Category: Entertainment

November 1 – Walter Payton

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who could inspire you and got the best out of you in practice or in a game. He graduated in tiny Jackson State University but people knew then he was special. It always wasn’t easy for him until he had an offense line. Then the man turned in his greatness. His personal story was sad as I watched him maybe like some of you tell the world that he had cancer and would die. He broke down on the television and cried because he didn’t want to die. He will always be remembered because the NFL has a Man of The Year trophy named after him. Enjoy the story!

Remember – “I am happy to say that everyone that I have met in my life, I have gained something from them; be it negative or positive, it has enforced and reinforced my life in some aspect.” – Walter Payton

Today in our History – November 1 – Walter Payton dies from cancer.

Former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, the NFL’s all-time rushing leader and a man who ran with gritty determination and defiance that belied his nickname “Sweetness,” died from cancer of the bile duct.

Payton, looking shockingly frail and gaunt, announced at an emotional news conference Feb. 2 he was suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare liver disease he said at the time could be cured only by a transplant.

But Greg Gores, a liver specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said today at a news conference at Bears headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill., that further evaluation of Payton’s illness had indicated “a diseased malignancy of the bile duct.”

Gores said Payton had undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment in recent months in an attempt to stem the cancer. He added that because of the “aggressive nature” of the malignancy and its spread to other areas, “a liver transplant was no longer viable. . . . He made an informed decision regarding additional therapy.”

Surrounded by his wife, Connie, and two children, Jarrett and Brittney, Payton died shortly after noon at his home in Barrington, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the city he captivated with his on-field heroics for 13 seasons, including a Super Bowl championship at the end of a 15-1 season in 1985.

“He’s the best football player I’ve ever seen. At all positions, he’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Ditka, who coached Payton for six of current Saints coach’s 11 years with the Bears, including the 1985 Super Bowl season. “There are better runners than Walter. But he’s the best football player I ever saw. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.”

In a career that began with a debut of minus-eight yards in eight carries in the first game of his rookie season,
Payton rushed for 16,726 yards, breaking the record held by fellow Hall of Famer Jim Brown and a record as revered in his sport as Hank Aaron’s 744 home runs in baseball.

Payton was named to the Hall of Fame in January 1993 –– first year of eligibility – and was believed to be a unanimous choice by selectors.

Payton, 5 feet 10 and 200 pounds, was an awesome physical specimen who came into the league in 1975 as the Bears’ first-round choice out of Jackson State in Mississippi, the fourth overall pick that year. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in a year when Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won it for the second straight season. Payton got little support, mostly because Jackson State, a predominately black school, played a weaker Division I-AA schedule.

Payton gained 3,563 yards and scored 66 touchdowns over his college career and once scored 46 points in a game. He led the nation in scoring in 1973 with 160 points, and his 464 career points were an NCAA record.

But that was merely a prelude to a remarkable NFL career that ended in early 1988, when the Washington Redskins knocked the Bears out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
“My first year coaching with the Rams, we played the Chicago Bears in the [NFC] championship game, and I got to see first-hand what a great player Walter Payton was,” said Redskins Coach Norv Turner. “He was obviously much, much more than that – what a role model for anyone who ever wanted to play in this league or anyone who wanted to compete, and what a role model on and off the field.”

Payton was a driven athlete, a player who conditioned himself for the rigors of the game by running up steep hills in the offseason to the point of total exhaustion. He had arms like anvils, the thighs of Mr. Universe and an iron will. He missed only one game because of injury in his entire career when a coach, over Payton’s protest, rested him because of a sore ankle his rookie season.

As a rookie, Payton started seven games and rushed for 679 yards and seven touchdowns. The next season, he had the first of what would be 10 1,000-yard seasons, rushing for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns.

In ’77, only his third season in the league, Payton won the first of two MVP awards with the most productive season of his career. He rushed for 1,852 yards and 14 touchdowns, both career highs. His 5.5 yards per carry also was the best of his career.

In the Bears’ Super Bowl season, Payton gained 1,551 yards and had nine rushing touchdowns and also caught 49 passes, with two more for scores. In the Bears’ 46-10 rout of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, Payton didn’t score a touchdown, a sore point with him that even caused Ditka to apologize to him afterward for what he said was simply an oversight.

Payton retired after the 1987 season and immediately launched himself into a successful business career that included part ownership of an Arena Football league team, several restaurants and a number of other businesses.
When Payton was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he asked 12-year-old Jarrett to be the first son to present his father at the ceremonies in Canton, Ohio. “Not only is he a great athlete, he’s a role model – he’s my role model,” said Jarrett, now a running back at the University of Miami who came home last Wednesday to be with his ailing father.

Jarrett Payton read a brief statement at the news conference at Halas Hall today, thanking well-wishers from around the world for their support and encouragement as well as the medical personnel who treated his father since his illness was first diagnosed.

“These last 12 months have been extremely tough for me and my family,” he said. “We’ve also learned about love and life.”
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue today called Payton “one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. . . . Walter was an inspiration in everything he did. The tremendous grace and dignity he displayed in his final months reminded us again why ‘Sweetness’ was the perfect nickname for Walter Payton.”
Mike Singletary, a fearsome middle linebacker who played with Payton from 1981 to ’87, said today he spent the weekend praying and reading scripture with Payton and saw him again Monday before he died.

“With all the greatest runs, the greatest moves I saw from him, what I experienced was by far the best of Walter Payton that I’ve seen,” Singletary said at Lake Forest. “As a football player, he was really the first running back I ever met that I truly respected in terms of how he prepared. . . . He was the first running back I had ever seen that I thought would be a great defensive player.

“His attitude toward life, you wanted to be around him. If you were down, he would not let you stay down. It was his duty to bring humor and light to any situation. No matter how tough it was, Walter could always make you feel great about playing the game and playing for the Chicago Bears. He was definitely a bright spot wherever darkness appeared.” Research more about this great American Hero an share with your babies. I will be speaking at Dacula High School about the Blacks who served during WWI and how Blacks on the home front lived. November 11, 2018 will be the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. I won’t be able to respond to any posts. Make it a champion day!

October 27 1933- Elijah Jerry Green

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about the legacy of Black Baseball players who came from the Negro leagues and make it to the Major Leagues starting with Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers story. You may feel like I do that many a Negro baseball player had a lot more talent than Jackie but could they handle the day to day abuse that was given to Jackie everywhere he played. My question this morning for you is simple, the Dodgers and Red Sox are currently playing in the 2018 World Series, the first time that these two teams have meet in a World Series with the name “Dodgers” Brooklyn had a team back in 1916 but they were called the Robins and the Red Sox played their home games at the Boston Braves park instead of Fenway Park to draw more seating capacity. Did you know that the Red Sox were the last major league baseball team to intergrade? Yes they did their best to try and win without a Black player but they realized in order to be competitive they had to and this is the story of the person they selected to wear the Boston Uniform. Enjoy!

Remember – Someday I’ll write a book and call it ‘How I Got the Nickname Pumpsie’ and sell it for one dollar, and if everybody who ever asked me that question buys the book, I’ll be a millionaire. – Pumpsie Green

Today in our History – October 27, 1933 – Elijah Jerry Green 
Jr. was born.

He’s been termed a “reluctant pioneer.” All Pumpsie Green wanted to do was play professional baseball. He didn’t even aspire to the major leagues at first, and would have been content playing for his hometown Oakland Oaks in the Pacific Coast League. That said, Pumpsie Green took pride in the fact that he helped accomplish the integration of the Boston Red Sox, the last team in the majors to field an African American ballplayer.

He was born on October 27, 1933, as Elijah Jerry Green Jr. All the standard reference books list his place of birth as Oakland, but he himself said, “I wasn’t born in Oakland. I was born in Boley, Oklahoma. We was all born in Oklahoma.” 
The elder Elijah Green was reportedly a pretty good athlete, but had a family to care for during the Depression and work took precedence. “He was a farmer,” Green said in a 2009 interview, “We came out here to California when I was eight or nine years old. He worked at the Oakland Army Base.” After the war, Mr. Green worked for the city of Richmond, in the public works department. “He was a garbage man,” Pumpsie explained. His wife, Gladys, worked mostly as a homemaker before World War II, and during the war as a welder on the docks in Oakland. As the children grew older, she became a nurse in a convalescent home.

Pumpsie played baseball from grade school on up and became a switch-hitter at an early age. He was 13 when Jackie Robinson broke into the major leagues in 1947, but Brooklyn was a long way from California. The Pacific Coast League integrated in 1948, and, to top it off, the barnstorming Jackie Robinson All-Stars came to Oakland after the ’48 season was over. Pumpsie said, “I scraped up every nickel and dime together I could find. And I was there. I had to see that game…I still remember how exciting it was.” Green was a big Oaks fan, getting to the Emeryville ballpark as often as he could, and listening on the radio when he couldn’t: “I followed a whole bunch of people on that team. It was almost a daily ritual. ….When I got old enough to wish, I wished I could play for the Oakland Oaks.” Pumpsie began to model his play after Artie Wilson, the left-handed-hitting shortstop who in 1949 became the first black player on the Oaks, and led the league both in hitting and stolen bases.

Pumpsie Green signed his 1959 contract in Scottsdale on February 25, suited up in a Red Sox uniform, and immediately took part in his first workout. Roger Birtwell’s Boston Globe story began, “The Boston Red Sox – in spring training, at least – today broke the color line.”

Green lived an isolated existence, separated from his teammates. It was a pathetic situation. Boston Globe writer Milton Gross depicted the imposed isolation: “From night to morning, the first Negro player to be brought to spring training by the Boston Red Sox ceases to be a member of the team he hopes to make as a shortstop.” Segregation, wrote Gross, “comes in a man’s heart, residing there like a burrowing worm. It comes when a man wakes alone, eats alone, goes to the movies every night alone because there’s nothing more for him to do and then, in Pumpsie Green’s own words, ‘I get a sandwich and a glass of milk and a book and I read myself to sleep.’”

It could not have been easy being Pumpsie Green in 1959. Lee D. Jenkins, writing in the Chicago Defender after Green’s call-up, lamented the inevitable pressure: “It’s one thing to make a major-league team by sheer talent but to find yourself in a position where you are almost thrust down an unwilling throat makes for a most uncomfortable state. Green was a sensation with the Red Sox during their early spring training but as the season neared the pressure began to tell in his fielding and hitting.”

Boston Celtics basketball star Bill Russell was there to greet Pumpsie when he arrived. They’d known each other since high school. Green also took a call in the Red Sox clubhouse from Jackie Robinson.

After the season Pumpsie was named second baseman on the 1959 Major League Rookie All-Star team, chosen in balloting by 1.7 million Topps gum customers nationally. “Green’s play fell off during the last two or three weeks of the season because he was a tired player,” Jurges said. “I figured he played 260 games last year, counting the winter league, the American Association, and the big leagues. That’s too much ball for a kid.”

After baseball, Green earned a physical-education degree from San Francisco State University and then accepted a position with the Berkeley Unified School District, where he ran the baseball program, coached baseball for 25 years, served as dean of boys for a while, taught mathematics, and did some security work at the school. He finally retired in 1997. Looking back, Pumpsie was frank about Boston and his time in the major leagues. It was a bit of a mixed blessing of sorts, he told Jon Goode: “Sometimes it would get on my nerves. Sometimes I wonder if I would have even made it to the major leagues if it had not been for this Boston thing.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off it was not for the Boston thing. Things like that you can never answer.” 
Green told Danny Peary, “When I was playing, being the first black on the Red Sox wasn’t nearly as big a source of pride as it would be once I was out of the game. At the time I never put much stock in it, or thought about it. Later I understood my place in history. I don’t know if I would have been better in another organization with more black players. But as it turned out, I became increasingly proud to have been with the Red Sox as their first black.”

Research more about black baseball players who entered the Major Leagues and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 22 2007- Lowell Dennis Smith

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who wanted to move like no other. His style was one of a kind and no one could do the moves like he did. Enjoy!

Remember – “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.” – Lowell Dennis Smith

Today in our History – Lowell Dennis Smith – October 22, 2007 let this earth.

Lowell Dennis Smith, a ballet dancer and teacher who for some years was a principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and later was director of the company’s school, died Oct. 22 at UCLA Medical Center. He was 56.

The cause of death was lung cancer, said his longtime friend Rick Frey. Smith had been dividing his time between Los Angeles and New York City.

Born in 1951 in Memphis, Tenn., he studied dance at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and then performed as a dancer and actor in Memphis and later with the Eglevsky Ballet on Long Island, New York.

He joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem in the late 1970s and danced with the company for 17 years. One of his best known roles was as Stanley Kowalski in a dance adaptation by Valerie Bettis of the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

“Stanley screams all the time so his movement has to scream,” Smith said in a 1996 interview with the Commercial Appeal of Memphis. “Movement is as much a vocabulary as words.”

He performed the role of Stanley onstage and for a television broadcast of “Great Performances: Dance in America” in 1986.

“Lowell Smith, a superlative dramatic dancer, explodes with a typically sure and nuanced passion Floyd, all of Memphis. that makes Stanley’s anger and desire vividly immediate,” dance critic Jennifer Dunning wrote in a review of the televised performance for the New York Times.
Smith also had prominent roles in “Equus,” choreographed by Domy Reiter-Soffer, about a boy who blinded horses and the psychiatrist who treated him, as well as in “Fall River Legend,” by choreographer Agnes de Mille, about a famed murder case and the accused, Lizzie Borden.

Beyond dance drama, he performed in a number of traditional ballets and modern classics such as “The Four Temperaments” by George Balanchine.

Later in his career, Smith choreographed “Pas de Deux for Phrygia and Spartacus,” a duet that the Dance Theatre of Harlem premiered in New York City in 2001. He also created works for the company’s educational program and helped lead master classes for young students in cities around the United States.

Smith is survived by his mother, Dorothy S. Smith, and two sisters, Pamela D. Smith and June Smith. Research more about African – American dance and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 18 1958- Thomas ” The Hitman” Hearn’s

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man from the streets of Detroit, MI by way of Tennessee. At a young age he discovered that he could be good at this profession people called “The Sweet science”. He was trained at the famous KRONK gym and he learned how to be one of the best. He was tested by many of the best during his day and would win many large paydays but he never could get passed a few people. He still considered one of the best of all time. Enjoy!

Remember – “That was the fight. I knew that I had done something that no man had been able to do to a champion.” – Thomas Hrarns

Today in our History – October 18, 1958 Thomas “The Hitman” Hearn’s was born .

Thomas “Tommy” Hearns (born October 18, 1958) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1977 to 2006. Nicknamed the “Motor City Cobra”, and more famously “The Hitman”, Hearns’ tall and slender build allowed him to move up over fifty pounds in his career and become the first boxer in history to win world titles in four weight divisions: welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight. By later winning a super middleweight title, he also became the first to win world titles in five weight divisions.

Hearns was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1980 and 1984; the latter following his knockout of Roberto Durán. Hearns was known as a devastating puncher throughout his career, even at cruiserweight, despite having climbed up five weight classes. He is ranked number 18 on The Ring’s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. He currently ranks #18 in BoxRec ranking of the greatest pound for pound boxers of all time. On June 10, 2012, Hearns was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Born in Grand Junction, Tennessee on October 18, 1958, Hearns was the youngest of three children in his mother’s first marriage. With her second marriage, six children joined the first three. On her own, Mrs. Hearns raised Tommy and his siblings in Grand Junction until Tommy was five years old; then the family moved to Detroit, Michigan. Hearns had an amateur record of 155–8. In 1977, he won the National Amateur Athletic Union Light Welterweight Championship, defeating Bobby Joe Young of Steubenville, Ohio, in the finals. He also won the 1977 National Golden Gloves Light Welterweight Championship.

Hearns began his professional boxing career in Detroit, Michigan, under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward in 1977. Steward had changed Hearns from a light hitting amateur boxer to one of the most devastating punchers in boxing history.

He won six world titles in five weight classes during his pro career, defeating future boxing hall of famers such as Pipino Cuevas, Wilfred Benítez, Virgil Hill and Roberto Durán. Hearns started his career by knocking out his first 17 opponents. In 1980, Hearns carried his 28-0 record into a world title match against Mexico’s Pipino Cuevas. Hearns ended Cuevas’s 4-year reign by beating him by TKO in the second round. Hearns was voted “Fighter of the Year” by Ring Magazine in 1980.
In 1981, Hearns the WBA Champion, with a 32-0 record (30 KOs), fought WBC Champion Sugar Ray Leonard (30-1) to unify the World Welterweight Championship in a bout dubbed “The Showdown.” In this legendary fight, Hearns suffered his first professional defeat when Leonard stopped him in the 14th round. In the 13th round, Leonard, behind on points on all 3 judges scorecards, needed a knockout to win. He came on strong and put Hearns through the ropes at the end of the round. Hearns was dazed, totally out of gas and received a count but was saved by the bell. Leonard, with his left eye shut and time running out, resumed his attack in the 14th. Hearns started the round boxing and moving, but after staggering Hearns with an overhand right, Leonard pinned Hearns against the ropes. After another combination to the body and head, referee Davey Pearl stopped the fight. Hearns and Leonard banked a combined 17 million dollars for the fight, making it the largest purse in sports history. The following year, Leonard retired due to a detached retina, and there would be no rematch until 1989.

Hearns moved up in weight and won the WBC Super Welterweight (154 lb) title from boxing legend and three-time world champion Wilfred Benítez (44-1-1) in New Orleans in December 1982, and defended that title against European Champion Luigi Minchillo (42-1) (W 12), Roberto Durán (TKO 2), no.1 contender Fred Hutchings (29-1) (KO 3) and #1 contender Mark Medal (26-2) (TKO 8). During his reign at this weight, the 2 round destruction of the legendary Roberto Durán, in which he became the first boxer to KO Durán, is seen as his pinnacle achievement, earning him his second Ring Magazine “Fighter of the Year” award in 1984.

Hearns moved up in class to challenge in the super-welterweight (light-middleweight) champion, Hearns ventured into the middleweight division to challenge undisputed middleweight champion Marvin Hagler in 1985. Billed “The Fight” (later known as “The War”[citation needed]), this bout has often been labeled as the three greatest rounds in boxing history. The legendary battle elevated both fighters to superstar status. Hearns was able to stun Hagler soon after the opening bell, but he subsequently broke his right hand in the first round. He did, however, manage to open a deep cut on Hagler’s forehead that caused the ring doctor to consider a stoppage. The fight, however, was allowed to continue at this point, with the ringside commentators remarking on the fact that, “the last thing Hagler wants or needs is for this fight to be stopped on a cut.” The battle did go back and forth some, but Hearns was unable to capitalize on his early successes against Hagler. As a result of breaking his right hand, Hearns began to use lateral movement and a good jab to keep Hagler at bay as best he could.

This tactic worked fairly well, but in the third round Hagler staggered Hearns and managed to catch him against the ropes, where a crushing right hand by Hagler knocked Hearns down. Hearns beat the count but was clearly unable to continue and the referee stopped the fight. Despite the loss, Hearns garnered a tremendous amount of respect from fans and boxing aficionados alike. Considering the popularity of the fight and the level of competition, a rematch seemed to be a foregone conclusion but never took place.
Hearns quickly made amends by dispatching undefeated rising star James “Black Gold” Shuler with a devastating first-round knockout in 1986. One week after the fight, Shuler was killed in a motorcycle accident. Hearns presented the NABF championship belt to Shuler’s family at his funeral, saying he deserved to keep the belt as he had held it longer than Hearns.

In March 1987, Hearns scored six knockdowns of Dennis Andries to win the WBC light-heavyweight title with a tenth round stoppage at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan. Later that year, his four-round destruction of the Juan Roldán (63-2) to claim the vacant WBC middleweight title made Hearns a four-weight world champion.

In a huge upset, Hearns lost his WBC middleweight title to Iran Barkley via a third-round TKO in June 1988 in a bout Ring Magazine named 1988 Upset of the Year. In November that year, Hearns returned to win another world title, defeating James Kinchen (44-3) via a majority decision to win the inaugural WBO super-middleweight title. Hearns became the first boxer to win a world title in five weight divisions.

Hearns had to wait until 1989 for a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard, this time for Leonard’s WBC super-middleweight title and Hearns’ WBO title. This was Hearns’s sixth Superfight, a fight which much of the public believed Hearns won, flooring Leonard in both the 3rd and 11th rounds. However, the judges scored the fight a controversial draw.

Hearns had one last great performance in 1991, as he challenged the undefeated WBA light-heavyweight champion Virgil Hill. In Hill’s eleventh defense of the title, Hearns returned to his amateur roots and outboxed the champion to win a convincing decision and add a sixth world title to his illustrious career. On March 20, 1992, Hearns lost this title on a split decision to old foe Iran Barkley but continued to compete and won his next 8 bouts.

On June 23, 1997, Hearns appeared on a WWE telecast, performing in a storyline where he was taunted and challenged by professional wrestler Bret “Hitman” Hart, who claimed that Hearns “stole” the “Hitman” nickname. Hearns ended up “attacking” Jim Neidhart and knocking him down with a series of punches before officials entered the ring and broke up the “confrontation.”

On 10 April 1999, Hearns travelled to England and beat Nate Miller by unanimous decision in a cruiserweight bout. In his next fight in April 2000 he faced Uriah Grant. The first round was competitive, with Hearns appearing hurt by a solid right to the jaw. Both fighters traded blows in the second round until Hearns appeared to injure his right ankle. He was forced to retire injured at the end of the round. The crowd booed and Hearns took the microphone and promised his fans that he would be back. Hearns fought twice more, winning both fights by TKO. His final fight was on 4 February 2006 against Shannon Landberg.

Hearns signs autographs in Houston in January 2014.
Hearns’ family is a fixture on the Detroit sports scene. His mother, Lois Hearns, is a fight promoter. Their company, Hearns Entertainment, has promoted many cards, including the Mike Tyson–Andrew Golota bout in 2000. His son Ronald Hearns is also a boxer, and he fought on the undercard of his father’s last couple of fights. Hearns lives in Southfield, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit). Hearns serves as a Reserve Police Officer with the Detroit Police Department.

Due to personal financial issues, Hearns was forced to auction off his possessions at The Auction Block of Detroit, Michigan on April 3, 2010. Items included were a 1957 Chevy, 47′ Fountain boat, and a slew of collectors memorabilia. His debt to the IRS was $250,000. He took responsibility for repaying the entire debt, which he said was accrued from being overly generous toward his large extended family. Research more about great American Black prize fighters abd share with your baby. Make it a champion day!

October 30 2006- Moses Ernest Tolliver

GM – FBF – Today’s story is of a Black artist from Alabama whose work would be seen in a lot of places around the United States. He had fun in what he did and loved his art and people enjoying it. Enjoy!

Remember – “Some folks feel that if your not from a big city that you don’t have an expression and story to tell” – Moses Ernest Tolliver

Today in our History – October 30, 2006, Moses Ernest Tolliver dies.

Moses Ernest Tolliver (July 4, 1918-20 – October 30, 2006) was an African-American folk artist who became disabled as an adult. He was known as “Mose T”, after the signature on his paintings, signed with a backwards “s”.

Celebrated folk artist Mose Ernest Tolliver was one of the most well-known and well-regarded artists to achieve fame in Alabama in what has come to be known as the genre of Outsider Art. His vibrant and colorful pieces often depicted fruits and vegetables, animals, and people and were always signed “Mose T” with a backward “s.” His style fluctuated between the simplistic and pastoral to the abstract and erotic. His body of work is represented in galleries in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York.

The exact year of his birth is unknown, but Mose or Moses Tolliver was born in the Pike Road Community near Montgomery on July 4 around 1920. His parents, Ike and Laney Tolliver, were sharecroppers and had 12 children. He attended school through the third grade until he and his family moved to Macedonia, Pickens County. Eventually, his parents found that they could no longer afford the farming life and moved the family to Montgomery in the 1930s.

Tolliver took on a number of odd jobs to help his family financially. He tended gardens, painted houses, and worked as a carpenter, plumber, and handyman. In the 1940s, he married Willie Mae Thomas, a native of Ramer and a childhood friend. The couple had 13 children in all, but only 11 survived to adulthood. He continued working odd jobs to support his family. Tolliver worked on and off for the Carlton McLendon family for 25 years. In the 1960s, he was injured in an accident at McLendon’s Furniture Company, when a half-ton crate of marble fell on him. He was left unable to work and had to walk with crutches.

Several sources cite Tolliver’s accident as the impetus for his turn to art. Tolliver, however, claimed that he painted well before the accident. His initial works were made from tree roots, which he sculpted and painted. Later, he moved on to painting landscapes, a subject with which, as a former farmer and gardener, he was particularly familiar. The accident provided more time for him to devote to his art. Tolliver also saw paintings by McLendon’s brother, Raymond, which convinced him he could do just as well. McLendon offered to pay for art lessons for Tolliver, but he declined, opting to find his now signature style on his own. Tolliver began selling his art in the 1960s. He hung his finished pieces in his front yard and sold them for a few dollars, believing that the art is done when someone buys it.

His works often feature brightly colored watermelons and birds. His wife was also a frequent subject, and he painted a number of self-portraits, complete with crutches. Some of his more popular paintings were his Moose Lady pieces. The recurring Moose Lady figure is an erotic figure of a woman with spread legs, which is roughly based on an Egyptian piece that Tolliver saw in a discarded book. The picture featured a Ka, the Ancient Egyptian symbol for a soul, ascending from a body with elongated arms. Tolliver occasionally added a little of himself into his erotic paintings, sometimes attaching his own hair to them.

Given his raw, self-taught style, Tolliver’s paintings fall into what is known as the Outsider Art genre. He used house paint on cardboard, wood, metal, Masonite, and even furniture and frequently used bottle caps for mountings. He often used solid colors in his backgrounds and was partial to bright hues, such as red, yellow, and orange. He was particularly fond of purple.

In 1981, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts mounted a one-man show of his work, but Tolliver did not rise to national prominence until the following year. His artwork was featured, along with the work of fellow Alabama Outsider artist Bill Traylor, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The show was titled “Black Folk Art in America: 1930-1980.” Some art critics and historians believe that Traylor, who was discovered after his death in 1947 in Montgomery, was a significant influence on Tolliver.

Tolliver’s work has appeared at such renowned institutions as the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Tolliver and his artwork were the subjects of two books: Mose T from A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver by Anton Haardt and Mose T’s Slapout Family Album by Robert Ely, an English teacher, Montgomery native, and friend of Tolliver’s, who wrote poems to accompany the paintings included in his book. Tolliver’s work has also appeared in books on Outsider Art and African American art.

Early in his career, Tolliver sold his paintings for a few dollars. Later, his prices depended on his mood. Today, Mose T paintings sell for thousands of dollars. By the 1980s, despite painting 10 pieces a day, Tolliver could not keep up with the demand for his work. He hired his daughter Annie Tolliver to duplicate his signature style and subjects and even to sign his name to the pictures. Later, she developed as an acclaimed artist in her own right. Tolliver also encouraged his other children to paint, and his sons Charlie and Jimmy began painting in the early 1990s.

Tolliver died of pneumonia on Oct. 30, 2006, at Baptist Medical Center East in Montgomery. His wife, Willie Mae, preceded him in death in 1991. Research more about Black artists and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 28 1946- The Ink Sports Charted With “To Each His Own”

GM – FBF – Today I would like to share with you a singing group that may have been forgotten to our past history. This group was the forerunner to The Platters, Fifth Demotion and the Friends of Distention, just to name a few. They were accepted as a crossover group and made money travled the world and make movies. If you never heard of them play some of their music on YouTube. Enjoy!

Remember – “It takes a long time to write something that is easy to read.” ― Brian McDonald, Ink Spots

Today in our History – September 28, 1946:The Ink Spots charted with “To Each His Own,” reaching #3 R&B and #1 pop. The song was written for the film of the same name but never used in it..

With a high-flying tenor floating above their tight harmonies, the Ink Spots were the predecessors of doo-wop. They became so popular that all-white venues integrated to get them in their lineup, a rare occurrence in the Forties.

n the words of soul singer Jerry Butler, a solo artist and founding member of the Impressions, “The Ink Spots were the heavyweight champions of quartet singing.” 
Clyde McPhatter, one-time singer with both the Dominoes and the Drifters, once admitted, “We patterned ourselves after the Ink Spots.” One of the first popular black groups, the Ink Spots can be regarded as forerunners of the doo-wop and rhythm & blues movements that followed. In the wake of their innovative harmonies came a slew of black vocal groups, including the Ravens, the Orioles, the Dominoes and the Drifters.

The Ink Spots formed in Indianapolis in the late 1920s. The original members were Orville “Hoppy” Jones, who was born on February 17, 1905; Ivory “Deek” Watson, who was born on July 18, 1909; Jerry Daniels, who was born on December 14, 1915; and Charlie Fuqua, who was born on October 20, 1910. They had gained early experience performing with such amateur groups as the Peanut Boys, the Percolating Puppies, the Four Riff Brothers and the Swingin’ Gate Brothers. The music of these early groups was influenced by jazz and vaudeville acts.

The group’s original name was King, Jack and the Jesters. The members would improvise vocal harmonies, often simulating wind instruments with their voices. After achieving some Midwestern success as a result of live appearances on radio shows in Indianapolis, Cleveland and Cincinnati, the group relocated to New York in the early Thirties. After a legal conflict with bandleader Paul Whiteman, who had a vocal group called the King’s Jesters, King, Jack and the Jesters changed their name to the Ink Spots.

The Ink Spots made appearances at the Apollo Theater, the Savoy Ballroom and the Roxy, and they got a regular radio gig on New York’s WJZ. In 1935 they signed with RCA Records. Though none of the six recordings they made for RCA sold well, they did earn the group its first tour of England and Europe. The following year they signed a new record deal with Decca Records, and Jerry Daniels was replaced by Bill Kenny. With Watson singing lead, the group’s sound was still very much the same as when the group started out. As Kenny once said, “This style wasn’t getting the group anywhere.”

The Ink Spots were on the verge of breaking up when songwriter Jack Lawrence brought them a ballad called “If I Didn’t Care.” With Kenny singing lead, the record became a million-seller and inaugurated a string of hit ballads, including “My Prayer,” “Maybe,” “We Three,” “Whispering Grass,” “The Gypsy,” “To Each His Own” and “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire.” The Ink Spots toured the world and made appearances with such artists as Lucky Millinder and Glenn Miller. They also landed roles in such movies as The Great American Broadcast (1941). The group remained popular with both black and white audiences through the postwar years and into the Fifties.

During the Forties, the Ink Spots pioneered the breaking down of racial barriers by appearing in previously all-white Southern venues. In 1948 when the group headlined over several white acts at Miami’s Monte Carlo club, Billboard magazine reported: “Format is a racial departure for this territory, for even if Jim Crow laws are largely unwritten and there is no law prohibiting Negro entertainers from working in white places or with white acts, no operator in the Deep South has ever had the nerve to try it.”

By the late 1940s, however, the Ink Spots’ fortunes were beginning to change. Their musical style no longer seemed very fresh, and the group was undergoing numerous changes, beginning with Hoppy Jones’ sudden death in October 1944. There were so many internal conflicts that Bill Kenny seemed to be the only regular member of the group. By 1953 the original Ink Spots were no more.

Even so, the Ink Spots’ music played an important role in the development of the music that would become rock and roll. The Ink Spots were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, and they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

Inductees: Charlie Fuqua (born October 20, 1910, died December 21, 1971), Orville Jones (born February 7, 1905, died October 18, 1944), Bill Kenny (born June 12, 1914, died March 23, 1978), Ivory Watson (born July 18, 1909) Share with your babies and make it a champion day!

September 27 1936- Don Cornrlius

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story of a fellow radio personality because we worked at the same radion station WVON but not at the same time. He is from Chicago, Il. and was set on a mission of expanding his empior in order for the world to see. His T.V. show was awarded one of the best shows to air and watch on television with the honor of being the longest running show beating Gunsmoke. Enjoy!

Remember ” Peace, Love and Soul” – Don Cornelius

Today in our History – September 27, 1936 Don Cornrlius was born.

American television icon Don Cornelius created and hosted Soul Train, which spent more than 30 years on the air.
He started out in the insurance business before going to broadcasting school in 1966. He worked as a substitute radio DJ and on TV’s A Black’s View of the News before pitching his idea for a music television program aimed at young African Americans. Soul Train, inspired by American Bandstand, quickly became popular, and spent more than 30 years on the air.

A natural salesman, Cornelius started out in the insurance business in the 1950s. He went to broadcasting school in 1966, looking to break into the field. To realize his dream, he worked as a substitute DJ, filling in for other on-air personalities, and in the news department of WVON radio in Chicago.

Switching to television, Cornelius became a sports anchor and the host of A Black’s View of the News on WCIU in 1968. He got to know the station owners, and pitched them his idea for a music television program. Using $400 of his own money, Cornelius created a pilot for Soul Train, which was named after a promotional event he put together in 1969. Inspired by American Bandstand, the show featured teenagers dancing to the latest soul and R&B music as well as a performance by a musical guest. “Almost all of what I learned about mounting and hosting a dance show I learned from Dick Clark,” Cornelius later told Advertising Age.

Premiering on August 17, 1970, Soul Train quickly became popular. It aired on Saturday mornings, attracting a lot of children and teenagers off from school. An early supporter, businessman George Johnson of the Johnson Products Company, helped Cornelius make Soul Train a national television program. It was syndicated in 1971, but it was initially difficult getting stations sign up for the show. In addition to Chicago, stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco were among the first to air Soul Train.

With his deep voice and distinguished good looks, Cornelius was the ideal host. Over the years, he presented many famous performers to his television audience, including Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Lou Rawls and Aretha Franklin, among others. The show was not always wedded to its soul and R&B focus. Rock acts, such as David Bowie, Robert Palmer, and Duran Duran, also made appearances on the show from time to time as did jazz and reggae stars.
In 1987, Cornelius started the Soul Train Music Awards. Dione Warwick and Luther Vandross served as hosts of the first ceremony, which honored Stevie Wonder with the Heritage Award for outstanding career achievements.

Wintney Houston, LL Cool J, and Run DMC were among the night’s performers. Over the years, other music stars appeared on the show, including Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Usher and Ciara, and more awards were added.
When American Bandstand went off the air in 1989, Soul Train was still going strong. But Cornelius continuously looked for ways to freshen up the show. In 1993, he gave up his duties as host and brought in guest hosts. “I had come to believe . . . that the era of the well-spoken, well-dressed Dick Clark, Don Cornelius-type in a suit and a tie was over … I am just convinced that people want to see people on TV who are more like themselves,” he explained to The New York Times.
In 1995, Cornelius launched the Lady of Soul Awards.

The first honorees were Debbie Allen, who received the Lena Horne Award for outstanding career achievements in the field of entertainment, and Salt-N-Pepa, who received the Aretha Franklin Award. Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and Brandy performed during that first ceremony. Later on, both Brandy and Queen Latifah won the Aretha Franklin Award.

Getting performers for the show, however, was sometimes a challenge for Cornelius. In 2001, he complained about MTV’s booking practices for its own award shows, which call for acts not to appear on competing programs within 30 days of the event. “It’s anti-competitive behavior that needs to be addressed at the Federal Trade Commission level,” he told the Los Angeles Times. He thought the tactic was especially egregious because of the cable music channel’s early history of not showing videos by African-American artists.

By 2005, Soul Train was being seen in 105 cities, reaching an estimated 85 percent of black households, according to the show’s website. Unfortunately, recent events have put the show’s future in question. In December 2007, the program lost its distributor when Tribune Entertainment closed that division in its company.

After the end of Sould Train, Cornelius told the Los Angeles Times that he was in discussions to create a movie based on the famous franchise. “It wouldn’t be the Soul Train dance show, it would be more of a biographical look at the project,” he said. “It’s going to be about some of the things that really happened on the show.”

But life took a dark turn for Cornelius in 2008, when he was arrested and charged with spousal battery, dissuading a witness from making a police report, and assault with a deadly weapon.He pled no contest to misdemeanor domestic violence, and was sentenced to three years probation. The incident led to a bitter divorce battle between Cornelius and wife, Viktoria, in 2009. During their feuding, which lasted for over a year, Cornelius was also suffering from multiple health issues, including a stroke and several undisclosed ailments that required brain surgery.

The legal proceedings took an emotional toll on Cornelius, who made the statement within his divorce documentation that, “I am 72 years old. I have significant health issues. I want to finalize this divorce before I die.” In 2010, Cornelius was granted his divorce. But the savvy businessman never quite recovered from the turmoil. On February 1, 2012, at approximately 4 AM, police officials discovered Cornelius’ body at his California home. He had suffered a gunshot wound to the head that officials later stated was self-inflicted. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that morning. Research more about the great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 17 1970- Flip Wilson

GM – FBF – Today, I want to share with you a story of the first successful Black television variety show, Nat “King” Cole tried in the ‘50’s but they were not ready to sponsor his show. Bill Cosby showed that the 60’s were better to be a co-star in a hour show. While Black singing groups and others had summer one show specials even the great Sammy Davis, Jr. tried in 1966 but in 1970, Clerow Wilson Jr.from Jersey City, N.J. struck gold. Enjoy!

Remember – “I was number one in the ratings four times last year and twice this season. What could be more damn equal than that? If they get any more equal, I don’t want it”. Flip Wilson

The Flip Wilson Show was an hour-long variety show that originally aired in the U.S. on NBC from September 17, 1970 to June 27, 1974. The show starred American comedian Flip Wilson; the program was one of the first American television programs starring a black person in the title role to become highly successful with a white audience. Specifically, it was the first successful network variety series starring an African American.[1] During its first two seasons, its Nielsen ratings made it the nation’s second most watched show.

The show consisted of many skits in a 60-minute variety format. It also broke new ground in American television by using a “theatre-in-the-round” stage format, with the audience seated on all sides of a circular performance area (with some seats located behind the sketch sets on occasion).
Wilson was most famous for creating the role of Geraldine Jones, a sassy, modern woman who had a boyfriend named Killer (who, when not in prison, was at the pool hall). Flip also created the role of Reverend Leroy, who was the minister of the Church of What’s Happening Now! New parishioners were wary of coming to the church as it was hinted that Reverend Leroy was a con artist. Wilson popularized the catchphrase “The Devil made me do it!”.

Geraldine Jones was a huge part of The Flip Wilson Show and was played by Wilson wearing women’s clothing. Some of “Geraldine’s” most famous quotes are, “The Devil made me buy this dress!”, “Don’t you touch me, honey, you don’t know me that well! You devil, you!” and “What you see is what you get!”

In one episode of the show, “Geraldine” and Bill Cosby were in a skit called “The Night Nurse” in which Geraldine and Bill were in a hospital. Cosby was supposed to be the sick patient and Geraldine was the nurse. “She” was convinced that he was there for a swollen ego. It ends with Geraldine lying in the hospital bed watching her favorite show, Iron Hips, while Cosby leaves. In another, she is with Ray Charles and presents him with a reward from the Ray Charles Fan Club, which is a kiss on the cheek. Ray asks what he can do for her, and she says that she has been rehearsing a song in the shower for the past week that she wanted to sing with him.

All in all, Geraldine Jones was a favorite of Flip Wilson Show fans, and a major part of the show and the years that the show was running.
In addition to the skits, Wilson also signed many popular singers to provide entertainment. African-American singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Pointer Sisters, Charley Pride, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, and The Supremes appeared on the program, as well as many contemporary white entertainers like Bobby Darin (a frequent guest on his show), Bing Crosby (two appearances),[2] Roy Clark, Joan Rivers, The Osmonds, Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, and Pat Boone. Usually, the singers also chose to partake in skits with Wilson.

Wilson’s clout allowed him to get both the new breakout performers (such as The Jackson 5, Roberta Flack, Sandy Duncan, Lily Tomlin, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Albert Brooks, Lola Falana, and Melba Moore, all of whom became very popular during this period) as well as established singers. In late 1971, gospel legend Mahalia Jackson made one of her last public performances on The Flip Wilson Show.
While The Flip Wilson Show first shared a studio with other television series, Wilson’s massive popularity allowed for him to get his own set of soundstages, starting in the fall 1972 season. As the seasons went on, however, the show’s ratings slipped; ratings across the variety show genre began a terminal decline in the mid-1970s. This, coupled with Wilson’s repeated demands for higher raises in his salary, caused the series to go over its budget and led to its cancellation.

Half-hour versions of the series aired on TV Land from 1997 to 2006. From 2011 to 2012, the show aired on TV One. From 2012 to 2016, half-hour versions of the show aired on the Aspire network. Research more about blacks on television and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 16 1934- Elgin Gay Baylor

GM – FBF – Today, I would like to share with you a story about one of the most gifted Professional Basketball players during his day. Setting records that only a handful of players have duplicated or surpassed today, he will always be called one of the 50 best who have ever played the game. It was a joy of watching him play during his later years. Enjoy!

Remember – “If you look up the definition of greatness in the dictionary, it will say Michael Jordan” – Elgin Baylor

Today in our History – September 16, 1934 – Elgin Gay Baylor was born.

Elgin Gay Baylor was a professional basketball player, who played for Los Angeles Lakers. He was born on September 16, 1934 and began playing basketball from an early age. Two of his older brothers were also basketball players, and Baylor took naturally to the game. He was already known to be a gifted player by the time he was in high school, and was selected to be a three time All City player. However, his academic record had always been poor, and he dropped out of high school to work odd jobs and play in local leagues.

He rejoined high school a few years later, by which time he had grown to his full height of 6 feet 5 inches and weighed 190 lbs. During this time he won a trophy for being the Area’s Best Basketball player for 1954. He broke several records that season and maintained his outstanding performance.

Because of his lackluster academic record, he did not get admitted to college but a friend helped him to get a scholarship to attend the College of Idaho. There he played both basketball and football, after which he set out to attend Seattle University. He led them to NCAA Championship finals, which the team lost to the Kentucky Wildcats. In 1958, he was drafted by the National Basketball Association, where he joined the Minneapolis Lakers (later renamed the Los Angeles Lakers). He left his final year of college at Seattle University and chose to play full time for the Lakers.

The team had been performing poorly when Baylor joined and he was given a $20,000 contract to help bring them back on their feet. His contribution to the team’s improved performance has been acknowledged by all, including the owner of the LA Lakers Bob Short himself, who says that if Elgin Baylor hadn’t joined the team, it probably would have continued to perform miserably and might even have gone out of business entirely.

In his first season with the NBA, Baylor was named “The Rookie of the Year” with some of the best statistics in the game. He finished fourth in the league in scoring, third in rebounding and eighth in assists. He led the Lakers all the way from last place previous year to the NBA Finals, which they lost to the Boston Celtics. Baylor continued to perform at the top of his form, pushing the boundaries and setting new records each year. During the 1960-61 season, he scored 71 points in a single game against the New York Knicks, which was the record for most points scored by a single player in a game at the time, breaking his own record of 64 points set the previous year. He led the Lakers to a total of 8 NBA finals during his career.

During his later years, he began to be plagued by knee problems, which caused him to retire early. This came at a great personal cost to him, as the very same year his team set an NBA record of 33 consecutive wins, and also won the NBA Championships that season. As a sign of his tremendous contribution, he was honored with a championship ring by his team, even though he had not been an active member of the team at the time. Elgin Baylor officially retired from the NBA during the 1971-72 season. Some of his records still stand to date, such as most number of points scored in an NBA Final (61 points in game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals).

He was selected to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, and to the NBA All-Star team 11 times. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 197. He has also been ranked among the Top 50 NBA Players of All Time by several magazines. Research more about this great player and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 1 1905- Elvera Sanchez

GM – FBF – Today I want to share with you the story of a black woman who was forgotten by many of the history books and we need to remember her. Enjoy!

Remember – ” He was fun, quick to learn and I loved him for his body of work”

Today in our History – September 1, 1905 – Elvera Sanchez was an American dancer and the mother of Sammy Davis Jr.

During his lifetime, Davis Jr. stated that his mother was Puerto Rican and born in San Juan; however, in the 2003 biography In Black and White, author Wil Haygood wrote that Davis’ mother was born in New York City, of Afro-Cuban descent, and that Davis claimed she was Puerto Rican because he feared anti-Cuban backlash would hurt his record sales.

Elvera Sanchez was born in New York City to Luisa Valentina (née Aguiar; February 14, 1884 – October 5, 1996), a Cuban immigrant, and Marco Sanchez, who was from Spain. She began her career as a chorus-line dancer at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem, in 1921. She became known as “Baby Sanchez”, and married Sammy Davis Sr., also a dancer, in 1923. In 1925 their son and only child, Sammy Davis Jr., was born. He would often accompany his mother and father to the theater. When the child was three, the couple split up and the father obtained sole custody of his son, taking him on the road. Sanchez was a chorus-line dancer at Apollo Theater for six years and appeared in Carl Micheaux’s 1936 Swing. She continued to dance until the 1940s.

After retiring from her show business career at the age of 35, she began working as a barmaid for Grace’s Little Belmont in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She enjoyed telling jokes to customers and was known for sporting a gold napkin. Her connections with entertainers Count Basie, Billy Eckstine, and Sarah Vaughn drew these and other celebrities to her station, and her son Sammy would come to visit after performing across town at the 500 Club “and delighted everyone pouring drinks and singing”. Frank Sinatra’s valet George Jacobs recalled in his memoirs that Sinatra also liked to drop by Grace’s Little Belmont in the early morning hours after his shows at the 500 Club to say hello to Davis’ mother behind the bar.

From 1989, until her death in 2000, she was an adviser to the New York Committee to Celebrate National Tap Dance Day. Elvera was survived by her daughter, Ramona. Research more about this great American family and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!