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Hal Lamar is… Inside Atlanta

Suggestion of Honor: Retire the Basketball Jersey of Morehouse’s Grady Brewer

On January 25, 2020 and just under the radar of the COVID scourge, Morehouse College officially retired the jersey of one of its franchise players, Atlanta native Harold Ellis. One year, four months and 9 days later, we lost the man who’s sharp eye discovered Douglass High school of Atlanta’s basketball diamond in the rough, Grady Lewis Brewer (also an alum of the Astros). Notwithstanding Ellis’s deserved honor, Morehouse College also named the hardwood at Frank Forbes Arena the Arthur McAfee Court for the school’s longtime head hoop coach and longer time athletic director who left us in 2018.

I got to thinking about what tribute we can afford “Brew” and it dawned on me that a fitting gesture would be to retired his jersey number right alongside Ellis’s and let it hang for all visitors to see from now on. Considering influences that both these great men had on the school and each other, I can think of nothing more fitting.

What say you?

EYE OPENER: Speaking of jersey retirement, did you know that the jersey worn by Robin Roberts, anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America, was retired at her alma mater Southeastern University in Hammond, Louisiana. The unfurling took place back on February 4, 2011. In 2016, while visiting Hammond where my wife Patsy was raised, we copped our first look at ole’ number 21. Roberts, once a co- worker with this writer/newscaster at Atlanta’s V-103 FM’, also anchored sports for the city’s FOX 5 TV. While surfing the net, I stumbled across this picture of “Rockin’ Robin” accepting the honor at the college. Also on the photo was Southeastern Athletic Director Bart Bellairs. The name sounded familiar. When I researched it, I discovered that back in 2008, he was named Athletic Director at Savannah State University, the first white AD in the school’s history. His tenure was short-lived. Eighteen months later, he lit out for a similar post at Southeastern. Hmmm….

By (or Buy) the book: If you are a freakazoid for history, you will delight yourself with a book written by Louisiana native and Southern University graduate Elizabeth “Lib” Anthony. Now living in Atlanta, Lib as they call her, put in her own words, “ “ATLANTA ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY: Jookin’ in the A” is a history of Atlanta’s local musicians, their jooking, their accomplishments; and a tribute to the entrepreneurs who created the space to jook. It is homage to Black entrepreneurship and live entertainment.” The book lives up to its moniker. It is recommended to you natives of the ATL like me, have been here only a handful of days, months or years or just got to the hometown of MLK, you will enjoy this piece. As my sister, church member (New Calvary Baptist) and son of a West Point grad says best,” When we know our history, we can successfully plot our future.” Cop yourself some ‘feel good” read. Visit Amazon.com….

Just finished another entertainment read of memoirs from DJ, newsletter publisher and radio and records convention founder the late “Jockey” Jack Gibson (Lincoln University, MO.) Jack was one of the original platter-pushers on WERD-Radio in Atlanta, the world’s first Black-owned, operated and controlled broadcast property. I never knew the man I called friend knew so many people, entertainers, other radio announcers and folks from all walks of life. “Mello Yello – the Incredible Life story of Jack the Rapper” (Walker Smith Books), to quote Gibson “tells it like it tis.” The book that will make you laugh, cry and blush a little is also available on Amazon.com.

Inquirer, Etc.: 45 years ago, Morehouse grad Edwin Moses won the gold medal at the Montreal 1976 Olympics in the 110-meter-high hurdles. In an interview, he told me that he was able to convince then President Hugh M. Gloster to help finance his trip… 65 years ago this year, Nat King Cole was assaulted by a white bigot as Cole performed at the Birmingham City, Auditorium… 110 years ago, Booker T. Washington came to Atlanta to dedicate a building constructed by Black tradesman called the Odd Fellows. It was back then the tallest building ever constructed by “us.” It is still located on Auburn Avenue… The other evening, I was watching a TV sports program and heard the announcer pronounce Alcorn State university as “Al-corn.”

Correction please. It is pronounced “All-Corn.” Perhaps we can stop what I consider an insult to this institution which this year celebrates its 150th birthday. When the school’s name is published in any way, shape, form or fashion, hyphenate it to read “All-Corn.”

Selah

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