JOE GORHAM AND BILL LINDSAY: RUNNING AGAINST THE WIND!
DC lost Joe Gorham and Bill Lindsay days a part in 2022. They both were native Washingtonians and products of the DC Public schools system. Joe was a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of the District of Columbia. Bill was a graduate of Spingarn High School and attended Illinois Southern University on a track scholarship and transferred to Maryland University before being drafted into the military.
Joe Gorham was 69 years old when he was called home to be with the Lord. He was a veteran broadcaster of more than twenty years. Most of his many years in radio were with WHUR 96.3 in one capacity or another. He started as a freelance Technical producer for the Jerry Phillips (Spingarn alumnus) Morning Show in 1979. He went from the Jerry Phillips Morning Show to a freelance announcer and moved on to become a full-time staff performer. He accomplished all of this and more in his first ten years at WHUR.
What many of us missed was that Joe Gorham was a risk-taker. In 1991 he went to WDJY-100 FM and then to Atlanta’s WALR 104.7. His outgoing personality and being a “Team Player” were very important to his success in a profession that is overrun with player-haters, envy, jealousy and few opportunities for blacks. Joe never burned bridges and he was welcomed back to WHUR in 1994 to continue his dreams of making a difference.
When Joe retired he was still reaching back to help others. You did not have to be a member of the WHUR radio family for Joe Gorham to reach back and pull you along with him.
Joe and I were like ships passing in the night on the street corners, the political and community meetings in our hometown of DC. When Joe came into radio, I was on the way out as a controversial mover and shaker in the DC market. During our encounters, he would always say for everyone to hear, “Harold Bell the real DC legend.” It took me some time to get used to these shoutouts, I didn’t know if he was being sarcastic or being sincere.
My last encounter with Joe was at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown DC in 2019. The occasion was a long-overdue tribute to comedian Sylvia Morrison. Sylvia’s special guest was a lady that wears her heart on her sleeve when it comes to her people. The legendary comedian, Monique. She is the best stand-up comedian in America. Her act/routine includes, serious discussions concerning human and civil rights for blacks and other minorities. She speaks out when the voiceless cannot speak for themselves. Monique has more balls than most black men.
I was happy Sylvia was finally getting the accolades she richly deserved. There was a reception and folks were waiting for the arrival of Sylvia and Monique to say hello before the main event. The room was a little too crowded for me so I left my wife with some friends and left the room.
I am standing out in the hall and Joe Gorham comes out of the crowded room I had just exited. He sees me and says, “Harold Bell the real DC legend.” He turns to go back into the room and hollers, “Harold do not move, I will be right back.”
He returns with this guy looking like he might be a member of the “Over the Hill Gang” for the Washington Redskins. Joe’s introduction, “Marc, I want you to meet the real DC legend, Harold Bell and Harold Bell I want you to meet Marc Clarke.”
Marc and his wife, Allison Seymore were a husband and wife team during the evening drive for WHUR radio. Allison was also a morning news anchor for Fox Morning News. She has successfully made the switch to WUSA TV 9 as an anchor on the early morning news.
Marc invited Hattie and I to be guests on their radio show during Black History Month. Hattie’s family is the First Family of Civil Rights in Orangeburg, S. C. Her father, Dr. Charles H. Thomas, Sr. was the President of the local chapter of the NAACP, and a Professor of Psychology on the campus of South Carolina State University.
He started the first-ever voter registration drive on a college campus and it has since spreaded to college campuses all over America. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. Thomas died in 1977. He was inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2007.
Joe started out as a freelance Technical producer for the Jerry Phillips (Spingarn alumnus) Morning Show. In 1979 he was also the host of Legato Lycx on WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2 Monday thru Thursday from 7 PM-11 PM with a mixture of music WHUR originally brought to the attention of the Washington Metropolitan Area, with a twist of world music. What many of us missed, Joe Gorham was a risk-taker. He never thought about failure. He went from the Jerry Phillips Morning Show and, became a freelance announcer and on to becoming a full-time staff performer.
In 1991 he went to WDJY-100 FM and then to Atlanta’s WALR 104.7. Joe never burned bridges and was welcomed back to WHUR in 1994 to continue his dreams of making a difference.
On January 21, 2004, WHUR 96.3 FM made history becoming the first broadcast facility in Washington, DC to launch the new HD technology for the future. Joe made a historical contribution by reestablishing and rebuilding the WHUR music library to its former greatness.
He accomplished all of this and more in his first ten years at WHUR. His outgoing personality and being a “Team Player” were very important to his success, especially, in a profession that is overrun with player-haters, envy and jealousy.
In 2005 Joe was given the task of creating and establishing a format for this new technology in the form of WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2. The station featured the jazz artists that WHUR made famous in years gone by. As a result of this task, Joe was named the Music Director of WHUR-WORLD 96.3 HD2. He was also the Music Director for HUR-VOICES SiriusXM channel 141.
Thanks to Joe, Marc Clarke has since joined the Kids In Trouble/Speak the Truth team and my other community endeavors. We hope to continue to reach back to make a difference in the life of some kid in our ongoing journey as Joe would have wanted. In November of 2019, Marc helped to co-host the successful debut of my Muhammad Ali video trailer at the Miracle Theatre in NE DC with Sylvia Morrison and Gary Johnson.
Marc continued his reach back efforts when he joined the Morning Team on WUSA TV 9. October 30, 2021, marked the 47th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle. Marc used the historic occasion to air a segment of my one on one exclusive interview with Muhammad Ali. https://www.wusa9.com/video/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-washington/the-godfather-of-sports-talk-harold-bell-recalls-the-rumble-in-the-jungle-great-day-exclusive/65-189f236e-990c-486f-9259-9d8c07dde953.
Thanks to John Hollins Account Excutive and Sports Director Fred Kalil on CBS 46 in Atlanta, Ga. for following up with a similar segment of the Ali interview during Black History Month. Joe, Marc and John are the definition of “Networking.” A lost art in the black community. https://youtu.be/duGoaDIVZ6E
Joe Gorham never got the opportunity to experience The Foxtrappe. When he joined the radio ranks in 1989, the Foxtrappe had gone dark (closed), but he had the spirit of Bill Lindsay.
Bill was a co-founder of the Foxtrappe. He 76 years-old when he was called home to be with the Lord.
The Foxtrappe Club opened its doors in 1975 and catered to the black Washington, DC, and beyond. The club was located on 1601 R Street in NW DC in a five-story mansion owned by the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.
The Foxtrappe was the brainchild of three native Washingtonians, Claude Roxborough, Malcolm Beech, and Bill Lindsay. This would become the place to be for DC’s elite for over a decade. During these times Washington, DC was still a closed city for blacks despite their influential government jobs, cash flow, and wardrobes to kill for. The downtown white restaurants and clubs were still off-limits. They viewed every black face as one of the participants in the 1968 riots who almost destroyed their city.
Bill was not only the face of the Foxtrappe, he was the bridge to the community. Claude and Malcolm were from another part of the world growing up in NW DC. Bill was from far NE DC and a product of the DC Public School system. He was a graduate Spingarn High School where he was also an outstanding student/athlete, participating and excelling in track & Field. He attended Southern Illinois on a track scholarship and transferred to the University of Maryland before being drafted into the U. S. Army.
Bill and I met after an alumni basketball game between members of past Spingarn teams and the present varsity team. It was our basketball Coach William Roundtree’s idea of hosting the game during the Thanksgiving holidays. I remember the game like it was yesterday. The game gave me an opportunity to continue my head to head playground battle with rising star Dave Bing.
After we lost the final alumni match-up several of the athletes gathered at Sportys’ a popular carry-out located directly across the street from the school. Sportys’ had the best half smokes and hotdogs in town only Evelyn’s on U street had better.
The carry-out was very small and there was a crowd standing in line outside the door to the entrance. I worked my way to the front of the line and was ordering a hotdog when a voice from outside the door yelled, “Harold Bell make that two hotdogs and a coke.” He then passed a dollar bill up to me.
I noticed Dave was standing behind this guy smiling. I took the bill and ordered the two hotdogs. When I got outside, I asked the guy who had ordered the hotdog, “Do I know you?” His response, “My name is Bill Lindsay and I run track.” Dave came out and joined us and asked me had I met Bill? I had the feeling that I had just been played, it was the beginning of a great friendship–Bill was a class act.
In our adult years I was one of the founders of the Spingarn Alumni Association which was overrun by athletes and Bill would join us when his schedule allowed.
Bill was “The Go to Guy” at the Foxtrappe when you needed to settle a dispute at the entrance to the club, whether it had something to do with a lost membership card or someone challenging the dress code. He was the smiling face you wanted to see at the front door. Bill was the diplomatic muscle without using the muscle.
I remember the Ramsey Lewis trio recorded their classic “The In-Crowd” in 1965 at the legendary underground jazz club, the Bohemian Caverns in NW DC. I had just returned home from a failed minor league football tryout–my ticket to the NFL so I thought.
The Foxtrappe opened its doors in 1975 for the Nation Capitol’s black bourgeoisie residents. They were looking for an establishment they could hang out with the elite and call it their very own. Ten years after the Ramsey Lewis’ music classic “The In-Crowd.” The DC ‘In-Crowd’ would make their way to the Foxtrappe, when I hear it, I think of the Foxtrappe.
The club was housed in a red brick building at 16th and R streets NW. The club was so exclusive in its early days that it was rumored that music legend, Sly Stone, the flamboyant leader of Sly and the Family Stone, couldn’t get in because he wasn’t wearing a sports coat. I remember taking the heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali to the club for his first visit. His attaire was just a sport shirt and slacks. There were definitely exceptions to the rule.
The video produced by Don Baker, captured the beauty of Black Washington, DC in the 70s and 80s and the celebrities who made it their Foxtrappe. He forgot to mention that 90% of the celebrities that came through the Foxtrapp’s doors found their way there via Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports (BCRT).
Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Earl Monroe, Don King, Clarence Bighouse Gaines, Sam Jones, Al Attles, Jim Vance, Lark McCathy, Melvin Lindsey, Dr J, Maureen Bunyan, Carole Randolph, Redskin players Roy Jefferson, Speedy Duncan, Donnie Simpson, Dave Robinson and Green Bay Packer great Willie Wood were among the personalities who found a home at the Foxtrappe.
There was law and order in the Foxrtappe, DC Superior Court Judges, Luke Moore, Harry T. Alexander, Ted Newman, Eugene Hamilton and Henry Kennedy, Jr. They were all frequent visitors. Judge Kennedy would like to brag, “I met my wife Altomese at the Foxtrappe.” Burtell Jefferson DC’s first black police chief, Congressmen Walter Fauntroy (D-DC), Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) and other politicians would pop in out of the club to support my community efforts.
Bill was the glue that made it happen. After the Foxtrappe closed in 1985, Bill and I stayed in touch when he and his wife opened a new restaurant in walking distant of the Foxtrappe. The new restaurant was called, Mingles.
Mingles would be the site of our greatest community endeavor–a thank you and tribute to our Spingarn Principal, Dr. Purvis Williams, his support staff of Vice-Principals, Annie Duncan and William T. Davis and our teachers. Their support staff, included nurse, Rossetta Holmes, police officer, Ray Dixon and our dedicated maintance staff. The Spingarn success stories are second to none in the history of the DC Public School system.
Bill Lindsey and I were especially proud of being the host for this unique tribute coordinated by the student/athletes led by NBA Hall of Fame player, Dave Bing. This was an unheard of tribute by a group of students saying, “Thank You” to our extraordinary Principal and his team of teachers.
My success in the community and sports media was not because as some in media claim, I was a “One Man Community Action Program”—to be honest it took a a Village and the Foxtrappe!
I want to thank Joe Gorham and Bill Lindsey for “Running Against the Wind” and being the “Bridges” to the other side of the glitz and glamour of the Foxtrappe and WHUR radio. Thank you for reaching back to help others. You are gone, but you will never be forgotten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmrkY-EZy74