me out of it, but I said, “No money-No Mas. The pimping and suppression of Black History stops with me.
Don King, HBO, Dave Chappelle, Cathy Hughes, James Brown, Chris Thomas, Dave Bing, LeBron James, Daymond John, Show Time, Creative Artist Agency, Moxie Pictures they all knew I had the Ali interview and the brothers and sisters at BIPOC didn’t know? Our problem, we are always looking for love in all the wrong places.
Folks want to know how do I feel about being left out of the Ken Burns Ali PBS documentary? It was always a part of the plan, what many of us perceived as racism is not necessarily so. For example, some whites like having family and friends around them, that is who they trust and are comfortable with. Blacks are just the opposite, if it looks like they are about to come into some money or success is on the horizon, family, and friends in many cases they don’t want them anywhere in the same zip code.
This is an email I received from Burns’ partner Johnathan Eig. He contacted me several years ago about my Ali interview. He is listed in the credits as a “Consultant.”
The email read: “Hi Harold, this is little background on me. Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a “master storyteller.” Eig is the author of five books, three of them New York Times best sellers. He was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Eig is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal , where he remains a contributing writer. Eig has also written for The New York Times , The New Yorker, and The Washington Post , among others. Prior to The Wall Street Journal, he worked as a feature writer for Chicago magazine and as a news reporter for The Dallas Morning News and The New Orleans Times- Picayune . Eig’s books have been published in 13 languages. His first book, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig , won the Casey Award for best baseball book of the year. Ali was named winner of PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting; best book of the year by Sports Illustrated; and one of the ten best non-fiction books of the year by The Wall Street Journal. Ali won best biography and best overall book in the British Sports Book Awards. It also won the award for best biography or memoir from the Society of Midland Authors. It was a finalist for Mark Lynton History Prize; the Plutarch Award; the William Hill Award; the James Tait Black Award for biography; an L.A. Times Book Award for biography; and an NAACP Image Award. Eig has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and in two Ken Burns documentaries: Prohibition and Jackie Robinson . He is currently working with Burns and Florentine Films on a Muhammad Ali documentary. His next book will be a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Johnathan
We cannot keep blaming Trump and the likes of Ken Burns for our problems, they are who they are–the benefactors of “White Privilege.” Ken Burns’ relationship with PBS expires in 2022, the damage already done. He goes to the bank and we go back to the ghetto. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKiB0APdxTo
If you are a black man or woman in America, it would be best you know your enemy and he is not always white. Some blacks could teach whites how to be racist. Especially, those with dark complexions who will swear they are not black, because they are from somewhere off the Continent of Africa. The legendary Motown artist Smokey Robinson hit the nail on the head on Def Comedy Jam with his rendition of “A Black American.”
It has often been said, “Until the lions hire their own PR team, the glory of the hunt will always go to the hunter.” Those words apply to the news media “Gate Keepers.”
In my domain of sports media they have hired assassins who could not shoot straight. There are Dave Kindred, Tony Kornheiser, John Feinstein, Norman Chad, Dave McKenna, Ken Burns, Earl Guskey, all took aim at me, but all missed their target–I still stand!
Kindred was seen on a recent CBS 60 Minutes segment discussing how many stories he had written on Ali. He remembered during a press conference with Ali in bed, the champ invited him to get under the covers with him–Ali was naked! My memories of Kindred are not so memorable. I do remember during his Washington Post days he was a regular on my sports talk radio show “Inside Sports.”
When he moved to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution we stayed in touch. In the early 1980s Dominique Wilkins was a rising star for the Atlanta Hawks. One evening I received a call from a friend living in Atlanta. My friend was a part of “Dominiques’ Posse” hanging out on the campus of Spellman College, the home of some of Atlanta’s prettiest ladies. It seem like the normal thing to do for a young black athlete and a rising NBA star, until the posse was joined by alcohol and drugs.
My friend felt Dominique was getting in a little too deep and wanted me to talk with him using my sports talk show as a cover about the evils lurking. He wanted me to invite Dominique on the show as a guest and then try to figure out the next steps leading to the Spellman scene. He wanted to be a silent partner. I was not comfortable with the introduction and I backed off.
I later remembered I had Dave Kindred in Atlanta and he covered the Atlanta Hawks. I reached out to him for help and explained that my contact wanted to remain anonymous. I told Kindred to approach Dominique as if everything he heard was just rumors coming off the campus. He said, “Harold I got it don’t worry”, famous last words.
Two weeks later all hell broke loose when Dominique’s mother Gertrude called me out of the blue. She started out in a sweet voice saying, “My name is Gertrude Wilkins and I am the mother of Dominique Wilkins” and it went down hill from there. She cussed me out for spreading unfound rumors of her son using drugs. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. I had to endure at least 15 minutes of her tirade explaining how hard Dominique had worked to get to the NBA. She wanted to know why would I use my talk show to spread such gossip on another black young brother.
I never used my talk show to discuss rumors about Doninique’s drug use–he say, she say has never been a part of the Inside Sports’ format. I never got the opportunity to explain my side of the story–she hung up on me.
I would later discover that Kindred had gone directly to the Atlanta Hawk’s GM, Stan Kasten. He called Dominique’s mother and gave her my number. Kindred changed his number and has been in hiding for almost four-decades. I didn’t go looking for him–he is what he is!
Norman Chad, was the media critic for the Washington Post in June 1989 when sports editor George Solomon assigned him to write a column titled “Local Anchors: A Shutout.” based on a shortage of black sports anchors on local television in DC.
The story line was to be about my pioneering efforts in sports talk radio beginning in 1972, but in mid-stream Solomon wanted to include all local blacks in sports media. I said, “Hell No” to the media tactic of lumping all of us together and I walked away.
Two weeks later Solomon called me with a compromise, the Washington Post would write two different stories in the same edition. One would be on all the local black sports media to include me on Page One and the other story would be on just me and my pioneering efforts on Page Three of the sports section (unheard of).
In the story on Page Three, Chad plays a game of “Divide and Conquer”, using W-H-U-R sportscaster Glen Harris to down play my contributions in sports media. Harris was quoted saying, “Harold Bell sometimes thinks the world owes him something, but the world does not owe anyone anything.”
Check Page One and see if Chad poses a similar question to me concerning Glenn Harris. He knew not to cross that line with me. The more things change the more they remain the same with “Fake News.”
The next day (Saturday) on my talk show Inside Sports I called Chad out for his poor judgement as it related to the Divide and Conquer tactics use by him in the story relating to me and Glenn Harris. He didn’t like my commentary and wrote me a “Dear John” letter much like Don King wrote ending our beautiful relationshp. King tried to pimp me with $10, 000 dollars claiming that was our agreement for the Ali project. I gave it back to him!
Chad was last seen by me on television in Las Vegas as a color commentator in high stakes poker games. He also wrote a column for the Washington Post titled, “The Couch Slouch!” I understand he now has a weekly podcast called, “Gambling Mad.” If anyone sees or hears from my old friend Norman Chad, tell him I still have his Dear John letter in my archives.
Sports columnist Earl Guskey of the Los Angles Times was bamboozled by Sugar Ray Leonard, Janks Morton (the spook that sat by the door) and the late Mike Trainer (Massa). It was during the second Hearns fight in December 1983, Guskey wrote a column without conferring with me–about me. He didn’t do his homework and research. He took the word of a young man who was never the sharpest knife in the draw.
Ray claimed I was a member of his entourage. I was left behind for the big fight and I was angry. The next two lies were worst than the first, he claimed I had asked him for job and he said “NO.” His nose must have grown to the size of Pinocchio’s after each lie, the last lie, “Harold was mad I didn’t donate to his favorite charity!” Ray had forgotten he was the benefactor of Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports!
The real story, I have never asked Ray for a dime, dollar, ticket and a job was out of the question. I became his mentor when he didn’t have two pennies to rub together. He had nowhere to turn and I help to point him in the right direction when Janks Morton, Dave Jacobs and Mike Trainer didn’t have a clue.
He did offer me some financial support after he beat Wilfredo Benitez for his first world title. He called me after the fight on the air live, on my sports talk show “Inside Sports” on WYCB radio.
Ray thanked me for my support, he said, “Harold I am the Welterweight Champion of the World tonight because you were there when no one else was and I thank you.”
Several evenings later we met at his mother’s new home he had just brought–my response was, “NO just comeback and help some kids like I helped you!” We shook hands–he never came back.
He never came back to support and be at the bedside of his dying best friend and his best man in his wedding, Joe Brody–he was nowhere to be found and Joe died alone.
In 2019 Ray Jr. invited his father to go around the country to talk about about Domestic Violence/Abuse. Ray Jr.’s mother, Juanita) was the punching bag for Ray Sr. during the marriage.
I told Ray Jr., “Young man you are in for a long wait, your father is too vain to take that journey.” Sugar Ray Leonard is the best example to me of a black man that let success handle him and he never handled success.
There is something about money and success in my community, I watched Ray Sr. go from a broke humble teary eyed human being to being a jerk in every sense of the word. It was like someone turning a light switch from off to on. When you ask family to sign a non-disclosure agreement or they will be cut-off financially, you have a lot to hide. Ray Jr. refused to sign–he was an eye witness and he is not fooled by the smile that has fooled millions.
My favorite media assassin, is Dave McKenna. He has written for several newspapers and blogs including the Washington Post, but It was The City Paper that I had my close encounter with McKenna. I did not meet him until 1989. He was covering a Black History Month tribute I was hosting in honor of NBA pioneer, Earl Lloyd on Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC.
This is how McKenna described the tribute, “Last week Harold Bell the sports talk show host, sportswriter, do-gooder and all-around rabble rouser threw a party to honor Earl Lloyd, the NBA’s first black player in a crowded ballroom at Bolling Air Force Base. Folks who remembered Lloyd from his days across the river at Parker Gray High School in the mid 40s mingled with those who just wanted to be near the alarming obscure athletic pioneer who broke the NBA color barrier as a member of the National Capitols in 1950. Lloyd for whatever reason never got his due around his hometown through the years and sadly he still isn’t likely to after this function. Local daily newspapers and television stations along with major sports figures all stayed away from the tribute. They all got press releases said, Bell, why didn’t they come? Deep down Bell knew. The mainstream press and jocks didn’t come because of him. Plenty of people including some of the biggest names in town wanted no parts of Harold bell or anything that he was associated with.”
Noteworthy: The least talented sports media personality in America, Tony Kornheiser ran McKenna out of the Washington Post, much like NBA Super Stars Dave Bing and Bob Lanier ran Earl Lloyd out of the NBA.
It was during dinner in 1972 when my wife Hattie gave me the TAG for my pioneering radio sports talk show “Inside Sports.” Inside Sports changed the way we talk and report sports in America and eventually around the Globe. In 1978 the Washington Post took my Inside Sports TAG without notifying me (The American Way) to New York City to establish and publish “Inside Sports Magazine.”
Their endeavor failed miserably, the magazine lost several million dollars in its two years of existence.
The problem, the Washington Post’s braintrust could not figure out how to transfer the success of my radio sports talk show into print media. Their only reward, they own the Trademark Rights to Inside Sports.
This Washington Post charde reminds me of how Christopher Columbus discovered America–a land already ocuppied by native American Indians and how the 10% took Wallace “Wally” Amos’ name and his chocolate-chip cookie and made it their own. The Kellogg Company recently sold its Keebler and Famous Amos brands for 1.3 billion dollars. The original Wallace “Wally” Amos’ networth in 2021–how about $20,000!
There will never an “Even Playing Field” in Black America. Everytime it looks like we might be gaining a foothole or America becoming an Even Playing Field, the 10% change the rules. They made the white woman a minority and now they are trying to deny us the right to vote! Let us not forget, “The Crabs in the Barrel” in our own community.
When legendary Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen discovered me and my sports media and community history, this was the telephone message he left for me, “Harold this is Dale Hansen in Dallas (summarizing) everything you have done makes my little bit look like a page off the cover of WHITE PRIVILEGE!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTWMUhYG0Y8
Thanks to the Maryland Public Television family, Charles Robinson and Jessica Campbell for inviting me to be a panelist with Sara, the daughter of Ken Burns and Dave McHahon his son-in-law on the eve of the PBS Ali documentary. Long live “The Greatest.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jPKCd3HoDE
Standing up for oneself all started with my great-uncle William ‘Billy’ James. Uncle Billy as he was affectionately known to family and friends was an honor roll student and all-around athlete in high school in Sumpter, SC in the 1930s. He was a graduate of Morris Brown College and was inducted into their college Athletes Hall of Fame. Uncle Billy was the first black attorney allowed to practiced law in his hometown of Sumpter. He was was no shrinking violet, he came out of the boxing demanding equal rights, equal employment and voting rights for the black community in Sumpter. He was also inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2000 for his contributions as a civil rights’ activist and attorney.
My mother’s parents, his cousins were educators. My mother’s mother was a school teacher and her father was a principal. They became targets of the Klu Kux Klan after a cross was burned on the lawn of Uncle Billy. The family was chased out of Sumter led by uncle Billy. My mother’s parents were murdered by the KKK. Her brothers and sisters, Carl, Earl, Mary and Mae all fled north to New York City and Washington, DC with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Uncle Billy settled in DC and during the depression, he received a Presidential appointment from President Franklin Roosevelt. He served on the staff of the Civil Conservation Corps as an Educational Advisor. In the 50s he worked as an attorney with the Federal Government. Sumter was always home, when he retired from the Federal Government in the 60s he returned to his roots in South Carolina.
On his return to Sumter he received a heroes’ welcome, his success in Washington, DC as a presidential appointee and as an attorney for the federal government was well chronicled in the local newspaper.
Uncle Billy was thinking only of retirement when he returned to Sumter, but the community had public office on their minds and he could not say, “NO!” Unlike today’s politicians, he was well versed, super sensitive to justice for all and he worn his heart on his sleeve (aka Harold Bell). He won elected office and became the architect of single member districts in the county. A single member district is an electoral district represented by a single officeholder. It contrasts with multi-member districts, which is represented by multiple officeholders. These districts did not serve black voters well–he fought and changed the landscape for the black voter.
When Uncle Billy died on February 6, 1989 there was standing room only in the church, friends and admirers came from around the state to pay their respect. There was a story written that he once said, “I am a open book, my criticism was always aimed at the method and not the individual.” You can look up the definition of transparency and you will find the names of William B. James and Harold Bell.
My mother’s young brother Earl ‘Sparky’ Smith settled in Brooklyn, New York and became an All-City basketball player. He won a basketball scholarship to Virginia Union College in Richmond, Virginia to play for the great coach, Tom ‘Tricky’ Harris. He was named to the All-CIAA team, his junior and senior years. He was inducted into the Brooklyn Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. The Brooklyn Hall of Fame is second only to the NBA Hall of Fame (I traveled to Brooklyn for his induction).
I was born in Brooklyn, but I have never been back to the city. I had two friends who played at Virginion Union after Uncle Earl and were already in the Brooklyn Hall Fame. They were ‘Jumping’ Jackie Jackson and Eddie Simmons, affectionately known as ‘The Czar.’ Jack DeFares and Carl Greene two New York City playground legends and Winston-Salem alumnus threaten me if I didn’t show my face for the induction. Uncle Earl retired from the Brooklyn Public School system as a Principal.
My younger brother Earl served two tours in the U. S. Army where he became a Sgt. for the Military Police (MP). He was also an outstanding fullback on the Army base football team, a heavyweight boxing champion, and a table tennis ping pong champion. Despite President Harry Truman calling for desgregation of the U. S. Armed Forces in 1948, two decades later racism was alive and well in the U. S. Army in 1968.
During his second tour racism raised its ugly head in Nuremberg, Germany. Much like Uncle Billy he met the challenge head-on with other black military personnel. They said, “Enough is enough” to the off base military housing segregation and a downtown Nuremberg discotheque that allowed only white military personnel admission.
A third tour in the U. S. Army went out the window when a white lieutenant came out of the stands to protest a call while he was umpiring a softball game. The lieutenant refuse to leave the field and Earl forteited the game to the opposing team. The lieutenant wrote him up for insubornation–marring his unblimished record, that was enough for him.
In 1969 he returned home to join the DC police department to face the same racism he thought he had left behind in Germany. The DC Police Department was governed by “The Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence” a system that overlooked racism and police brutality absorbed in the black community, 2021 a change has not come.
He stood his ground and never gave up or gave in to the bigots and ‘Good Old Boys’ who ran the department. His 14-year career ended when his car skidded into a 16-wheeler truck on an iced-over bridge one early morning on his way to a new job assignment for 30 days at the Police and Fire Clinic in SE DC. See his story written by Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam’s summary of “The Life and Times of Sgt. Earl ‘Bull’ Bell.”
When I arrived at the hospital that morning the doctors described his survival as a miracle. He spent the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair and rooting for the Redskins. He died in a nursing home, but he had the spirit of our great-uncle William ‘Billy’ James—“See something, say something!” Earl was the best all-around athlete among the three of us.
My journey embodies the spirit of all three; the journey from an Outhouse in NE DC to the White House is a dream that I never thought possible.
It all started at Grandma Bell’s house in far NE DC after the one-room shack that my mother and I shared burned to the ground one cold November morning. I was about 4 years old. My mother had left the shack in the early hours of the morning to get some milk and bread at the corner store. A kerosence lamp was left burning to keep me and my dog billy warm, but one of us had accidently knocked over the lamp. When my mother returned from the store there were fire engines all over the street. I was sitting in the yard crying my eyes out with my dog Billy standing over me.
My mother thanked the firemen for saving me and Billy, but they refused to take any credit. They told my mother they found me sitting in the yard with my dog when they arrived. To this day I have no way of knowing how I got out of that burning shack, and Billy was not talking.
It was off to Grandma Bell’s house and Mt. Airy Baptist Church. Grandma and the church laid the foudation, it was there my late great-grandfather Alfred James Tyler, laid the first brick to build the church in 1893. Grandma laid the foundation that kept me afloat long after I left her and moved to the NE DC housing project called Parkside.
THE ROADS I TRAVELED THERE WERE NO “EVEN PLAYING FIELDS”
*First home-one room shack and outhouse in NE DC
*DC housing project 1945 (Parkside)
*Spingarn DC High school Coach Dave Brown (1955)
*Tobacco Road and Clarence Bighouse Gaines (1960)
*The Charleston Rockets minor league football (1964)
*Petey Greene WOL Radio (1965)
*First job-United Planning Organization ‘Neighborhood Worker’ (1967)
*Met Muhammad Ali on the of campus Howard University (1967)
*First sports media personality to encourage pro athletes to REACH-BACK (1967)
*Walked the streets during the riots with nothing but DC Police Department badge (1968).
*White House Presidential appointment (1969)
*1972 first black to host and produce DC sports talk show (1972) changed the way we talk and report sports in America.
*1974 first journalist to interview Muhammad Ali (Rumble in the Jungle)
*1975 first black to host and product sports special in primetime on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4
*1980 first sportscaster honored as Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine
*Campaigned successfully to have Green Bay Packer All-Pro Willie Wood inducted into NFL Hall of Fame (1989)
*Campaigned successfully to have NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd inducted into NBA Hall of Fame (2003)
*Honored by National Association of Black Journalists with their 2020 pioneer award https://www.bigmarker.com/nabj/NABJ-Sam-Lacy-Awards-Program?%20bmid=99ea2ef240f2
I was not surprised by the Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell’s defiant stand against the Utah politicians’ trying to shove their definition of Critical Race Theory down the throats of the Utah school system. He was just following the James/Bell tradition, seeing something and saying something!
Donovan’s response to the politicians who claimed he didn’t understand what they were trying to do, he said, “I think the biggest thing, the part that I stand for, is education and being able to educate our children on racial history. I think that’s huge. I think that’s a big part of it, understanding the foundation of how we got to this point.”
Donovan left Louisville University after his second year to pursue an NBA career. He was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He was traded later that same evening to the Utah Jazz. His rookie year he was named to the NBA All-Rookie team and won the NBA Slam Dunk contest and he has not looked back since.
In 2020 Donovan signed a 5-year, 195 million dollar extension with the Jazz. One of his first give back efforts was to donate 12 million dollars to help students and teachers at his old middle school in Connectcut. The school is where his mother was a teacher and he and his sister were students.
He did exactly what I had hoped the NBA-NFL-MLB and NHL pro athletes would do when I encouraged the likes of NBA and NFL Hall of Fame athletes, Dave Bing and Willie Wood to reach back into the community in 1967.
Donovan much like Uncle Billy and my brother Earl, he is an Independent Thinker. He came out of the box swinging.
I met Donovan through my mother’s cousin, Elaine Stone. She was living in Columbia, Maryland where she was celebrating her 100th birthday in June 2019. My wife Hattie and I had planned to attend the celebration, but my car had other plans–it refuse to go (start).
This was a first for me, a family member living to celebrate their 100th birthday. I immediately started to look for ways to make it up to cousin Elaine. First, I mailed her a check for one-hundred dollars and a new book (photo) I had just finished. The book was filled with photos of some the great athletes and sports media personalities I had interviewed on my sports talk shows down through the years. There was more I still wanted to do to celebrate her 100 years of life.
In November of 2019 I was planning to debut a segment of my exclusive never seen before one on one 1974 interview with Muhammad Ali. The Rumble in the Jungle with Ali’s stunning knockout of George Foreman was now a classic.
I received a call from cousin Elaine saying how much she enjoyed the book, and how I was not the only Super-Star in the family! I laughed and said, ‘Cousin Elaine you are definitey a Super-Star,’ Her response, ‘No not me, you have a cousin that plays in the NBA, Donovan Mitchell.’ I really didn’t have a clue to whom Donovan Mitchell was. I seldom if ever watched the NBA All-Star Game anymore and therefore, I missed the All-Rookie game and the slam dunk contest.
All these 2018 NBA showcases were the home of Donovan Mitchell during NBA All-Star Weekend. I did a little research and discovered this young brother was truly a rising star in the NBA.
Cousin Elaine had another nugget to drop on me. She revealed that Donovan Mitchell, Sr. was working in MLB with the New York Mets’ organization. More research, I discovered he had been a player in their Minor League system for almost a decade. He was hired by the Mets after his career move to the major leagues was stalled. I made a call to the Mets administrated office and asked to speak to Donovan Mitchell. I introduced myself as his cousin via cousin Elaine. He had not spoken to cousin Elaine who help to raise him in 28 years?
In November my Muhammad Ali documentary was ready to make its debut on the Big Screen 45 years after the fact. The vehicle would be the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill, Sunday November 24, 2019. Hattie and I decided to invite cousin Elaine and celebrate her 100th belated birthday. I called Donovan, Sr. and invited him to be a part of the celebration live or by memorex, he chose memorex.
The documentary debute of “I Remember Ali” celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle was a smashing success. Cousin Elaine stole the show when I introduced her to the audience and gospel vocalist Robin Sugar Williams led us into singing “Happy Birthday” to her. MC Sylvia Traymore (comedian), Black Men in Americ.com (CEO and Publisher) Gary Johnson and Marc Clarke (W-H-U-R Radio) presented her with a bouquet of flowers. She enjoyed every moment and so did we. The video tribute from Donovan Sr. arrived late and I could not add it to the program.
VIDEO BIRTHDAY WISH TO AUNT ELAINE FROM DONOVAN SR. IN HIS OWN WORDS 28 YEARS LATER!
“Hey Aunt Elaine, its Donovan, I just wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday—I know I am late please don’t hold that against me, but I love you and I miss you. I am wishing you the best. Wish I could have been there with you for your birthday, but I just been running around doing a lot of things. I know it has been awhile since I seen you and the family, but a lot of things have changed. I got my two-kids. I am still working with the NY Mets. I have been in professional baseball for 27 years. But all the love and support you guys gave me when I was growing up I am still chasing these dreams! I want to wish you the best, thank you for everything—and I hope you are well–take care of yourself.”
On February 28, 2020 I would meet my young cousin Donovan Mitchell, Jr. for the first time. The Utah Jazz would be visiting the Washington Wizards at the Capital One arena in downtown, DC. I almost blew the opportunity to meet the rising NBA star. I had mis-read the Wizard’s schedule. The game was played on a Sunday evening. Things got worse when I could not find Donovan on the floor or on the bench during the first half of the game. I was beginning to think he didn’t make the trip or had taken ill. During half-time I checked with one of the security people for the Wizards and discovered Donovan was being held out this game and was relaxing in the lockerroom. The Jazz coaching staff was right, they didn’t need him to beat the Wizards.
My friend Larry Law and I waited outside the lockerroom waiting for the all clear signal to enter. The first player in the door way to the lockerroom was Donovan. He was standing there and talking with a friend/fan with a big smile on his face. I waited my turn to introduce my self. Finally, I was able to say hello and tell him I was a long lost cousin via the James/Bell Family Tree. Like most of today’s young people he was not aware of his family history.
His broad smile never left his face during the conversation. I told him I had talked with his father in New York several days earlier giving him an update. I asked him if he was aware that he had a great-aunt living here in the area who had recently turned 100 years-old? His eyes got bigger with the response, “I had no idea!” You could tell he was a people person. There are times when young pro athletes experience his kind of early success early in their careers, they withdraw and are sometimes hard to find and harder to deal with.
I was disappointed he had no clue he had a 100-year old aunt Elaine (NOW 102) living 40 minutes away from downtown DC, living in Columbia, Maryland. Her grandson and his cousin Deon living in Atlanta about his same age! Cousin Elaine is a big time sports fan, her son Deon’s father was a high school coach.
Cousin Elaine, is now living in Florida with her son Lester. Donovan’s Grandmother Cousin Tina drove to Columbia in June and drove cousin Elaine back to Florida. Maybe Donovan Sr. will find the time to introduce Donovan Jr. his mother, and sister to their Aunt Elaine. She can then introduce him to his cousin Deon who lives in Atlanta. Hopefully, 32 years later is not too late to meet your family!
If you want to know how Donovan Jr. got to this point as it relates to human rights, civil rights and his love for children–see our family tree.
You can also see link below on the Critical Race Theory https://www.proquest.com/openview/7c48c3007025c0862e2e871eb9e510fa/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=26506
THE JAMES/BELL FAMILY TREE- ART BY THE LATE GEORGE NOCK & POEM BY THE LATE POET MURRAY BROOKS–THE FRIENDS OF KIDS IN TROUBLE, INC.
FOOTNOTE: Utah Jazz were in concert with Donovan Mitchell as it relates to his stand against banning the Critical Race Theory curriculum in Utah schools (Donovan now with the Cleveland Cavaliers).
On Tuesday September 11, 2001, militants associated with Islamic extremist group Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. I remember exactly where I was when terrorist aircraft struck.
First, two of the planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, I was on my way to Ben’s Chili Bowl to meet with my friend music promoter Robert Brown, when a third hit the Pentagon just outside of the Nation’s Capitol in Washington, DC.
I was meeting with Brown to discus a fund raising Fashion and Hair Show for my non-profit organization, Kids In Trouble, Inc later that evening. I was co-hosting the show at the Sports Bar located in the MCI Center in downtown DC. I remember my neighbor and friend, Gil Hoffman was driving me to the meeting. We were headed south via 395 to the 3rd street tunnel when I noticed smoke shooting skyward in the direction of Pentagon City. I never thought of the possibility of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. Without a lot of conversation about the smoke Gil dropped me off at Ben’s Chili Bowl and he headed back home to South East DC.
When I walked into Ben’s Chili Bowl it was then I was told of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Robert Brown had yet to arrive for our meeting. I immediately called him to tell him to cancel and we would talk later. My route back home to South East DC was safety first, instead of taking the subway directly across the street from Ben’s, I hesitated thinking there was the possibility of terrorists making the subway one of its targets, I took the bus on U street to the National Guard Armory in North East DC. I caught the subway one stop back to Potomac Avenue and boarded a bus to Suitland Road and Southern Avenue–once across the bridge, someone on the bus said, “We are safe now, SE is the last place the terrorist would attack!” While others laughed, the thought just brought a smile to my face–I was still nervous.
I called Robert as soon as I arrived home and we both were in disbelief what had just taken place in New York City and Virginia. Now there was news of a 4th plane crash in Pennsylvania. Flight 93 had crashed into a field in Somerset County (Shanksville). It was reported several passengers and crew tried in vain to take control of the plane before it crashed.
It was business as usual for Robert, he was already thinking about re-scheduling the show for October–he said, “the show must go on!”
Robert was at the top of his game as a promoter and marketing guru in the music business in the Nation’s Capitol. James Brown “The Godfather of Soul” and “The Ice Man” Jerry Butler were just two of the great acts he promoted.
It was two decades ago nineteen hijackers committed murder-suicide. There were 2,977 lives lost and 6,000 others were injured. Three-hundred and forty-three heroic firefighters lost their lives when they went into the World Trade Center to save others. There were 55 military personnel lost at the Pentagon and 265 lives lost on the four planes. The attacks remain the deadliest in American history. I often wonder did we learn anything from the terrorist attacks 20 years ago? I remember reading a Heritage Foundation story written by by David Inserra relating to the attack. Inserra was a former policy analyst for Homeland Security issues, including cyber and immigration policy as well as critical infrastructure.
He wrote, “The U. S. mindset irreversibly changed that day. No longer did we perceive a world largely at peace following the end of the Cold War. Instead, evil came and found us.The warning signs had been there for years. The World Trade Center was first bombed in 1993. Also during the ’90s, U.S. embassies and military assets overseas had been attacked. The Taliban had sunk Afghanistan into poverty, violence, and religious persecution and was already known to provide a haven for al-Qaeda. We even knew some of the men who would become 9/11 hijackers and had bits of information about them and their possible activities. Since that fateful day 18 years ago (2021 makes 20 years), we have revolutionized the way we combat terrorism.”
The lessons of war have been hard and deadly. For example, we just walked away from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. We left the Taliban back in control once again. When the Taliban fighters rode triumphantly into Kabul airport last week, they did so in U. S. pick-up trucks wearing American-made uniforms and bandishing American M4 and M16 rifles. They inherited tens of millions of dollars of aircraft and armored vehicles. The group’s fast sweep through the city netted them billions of dollars worth of U. S. military equipment and weaponry. The Taliban then spent hours examing the wealth U. S. troops left behind–they must have felt like they hit the U. S. Lottery and didn’t need a ticket.
It is going to get worst according to the New York Times, one headline read, “America Stretches Across Political Divide to Welcome Afghan refugees.” But you ask yourself, how can this be when we cannot get American politicians to stretch across the political divide to abolish lynching in America and the right to vote?
There are rumors the U. S. is bringing close to fifty-thousand refugees back to America to house, feed, and find them employment to live the American Dream? It has been reported that the Taliban terroist are holding six American aircraft hostage and not allowing U. S. citizens to fly out of Kabul airport–a ransom note can be expected. The more thing change, the more they remain the same.
In the meantime, tax-paying Americans are being evicted from their homes, their unemployment has expired, forest fires, floods, and thugs and cops are playing like it is “The Wild-Wild West” in American cities.
Our problem, now we have to sleep with one eye open and one eye closed to stay alert for the next Taliban attack with our own weapons of mass destruction. Now we have terrorists within and without; Trump and his boys, mass shootings, our kids are in trouble (Covid 19 and gun violence), seniors are being scammed out of close to 2 billion dollars annually (greed), and unpredictable weather across the country.
There are some who claim love is the answer, but as vocalist Tina Turner said, “What does love have have do with it? Freedom ain’t free and the price being paid by our children is much too high!
Dear Ms. Jenkins,
My name is Harold Bell and I am a card-carrying member of AARP. There seems to be no checks and balances as it relates to senior citizens.
There are 30-50 million senior citizens (55+) on the rolls of AARP and they are being scammed by Corporate America, other small-time gangsters, and thugs 24/7. Seniors are being scammed annually to the tune of nearly 2 billion dollars. The question, does anyone really care?
I am somewhat familiar with the pros and cons of the AARP. The former AARP CEO Addison Rand’s father was my mentor back in the day when the son was at the Xerox Corporation here in DC. The son would sometimes stop in Face’s Restaurant (the home of the DC in-crowd) and have lunch with his father. I met him in passing. His father was a street smart and no-nonsense guy. He was my checks and balances when I was a sports talk radio pioneer and personality during the 70s and 80s. You could carry his WORD to the bank. When his son took over as the CEO of AARP I took notice, “The Fat Cats kept getting fat”!
Things have come full circle since that time and I am now using social media as my vehicle to continue to enhance the growth of our children with my non-profit organization, Kids In Trouble, Inc (KIT). I have since added Seniors In Trouble to my portfolio. In other words, I try to be a voice for the voiceless. There seems to be a scam around every corner when it comes to senior citizens. There are car dealerships, use car salesmen, Insurance agents, overcharges and redlining at the banks, cable companies with hidden fees and hikes, home improvements scams.
I remember seeking employment after the politicians ran me off the airwaves, I took a job as a new car saleman in Silver Spring, Md. I was fired trying protect a little old white lady from being scammed out of her great running use car. My advice, “try to sell your car on your own, the dealership would not be giving you a fair price”. When the final pitch was made by my boss, she told him what I had said! I have told some lies, but that would not be one of them.
In 2009 CBS sportscaster James Brown was named AARP’S Community Ambassador, it was then I knew the organization was heading in the wrong direction. Here is a black man who grew up in DC, but never learned how to give back to those who helped him. Despite his lack of not helping others, his former boss at the Xerox Corporation Addison Rand hired him as a reach-back Ambassador as a voice to keep senior citizens fooled and he did.
This guy never reached back to help anyone but himself. During his tour as ambassador he talked to seniors about his childhood and how he learned about giving back to the community. JB as he likes be called, encouraged senior citizens to take their life experiences and make a difference in the life of a child. His advice, “Use old school values that have contemporary applications.” He knows absolutely nothing about “Old School”. This guy would not know an “Old School” if one fell down in front of him!
He got his start in broadcasting following my lead, but he went off the beaten path when he went behind the back of black Bullets/Wizards’ color analyst Chuck Taylor. He asked star player Wes Unseld to put in a good word for him with owner Abe Polin to hire him for Chuck’s job.
He participated in my non-profit organizations Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports fund raising programs and never brought a toy or Send a kid to camp or college. When the politicians ran me off the air and my sponsors the Maryland lottery and Coca-Cola reneged on written contracts, I lost my home in foreclosure. I remember, having to chase him down for a month’s rent to keep a roof over my head. He reluctantly wrote me a check for 1,000 dollars and blamed his wife for not giving me more. It made me wonder where she was when he was spending thousands on cocaine.
Playground basketball legend Jo Jo Hunter served eighteen years in jail for armed robbery until I campaigned to get his release. He says, “JB, Bernie Bickerstaff, Spencer Haywood, Eddie Jordan, Bruce Johnson, Jim Vance were among some his biggest clients when he was slinging drugs”. Jo Jo could not believe his main man JB would turn his back on him. He refuse to answer Jo Jo’s calls and meet with him.
When I was campaigning to get NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame, I invited NBA legend Sam Jones, upcoming sports talk show host, Christy Winters-Scott, Andrew Dyer, and Butch McAdams to meet James and myself for lunch. The table talk at Union Station was centered around NBA All-Star weekend in DC in 2000. I wanted to honor hometown boy, Earl Lloyd (Alexandria, Virginia).
JB agreed to co-host the tribute with Sam. Red Auerbach and Congress John Lewis were a part of the team I had asembled for the weekend tribute. James Brown was a no-show. When I called him out face to face several months later, he said, “I don’t remember making the commitment”. This the same brother that now calls himself, Rev. James Brown. The lies continue, he also lied about being a “Minority Owner” for the Washington Nationals.
As a minority owner for the Nationals, you wonder how much imput JB had when the Learner brothers, the team owners refuse to interview Frank Robinson for the job? Frank was one of the greatest players to ever play in the Major Leagues. He is still the only player in Major League history to win MVP in the American League and the National League. Frank was also had one of the games’ greatest minds. The Learners passed on hiring him. Ditto for Dusty Baker another great player they hired for peanuts. Dusty took the Nationals to two straight play-offs, never before in team history had a manager had that type of success. The learners refuse to sign him for third year and hired a hispanic, Dave Martinez to quell the cries of racism. Martinez won a World series with Dusty’s team. In the meantime, JB took on the role of the Three Monkeys!
No surprise when it comes AARP and James Brown, birds of a feather flock together. Earl Lloyd was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003 and a recent stature was erected in his honor at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in his hometown of Alexandria–no thanks to JB. He maybe fooling a whole lot of people with his lies, but the one person he is not fooling is God. There is also the Willie Wood story, but there is not enough space in this blog to chronicle all his lies.
“Harold has always been a voice for people who didn’t have a voice. He has always called it as he saw it. He has been an inspiration and motivation for me and a lot of other black broadcasters.” James Brown (NFL/CBS Sports)
As a senior citizen I have been a victim of several scams, in 2016 I took a dental insurance policy out with Careington Dental International. Shortly after taking the policy out, I discovered there were little or no changes in dental fees. There were several dentist offices I visited that did not honor the Careington Dental insurance plan. I immediately canceled in 2016. In 2021 while I was trying to balance my account at Industrial Bank, I noticed there was a $99.00 charged item I was not familiar with.
I called my bank to question the $99.00 fee that was being deducted. It was then I discovered that Careington Dental was still deducting fees from my account. They were not only still deducting the $99.00 annual fee, but there were fees of $50.00, $149.00, $149.00, and $169.00 five different fees deducted to include $99.00. In 2017 there were no deductions? I could not hold Industrial Bank responsible, because I did not alert them relating to the cancellation.
I contacted Careington about the fraudulent fees being withdrawn from my account and the Rep Ms. Carole Johnson claimed that it was not fraud, but just an honest mistake. Ms. Johnson said Careington would make my account whole again and she was sorry about the mix-up. The next correspondence was in February 2021 when I received the above mention email from Ms. Johnson. Since that February email, I have been getting the run around by Careington, and no settlement in sight.
On May 20, 2021, my wife suggested that I call AARP Fraud Watch Network for some assistance. I was skeptical, but I placed the call anyway. I got a representative named Doris and she walked me through my complaint.
She determined that my complaint was real and promised she would have a fraud rep contact me in the next 24 hours. A rep by the name of Dan contacted me two hours later. I was encouaged, because this was really unheard of customer service.
Dan heard out my complaint and he also agreed that it sounded like a good complaint. He suggested that I write a letter to Careington and put a stamp on it and put it in the regular mail and wait for a response.
I was willing to do that until I found the smoking gun (letter) from Careington confirming my complaint and agreeing to refund me my money.
I then reached out to Dan to let him know there was a better way with the letter, the dates of deductions, five different deductions amounts coming out of my account, despite no claims for dental work. I tried calling Dan on the same number he called, but the responding recorded message said, “A mailbox has not set up to respond to your call”???
Ms. Jenkins, AARP is much too big and represents too many senior citizens not to have a better line of communications for us to communicate with AARP reps. How can there be no email addresses to contact different departments of AARP? Especially, after you have made contact with a rep and he knows your story–I think email addresses are still free!
These big corporations should not be allowed to keep scamming senior citizens without repercussions.
Ms. Jenkins it is reported you have a salary in the neighborhood of $300,000+ annually and AARP has an estimated $325 million dollars in the bank. It is estimated there are 60,000+ volunteers in your organization. There is something wrong with this picture!
Should I believe that AARP cannot afford to hire a Fraud Unit to help curtail the 2 billion dollar scams perpetrated against senior citizens annually and Dan the Volunteer is the best you can do? The lobbyist you have scattered on The Hill, whose interest do they represent, yours or senior citizens? AARP had 50 lobbyist on the Hill in 2018 at a cost of $8,290.000 per lobbyist and 30 revolvers (revolving door reps).
I am looking forward to your response and you are invited to be our guest on ZOOM SUNDAY “SPEAK THE TRUTH” on any given Sunday. We would like to clear up any misconceptions that we have as it relates to AARP’s commitment to your membership.
202 707 xxxx 202 707 xxxx 202 707 xxxx 941 9555 xxxx 703 780 xxxx + more???????????? These bogus AARP numbers sounds like they are for someone in the witness protection program!
My Scam History
CAREINGTON HISTORY DEDUCTION FEES FROM MY BANK ACCOUNT!
FEB 11, 2021 CAREINGTON FEES NCID04232601484 $99.00
JAN 08, 2020 CAREINGTON FEES NClD006326011484 $99.00
JAN 14, 2019 CAREINGTON FEES NClD1432601484 $50.00
JAN 07, 2019 CAREINGTON FEES NCID00432601484 $149.00
JAN 08, 2018 CAREINGTON FEES NClD005326011484 $149.00
JAN 2017 CAREINGTON FEES NO DEDUCTIONS????????
DEC 16, 2016 CAREINGTON INTER CAREINGTON M8797702829 $169.00
FIVE DIFFERENT DEDUCTION FEES AND ONE NO DEDUCTION FEE??
———- Original Message ———-
Date: 02/05/2021 9:16 AM
Subject: Cancel Confirmation- With Refund
Member ID: 32601484
Dear Harold Bell,
Your membership has been canceled with an effective date of 01/01/2021 per your request. You have been refunded, minus your processing fee, per your plan’s Terms and Conditions. You may call our Member Services at 1-800-290-0523 with any other questions concerning your account.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and we value your business.
Sincerely, Rep Carole Johnson
Barbra L. Falsoa
Chief Executive Officer
Enrollment OperationsCAREINGTON International Corporation
1 866 929 1853
CAREINGTON INTERNATIONAL CORP 7400 Gaylord Pkwy Frisco, TX 75034
CAREINGTON WITHDRAWALS INDUSTRIAL BANK OF WASHINGTON, DC:
January 7, 2021–$99.00 / January 8, 2020–$99.00
January 7, 2019–$50 / January 14, 2019–$149.00
January 8, 2018–$149.00 / December 30, 2016
GEICO AUTO INSURANCE
In August 2020 after a ten year association, I cancelled my auto insurance policy with corporate giant, Geico Auto Insurance Company. The reason, Geico for some reason unknown to me, were not able to withdrawn my monthly insurance premium from my Industrial Bank account. On several ocassions I connected the bank manager and Geico Customer Service reps, but still they could not figure out the problem.
In the meantime, Geico gave up on trying to with drawing my premium from my bank account and my premium went from $102.43 to 143.00. This was a blow financially to me and my wife trying to survive on social security I cancelled my Geico auto insurance in August after 10+ years accident free and signed with Kemper Insurance on August 5, 2020.
Shortly there after I would receive a notice from a bill collector representing Geico Insurance claiming I had a past due balance of $143.00. I immediately called Geico Customer Service about their claim. I was advised by Geico Customer Service to have Kemper email them documents proving I had coverage during the month of August. The documentation was provided by Kemper that I was covered in August, but the past due claims kept showing up in my mail box.
I contacted Geico Supervisor Andrew Duran whom I had met when a deer crossed in front of my vehicle in broad daylight in Bowie, Maryland. There was a dispute with the autor repair shop relating to timely repairs that were taking much too long. Mr. Duran came out to intervene. I was impressed with his professionlism. We later had several telephone conversations relating to the withdrawal on my monthly car insurance payments. He turned it over to a subordinate and the issue was never resolved. Instead of paying almost $50 dollars more for car insurance I cancelled. I have the same $500 dollar deductible and plus home insurance for less than $100.00.
I turned to Mr. Duran to investigate the $143.00 past due claim, but after several weeks of reaching out I have not received a response. My Kemper agent Sharon Till reached out also and received the same non-response. Geico and Mr. Duran are now a part of this scamming process.
I am apalled that Corporate Giants like Careington Dental, Geico, and cable companies can be involved in scamming millions of senior citizens while AARP stands on the sidelines and act like “The Three Little Monkeys”, they see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil? In the meantime, AARP represents in the vicinity of close to 50 million senior citizens (over 55) who are the victims of scams costing them nealy 2 billion dollars annually!
AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins has a six figure salary 300 thousand dollars+ a year. AARP has 1.697 billion dollars in the bank and claim they have 1.696 billion dollars in expenses leaving them with a billion dollars to hire a paid fraud department. Something is wrong with this picture! Corporate America is allowed to stick up Senior Citizens up without a gun and AARP driving the get away car. When do senior citizens say, “Enough is enough”?
Kids In Trouble, Inc.
Author’s Note: Thanks to Black Men in America’s CEO Gary Johnson through some last minute research that I had overlooked, he found a weekly podcast titled “The Perfect Scam” the podcast tells the stories of people who find themselves the target of a scam. Host Bob Sullivan introduces listeners to those who have experienced scams first hand, as well as professional con artists and leading experts who pull back the curtain on how scammers operate. https://www.aarp.org/podcasts/the-perfect-scam/?intcmp=AE-SCM-FRD-SUBNAV-TPS. AARP rep Dan never mention the podcast and neither did the rep that referred me to him–something is wrong with this picture! How is a podcast sponsored by AARP and their reps don’t have a clue?
Gary Johnson-CEO and founder of black men in America
Muhammad Ali is No. 1 and everyone else is No. 2 when it comes to the boxing WORLD. Show Time’s documentary of “The Kings” features the little guys of boxing, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durant, and Marvin Hagler.
The documentary covers the most exciting era of boxing history second only to Muhammad Ali and Harold Bell was an eye witness to both eras. His voice can be heard in every segment of the documentary. He was up-close and personal with Muhammad Ali and two of “The Kings”.
Ali made him “The Chosen One” in sports media in 1974. On his return to America after the biggest fight of his career in Zaire, Africa. In Zaire he stunned the world when he knocked out the undisputed and undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, George Foreman. Ali returned home to stun the sports media world when he bypassed, Ed Bradley (60 Minutes), Bryant Gumble (NBC) and Howard Cosell (ABC Sports). His first call was to Harold Bell a little unknown sports talk show host in Washington, DC. His sports talk show “Inside Sports” was the talk of the town on W-O-O-K AM radio in DC in the 70s and 80s.
Ali surprised him with a telephone call near midnight five nights after the fight asking him to meet him in New York City for the interview he had promised him in Chicago before leaving for Zaire. Harold had refused Ali’s invitation to fly to Zaire for the interview, his excuse, “I was scared to fly across the ocean”.
Harold and Ali met on the campus of Howard University in 1967 during Ali’s surprised visit to DC. He spoke on the steps of the campus office building. His topics, were all things boxing and racism in America. Hundreds of students hung on his every word. Harold would later volunteer to take Ali on a walking tour on the legendary Georgia Avenue corridor to the sounds of honking horns and pretty ladies jumping out of cars to kiss Ali. The rest is boxing and sports media history. Never in the history of boxing had a heavyweight champion chose to give an exclusive one on one interview to a black journalist in media. The rest is sports talk radio and television show history.
In 1972 Harold Bell became the first black to host and produce his own radio sports talk show “Inside Sports”! In November 1975 he became the first black to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 in Washington, DC. His special guest was the Greatest, Muhammad Ali.
In 1980 he was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. The honor made him the the first sportscaster given the award. November 2019 he celebrated 45 years of the Rumble in the Jungle with his historic one on one interview (trailer) with Ali on the big screen at the Miracle Theater on Capitol Hill in NE DC. The National Association of Black Broadcasters (NABJ) honored him with their 2020 Pioneer Award. The recognition of his sports media and community youth advocate careers were against all odds. He is the only sports talk host to campaign for two black pro athletes and successfully have them inducted into their hall of fames. The campaign started after they were blackballed by their sport. Willie Wood was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989 and Earl Lloyd inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003. His legacy continues in the “The Kings” documentary, thanks to The Greatest Muhammad Ali.
His contributions in sports media ranks right there with the legendary contributions of Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier and Sam Lacey of the Afro-American newspapers. Harold Bell and Inside Sports changed the way we talk and report sports in America and around the globe. Every radio and television sports talk show seen and heard have all copied the Inside Sports talk format. He is definitely, THE KING of sports talk radio and television.
“If an American Black man works as a butler in the home of a poor white man, the weak economic position of of the “Boss” will reflect itself in the overall appearance of the black butler. If the “Boss” suddenly becomes wealthy, naturally the butler will also make more money and become wealthy, too. He will wear better clothes, he will eat better food, and perhaps house his family in a better community and his children may have access to better schools. A casual observer will think this black butler has made great material progress. But has he? His position has not really changed. He is still a servant and the white man is still his boss”.
On February 29, 1965 the above statement was given to A. Peter Bailey by Malcolm X. Bailey was the editor of The Organization of Afro-American Unity News Letter. Malcolm X was assassinated the next day February 30, 1965.
In 2019 the median white household held $188,200 in wealth—7.8 times that of a typical black household ($24,100). If you are black and looking for an “Even Playing Field” you won’t find it in America!
As we remember black soldiers on this Memorial Day lets remember those who fought on every battlefield that an American white soldier fought on defending America, but once the black soldier returned home it was the same old song. They returned to the back of the bus, to homes on the wrong side of the tracks, red lining at their banks, they were spat on and hung from the nearest tree, while still in their military uniforms. Never forget “Black Wall Street, Emit Till, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and the list goes on and on. Let us forgive, but not forget. Let us also remember U. S. Army Coporal Rupert Trimmingham!
TIME MAGAZINE by Mathew Taub July 28, 2020
For Coporal Rupert Trimmingham, it came as no surprise that he’d have to eat inside the lunchroom’s kitchen, he was invisible to the diners enjoying table service. This was 1944, and the deep south. Trimingham and eight other Black soldiers were en route from Louisana’s Camp Claiborne to Arizona’s Fort Huachuca and, as he later wrote, he knew the only boss was “Old Jim Crow”.
But what Trimmingham and his companions saw as they looked out at the lunchroom from inside that kitchen defied even their expectations. About two dozen German prisoners of war entered with their American guards sat at the same tables, had their meals served, talked, smoked, in fact had quite a swell time. In a April 1944 letter to Yank, a weekly Army Magazine, Trimmingham asked the obvious: “Are these men” Nazi troops who’d been captured while fighting on Hitler’s behalf—swored enemies of this country? Then why are they treated better than we are?”
Nineteen years after Corporal Trimmingham encountered white U. S. soldiers dinning and entertaining Nazi German prisoners. My younger brother Earl “Bull” Bell a Military Police staff sergeant in the U. S. Army had a racist encounter in downtown Mannheim, Germany, it was 1963. He had served two hitches in Germany, was the country’s heavyweight boxing champion, first string fullback on the Army football team, ping pong champion, and served as a platoon supply sergeant in Nurenmberg from 1966 until his overseas tour ended in August 1968. Along this military journey he was noticing racial bias in promotions and in disciplinary actions against black soldiers.
Blacks who dared to speak out were labeled “Troublemakers,” and sympathetic whites were branded “nigger lovers” and were disciplined as badly as blacks if they violated any rules. Worse still, my brother complained, black officers (spooks who sat by the door) protecting their own positions, did little to correct inequities.
In 1965 Earl tried uncuccessfully to have segregated off-base housing in Nuremberg declared off-limits, but was rebuffed. He complained to Rep. Charles C. Diggs (D-Mich) and the Pentagon. Finally, he obtained adequate housing at the Army camp for his wife and two children, but the struggle for equality never ended.
My brother’s relentless drive for his and other’s human rights reached a head in downtown Nuremberg at a segregated discotheque called ‘The Cage“. He had been refused admission previously because of the color of his skin, but this time he returned with 35 black militant troops on a march that almost ended violently. Military Police his co-workers (mostly white) were rushed to the scene to quell the disturbance. He turned out to be the peacemaker and out of respect for him everyone backed off.
A month later May 30, 1969 after the night club incident, his perfect service record was marred while he was umpiring a softball game. He drew a $30 fine for identfying himself to a white lieutenant as “Mr. Bell”! He insisted that normal military courtesy regulations are waived during athletic competitions. The lieutenant was a spectator and grandstanding. He joined the argument between the two players and my brother on the field of play. He was out of order and still wrote the citation to get back at Earl. It was then my brother said enough was enough and decided not to sign up for a 3rd tour of the U. S. Army–too much racism.
I remembered my freshman year at Winston-Salem State during homecoming weekend, Earl hitched hike from DC to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He made the trip to tell me he was going to join the U. S. Army. I was so happy he was going to get off the mean streets of DC. We were not expected to survive those mean streets, but we did.
I found it interesting how Jet Magazine (July 31, 1969 & August 28, 1969) made it looked like while my brother was fighting racism in the military I was home playing footsie at the White House with Richard Nixon.
The stories read, ” With their contrasting outlooks, Harold and Earl share the same poverty-ridden background. The four Bell brothers (including Alfred, now 31, a tire salesman; and William, 20, a Marine Corps Private/First-Class) were raised without their father in a DC low-income housing project. Still youngsters when their mother was on welfare , they grew up on the black ghetto’s proverbial “Dead-End street.”
I am proud of all three of my brothers who served this country, William the youngest separated from the Marines and returned home to be an outstanding photographer. He worked for the notorious boxing promoter Don King for several years. My older brother Bobby and I never served in the military, we were classified 4-F (health issues).
Bobby graduated from Maryland State on the Eastern Shore and he was a U. S. Marshall for 20 years. He inspired me to pursue athletics. I was in middle school when I spotted him playing second base for Armstrong High School with the great Willie Wood (NFL). I had no idea he was an athlete. He was raised by our hero and matriarch, Grand-Ma Bell. My mother Mattie, I am sure was proud of all four of us–not bad.
Malcolm X knew America like the back of his hand. As we close out Memorial Day, we must remember “Black Wall Street, Jimmy Lee Jackson in Selma, Eric Garner in New York, City, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and hundreds of other black unarmed men and women shot and killed in American streets by racist cops, too many were white and some black.
One-hundred years later Anneliese Bruner the great-granddaughter of Mary E. Jones Parrish, a teacher and a journalist lived to tell her story in a book. Ms Bruner who now lives in Washington, DC says from accounts as described by her great-grandmother, “the Tulsa race riot was actually something that was akin to an act of war where the country turned on its own citizens.” Philonise Floyd after visiting the White House made one of the most profound and provacative statements I have heard in my life time. He said, “If Congress can pass legislation to protect endandered birds, they can also pass legislation on police reform to protect people of color.”
He is hoping that civilized white men can come together and pass legislation on police reform when they can’t come together and pass a anti-lynching law, that is like pissing against the wind and exposes who they really are in America!
Racism is embedded in our fabric, its a baby white America cannot throw out with the bathwater-its here to stay! White folks do not have a copyright on racism, there are some black folks who could teach them “Racism 101”.
Black America has always famously preached how to beat the system of racism in America. The logical choice has always been education. I have some good news and some bad news for Black America. Education is great to use as a deterrent, but the real deal to success in America if you are black, you need a white man or white woman in your corner and avoid the spooks who sit behind the door (family and friends)! They can truely be crabs in a barrell.
I am speaking from what I know and not what I heard. A lot depends on what your definition of success? It maybe money or it maybe peace of mind–but peace of mind is not for sale.
It has always been peace of mind for me. I have traveled in the circles of the rich and famous and the life style was never a good fit. I was an eye witness up close and personal as 30+ pro athletes, radio and television personalities became millionaires and benefactors of my non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. and Inside Sports, my radio talk show. I watched 2% come back and reach back to help a black child.
Thousands of blacks, hispanics and white children participated in our Christmas toy parties for forty-five straight years (1968-2013). My wife Hattie and I owe our success to, Dr. Nicholas Long (Director of the Hillcrest Children’s Center), Richard M. Nixon (U. S. President), Red and Dotie Auerbach (NBA Boston Celtics), Bert R. Sugar (Boxing historian) and Angelo Dundee (Boxing trainer) all white/Jewish men. They are the reason, I closed out my sports talk shows with, “Every black face I see was not my brother and every white face I see was not my enemy”! I am living proof that success is not measured by a dollar sign. The road to success is helping others.
This Memorial Day I remember my brothers Earl and William and the brothers and sisters (black and white) who are in this struggle to be free, but they must remember, freedom ain’t free and “This America is Us”.
I’m thankful for Donald Trump because he served as the catalyst which brought racists and spooks who have been sitting by the door out of the shadows into the open.
For years the Karen’s and Ken’s of the world lived a secret life. By day they were bankers, business executives, teachers, politicians, police officers, actors, models, artists, and even members of the House and Senate. They mostly kept their views to themselves, played by the rules, and seemed like well adjusted members of the multi-cultural society that has been America, well, since it’s founding. They knew how to play the game and what, and what not, to say in order to get along and advance in their world.
Like most Americans who were told they were white, they had been raised from birth on a revisionist version of American history in which slavery was but a small blemish upon America’s past perpetrated by an unenlightened misguided minority in the South. White civilization in the North had righted the ship, realizing that slavery was in fact not in keeping with the teachings of Christianity, or for that matter, the ideas set down in the U.S constitution by the founding fathers, that formed the moral fabric of their society.
They were taught that the civil war was related to, but not really fought over slavery. Rather, it was a war fought between two highly civilized groups who only came to arms because one, the North, wished to subdue the other, the Confederacy, who wished to secede from from the Union. In their story there were “very fine people on both sides” that were driven to war because they reached an impasse and were simply trying to protect their families, property, and way of life.
This version may be one of the most naive and only war retellings throughout history where there is neither aggressor nor villain. Of course, if this version were true, then the actual history which directly arose from the civil war would not exist. There would’ve been no need to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, black people would’ve received the 40 acres and a mule that they were promised, the Black Codes would never have been written and adopted, there would be no need for Jim Crow laws, thousands of lynchings would’ve never taken place, Black Wall Street would still exist, a black Harlem would be thriving today, the entire civil rights movement would’ve been redundant, Rosa Parks would’ve been allowed to sit at the front of the bus like all the other ladies, Ruby Bridges wouldn’t have needed a police escort to walk to school, four little girls would now be four grandmothers with large families to show, MLK, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and hundreds of other black activists would’ve chosen other vocations and might still be alive, the G.I bill would’ve been an equal opportunity affair, redlining would never have happened, historically underserved black communities would instead be thriving multi-cultural metropolises, mass-incarceration would not exist, neither would gentrification, there would be no need for Black History Month because black inventors and innovators would not have been written out of the American story, jazz and so many other black musics would celebrate their actual black origins, a black life would carry the same worth as a white life, so Black Lives Matter would never need be said, and a black president may have been elected 100 years earlier, followed by many others.
Instead America swallowed whole the white-washed fiction of the confederacy along with the belief in a persistent Black Menace, who secretly wanted revenge for slavery, and who might slaughter their families and impregnate their daughters, if given the opportunity. Birth of a Nation was not just some black and white silent movie, it was the encapsulation of an entire belief system that was viewed by white Americans everywhere, including in the White House itself. ANTIFA and BLM are nothing but modern day incarnations of this same menace and thus one more reason for why so many white people are obsessed with gun ownership and the second amendment. Thus, it wasn’t just Karen and Ken who believed in this narrative which made no sense, it was the vast majority of white and white adjacent America, who seemed fine on the surface, but below something far more sinister stirred. Behind closed doors, and when in like company their true colors and characters came out.
This true character stayed mostly hidden. With the many victories won during the civil rights movement, and with the passage of federal laws which prohibited racial discrimination, going all the way back to the Klu Klux Klan, most who did not support black and brown progress learned to hide in plain sight. In more recent times they quietly donned confederate battle flags stickers on trucks, revered confederate monuments, re-enacted the civil war, and mostly only used the N-word in private. Believe it or not, they actually considered this to be a form of oppression. If they considered the Clinton through Bush presidencies to be inhospitable to their true beliefs, then the Obama presidency was like being Jewish in Germany in the 30s. For them Obama represented 8 years of hell and the rapid decline of what America was all about.
The truth is that America’s issues actually began when the first European slaughtered the first Native American, and then continued while the founders of the resulting European colonies committed serial genocide, then kidnapped and transported millions of native Africans in the greatest forced migration (or just plain kidnapping) of people that the world had ever seen. Murdering, brutalizing, kidnapping, transporting and then forcing millions of human beings to work for free over hundreds of years took a great deal of hate and effort. The Transatlantic Slave Trade made the world a darker place and the people who were responsible in many ways had to sacrifice their own humanity in order to excel at it.
The cultures which sprang up around such slave colonies were truly evil, and the unbridled hatred, which they nurtured, tainted every man, woman and child, perverting every facet of their characters and lives, from their versions of Christianity to their versions of history and ultimate world views. They elevated brutality and hatred to high arts. This went on for hundreds of years, until in America even white Southern children could see nothing wrong in the ownership, brutalization, and raping of their black childhood friends. All they saw was the natural order of things.
The South was not alone in its brutality to those of the darker hue. Others, at home in the U.S and around the world in the colonies of the West Indies, Australia, South America, Asia and Africa, echoed the same beliefs, structures and behaviors. What America did provide in a post slavery world was the normalization of modern racism through a focus on capitalism. Without the support of America (and others like Britain) South Africa’s system of apartheid would never have survived for so long. And indeed, once that support was finally withdrawn in the 1990s, it crumbled.
Like other cultures based on white supremacy, Southerners actually viewed the events which led up to the American Civil war as an attack on their culture, way of life and livelihoods, which was entirely supported by slave labor at the time. To them their ancestors fought to retain who they were as a people, and though they lost, many never truly surrendered their beliefs. They simply buried them, or transformed them into some modified form which the North might turn a blind eye to.
An egotistical bigot billionaire con man turned reality TV star realized this and went about riding this wave of historic white grievance all the way into the White House. How did he do it? He made it cool to be openly racist again. He gave America’s bigots permission to let their bigot flags fly. He restored white pride. He retweeted the grievances of “oppressed whites” throughout the world, including white South Africans, and drew connections with what some thought might happen in the U.S, if liberalism were allowed to continue along it’s present politically correct trajectory.
Trump attacked any and everything liberal, from Climate Change to abortion and gay marriage. He promised whites in the U.S that they would always come first. He celebrated white privilege. He demonized nations South of the Border, and “shithole countries with majority non-white populations. He attacked the left and cozied up to racist extreme right groups, becoming their long awaited messiah. Through people like Steve Bannon he reached out to other right leaning groups and movements around the world, forming an alliance, which would rewind the clock on progress.
Thus, the entire Trump presidency was really about one thing from beginning to end; The restoration and preservation of White Supremacy throughout the world. Just like Jim Crow, its true intentions were dressed up in a lot of words, but when naked it was clearly all about preserving one of the oldest stratification systems on earth, racism, so that people who believed themselves to be white could finally walk with their heads held high again. And they did. The behavior which was once reserved for gatherings of the likeminded exploded into an openly racist resurgence which saw thousands of people gathering at rallies, reminiscent of those huge rallies which took place in Nazi Germany after Hitler seized power. Nationalism became a good word, and even had its own slogan; America First. Despite the inclusion of a few lost and confused people of color, America First, its MAGA twin, and Brexit counterparts were clearly for white people.
One could draw a line directly from the emergence of the Birther Movement to the storming of the U.S Capitol. In the birther movement Trump sought to redefine what it meant to be an American, and thus be a legitimate American President. His problems with Obama were centered around questioning his American citizenship, but they were actually about his skin color. In the storming of the U.S Capitol Trump sought to embolden racists and bigots all over the world to “take their countries back” from people like Obama. His actual goal was far more selfish; A second term as president and the protection that this offered from the mountains of lawsuits headed his way in his post presidential life.
Even now, Trump’s situation is dire enough that he is prepared to burn down everything and tear America to shreds in the process in order to achieve his objective. He is perfectly prepared to push the country into a second civil war, if it will save him from prosecution. It will not be over and we will not be able to breath that long overdue sigh of relief until every single shred of power that he was awarded as president is rescinded.
Like Hitler, Trump’s ability to broadcast his vile and hateful message (over any and all platforms) needs to be suppressed, and to speak very plainly, he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for his part in enabling his followers, both the radical terrorists and idiot sycophants, who stormed the Capitol. Those in Congress who supported his rise, and who even now support the disenfranchisement of millions of voters to win him a second term, need to pay a high enough political price that no politician of sound mind would ever consider following the same path in the future.
When Trump assembled, riled up and sent that mob down to the Capitol, he placed the safety of millions in jeopardy. When he refused to call out the national guard or do anything to address his supporters for hours he intensified this threat. When he finally did address his supporters, without condemning their actions, and even while telling them that he “loved them”, he legitimized their coup attempt. The attack on the Capital was an attempted bloodless coup, but if Trump had the loyalty of the U.S military, he absolutely would’ve graduated to a more standard version, which all but certainly would’ve been more bloody. All of this is before we even consider his total failures around dealing with the pandemic.
If America wishes to remain a democracy it must stand against all those who seek to seize power by other means, even if that person is the sitting president. They say that presidents cannot be sentenced to prison, but I humbly suggest that Trump may be one hell of a candidate for that policy’s revision.
Noteworthy: I did not write this blog-Author unknown