The "Arviv Club," was the Studio 54 of Toronto, Canada in the 1970's.
Only the beautiful, famous or connected were granted red carpet/VIP entry. The club had three floors with a private VIP area, a cigar club and an backgammon club nestled on the top floor.
Donna Summer, Cher and Bette Midler patronized the club when they were performing in town yet despite their celebrity status, Denise "Vanity" Matthews was treated like royalty and was considered the Queen of the Club.
Vanity had yet to achieve fame but her looks attracted industrialists, corporate raiders, millionaires, billionaires, celebrities and athletes.
Vanity had her run of the place and often received free drinks, courtesy of management. Drug traffickers also offered her free samples; later, she had to pay for drugs.
Israeli hit men, gorgeous guys and international female models were also in attendance.
This club was so notorious that it was blown up one early morning.
And Harold Arviv (the owner-married to a very rich woman) went to prison.
by: Mark Skillz
The Lucky Lion was the hot spot in Oakland (1970's-1980's). Debarge held an autograph signing there, Joe Tex performed, Nona Hendryx turned it out and so did Sheila E. The club was littered with civilians, celebrities and local underworld figures. The Lucky Lion was situated near the notorious "Edgewater Motel," (a notorious swingers/sex hotel-featured on HBO's Real Sex); although both businesses were unrelated.
According to Mark Skillz: Everything I will tell you in this story is the truth. Even the parts that are hard to believe are the truth – the gospel truth.
Right up the street from the Oakland airport is Hegenberger Ave. it’s a long street that runs right into the heart of East Oakland. One side of Hegenberger is dotted with restaurants, banks, hotels, gas stations, fast food spots and the entrance to the Oakland Coliseum. Just over the hill is where things get residential. That’s where the hood starts.
But back down toward the airport on the corner of Hegenberger and Edgewater is a motel that has seen better days.
In the 70’s and ‘80’s the Lucky Lion was a notorious underworld hangout spot. Every pimp, player, mack, hustler, drug dealer and anyone else into something crooked could be found in there right beside the hard working everyday man. Jheri Curls, finger waves and ‘Lord Jesus’ hairstyles dotted the clubs interior, while the flashing lights from the disco ball illuminated the shadows of people sipping champagne and secretly snorting cocaine.
At one table could be the gentlemen drug kingpin Felix Mitchell (pictured directly above), head of the then infamous 69 Mob, surrounded by his people.
Somewhere else in the house on the same night seated at another table could be Rhythm and Blues musician turned cocaine cowboy Mickey Mo, (full story below) head of a rival organization called ‘The Family.' Years earlier, a few members of the notorious Ward Brothers (Ted, Frank and Jimmy, top photo-right) ever see the 70’s flick ‘The Mack’? All three of the brothers were in it – they were pimps. Somewhere in between the clouds of cigar smoke and whatever else would no doubt be undercover law enforcement.
Besides cocaine Oakland was more so famous at that time for being the birthplace of the Black Panther Party. But by the ‘70’s and 80’s the Panther Party was over. Huey Newton had a raging cocaine addiction. Sometime during the fall of the Panthers, Huey took to extorting drug dealers. Pushers had to pay a tax to the party in order to operate in the city. However, like any other group of Americans, Black drug dealers took serious exception to paying tax to anyone. Therefore they went to war.
According to legend, Huey Newton, high or sober didn’t mind a good fight. In fact from what I hear he went looking for fights. As crowded as the Lucky Lion would be with pimps and drug dealers (who couldn’t stand him) Huey would go there with a gentleman in tow named Big Hurd – 6’8 and strong. So dig this atmosphere: Felix Mitchell at one table, Mickey Mo at another and Huey across from them.
Now like I said, Huey was extorting drug dealers back then, not just any drug dealers mind you, but those drug dealers. Guns were pulled, tables were turned over, shots were fired it was like the Wild West.
Right next door to the Lucky Lion was an establishment called the Edgewater Motel. Now you can only imagine with all the pimps, drug dealers and gangsters right next door what was going on at the Edgewater, right?
Fast forward to late October early November of 1989. I was a twenty-year-old security guard. One night I got a call from the company I worked for – ABC Security, to go work at the Edgewater.
“What does a motel need security for?” I asked.
“I don’t know but their regular guard Muhammad is unable to make it, can you go?”
When I got there I thought the place looked familiar. At that time there was a Crab Shack restaurant in place of the Lucky Lion. When I opened the front door there was a lobby full of impatient East Indians.
“Where is Muhammad?” Asked a man with a thick Punjabi accent.
“I dunno.” I responded. ‘Who’s Muhammad?”
“Go away we only want Muhammad.” They said.
“Hey, Muhammad couldn’t make it so you get me. Mind you, I don’t want to be here either, so let me do my job.”
They congregated for a minute and then came back to me with a beeper and a key.
“Here is a key to a room, you can take your breaks there, please patrol the pool area and make sure no one breaks into the rooms.”
“Ok you got it.”
I walked out into the night air. Mind you I’m wearing a thick jacket. I hear the music from the Crab Shack. I was too young to go to the Lucky Lion when it was open, so I got my stories about the place second and third hand. There is a sliding glass door in the back of every room that faces the pool area. From what I could see all of the lights were on in every room. They told me to patrol the pool area so I did. Mind you there wasn’t that much to patrol.
I sat there listening to the music for a while thinking about the stories I heard about the fights and champagne and cocaine. I remember the pictures in people’s houses of groups of guys with finger waves and heavy-lidded eyes, posing while flashing their jewelry and fat stacks of money. Photos of Felix Mitchell and his crew of lieutenants seated at a table smiling for the camera while holding up glasses of bubbly. It must’ve been a good life.
Now all of that is over.
While rounding the corner on my first patrol I heard some finger snaps: pop, pop, pop to the beat of the music. As I’m approaching the room I notice the lights are on and the curtains are open. As I get to where I can see into the room I notice a light- skinned black woman somewhere in her mid-30’s, she wasn’t obese, she was plump, or as they like to say she had some 'meat on her bones'. She was dancing in front of a mirror in the center of the room wearing a mans dress shirt. Well, as I get to where I’m parallel with the mirror I notice that the shirt she is wearing is open. And not only that but she ain’t wearing a bra or drawers. I quickly looked away, because I didn’t want to be accused of peeping in anyone’s room.
So there I was bewildered by what I saw, when just then as I’m approaching the sauna area, I see a brother standing there with a towel around his neck. As custom I greet the brother with ‘Hey what’s happenin’ bro…”
As I’m passing the brother I notice something…this fool ain’t got on no drawers!
It was damn near winter, I was wearing a heavy jacket and this guy was standing outside at night while the cool breeze was blowing with nothing on! “What the hell is going on here?” I thought to myself.
I immediately went to the management office, but gone was the East Indian family and there in the lobby behind the desk was an Asian gentleman – watching a porno with the volume on full blast.
‘What the fuck?” I thought.
Now you and I when we watch porn we ain’t trying to have that shit so loud that anyone could hear it. You wanna be discrete when you view that shit. But not this guy. Here he was – at work mind you, watching porn, this chick had a mouthful of dick and all the sounds and whatever have you, and he acted like I disturbed him!
“Hey man, what kind of place is this?” I yelled.
“What do you mean?’ He replied without turning his back to see who I was.
‘Hey man, I’ve been seeing people walk around out here without clothes on and shit man, what the fuck are y’all doing out here?’
He turned around and looked at me while grabbing his remote control.
“You don’t understand”, he said to me calmly while only slightly adjusting the volume, ‘this is an adult motel, we let our patrons do as they please.”
“Tell you what this what I want you to do. Go sit by the pool and watch. Just make sure no one breaks into the rooms.”
“Ok.” Outside I went. And back to full blast the porn went as the door swung open.
I took a seat by the pool and was shocked by what I saw that night. It turns out the Edgewater Motel was a swingers motel. People had sex in the rooms with the lights on and curtains open. There were mirrors on the walls and on the ceilings. People would gather round and watch couples engaged in the act. Often times the people would join in. That was the craziest shit I ever saw in my life.
To be honest with you after that experience, I could never be involved in swinging. First of all your typical ‘swinging couple’ – for the most part, ain’t the most attractive people. Like people in nude beaches, it’s never someone that looks like Buffie the Body; they usually look like Broom Hilda or something like that. And besides the idea of having sex while a bunch of morons stand and watch just doesn’t sit right with me.
Sometime around three in the morning I called into the headquarters and told them what was going on there. They had no idea what kind of establishment this place had been. Thirty minutes later a lieutenant and two field sergeants showed up, they couldn’t believe what they had heard over the walkie-talkie. They needed to see for themselves.
I went back there a few more times, I finally stopped going when on one slow night this dude decided he wanted somebody to watch him wack off. ‘Oh hell no’ I said to myself, this fool would start wacking off everytime I walked by. Nope, I ain’t into no homo shit. To make matters worse there was these two guys hanging outside their room in their bath robes – I dunno about you, but that wasn’t a good sign to me. I left there and never went back.
"MAN FRIDAY TO THE STARS" (VALET-EXTRAORDINAIRE)
Yesterday, George Jacobs (top pic) was quoted in the Jeanne Carmin article.
Jacobs died eight months ago at the age of 86.
Jacobs revealed that people assumed he and Sammy Davis, Jr. (his boss's BFF) were close because both men were African American but he said, the opposite was true. Davis was very distant towards him.
By the same token, he mentioned that Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner made up for it because both women were extremely black friendly. He became Marilyn's confidant.
Published in 2003, Mr. Jacobs’s book, “Mr. S: My Life With Frank Sinatra” (written with William Stadiem), chronicles the 15 years, from 1953 to 1968, that he served as Sinatra’s live-in valet at his homes in Bel Air and Palm Springs, Calif. — with a roster of duties that, he wrote, included cooking Italian meals for Sinatra’s underworld associates; securing the nighttime services of women in a storied profession; and, in the wee small hours of the morning (Sinatra liked to do his actual sleeping solo), settling their bills before sending them on their way.
George Jacobs wrote a tell-all book about his time in Frank Sinatra's employment. Credit HarperCollins Publishers
Asked about Mr. Jacobs not long after the volume’s publication, Frank Sinatra Jr. said: “I haven’t seen him in 40 years. And, after that thing that he’s doing right now — he’s assassinating the character of my father and all those people — I hope it’s another 40 years before I see him.”
Mr. Jacobs’s book described, among much else, an amorous naked clinch between Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich and the insatiable appetite for Hollywood gossip of John F. Kennedy, then a United States senator. (“I would ask him about Castro or Khrushchev, but he wanted to know if Janet Leigh was cheating on Tony Curtis.”)
Most revelations centered on Sinatra, who died in 1998 at 82. There were the luminous women he chased: Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood. (He caught many of them.) There was the specially constructed underwear he wore in public, which kept what Mr. Jacobs describes as his considerable natural endowment discreetly suppressed.
Sinatra, Mr. Jacobs wrote, could be abusive. Sinatra once hurled a spaghetti marinara dinner at him because he had failed to cook it al dente, Sinatra is portrayed with sympathy — a tragic figure who continued to pine for his second wife, Ava Gardner, long after their divorce.
Mr. Jacobs’s tenure ended when he was seen dancing in a Los Angeles nightclub with Sinatra’s third wife, Mia Farrow, whom Sinatra was divorcing. After an item about the episode appeared in Rona Barrett’s gossip column, Mr. Jacobs returned to Sinatra’s Bel Air compound to find the locks changed and a lawyer’s letter telling him he was fired.
George Emanuel Jacobs Jr. was born in New Orleans on April 29, 1927. After serving as a Navy cook, he settled in Los Angeles, where he landed extra roles in a few Tarzan films. He later worked as a valet for the Hollywood agent Swifty Lazar before being poached by Sinatra; after leaving Sinatra’s employ, he worked for Steve McQueen, George Hamilton and Bill Cosby.
Mr. Jacobs was married and divorced three times. Besides his son Mr. Jagger, his survivors include three other sons, George Jacobs Jr., Sean Jacobs and John Dodd; two daughters, Jennie Joyner and Raychel Jacobs; and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Three other children, Guy, Brenda and Rene Jacobs, died before him.
In later years Mr. Jacobs worked as a carpenter. But he retained his affection for his valet days to the end of his life, residing in a Palm Springs apartment awash in photos of Sinatra and his circle, and offering interviewers his business card, inscribed “The Last of the Rat Pack.”
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON GEORGE JACOBS:
He was Frank Sinatra's valet, traveling companion and pal, a gentleman's gentleman who poured the Jack Daniels at cocktail time and stayed all night to play poker.
In Palm Springs and Bel-Air, he cooked the pasta, pressed the suits, found the girls. Sinatra cried on his shoulder about his lost love, Ava Gardner. Marilyn Monroe cried on his shoulder about Sinatra.
The product of a rough-and-tumble background, Jacobs got up close and personal with global figures. He had a spirited talk about women with John F. Kennedy while giving the future president a massage. Sinatra's mobster friend Sam Giancana joked about trying to hire him away; Jacobs later observed that Giancana, the late Mafia boss accused by conspiracy theorists in the JFK assassination, "had the most perfectly manicured hands and nails I had ever seen."
"It was an amazing trip, and even more amazing that a poor black kid from Louisiana like me got to take it," he wrote in "Mr. S: My Life With Frank Sinatra", a tell-all 2003 memoir he cowrote with William Stadiem.
Jacobs, 86, died in his sleep Saturday at a Palm Springs nursing home, said his son, artist Snake Jagger.
Born in New Orleans on April 29, 1927, Jacobs spent days with his mother, a cook for a wealthy family in the city's Garden District, and nights with his father, the owner of a honky-tonk called the Joy Tavern. His Creole grandmother had 103 other grandchildren. A grandfather and a great-grandfather on each side of his family was Jewish.
In 1945, the trim, handsome Jacobs joined the Navy, trained as a ship's cook and became an aide to an admiral. While on an aircraft carrier off Korea, he was told that his father had been fatally shot in a robbery. Back in New Orleans, he learned that his dad was killed by gangsters squeezing him for money with the aid of police.
Disgusted with his hometown, Jacobs moved to Los Angeles and took a series of odd jobs — gardener, process server, an extra in "cheesy MGM 'Tarzan' knockoffs" — and wound up working Hollywood parties for a caterer. In 1950, he caught the eye of superagent Irving "Swifty" Lazar who hired him as a Man Friday.
"Whenever Lazar ordered me around too much, I would begin talking right back to him," Jacobs wrote. "'Abraham Lincoln fixed it so we wouldn't have to live like this,'" I protested to him one night. He sat back in the back seat of the Rolls and started whistling "Dixie.' "
When Sinatra hired Jacobs three years later, the legendary singer and his new valet hit it off.
A prankster, Sinatra sent Jacobs to Tijuana to load up on cherry bombs that he'd explode in toilet bowls. "The Hoboken Bomber strikes again!" Sinatra would cackle.
"Today they'd give him Ritalin," Jacobs wrote. "He couldn't sit still and he couldn't be alone."
Sinatra had a famously insatiable sexual appetite, whether for well-known actresses or cocktail waitresses.
More than once, Jacobs wrote, he'd have to drive Sinatra's conquests home in the middle of the night after his boss deemed their perfume excessive.
Jacobs was married and divorced three times, his son said.
At one divorce hearing, an exasperated Jacobs threw a trash can at news photographers.
Sinatra was delighted.
On a trip to Israel, Sinatra and songwriter Jimmy van Heusen urged Jacobs to connect with his Jewish roots and get a "quickie Bar Mitzvah."
They followed up the ceremony with a trip to a brothel and an all-night drunk on kosher wine, Jacobs wrote. The next day, Sinatra and his entourage vanished by the time Jacobs got out of bed, leaving him without cash and no one to call for help.
"My life had come to revolve so entirely around Frank Sinatra that I had absolutely no one else," he wrote.
In 1960, Sinatra campaigned for Kennedy and, after his victory, prepared his Palm Springs home for presidential visits. He was devastated when family patriarch Joseph Kennedy ruled that Sinatra's unsavory associations made his home off-limits for the president-to-be.
Jacobs said his boss was wailing — "like a little kid and nearly in tears."
(BLACK MOB ENFORCER/GUN-RUNNER & RECORD LABEL HEAD)
Calla Records was a small, New York City-based independent black owned Soul record label run by Nate McCalla (only black man pictured above) and active c. 1965 to 1977.
McCalla was an associate and bodyguard for Morris Levy (the White Suge Knight-pictured above-fifth from the left) who headed Roulette Records which had known ties to the mob.
Artists recording for the label include the Emotions, J.J. Jackson, and the Persuaders, etc.
McCalla was later found murdered execution style in 1980.
Nate McCalla was so feared, that white artists were scared of him. He murdered with guns and baseball bats and when you saw him coming, you knew someone was going to get injured or worse.
Bettye LaVette recorded for Calla Records back in ’65 when she was eighteen. The label was run by an enforcer named Nate McCalla, the NY label had ties to the mob. “They gave Nate this record company because he had purportedly killed someone for them,” LaVette later said. “I didn’t know all this at the time. They asked me, ‘Which television show would you like to do?’ They had control over all of them. I said I’d like to do "Shindig". I should have said Ed Sullivan. So I did "Shindig." Just like that. I didn’t realize these were gangsters.”
McCalla was a decorated war hero who had fought in Korea. He told pop singer Tommy James: "Do you realize what the U.S. Government taught me? They taught me to kill people and that's what I do!"
When McCalla wasn't running a record label or being a mob enforcer, he was running guns through the Caribbean. He was an outlaw among an outlaw.
Authorities found his throat slit and his body decomposed. He was also shot in the head and tied to a chair.
(R&B ARTIST MOONLIGHTED AS DRUG DEALER)
Arlester “Dyke” Christian was murdered in the 70's, on a street in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dyke and The Blazers, who were originally The O’Jays’ backing band, are best known for their 1967 hit single “Funky Broadway.” The song was later covered by Wilson Pickett and went to number one on the charts. This was the first record to use the work "funky" in its title.
Rick James described the band as revolutionary.
They were the first act to use the word “Funk” on a song that charted on the R&B charts.
Dyke did session work for Bill Withers and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band. At the time of his death, he was preparing for a tour of Europe and working with Barry White.
Dyke, originally from Buffalo,’New York, was involved in a dispute, which sources claimed was over a drug deal gone bad.
The singer was killed by a man named Clarence “One-Eyed Clancy,” Daniels.
One-Eyed Clancy allegedly owed Dyke money for heroin, so a meeting was prepared on Buck Eye Road, in downtown Phoenix.
Dyke, was sitting in his car when One-Eyed Clancy fired upon him, killing him instantly.
The murder made Dyke a member of the infamous "27" club, which includes artists like Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Kobain, Amy Winehouse and other famous musicians, who died at the young age.
As for One-Eyed Clancy, who was allegedly a police informant, he was set free after a jury ruled he acted in self-defense.
A coroners report showed no alcohol or narcotics in Dyke's system.
Dyke’s body was sent back to Buffalo, where he is buried.
"BLACK HOLLYWOOD CONSPIRACY THEORY" (UNSOLVED CELEBRITY MURDER?)
Paul Williams of The Temptations:
Paul Williams went from drinking milk on an daily basis to drinking hard liquor on an daily basis. It's always been rumored that he "may" have been murdered by his mistress's boyfriend; that's the reason he was found in his underwear. This theory has never been proven.
Paul Williams met Eddie Kendricks in elementary school; supposedly, the two first encountered each other in a fistfight after Williams dumped a bucket of mop water on Kendricks. Both boys shared a love of singing, and sang in their church choir together.
Williams suffered from sickle-cell anemia, which frequently wreaked havoc on his physical health. In 1965, Williams began an affair with Winnie Brown, hair stylist for The Supremes and a relative of Supremes member Florence Ballard. In love with Brown but still devoted to his wife and children, Williams was also depressed because Cholly Atkins' presence now made Williams' former role as choreographer essentially, but not completely, obsolete. Life on the road was starting to take its toll on Williams as well, and he began to drink heavily.
In the spring of 1969, Williams and Brown opened a celebrity fashion boutique in downtown Detroit. The business was not as successful as planned, and Williams soon found himself owing more than $80,000 in taxes. His health had deteriorated to the point that he would sometimes be unable to perform, suffering from combinations of exhaustion and pain which he combated with heavy drinking. Each of the other four Temptations did what they could to help Williams, alternating between raiding and draining his alcohol stashes, personal interventions, and keeping oxygen tanks backstage, but Williams' health, as well as the quality of his performances, continued to decline and he refused to see a doctor.
Otis Williams and the other Temptations decided to resort to enlisting an on-hand fill-in for Paul Williams. Richard Street, then-lead singer of fellow Motown act The Monitors and formerly lead singer of The Distants, was hired to travel with The Temptations and sing all of Williams' parts, save for Williams' special numbers such as "Don't Look Back" and "For Once in My Life", from backstage behind a curtain. When Williams was not well enough to go on, Street took his place onstage. In April 1971, Williams was finally persuaded to go see a doctor. The doctor found a spot on Williams' liver and advised him to retire from the group altogether. Williams left the group and Street became his permanent replacement. In support of helping Williams get back on his feet, The Temptations continued to pay Williams his same one-fifth share of the group's earnings, and kept Williams on their payroll as an advisor and choreographer, and Williams continued to help the group with routines and dance moves for the next two years.
By early 1973, Williams made his return to Motown's Hitsville USA recording studios, and began working on solo material. Kendricks, who had quit the Temptations just before Williams left, produced and co-wrote Williams' first single, "Feel Like Givin' Up", which was to have been issued on Motown's Gordy imprint with "Once You Had a Heart" as its b-side. However, after Williams' death was ruled a suicide in August 1973, Motown decided to shelve the sides, because the song "Feel Like Givin' Up" was just too literal to bear and the single was not released.
On August 17, 1973, Paul Williams was found dead in an alley in the car having just left the new house of his then-girlfriend after an argument. A gun was found near his body. His death was ruled a suicide by the coroner; Williams had expressed suicidal thoughts to Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin months before his death.
Williams' funeral was held on August 24, with his family and former bandmates in attendance. He was survived by his wife, Mary Agnes Williams, and five children: Sarita, Kenneth, Paula, Mary and Paul, Jr., who later joined a Temptations splinter group, The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards. Williams also had three other children, Paul Williams Lucas, Anthony Johnson, and Derrick Vinyard, with three girlfriends. Williams is buried in Clinton Township, Michigan's Lincoln Memorial Park.
The circumstances surrounding Williams' death caused the Williams family to suspect that some form of foul play was the actual cause of Williams' death. According to the coroner, Williams had used his right hand to shoot himself in the left side of his head. In addition, a bottle of alcohol was found near Williams' left side, as if he had dropped it while being shot. The gun used in the shooting was found to have fired two shots, only one of which had killed Williams.
As a member of the Temptations, Paul Williams was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Both of his solo recordings were later released by Motown on Temptations-related compilations in the 1980s and 1990s.
Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin were robbed after Paul Williams' funeral.
The group was already in distress over Williams' death and this illegal act added insult to injury.
Over 2,500 people attended Williams' wake and funeral, including his wife and six children.
The thieves were never apprehended.
"SOUL BROTHER NUMBER TWO" (DOWNFALL)
by: Jeff Niesel
The East Cleveland home is a sore sight inside and out. A peeling, putrid shade of yellow on the outside, on the inside the living room looks like a rummage sale has exploded, casting old VHS cassettes and magazines in every direction. A large Sony TV is so old that it's hard to make out what's on the screen. Roosevelt "R.J." Johnson admits the place isn't up to his standards; as soon as he gets the money together, he wants to tear up the ratty carpet and apply a fresh coat of paint. For now, it will have to wait.
Johnson has just crawled out of bed on a Saturday morning and perched himself at the kitchen table next to an open box of Cheez-Its, clad in a Day-Glo blue robe and a bright red do-rag. He is a somber, at times despondent man. But things weren't always this way.
Destitute and desperate at age 58, Johnson spends his nights working the front counter at the Hot Sauce Williams barbecue joint on Superior Avenue and East 123rd Street, just a couple of miles from his home.
But for 40 years, Johnson was the personal assistant to — and later a heralded performer with — the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. He traveled the globe performing alongside the hardest working man in show business. Today, he clings to a box of tangled laminates that once provided him all-access privileges in venues around the world. A faded press kit from 1998 includes a photo of him dancing alongside the legend himself at a tour stop in Mexico.
The home's dreary walls are dotted with photos of Johnson posing with a variety of celebrities: There's one with former President Bill Clinton, another with Puff Daddy, others with Dave Matthews, Elton John, and Carlos Santana. Old concert posters list Johnson as the opening act on James Brown bills. They are yellowed reminders of the life he once led, a ramshackle shrine of frames all hung haphazardly, as if an earthquake once rattled the house and no one bothered to straighten them again.
Five decades ago, Johnson was plucked from the Cleveland ghetto and ultimately promised the Godfather's throne. When Brown died unexpectedly on Christmas Day 2006, Johnson's dream of succeeding the master died with it.
The Godfather of Soul had no Cleveland show on the schedule when he landed at Burke Lakefront Airport one spring day in 1964. This trip was all about shopping, and Cleveland at the time was as fine a place for it as any.
Twelve-year-old R.J. Johnson was a student at Oliver Wendell Holmes, but he found his passion as an usher at Leo's Casino, already an historic Euclid Avenue club. There, the boy became accustomed to meeting big-name soul stars; today, he cherishes a framed photo of himself standing next to a young Marvin Gaye. But James Brown would leave a far more lasting mark.
Johnson had befriended a group of disc jockeys from WJMO radio, and they were charged with meeting Brown at the airport to chauffeur his adventure that day.
Dressed sharply in gray tweed pants and a turtleneck, Brown took an instant liking to Johnson, who shared with the singer a precocious affinity for fashion, often wearing ties and sport coats to school. When Brown asked Johnson to hold his brown leather coat, the boy eagerly obliged, making no fuss about the pistol he found in its pocket.
"That was the first thing I did for him," says Johnson, noting that he always called Brown "sir." "I was all for it. I thought, 'This man wants me to hold his coat. Nobody gonna get this coat from me. I'm going to guard this coat with my life.'"
Their spree led them to King's Menswear in the Lee-Harvard shopping center. "I got these crisp $20 bills from him, and I had to explain to my mother where I got them. I grew up at 101st and St. Clair in the '60s, in a big apartment building with mice, roaches, and whatever. So for a kid like me to have $40 back then, you had to steal it from somewhere. That's exactly what everyone thought I did. James Brown wasn't in town. He wasn't doing a show. So why would I have run into him? I was so pissed and hurt that nobody would believe me.
"For whatever reason, he was just good to me," Johnson says, still struggling to grasp why they bonded. "For me to be poor and black and living out of a millionaire's pockets is an amazing thing. It's like a fairy tale. It just doesn't happen."
Some time later, Brown returned to town to play a show at the Cleveland Arena, sharing a bill with supporting acts Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, and Sam & Dave. Prior to the show, Brown had a radio appearance at the Giant Tiger department store parking lot. "Bring that kid," he told the WJMO DJs.
When they delivered Johnson to him, Brown offered a word of advice: "He told me, 'You finish school, and you can work for me.'"
Perhaps it's no surprise that Brown connected with the boy. Raised by an aunt after his parents separated, Brown grew up amid extreme poverty in South Carolina. As an adult, he was always gracious to young children, and he singled out Johnson for his manners and appearance.
"I was clean," says Johnson. "I was dressed. I was very sharp. It was just a habit. I didn't like to be dirty. I didn't want kids putting their dirty hands on me. I always found a way to put a tie or something on my neck. I would dress very colorful."
Several years later, with his GED in hand, Johnson contacted Brown and started promoting his albums and concerts throughout the region and beyond. He bought a Greyhound Ameripass and rode the bus around the country, dropping off James Brown albums at radio stations.
"You didn't have to do much with a James Brown record except hand it to the DJ," he says. "I took 'Say It Loud — I'm Black and I'm Proud' to the regional stations. They were a little apprehensive at first about playing it, and then they were like why not? He wrote that song in like an hour and got some kids from San Francisco to sing backing vocals on it. He took all the colored people and made 'em black on that record. Nobody wanted to be black back then. That was a bad thing. But he certainly changed that."
In 1970, Brown assembled what would become his most famous backing band, the JB's. Featuring bassist Bootsy Collins, guitarist Phelps Collins, and trombonist Fred Wesley, the group made its debut on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine."
"The first time I saw the JB's, I thought, 'Now that is a band,'" Johnson remembers.
His profile higher than ever, Brown left Cincinnati-based King Records (with whom he had signed in 1956) and inked a major deal with Polydor; he even started producing acts of his own on a Polydor subsidiary. Polydor purchased his back catalog, reissued it, and gave Brown his own office at its New York headquarters. Landing the cultural icon was a major coup for the label. But Brown made sure his supporting cast remained intact.
When the singer performed in Zaire in 1974 in advance of the historic fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, Johnson was there with him as a traveling companion. "I went with him, but I had to come back early because the fight got postponed," says Johnson. "They still did a show. I saw his performance from a distance."
In 1976, Brown began hosting Future Shock, a weekly variety music program filmed at what would become the TBS studios in Atlanta. He enlisted Johnson to sell ads. "I was criss-crossing the country, selling hair products and whatever would look good being advertised on his program," he remembers.
The show lasted only a year, a casualty of the changing times. When disco pushed R&B to the sidelines, Brown had trouble acclimating. Albums such as 1977's Mutha Nature and 1978's Jam 1980s tried to incorporate disco-friendly production techniques, but ultimately fell flat. The action cooled, though not for Johnson: He was still promoting Brown's records, making a hefty $400 a week.
"He had a few hits for Polydor [for whom he recorded until 1981]," says Johnson. "But he realized he was competing with his own self. It's like Lucille [Ball]. She would do all these new shows, and nothing compared to I Love Lucy. In the same breath, nothing James Brown did was comparable to what he already did. That's when he decided his live performance was more important."
Then Brown's 1985 album Gravity became a surprise hit. It featured the song "Living in America," a patriotic tune that soared thanks to its inclusion in Rocky IV. The song went on to win a Grammy. By this time, rappers were starting to sample Brown's beats and drum breaks, offering reassurance that Brown remained relevant. His induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, its inaugural year, only confirmed his place in history. "That was the beginning of a whole new discovery of James Brown," says Johnson.
As Brown's career was resurging, so too were his demons. He was renowned for his foul temper around the many women in his life. Though he married Velma Warren in 1953, by the end of the '60s, they were divorced, and by that time he'd reportedly had seven children with various women. His infidelity was exacerbated by his addiction to marijuana and other drugs. Johnson admits he bought Brown's pot: "If he came to town and didn't have it, I would get it for him," he says. "It was as easy as getting change for a dollar." But he says it was Brown's last two wives — Adrienne Lois Rodriguez (1984-1996) and Tomi Rae Hynie (2001-2004) — who introduced the legend to painkillers and heavier drugs like PCP. "They were pill-poppers," he says. "And his knees always hurt — you can only drop to your knees so many times before they start to hurt. Adrienne was the one who turned him on to PCP."
In 1988, reportedly high on PCP, the singer hit rock bottom. After allegedly brandishing a weapon at an insurance seminar taking place next door to his office, Brown led officers on a wild car chase. While trying to dodge a police roadblock, he had his tires shot out. Thinking they were harassing him, he led a chase from Georgia into South Carolina for which he ended up serving more than two years in prison. "When they went to reload their guns after shooting out his tires, he took off," says Johnson. "I would have done the same thing. I don't know about the PCP, but I think he was on painkillers, and he had probably smoked some weed."
While Brown was incarcerated, Johnson fell off his payroll, so he picked up odd jobs around Cleveland doing manual labor. He collected food stamps and sold a bit of pot to make ends meet.
"What are you going to do?" he says. "I needed to pay the bills. It was a work stoppage."
When Brown returned from prison, he put Johnson in charge of his wardrobe — a task he gladly accepted. Though Cleveland was still home, Johnson spent most of his time holed up at the Days Inn in Augusta, Georgia, near Brown's office. Room 122 was often booked in his name for weeks at a time. "Packing his suitcase became a major, major chore for me," says Johnson, who would pick the outfits himself from Brown's home, where he had a "stage closet" and a "personal closet."
"He didn't know where stuff was — I knew," says Johnson. Brown would enlist Cleveland designer Curtis Gibson to fly to Augusta and come up with costume ideas. But once they were made, Johnson was the guy who kept track of them.
"He's James Brown. He's known for dressing. His wife Adrienne couldn't do it anymore. I stepped in, and he always says I took the job because I saw her struggling. Once I picked up that iron, I never put it down. When I started packing his clothes, I would load up at least ten personal suits and five or six different boots, an assortment of ties and scarves. For the costumes, you had to piece everything together. I was the only one who could do it. I would take at least two costumes for each show because sometimes he would change during the show."
To celebrate his release from prison in 1991, Brown put on a star-studded pay-per-view special that included guest appearances by Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight, and comedian George Wallace. Johnson was right there at his side, costumes in tow.
"It was a great tribute to James Brown," he says. "[Producer] Butch Lewis did it in a hurry, but it was still great. A lot of artists and stars came to the concert that was James Brown's coming-out [of prison] party. I did make one mistake: I sent him out onstage with a leather jacket on that still had the tag on it. He was walking onto the stage and popping the tag off at the same time." Before the artist went on, Johnson had slipped him a hit of Viagra to help out after the show.
Indeed, the Sex Machine was back.
"They missed him," says Johnson. "He made more money than he ever made in his life. Before prison he was getting $12,000 a night, and afterward it went to $45,000 or even $50,000 a night. He was all over the television too."
Johnson also benefited from the windfall, taking in about $1,000 a week and spending more time working out of the Days Inn. Even after Brown's office burned down in 2002, after an employee reportedly stole from him and set the place on fire, Johnson would stay there, watching old episodes of The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy while sitting by the phone in case Brown needed anything.
Eventually, Brown came to realize his longtime associate deserved more than life as a wardrobe man.
By 1997, Johnson found himself separated from his longtime girlfriend, a Cleveland woman he had dated since the mid-1970s. Together they raised a son and daughter, both of whom were adults by the time of their split.
Johnson says he wasn't anywhere near as promiscuous as his boss, but he admits that life in Brown's entourage made fidelity a constant challenge.
"I didn't set out to be unfaithful," he says, "but being in that business, it happens.When that spotlight is on you, it's going to happen." Their breakup, he insists, was not the result of his lifestyle, but "other things."
That same year, Brown and Johnson found themselves in Los Angeles together at the upscale Beverly Hills restaurant Crustaceans, celebrating the release of Brown's new CD retrospective, JB40: 40th Anniversary Collection. Backing singer Martha High put on a tape that Brown mistook for a new single from R&B great Al Green.
"That's not Green," High corrected him. "That's R.J. Johnson."
"He said, 'What?! You mean he can sing like that?'" Johnson recalls, imitating Brown's animated manner of speaking. "All these years, he never knew I could sing. Then we had to go in the studio."
With Brown producing, Johnson cut the single "Loving You," a tune he co-wrote with Brown and Clevelander Lou Ragland. Produced by Brown, it's a traditional soul ballad in the vein of Marvin Gaye or Otis Redding, featuring a '90s synth sound. On it, Johnson croons about how he will do anything to keep his woman happy. The track got radio airplay in the South, but didn't make a dent elsewhere, even though Johnson would often sing it during James Brown performances.
"He put me onstage with him from that point on. He would hand me the microphone, and whatever song we were doing, I would take over from there. There was a spot on the stage where he wanted me to stand and would say, 'That's why I got you over there — because one day you're going to be over here.'"
For ten years, Brown's backing ensemble had been known as the Soul Generals. By his own admission, Johnson never was an official member; he was a backup singer and a personal assistant through it all. But it was clear Brown thought highly of him as a performer.
"The very last show we did, he asked me to finish it," says Johnson, referring to a gig in Moscow in October 2006. "The song was 'Sex Machine.' He handed me the microphone and left the stage."
Soul Generals' drummer Robert "Mousey" Thompson joined the band in 1992. He doesn't remember that specific incident, but he does remember that Johnson and Brown were close friends.
"R.J. had been with James Brown for many years by the time I joined the band," recalls Thompson, who lives in Washington, D.C., where he works as a session musician. "He'd do some James Brown tunes and some Al Green. And he had his own stuff he'd play too. James Brown created a bunch of leaders in his band, and he would tell everybody to try to keep that legacy going on."
Soul Generals guitarist Keith Jenkins agrees.
"R.J. was in the immediate entourage; we called it 'The Royal Family,'" says Jenkins, who lives in Augusta and has gone back to school to get a history degree. "James Brown always had a team of people around him, and R.J. was in many ways James Brown's closest personal assistant. He would always carry around James Brown's heavy trench coat that had all his personal belongings in it. But he did so much more than that. He also had a role onstage too. I don't know how he did it. Five people should have been doing all that he did."
Shortly before Christmas in 2006, James Brown made an appointment for tooth implants. But when the dentist heard wheezing in Brown's chest, he suggested he see a doctor first. Brown, it turned out, had caught pneumonia from the recent Moscow tour. He died on Christmas Day.
"I never envisioned him dying," says Johnson. "I never thought he would die. He was 73 years old and still doing two-hour shows. He was still singing and dancing and sweating. He would wear us out. I went numb.
"I was ready to go to the airport and park the car at Hopkins, and go meet him. I had my stuff packed and ready to go. I was going to fly on Christmas Day and go to his house and pack his stuff. I didn't know what to think. I thought about me and what I was going to do. It was such a numbing feeling. You go from way up high to way down low in a heartbeat. That's exactly what it was. From the time I got that phone call, it's been downhill. It's like, how do you go from rags to riches to rags and deal with it?"
By the time of Brown's death, Johnson was making around $3,000 a week and living in an $800-a-month apartment in Euclid's then-upscale Harbor Crest complex. And then, suddenly, it was all gone.
With Brown's death, so too died the Soul Generals and Johnson's spot on the stage. And so began the many questions about who would carry on the great singer's legacy.
In his wake, Brown left a dizzying number of potential heirs. In an extensive article he wrote for GQ on the James Brown estate, reporter Sean Flynn noted Brown left behind "14 children, 16 grandchildren, eight mothers of his children, several mistresses, and 30 lawyers," all of whom have tried to get a piece of Brown's fortune. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. One lawsuit led to another, and eventually the singer's inner circle wound up on the outside looking in: People like Johnson and longtime Brown associates David Washington and Charles Bobbit, his housekeeper and manager, respectively, were left out in the cold.
Jay B. Ross, a Chicago attorney who was one of James Brown's lawyers for 15 years, can't recall whether Johnson was named in one of the wills. But he adds that he wouldn't be surprised if he were.
"Mr. Brown was a big fan of R.J.'s and cared for him and believed in him, and there was not a performance that went by where he wouldn't bring him by to share the stage," says Ross.
But once a South Carolina court appointed an impartial executor to sort out matters regarding Brown's will, Johnson's chances of getting a piece of the pie diminished.
"Whoever is the will's executor is more interested in obtaining money than continuing his legacy," says Ross. "They just want to sell all his possessions and denude him of all the stuff that could be so valuable."
"They could have created their own Graceland, and it would have been wonderful for Brown and the family and South Carolina. The family argued among themselves. I did almost all his entertainment agreements, and I've never been contacted once by the executor. I've asked to be contacted. I've gone through other parties, and apparently most of the people who surrounded him were of evil intent and either went to jail or their motives were not pure, and so what I'm told is that I was thrown in with the rest of the them."
Johnson sued the Brown estate shortly after his death, but wound up with nothing. So in 2007, the stars stubbornly fading from his eyes, he took a job as seasonal help at Malley's Chocolate. (Owner Patrick Malley was an acquaintance of James Brown's and befriended Johnson after a Richfield Coliseum show.) Two years ago, he started working at Hot Sauce Williams and moved into a friend's house, where he pays rent only if he's got it. More times than not, he doesn't have it.
"I used to have a ring for every finger, and now I'm down to nothing," says Johnson, adding that he has sold almost everything he had of value, including the Mercedes-Benz and the Jaguar Brown had given him.
He recently borrowed $20,000 from a family friend to help fix up his place and relaunch the band. He's setting up a website to show promoters that he's for real when he says he wants to tour as "R.J. and the James Brown Band." He knows that former members of the Soul Generals would be eager to make up his backing band.
And there are other possibilities brewing. Johnson recently met with Snoop Dogg about a potential TV special. He's talked with Shaquille O'Neal about possible financing. If a mass audience could just see him do his thing, Johnson insists, the band would be able to tour again.
"I think R.J. could do it," says former Soul General Thompson. "But it's more than just filling [Brown's] shoes. It's about keeping his music alive. His music is steadily dying. James Brown stood for so much more than music."
Brown's iconic stature isn't lost on Neal Israel, the Hollywood writer-director whose credits include Bachelor Party. He has expressed interest in making a movie about Johnson's life, centering on the way that Brown retrieved him from Cleveland's ghetto and took him on a wild ride around the world, all because he found someone he could trust to hold his coat.
It's that image that really struck Israel, who heard about Johnson through a friend and flew him to Hawaii a couple of years ago, signing him to a contract that gives away his "life story rights." (Spike Lee reportedly holds the rights to the James Brown story.) If anyone will tell Johnson's story, it will be Israel.
"When I heard Johnson's story, I thought, 'This is the way to tell the James Brown story,'" says Israel. "It's about how this child from the ghetto meets him and he says, 'Hold my coat,' and then begins a 40-year relationship."
So far, the film has gone nowhere.
"Things stalled because the interest in James Brown was not what I thought," admits Israel. "But that doesn't mean it won't get done. I really just need a script to get started."
Through it all, Johnson has struggled with depression, though he thanks his 30-year-old son and 33-year-old daughter for their support.
"They're just waiting on their father to go back to work," he says. "They're glad I didn't collapse. They've been helping me out.
"I got nothin', and I spent over 40 years of my life taking care of this man. I ain't mad at him. What did he do? I wouldn't trade a minute of it. I am not saying I was entitled to anything. There's no reason [his band] shouldn't still be performing. Hell, the Count Basie Orchestra is still playing, and he's been dead 30 years. So why can't we go back to work? I want to get the band to perform again. We miss each other. It's like a team that's been broken up. We're waiting to come back together and play again."
Ross says there is no reason the band can't tour playing Brown's music.
"If you try to impersonate somebody and do only their songs, and try to pass yourself off as them, you can get into trouble," he says. "But not if you bill yourself as a tribute act."
In the meantime, Johnson can be found at the East Cleveland Hot Sauce Williams, serving up Snack Packs of fried chicken and fries to customers who have no idea where he's been. Dressed in a white apron and wearing glasses so he can see the cash register, he does the job without any of the flash he exhibited for so many years.
"I don't want to fry chicken for a living," he says. "I have no business working for Hot Sauce Williams. I should be onstage wearing a fantastic outfit, not in a white apron with chicken grease and barbecue sauce all over me. That's just not cool.
When Rosa Lee Ingram and her two sons received the death penalty in 1948 for murdering a white landowner in rural Georgia, civil rights activists from across the nation rushed to her defense. The Ingram case represented an example of the emerging Cold War politics of racial protest and helped trigger local challenges to Jim Crow in the southwest corner of Georgia.
In November 1947, Ingram was working on the land she sharecropped near the small town of Ellaville, Georgia when John Stratford, a white neighbor, angrily confronted her about some livestock that had roamed onto his property. Later testimony suggested that Stratford threatened Ingram sexually. As Rosa Lee Ingram fought Stratford off, sixteen-year-old Wallace Ingram and fourteen-year-old Sammie Lee Ingram came to her defense with farm implements. Stratford died from several blows to the head and local authorities soon charged the three Ingrams with murder.
A one-day trial with an all-white jury resulted in death sentences for the three, while a fourth son, Charles, was acquitted in a separate trial due to lack of evidence.
The Ingram case received national press attention during the post-World War II era when the southern justice system and Jim Crow itself were under new scrutiny. Members of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) rushed down to appeal the verdict, providing support to local white lawyer appointed to the case, S. Hawkins Dykes. The Civil Rights Congress (CRC), a left-based organization, also became involved in raising funds for the Ingrams and publicizing their cause but also generating tensions with the NAACP which harkened back to the political splits seen in the Scottsboro cases of the 1930s.
When the Ingrams appealed in 1948, Georgia courts reduced the death sentences to life imprisonment but refused to take further action. The NAACP and the CRC’s formal protests thus increasingly stalled due to both strategy conflicts and the continuing power of the southern legal system. At this point, female activists emerged as a critical political voice on behalf of Rosa Lee Ingram and her sons, often working across traditional alliances of race and class. For example, the CRC supported the creation of the National Committee to Free the Ingram Family which was headed by Mary Church Terrell, long a leader of the black women’s club movement.
This group petitioned the United Nations to address the Ingram case as both a matter of human rights and women’s rights. Other groups such as the Sojourners for Truth and Justice linked the Ingram case to the failures of the southern legal system, calling upon President Harry Truman to take action. These women’s organizations helped to keep the story of the Ingram family alive in the press into the 1950s. The Ingrams were finally released on parole in 1959 after having been judged to be “model prisoners.” The activism surrounding the case revealed real tensions over leadership and left-based politics but it also demonstrated women’s efforts to highlight gendered critiques of Jim Crow.
JO-JO TYNES would go into a nightclub, toss back a Mistic fruit drink or just plain water and hit the dance floor.
"He loved to have fun," said his fiancee, Kim Oliver. "Everybody loved him. He'd go into a club and people would say, 'Here's Jo-Jo!' He loved people. He loved to dance."
Joseph Tynes, known to everybody as Jo-Jo, worked with a number of musicians and musical groups as stage manager and general factotum, including Teddy Pendergrass, the O'Jays and the Three Degrees, traveling around the country and overseas.
His last dance was Sunday night, when he went to a local tavern. He had a dizzy spell on the dance floor and collapsed. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. He was 71 and lived in West Philadelphia.
Jo-Jo got a shock in April 1977 when a woman was shot to death in front of him. He had driven the woman, Taazmayia "Taaz" Lang, Teddy Pendergrass' manager/girlfriend, to her home in Mount Airy the night of April 14.
Jo-Jo was getting something out of the car's trunk and Taaz was taking out her house keys when someone who had been hiding in bushes shot her. The bullet killed her instantly. The crime was never solved (story below).
"The police questioned Jo-Jo, but he was as baffled as everybody over what had happened," Kim said. "It always bothered him."
Pendergrass, an R&B superstar, was paralyzed in a car crash in March 1982.
Jo-Jo left Pendergrass' Teddy Bear Productions shortly after the shooting. It was then that Jo-Jo became involved with the Three Degrees, an all-girl trio formed in Philadelphia that was popular in the '60s and '70s.
They had gigs in Europe and Japan, and Jo-Jo got to do a lot of traveling in the late '70s.
After a few years with the Three Degrees, he met up with the O'Jays, a Canton, Ohio, R&B group that came to Philadelphia to record with the Philadelphia International label of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
It was where Jo-Jo met the group and began working with it through its numerous hits, many of them recorded in Philly, and on stage shows.
Jo-Jo was born in Baltimore to Louis Tynes and Juanita Gaines. He came to Philadelphia in his teens and began hanging out with entertainers at local clubs.
He met Sammy Davis Jr. that way. Davis offered him a job, but Jo-Jo thought he was kidding and blew him off. When Sammy hired another man for the job, Jo-Jo realized the singer hadn't been kidding.
"He said it was the worst mistake he ever made," Kim said.
"He was a fun guy," she said, "always dressed to the nines, with his Louis Vuitton briefcase. He loved being with people. He didn't like being at home. He loved to sit around and tell jokes.
"He didn't drink or smoke and was always fit."
However, he first had dizzy spells in 1980 and was hospitalized. He received a stent in his heart and was fine after that, Kim said.
Besides Kim Oliver, he had no immediate survivors.
"UNSOLVED CONTRACT MURDER" (BLACK FEMALE MANAGER)
Taazmayia (Taaz) Lang (1st pic, far left) was an extraordinary African American woman. She even intimidated white businesswomen. She drove a Mercedes, dressed in designer attire and mentored young black girls. She was a mover and shaker who partied with Patti Labelle and Phyllis Hyman and took European shopping sprees. She also traveled by private jet on occasion. She also loved cigarette boating in Miami.
Under her management, Teddy Pendergrass's finances were in order. She had diversified his holdings and was expanding his portfolio. She was brilliant and an skilled negotiator. Although Taaz's business was legal, the illicit Lauryn character (money launderer) in the Ballin series is based on her financial savvy.
Taaz was an entertainment powerbroker YET someone wanted her dead!
Teddy Pendergrass reveals in his book, “Truly Blessed,” that in 1974, he fell in love with a woman by the name of Taazmayia (Taaz) Lang (pictured above in 2nd photo). He considered her as every bit as unique and exotic as her name.
She was the ex-wife of Philadelphia Eagles fullback Izzy Lang and she was a well-known businesswoman in her own right.
In 1976, Pendergrass moved into her beautiful home. He quickly saw that she had impeccable business sense and he hired her to keep a eye on his finances.
Pendergrass added, when the Jackson’s were in town, they always came over to Taaz’s home to visit and to play with her son along with neighbor Grover Washington, Jr.’s son, Grover III.
Pendergrass remembers hanging out with the Jackson’s and joking around, everyone was included in the mischief with the exception of Michael. “I couldn’t help but notice how quiet he was and how he appeared too interested in the trinkets and knickknacks displayed and how beautifully Taaz had decorated her house.
On April 14, 1977, Pendergrass was at his office getting ready to leave that night for his next concert date. Taaz was tending to business but got back to Philly in time to say good-bye before I left. We promised to talk the next day.
As the rest of the entourage checked into the hotel, a desk clerk said, “Mr. Pendergrass, you have a urgent message from Philadelphia.
I dialed the number and was informed that Taaz had been murdered. I was in shock.
Apparently, the night before, Taaz and Jo Jo Tynes (story above), an employee of mine, drove my Mercedes to her home. Jo Jo was getting something out of the trunk and Taaz was getting out her keys to open the front door when someone emerged from the bushes and shot her at point blank range (execution style-contract killing). The bullet passed through her arm and pierced her heart; she died almost instantly. “I have never gotten over her murder.”
A few weeks after her death, Pendergrass received threats 'that the same thing could happen to him.'
The case remains unsolved.
R&B singer Lloyd Price was very successful in the 60's and 70's. He was also associated with Don King and two of his industry associates were murdered-execution style; both cases remain unsolved.
Lloyd Price (born March 9, 1933) is an American R&B vocalist. Known as "Mr. Personality", after the name of one of his biggest million-selling hits. His first recording, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" was a huge hit on Specialty Records in 1952, and although he continued to turn out records, none were as popular until several years later, when he refined the New Orleans beat and achieved a series of national hits. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Born in Kenner, Louisiana, United States, and growing up in a suburb of New Orleans, Price had formal musical training in trumpet and piano, sang in his church's gospel choir, and was a member of a combo in high school. His mother, Beatrice Price, owned the "Fish 'n' Fry," Restaurant, and Price picked up a lifelong interest in business and in food from her.
When Art Rupe of Specialty Records came to New Orleans scouting for talent and heard Price's song, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", he wanted to record it. Because Price did not have a band (though he would eventually start his own band in 1949), Rupe hired Dave Bartholomew and his band (which included Fats Domino on piano) to do the arrangements and back up Price in the recording session. The song turned out to be a massive hit and his next release cut at the same session, "Oooh, Oooh, Oooh" a much smaller one. Price continued making recordings for Specialty but did not chart any further hits at that time.
BLACK UNDERWORLD: (RACKETEER)
Denver D. Ferguson moved to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1919. Most of the architecture in the city’s black section, along Indiana Avenue, could give you splinters. Over the next two decades, Denver would help transform the Avenue into a neon-glowing city within the city, where the top acts in black entertainment could be enjoyed any night of the week.
It began with a numbers racket. Denver set up shop for his legit trade, printing, soon after arriving. One of his jobs was to print policy slips for an out-of-state street lottery, the kind that was gaining major prominence in Harlem and the south side of Chicago. Denver introduced his own version of the game to the growing black population on the Avenue. Though he kept his printer’s smock on and his fingers inky, Denver and his brother Sea ascended to kingpin status.
Their cash surplus led, naturally, to two outlets: property ownership and the nightlife business. The Fergusons reigned supreme, and by the end of the 1930s, their vision for a glamorous black Indianapolis had come true, as posh nightclubs flickered up and down the Avenue, black businesses flourished on the strip, and new housing replaced some of the substandard conditions. Sea ran the Cotton Club on the south end of the Avenue and Denver operated Sunset Terrace at the Avenue’s northern terminus.
Trouble caught up to them in 1940. A rash of violence, perpetrated most notoriously in the Avenue club run by the Fergusons’ white rivals, brought unwanted attention. Though the black underworld had largely been safe from racism, the authorities punished only the black-owned Avenue clubs, revoking licenses to sell spirits. Denver sensed the right time to look beyond the Avenue for his livelihood, and in late 1941, he launched Ferguson Bros. Agency, which would quickly become the most powerful black-owned talent firm in the country.
Denver drew controversy like a cigarette butt does lipstick. It stayed all over him for much of his career. For the first time, The Chitlin’ Circuit details how this racketeer brought the chitlin’ circuit to its maximum operational power, running a dozen bands in cycles throughout black America. He developed an intricate web of concert promoters and black nightclub owners, while also training barbers and bartenders to promote his shows in, as he explained, “nondescript places, where the tax man won’t be counting heads at the door,” much as he had cultivated numbers runners to make him rich on the streets of Indianapolis. The taxman eventually caught up to him, as did international scandal.
Denver Ferguson is an undeservedly obscure figure in American music history.
BLACK GODFATHER: (MUSIC MAN WAS MORE POWERFUL THAN BERRY GORDY)
The character of Big Red in the "Five Heartbeats," was based on black music tycoon Don D. Robey; Suge Knight has nothing on Robey. Not only was Robey a powerbroker but he also owned a music distribution network in the 1950's (unheard of for a black man-even now). Robey was worth over $100 million dollars and was more powerful and more feared than Berry Gordy or any local gangster. Robey's top artist Johnny Ace was presented with a new Caddy in appreciation for his six successful singles, the following weekend, he killed himself playing Russion Roulette.
While other kids were chasing girls at Tuffly Park, Robey was learning the entrepreneurial skills that would serve him later in life.
Robey also learned his way around a deck of cards, so much so that he was able to survive as a professional gambler after he dropped out of high school. After getting married and fathering a kid Robey decided to pursue more legitimate business interests. He started a taxi company and then started helping a local promoter bring touring black acts to Houston.Robey found out that, not only did he enjoy promoting, he was good at it. So he gravitated over to the entertainment industry and, like many small scale operators of the time, started promoting local dances.
However, he knew that the secret of any good business is diversity; so Robey also promoted everything from boxing matches to golf tournaments.In the 1930s he moved to Los Angeles where he ran a venue called Harlem Grill for three years. As WWII was winding down Robey decided to return to the Bayou City and bring his passion for music with him. In 1944 Robey began working on a concrete building a couple of blocks from the intersection of Lockwood and Liberty in his native Fifth Ward.
The building, located at 2809 Erastus St., was surrounded by factories when Robey started setting up shop. After a year of work Robey opened the Bronze Peacock Dinner Club. Named after his light skin and dapper attire, the Peacock attracted the likes of Lionel Hampton, Ruth Brown and Aaron “T-Bone” Walker. The club was known for its gambling room as much as it was known for its dance floor, but a business hours robbery forced Robey to “upgrade his security,” which in 1946 meant installing one way mirrors, gun slits and hiring a personal security force.
In 1952 Robey signed three other artists to his fledgling label “Ollie” Marie Adams, a Houston homemaker; Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton and “Little” Richard Penniman.
Penniman quickly dropped his last name and simply became Little Richard. However, Little Richard claimed that his signing with Robey was far from voluntary.
“He jumped on me, knocked me down, and kicked me in the stomach. It gave me a hernia that was painful for years…He was known for beating people up. He would beat everybody up but Big Momma Thornton. He was scared of her,” said Little Richard in later interviews. It may have been the fear that Thornton instilled in the six foot tall, 250 pound, pistol packing, Robey that forced him to give her what turned out to be her biggest break, and Peacock’s biggest success.
The song that set a million hips 'a shaking
In 1952 Thornton recorded a song that would became a classic, “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound dog.” Released in March of 1953, Thornton’s version of the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller song spent seven weeks as number one on the Billboard R&B charts. However, it wasn’t until three years later when a white boy from Tupelo, Mississippi recorded the song that it went on to become an international phenomenon. Robey’s true success as a businessman was in his ability to spot niche markets. In the 1940s and 1950s that niche wasn’t just in R&B but also in Gospel.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: (THE ORIGINAL KING OF BLACK MUSIC)
*In Houston, Texas where he was born in 1903 in the historic Fifth Ward district to an African-American middle-class multi-racial family, Don ‘Deadric’ Robey was by all accounts destined for business greatness. Although his parents and family had merely assumed that he’d be a great lawyer or doctor or an educator, Don had other ideas. In spite of his early academic gifts, he dropped out of school as a teenager and began a quest to make his own way as an entrepreneur. By his early twenties, he’d displayed a knack and acumen for starting small successful businesses. And in most instances, combined with an innate set of ‘street smarts’, he was mostly successful in every venture he attempted.
After a brief three-year stint in Los Angeles successfully managing his own nightclub, the ‘Harlem Grill’ in LA’s rapidly expanding black entertainment district along Central Avenue, he not only prospered but cultivated many business ties that would serve him well in later years. It was an incredible time as all the greats from Louis Armstrong to Duke Ellington to Jelly Roll Morton to Dizzy Gillespie to Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Redd Foxx and countless others were exciting huge crowds on LA’s famed black owned entertainment clubs on Central Avenue. Robey was soaking the whole atmosphere up. It surely made an incredible impression on the young Don Robey. He returned to Houston and opened a taxicab company that with 17 vehicles or so serviced the fast growing mostly black neighborhoods.
Often mistaken for white, Robey instead chose to flout his true blackness like a proud Peacock. In fact, he would forever be identified with the brand name ‘Peacock’ on his various ventures. In 1945, he opened the “Bronze Peacock Supper Club” in Houston. With his long time assistant Evelyn Johnson, Robey opened a series of record stores and established an artist booking and personal management firm, “Buffalo Booking Agency.” In doing so, his client list in the emerging ‘booking and management’ field would prove impressive. Among the artists Robey established were soon to be world famous, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, ‘Memphis Slim,’ and ‘Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton’ among others.
In 1949, he founded the Peacock Record label. By his death in 1975, Don Robey had built a recording musical empire that for three decades beginning in 1945, until he opted to sell his vast musical catalogue and brands in 1974 to African American legendary record executive Otis Smith then President of ABC-Dunhill Records, had been one of the most successful black owned companies in America. Some historians insist that Robey’s vast musical empire was the most successful black owned company in America during its time. Indeed, Robey laid the extraordinary groundwork that many black owned recording companies such as Vee-Jay (of Chicago), Motown, Stax, Philadelphia International, and Solar Records, et al., would successfully utilize as a business model years later.
Only “Black Swan Records” which was owned by Harry Pace during the emergence of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ in New York in 1921 with a recording label line-up that included black Opera singer, ‘Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield’ and jazz pioneer, ‘Fletcher Henderson’ and other ground breaking performers predated the musical recording epics that Robey would unleash from his operating base in Houston in 1949 and later Memphis until his death in 1975. The scope of Robey’s success would rival that of mostly white owned recording labels such as Chess and Roulette by the late 40s and early 50s.
At one time in his myriad of recording labels, Robey had no fewer than 100 various acts under contract on four different labels that included Peacock-Duke, and these performers crossed the line from Blues to the emergence of Rhythm and Blues to Gospel, to Rock and Roll to Country and Western to Rockabilly to jazz. In other words, he had it all. Simply put, he was the most successful black man in the recording business and in an industry when he first burst onto the scene was clearly dominated by whites. And that was no small task. One of Robey’s earliest artists was the incredible ‘Little Richard.’
Similar to Berry Gordy and Motown in later years in Detroit and Los Angeles, Don Robey was a local legend in Houston and whose reputation as a shrewd and smart businessman spread throughout the then rapidly expanding black entertainment world. Yet, unlike other black recording owners, Robey via his individual success as a small business owner in his early years had amassed a sizable fortune. He utilized his own money to initially expand his businesses and was totally independent of any partners who might encourage or even demand that he take his business ventures in a different direction. He was a rarity in the music business as an independent self-made wealthy man.
His subsequent commercial entertainment success in 1945 was the successful launch and management of the Bronze Peacock Supper Club in Houston. It was an upscale club often equated to a Copacabana, (the Copa) in New York or famed Coconut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The ‘Bronze Peacock Club’ quickly became a major performing venue for the leading black entertainers of the day including jazz greats Louis Jordan, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine and stand-out Blues performers such as Ruth Brown, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, “T-Bone Walker” and hundreds of others. Robey’s Bronze Peacock was often referred to as “Las Vegas in Houston” due to its classy upscale atmosphere and name performers he showcased to an eager and willing Houston audience. He later open the “Club Matinee” in the Fifth Ward of Houston and featured many then unknown acts including “Ike and Tina Turner.”
Robey’s recording company artists are legendary and far too numerous to mention here. Yet, it’s fair to say that his 1949 discovery and signing of Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton was a watershed occurrence. Thornton on Robey’s Peacock Records in a recording session produced by a soon to be legend in his own right, ‘Johnny Otis’ that Robey had on the Peacock Label as well and with a 1951 song that was written by two young then struggling white songwriters, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, “Hound Dog”. It quickly became a bonafide international hit and cultural phenomena. Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton’s gut wrenching version of ‘Hound Dog’ released in March of 1953 on Peacock Records was, for its time the equivalent of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ some three decades later. ‘Hound Dog’ further established Peacock Records and Don Robey as a major force in the music industry. Many attribute the overall success of the song as the forerunner to two major musical genres to come, Rhythm & Blues as well as Rock and Roll. Indeed, several years later, a young up and coming “Elvis Presley” covered ‘Hound Dog’ note for note and the rest is well, additional musical lore.
But, Robey and his entourage of extraordinary producers, musicians, and writers in his Houston headquarters was no one-hit wonder. Utilizing income from the success of both “Big Mama” Thornton and Elvis Presley’s huge hit, ‘Hound Dog’, Robey wanted to expand his label to even more emerging black music and that’s when he negotiated with two Memphis based WDIA radio personalities to purchase from them a label they’d had some limited success with and that was Duke Records. Lacking funds to expand the label, the two had turned to Don Robey.
In today’s instance of mergers and acquisitions, buy-outs and takeovers, Robey’s expansion into the Memphis music scene with his acquisition of ‘Duke Records’ was the stuff of genius. With Duke came some of the then greatest artists ever to perform including the legendary “Johnny Ace” who would be considered a forerunner to a later Sam Cooke or Al Greene. After just one major hit by Johnny Ace who Robey coveted due to his extraordinary cross-over appeal to white audiences, Ace was tragically killed by a self-inflicted accidental gun-shot less than two years later. Yet, in the brief eighteen months or so he recorded and performed countless one-night concerts throughout the Southwest and Southeast for Don Robey, the music became to be considered by music buffs as R&B classics.
Also within the Duke acquisition was a pure blues singer who’s velvet voice would until today, become and remain one of the most successful artists ever recorded and that’s was legendary Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland.
Not merely content with his explosive success in the fast expanding ‘Blues’ and R&B markets, Robey expanded his reach into what many considered at the time a very sacred and controversial area of music. And that was into the then little noticed ‘gospel music’ genre. Over time, Robey’s visionary expansion into gospel music would give him artists that were quickly becoming household names, not only within the gospel audience but within the mainstream audience as well. Robey did to Gospel what later Gospel performers would do and that was to add a commercial sound that was akin to the sounds normally associated with the Blues or Rhythm and Blues. Some called it heresy, but Robey’s expansion of the traditional Gospel sound to one that found a mainstream audience was truly remarkable.
His success within the gospel arena remains a record that few have duplicated since. With such legendary gospel artists on his “Songbird” label such as the Five Blind Boys, Inez Andrews, the Dixie Hummingbirds and dozens of other gospel chart makers that fans around the Southwest and country were anxious to hear and purchase the records, Don Robey had set in motion musical exceptionalism in every conceivable manner.
If his foray into gospel music had been historic, his launch of the “Backbeat” Label was equally brilliant. Realizing a need to offer his rapidly expanding audience more upscale acts from those he was recording on his “Duke-Peacock” label, Robey launched the “Backbeat” label. Here, he would have another label that could record and release such great up and coming artists as ‘Joe Hinton’ and ‘O.V. Wright’. All of whose appeal gravitated to a more upscale audience that sought music beyond the Bluesy imprint he’d established with Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. And successful it was beyond measure. “Joe Hinton” and “O.V.Wright’s” success spurned many music critics and fans that worship these artists nearly six decades later.
But, perhaps the recording move that raised more than an eyebrow or two was his signing of a young white soulful and Southwest Texas Rockabilly performer who’d been greatly influenced by another great Texas black music legend, ‘Joe Tex’ and that was “Roy Head.” Robey’s signing of Roy Head to his ‘Backbeat’ label proved to be a stroke of genius in that Head’s recording and 1965 release of “Treat Her Right” was a smash hit and million seller propelling Head to stardom and Robey’s Midas touch and reputation to astronomical heights. ‘Treat Her Right’ reached number two on both the Billboard pop and R&B charts. Only the Beatles’ classic “Yesterday” then perched at the Billboard Hot 100 number one slot prevented ‘Treat Her Right’ from reaching number one. And what made Robey’s success with Roy Head even more note worthy was that it was somewhat rare for an exclusive black label to have such a success with a white artist at the time.
It should also be noted though that Vee-Jay Records during the 50s, a black record company out of Chicago with legendary record man, Ewart Abner at the helm was poised for even greater success with its historic signing of two young white groups of musicians during the 60s, “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons” as well the phenomenal “Beatles.” Yet, although Vee-Jay had initial surprise success with both the Four Seasons and the Beatles, it was short-lived with the flurry of lawsuits that descended upon Vee-Jay Records in the wake of its success with both groups. The major white owned labels sensing the emergence of the success of the two groups papered over the small Vee-Jay Record label with a flurry of lawsuits aimed to wrest control of the two emerging superstar groups. And what might have been even greater success for its original husband and wife founders, Vivian Carter and James C. Bracken; the initial jubilation was short lived.
But, Robey due to his business acumen, iron grip and control of his publishing, labels and artists had no such major issues. Perhaps, Robey’s isolation from the normal chicanery widely accepted at the time in the recording industry was immune from such poaching in that his base of operations was in Houston. Whereas, most of the other emerging and major recording labels were in the New York, Chicago or Detroit or in the other major urban cities, Houston attracted little attention despite the enormous success that Robey was generating. This gave Robey even more immunity from midnight raids on his artists or his valuable publishing rights. Further and at the time, most recording and releases were regional to a great extent. However, Robey’s 1952 success with Big Mama Thornton’s version of ‘Hound Dog’ was truly national and international in scope and placed him in a spotlight he might otherwise have avoided.
Nelson George in his epic book, “The Death of Rhythm and Blues” observed of Don Robey and his Houston base, “…Robey built an empire worth millions in a city far removed from the main line of entertainment. Yet, his geographical location worked in his favor. Robey was a big fish in a pond that hadn’t held any that big before.”
Bobby 'Blue' Bland:
Yet, Robey developed and generated so many artists and performers that it would literally take a dedicated encyclopedia just to cover his work alone. From Little Richard to BB King to Bobby Bland to O.V.Wright to Roy Head to Big Mama Thornton, it’s a list of near endless achievement by a black man at a very special time in history that truly was extraordinary.
When the great innovators of the music industry are mentioned, it’s rare if ever you hear the name Don Robey. Although this man paved a path of success “his way”, one would think that everyone in America and around the world that truly love the music he helped create beyond just music collectors and historians would know all about the incredible accomplishments of this man. Yet, when his name is mentioned in its rarity and as is often the case with most highly successful black businesspersons of his era, unflattering words are usually attached. He’s been accused of robbing artists of their royalties or even of being tied to the mob or in some extreme unfair observations; he’s been likened to a murderer or worst. In one movie, his unfair characterization was thinly veiled as a gangster.
Rarely if ever has there been any in-depth discussion of the greatness of Don Robey and how he forever changed the recording industry for the likes of Berry Gordy, Curtis Mayfield, or Gamble/Huff or Dick Griffey that were to follow in his success, or for that matter, the major white owned labels such as Atlantic, Brunswick, Capitol or RCA that coveted ‘race music’ in its catalogue as it was then called. As the country was quickly moving, listening, dancing and more importantly purchasing black music in huge numbers, the major labels wanted a piece of this very profitable business and often, by any means necessary.
As a successful businessman who was black in the often rough and tough record business, Don Robey had to be resolute and firm in not only how he dealt with rivals but, in many instances, the artists themselves. Were he white, he would be lauded as one of the great businessmen of all times. But, such respect has not been so easy to come to the legacy of the great black music entrepreneurs such as Don Robey.
Count Basie & Don Robey:
In spite of his major success in Houston and beyond, often when suppliers or vendors discovered he was black, the racism and use of the ‘N’ word was often. In one instance when ordering the record printing of one of his artists, the white East Texas manufacturing representative stated bluntly that he would not deal with “no Nigger.” Robey is quoted as having said to the fellow in a firm and intimidating voice, “they call me, Mister Robey.”
"BLACK HOLLYWOOD CONSPIRACY THEORY"
by: Peter Sheridan
It's doubtful that the following explosive allegations will be included in the James Brown biopic (Get On Up!).
AS THOUSANDS of fans filed past his open gold coffin on the stage of New York’s famed Apollo Theatre, in his diamond-studded sky-blue suit, white gloves and silver shoes, music legend James Brown finally looked at peace.
James Brown's confidante now says he was the victim of an elaborate ‘hit’
The Godfather of Soul, who invented funk, befriended presidents but endured a deeply troubled personal life marred by drink, drugs, divorce and numerous arrests, had died at 73 on Christmas Day, 2006, of congestive heart failure – his family claimed.
“James Brown did not die of a heart attack,” insists his former publicist Jacque Hollander, 56. “It was an ordered hit.”
Hollander hired leading private investigator Tina Church to probe the singer’s demise and the detective concluded: “There’s something fishy here. I’m not going to point fingers at anyone but the evidence speaks for itself.”
Brown was active and in vigorous health until hospitalized a few days before his death complaining of abdominal pains, say friends. Always whirling and dancing across the stage he radiated energy and was working until his final illness. But investigators now wonder if he had been poisoned.
The singer, who believed he had many enemies, was watched over by an aide in hospital who left the room for 25 minutes to run an errand – the perfect opportunity for an assassin to administer a lethal drug, Hollander believes. The aide returned to find Brown had collapsed, dying minutes later. He was buried before an autopsy could be carried out and friends are calling for his body to be exhumed for toxicology tests to determine if he was murdered.
Hollander claims she has been in hiding after receiving death threats as her investigation threatened to expose a possible killer. “I am living in fear of my life because I’m the one who can bring forth the truth.”
Overshadowing her fears, Brown’s former son-in-law Darren Lumar was murdered in 2008 by a gunman who had lain in wait. He was slain days after telling a reporter: “There’s not a bone in my body that believes my father-in-law died from congestive heart failure.”
Lumar, 38, was shot five times as he drove to his plush townhouse in a gated Atlanta suburb and the assassin was never found.
“I think it happened because he was going to tell the truth about what was done to James Brown,” says Hollander, who with Brown founded the "I Feel Good Trust," for needy children.
The trust is at the centre of the dispute that has torn Brown’s family apart. The singer left almost his entire estate, including his lucrative music rights and his 60-acre riverfront estate in Beech Island, South Carolina, to benefit deprived children.
Royalties from future record sales and music licensing could add millions annually to the fortune. In his will Brown left his children only his personal possessions: clothes, jewellery, boats and cars. The will was written before his fourth marriage and Brown’s widow Tomi Rae Hynie was not included in the bequests, though she is fighting for her share.
Brown was inspired to help underprivileged infants after enduring a brutal childhood. Born in a one-room shack in backwoods South Carolina he was abandoned by his mother and entrusted to an aunt who ran a brothel in Augusta, Georgia. He recalled it was a den of “gambling, moonshine liquor and prostitution."
As a boy he worked the streets for pennies, shining shoes and tap dancing and dropped out of school aged 12. He later blamed his troubled childhood for leading him to drug abuse, failed relationships and numerous arrests.
After visiting hospitals and raising money for sick children in the late- Eighties he was determined to use his fortune to help the less fortunate. “He spent a lot of time with one girl with spina bifida,” says Hollander, who joined him on many trips. “Afterward, he said, ‘I’m going to give them everything I have and touch their lives.’”
Known as "The Hardest-Working Man In Show Business," Brown was never close to his children and in later years they had to make an appointment to see him. When he set up his trust he made it clear that his offspring were being left to fend for themselves.
However, years after his death needy kids have not seen a penny.
Also buried might be millions more of his fortune. After losing his Augusta mansion, savings and several cars to the Internal Revenue Service in 1984 for failure to pay back taxes, he began hiding a small fortune under ground, claim insiders. The buried treasure could be yet another reason why Brown was murdered, says Hollander.
FOR his last appearance, lying in state at the Apollo Theatre where he made his 1956 debut, James Brown was the centre of a raucous celebration as his music blasted inside the auditorium and on the streets outside. He arrived in a carriage pulled by white horses, parading through 20 blocks of Harlem. For seven hours fans streamed past the casket. But it may have been his last moment of peace as the battle over his estate – and his possible murder – continues with no end in sight.
If Brown’s body can be exhumed an autopsy might finally put to rest the mystery surrounding his death.
SHADOWY: (WAS A BLACK ASSASSIN /SANCTIONED JACKAL-HIRED?)
*(Allegedly, the following was labeled fiction but is actually based on a true story). This is a very sensitive subject therefore this story is vague in some respects.
In the 1970's, a lethal black assassin was allegedly consulted (contract killing) to murder Elijah Muhammad.
This man was of superior intelligence and had a front job as a music critic/celebrity profiler (phone interviews only). He wasn't paid for his work because he didn't need the money due to his wet work (assassination) duties. In the 70's, he was allegedly paid $75,000 per hit ($300,000 in today's dollars).
He went by the name of *Pisces. Real name unknown. He was never photographed and lived in the shadows.
For one assignment, he dressed in drag to get close to the target. The hit went off without a hitch.
In Real Life: He declined the (alleged) contract on Elijah Muhammad because he admired him.
Yet, a little known author/NOI minister (above) exposed the plot in a book. He labeled it as fiction as an safety precaution.
When the book was released, it created outrage in the Black Muslim community because according to the book, unlike real life, Pisces followed through with the assassination. The audacity of the author to imply that the book (fictional) assassination was an inside job perpertrated by the Black Angels.
Shortly afterward, the author was arrested and put on Death Row over an alleged (trumped up) murder charge. He was jailed for killing a man during an armored car that heist he swears he didn't commit.
He also insisted that a group called the "Black Angels," tracing its lineage back to Muhammad Fard himself, were behind the creation of the 5%Nation of Gods and Earths.
“And an extremely secret tribunal called "the Black Angels" was the true ruler of the Black Muslims. Nothing and no one questioned their rule and will...and lived to tell.” All photos of the "Black Angels," have been scrubbed from the internet.
This book is currently on the black market, priced at $200-$500 dollars. Very few copies are in print.
The real identity of Pisces has never been known.
Backstory (Book Excerpt):
From the beginning of the Black Muslim religion in the United States a secret tribunal watched over the church, guiding its progress through their agents in key positions in the church. They were the "guardians," the Black Angels, a council of old men whose decisions were absolute-and often brutal. Enter Pisces, international political assassin (sanctioned Jackal), hired by the Angels to end the life of Elijah Muhammad, spiritual leader of the nation of Islam, so that the leadership of the church would continue through his son as they had ordained.
And so the adventure begins, complicated by the fact that Pisces is being hunted by secret agents from another country in retribution for a previous assassination he had perpetrated. The hunter becomes the hunted.
"FIRST BLACK STUDIO FIXER-1920'S"
Harold "Slicum" Garrison started of as an part-time shoeshine man inside the main gate of the MGM lot. A few months later, he found himself in demand for more than his shoe shine skills.
He began to run errands for top Hollywood stars, including: Procuring women for leading men, being instrumental in the cover-up regarding the Jean Harlow death (pictured below), delivering secret messages between stars, operating elevators and answering fan mail.
Garrison also appeared in several MGM films as an extra. When the studio required additional black actors and actresses, Garrison was given the job of filling the roles. This position gave him a degree of power over black actors and actresses.
Garrison also arranged casting calls and travel arrangements.
His position was the highest position that any Negro had ever occupied in MGM or any other studio.
While Garrison was in the middle of casting a film featuring African actors, he solicited a working girl for one of the African actors (Muria-pictured above).
After dallying with the woman, Muria followed her to a brothel where a party was in process. He was having a good time until he realized his new watch was missing.
He picked up the woman and swung her around by her ankles, knocking the other girls into the walls and furniture.
Despite the theft accusation, Muria still considered the female "his woman."
Garrison hushed up the situation.
Later, Muria ambushed a powerful MGM executive and put a knife to his throat. He told him: "Keep Garrison away from my woman!"
Later that evening, Muria was escorted out of town, never to be heard from again.
In 1954 he was drafted and ended up in Korea. When he returned he found he had been replaced by Little Richard. In addition, his former chauffeur, Larry Williams (above), was also recording for the label. On January 7, 1980, Williams was found dead from a gunshot wound to his head in his Los Angeles, California home. He was 44 years old. No suspects were ever arrested or charged.
Price eventually formed KRC Records with Harold Logan and Bill Boskent. The first single was "Just Because". It was picked up by ABC Records and from 1957 to 1959 Price recorded a series of national hits on ABC Records that were successful adaptations of the New Orleans sound, such as "Stagger Lee", "Personality", which reached #2, and the #3 hit "I'm Gonna Get Married." "Stagger Lee" topped the pop and R&B charts, sold over a million copies.
In 1962, Price formed Double L Records with Logan. Wilson Pickett got his start on this label. In 1969, Logan was murdered. According to Frank Lucas (former NY drug trafficker) "Logan got his. Two bullets in the same hole smack between the eyes. Bang. Bang." Asked what Logan did to deserve such a fate, Lucas said, "Well, you don’t fuck with Zack Robinson." Zack was a black underworld mobster.
Price then founded a new label, "Turntable," and opened a club by the same name in New York City. Price would eventually leave the music industry. Lucas adds: Turntable was actually owned by Harlem dope pushers like himself and Zack Robinson. "Yeah," said Lucas, who remembered many nights kicking back with some ladies to enjoy Howard Tate’s act at the Turntable.
Howard Tate (above) signed with Price's "Turntable." As a young singer with a near-unbeatable falsetto/tenor, Tate made a few revered but commercially unsuccessful records in the middle to late sixties, most cosmically the album Get It While You Can, an undisputed masterpiece produced by one of the great soul maestros, Jerry Ragovoy. Tate’s tunes were covered by people like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, and BB King, but the singer himself remained in obscurity. (Bob Marley's Wailers served as Tate's uncredited backup band). Gray market promoter/executive Danny Sims (mentioned above) was also a close Lloyd Price associate.
People used to argue, for argument’s sake, that Tate was as good as Sam Cooke.
Tate shivered when the name Harold Logan came up. "Remember him? I had bad dreams about him for years, lying there dead like that. Maybe he stole some money, I don’t know. Back then, I didn’t know who was a hoodlum and who wasn’t. I was just a green kid. All I cared was whether they liked how I sang and if I got paid. But when Logan got killed at the club, I got my shit and never went back. If you ask me, that was the beginning of me leaving the business and everything that happened after that, because I got scared so bad.
Tate became the ultimate “Lost Soul” singer after he left the industry. He dropped off the radar and became an insurance salesman, a homeless crack addict, and then a preacher.
Meanwhile, Lloyd Price would hook up with Don King to promote fights including Muhammad Ali's "Rumble in the Jungle." Price even schooled a young Cassius Clay on self-promotion.
He later became a builder, erecting 42 town houses in the Bronx.
Price currently manages "Icon Food Brands," which makes a line of primarily Southern-style foods, including Lawdy Miss Clawdy food products, ranging from canned greens to sweet potato cookies, and a line of Lloyd Price foods, such as Lloyd Price's Soulful 'n' Smooth Grits and Lloyd Price's Energy-2-Eat Bar.
"UNSOLVED MURDER MYSTERY" (GAY MALE MODEL-ORGANS HARVESTED)
Two months after married gay model, 24, was found dead in the California desert with his organs missing, A mother is desperately seeking answers.
Ray Singleton, a gay 24-year-old aspiring writer and filmmaker who married a male celebrity stylist last year, vanished in July after flying from his Atlanta home to Los Angeles for a short vacation.
He rented a car for a trip to Las Vegas but as he drove through the Mojave Desert on July 9, his car broke down near Baker and he was picked up by a Highway Patrol Officer.
He was driven to a rest stop in Baker and once there, he called a friend who lived three hours away and asked for help.
But when the friend arrived, there was no sign of Singleton and a missing person's report was filed.
Two months later, joggers came across Singleton's decomposing body (without organs) miles from his car, investigators told his mother: 'Ma'am, there were no eyes, there was no heart, there were no lungs, there was no liver and there were no kidneys.'
Although experts speculate that his organs were scavenged by animals, his mother e believes there is something more suspicious at work-like organ dealers.
While she is certain that foul play was involved, she said she does not know of a possible motive.
Singleton's partner, Kithe Brewster, has styled Beyonce and Gwen Stefani; he's also appealing for answers.
"KILLING BLACK MALES FOR ORGANS OR ORGAN THEFT TO HIDE MURDER?"
Recently, two black males were found murdered; and their organs were missing. If their deaths are related to organ harvesting, the murders took place elsewhere because there has to be blood flowing for organs to be viable. That's why organs are harvested within minutes of one's death to allow for proper preservation.
THE JASON SMITH STORY: A 14-year-old Louisiana youth's death was ruled "accidental drowning," but his father is convinced he was murdered in a racially motivated hate crime and his organs disappeared. Some people think they were taken for transplants. However, the child had been dead for hours before his body was recovered from a lake. Could all of Jason Smith's organs have been stolen to hide the theft of his lungs, which could possibly have disproved the medical examiner's finding of "accidental drowning"? Jason's father alleges that his son was also raped and that one of Jason's murderers was the son of an FBI agent. Smith claims the police tried to kill him and another son while he was on his way to make funeral arrangements. Jason was buried on Fathers Day.
If organs were removed to cover up murders, one would presume that law enforcement and medical examiners were hiding the murders to protect the killers. Smith claimed that his son was likely killed by the son of an FBI agent in Louisiana. He said his son was afraid of water and would never voluntarily get on any boat or go swimming.
The ordinary looking African American couple (pictured above) created a legendary screen goddess.
Her name was Dorothy Dandridge.
Dorothy was scarred by her childhood. She once said she regretted never having gotten to know her father (Cyril-first pic).
Cyril was a cabinet maker who her mother left when she was four months pregnant with Dorothy.
Dorothy never got a chance to find out what her father was like until she was sixteen and performing at New York's "Cotton Club."
The headliner (Bill "Bojangles" Robinson) made arrangements with Cyril so he could visit Dorothy and his other daughter Vivian backstage.
After this meeting, allegedly, Cyril lost contact again.
According to Dorothy, her mother Ruby (above-2nd pic) was both mother and father to her.
In Related News:
Allegedly, Dorothy's disabled daughter (Harolyn) died several years ago and was buried by the state in an unmarked grave when no one claimed her body.
"THE LAST SURVIVOR OF THE LAST SLAVE SHIP"
Cudjo Lewis (1841-1935) is considered the last survivor of the last slave ship to enter the United States. He was born in 1841.
According to the Blacklist:
When Tupac died, people were skeptical and some insisted that he had orchestrated his death and was living quietly in Cuba.
A large number of people didn't believe that Michael Jackson had actually died.
If Tupac, Michael and other celebrities (pictured above) wanted to fake their deaths, at the time, they couldn't BUT science is so advanced, you can now fake your death with the assistance of a "deep" black market "Forensics Virtuoso." A forensic Virtuoso also has the capability to change the DNA in your body; essentially falsifying and manipulating the DNA.
I currently viewed an episode on an Forensics Virtuoso aka FV.
After researching on the Dark Net, allegedly, only one person in the world is capable of being a Forensics Virtuoso. Their rate is: $5-$10 million per case, depending on the case.
A FV relies on science to transform one person into another.
If a celebrity, mobster, criminal or fugitive wants to disappear without a trace or be assumed dead, they hire a FV. FV's also plant cloned DNA at crime scenes.
Scenario: You are a mobster and you want to fake your death. The FV collects your medical records, DNA, dental records, tissue samples and salvia. The FV then selects a random person who is similar in appearance via height, hair color and eye color. The FV abducts the look-a-like, drugs them and transforms into the client physically via hair color, colored contact lenses (if needed), etc.
The FV then injects the synthetic DNA of the client into the look-a-like and he removes white blood cells, replacing them with red blood cells. He also implants teeth or scales down the teeth to match the client's dental records. Matching tattoo's can also be applied.
And then the look-a-like is murdered. In the course of the murder, the hands are removed, torched or applied in acid to prevent accurate fingerprints. Since a FV averages 1 case every 10-12 years, and a different MO is used regarding fingerprint removal-the cases are never linked.
The DNA and dental records lead authorities to believe the victim is the mobster. And the mobster is declared dead when he is really alive after undergoing plastic surgery to alter his looks and if he doesn't undergo plastic surgery, people will just consider him a mere look-a-like since the mobster was officially declared dead via the media and he never has to go on the run as a fugitive and can live in peace throughout his life span.
A FV protects the guilty.
People you think are dead may not be dead. Jim Jones, Ken Lay? etc.
The only way this scenario can be detected is through a bone marrow which reveals that the DNA is not a natural match but a synthetic match but autopsies don't include bone marrows.
"FIRST BLACK FASHION DESIGNER TO THE STARS"
Zelda Wynn Valdes (June 28, 1905 – September 26, 2001) was an African-American fashion designer and costumer. In 1948, she opened her own shop on Broadway in New York City which was the first in the area to be owned by an African American.
Some of her clients included other notable black women of her era, including Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Joyce Bryant and Marian Anderson. She is also famous for designing the original costumes for the Playboy Bunnies and the Dance Theater of Harlem.
Valdes was a fashion legend who was the first black designer to open her own shop on Broadway in New York in 1948. She began to develop her skills by studying through her grandmother and working for her uncle’s tailoring business. She made clothes for her dolls and eventually made her grandmother a dress. Her grandmother was so impressed, despite doubting Valdes could construct an outfit to fit her tall frame. Her grandmother was buried in the same dress Zelda made for her.
Valdes’ first job was at a fancy boutique where she had to try very hard to prove she was capable. Over time her good works were recognized and wanted by those who doubted her as a young black woman. Valdes moved to New York and opened her boutique, Chez Zelda, on Broadway and 158th Street. She then moved the store to midtown Manhattan on West 57th Street.
Valdes also attracted white celebrities such as Mae West.
In 1949, Valdes became president of the New York Chapter of NAFAD, the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers.
Later, Valdes was commissioned by Hugh Hefner to design the first Playboy Bunny outfit.
At the age of 65, Valdes was hired by Arthur Mitchell to design outfits for the Dance Theatre of Harlem. At 83 years old, Valdes closed her business to retire from fashion.
(THE DEEP WEB)
Damage groups are on the "deep web."
These groups abduct and buy children that won't be missed.
They then set up cameras in soundproof torture rooms.
They upload live video streams of the children.
They then take "torture" requests from online pedophiles (who are anonymous on the deep web).
They then torture the children beyond an inch of their lives (depending on the requests).
In some cases, the children have been skinned to the delight of the sick audience.
Darker children get the worst of the torture.
Damage groups are comprised of a syndicate of anonymous users. Other damage groups may include users who know each other online and offline.
The majority of damage groups charge a large fee to watch their live feeds.
Sadly, the demand is so great, servers have been known to crash. And pedophiles treat these twisted events like a black tie (prestigious) invite.
Pedophiles from all over the world patronize damage group sites.
They normally advertise on the sickest most disturbing sites on the deep web.
After the feed ends, the site is immediately taken down.
Law enforcement can't penetrate the deep web.
"A MEMBER OF AN AFRICAN DYNASTY GIVEN TO BRITISH ROYALTY AS A PRESENT"
Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta was born into a royal West African dynasty and was orphaned in 1848 when she was five years old.
Her parents were killed in a slavery hunting war. In 1850, Sarah was taken to England and presented to Queen Victoria as a gift from the king of Dahomey. She was a present from the King of Blacks to the Queen of Whites.
She became the Queen's goddaughter and a celebrity known for her extraordinary intelligence.
She would later marry Captain James Davis (pictured above). He was an extremely rich businessman from Yoruba.
The couple would later welcome a daughter named Victoria (pictured directly above).
Sarah would die at the age of 37 in 1880 of tuberculosis.
Her surviving daughter would become the goddaughter of the Queen of the British empire.
A great many of Sarah's descendants now live in England and Sierra Leone while a separate group (aristocrats) remain prominent in contemporary Nigeria.
A giant skull (pictured above) was found near Christians Cave in Pitcairn Island, New Zealand. Three of the men were later found dead under strange circumstances. The fourth man disappeared soon after the photo was taken and was never found. The photographers identity has never been revealed.
"RACIST POURS ACID IN THE POOL AS BLACK CHILDREN SWIM"
In June (1964), black children integrate the swimming pool of the Monson Motel. To force them out, he owner pours acid into the water.
Real Life Science Fiction:
Ras al-khaimah djinn, UAE: A young man went in the deserted caves in (Ras el Khaimah) to take pictures, he was accompanied by a BFF. His BFF states that he had seen his friend’s camera flash go off and then his friend screamed. He called out his friend's name but got no response and went to the police. A few hours later, cops found the man in the cave (dead) and the single photo found in his camera is pictured above.
(WHITE MAN LYNCHED BY KLAN FOR KILLING BLACK MAN)
In 1869, a man named William German was lynched by the newly formed Ku Klux Klan. German, a white man, had been hanged for killing a black man, Bill Cullum.
Yes, you read that right.
Bill Cullum was a former slave; William German, a former soldier in the Confederate Army. German was living on a farm he’d rented from a white plantation owner, Alvin Cullum, who had been Bill’s owner.
German was ordered to clear off the land so the ex-slave could live there instead. Furious, German put on KKK robes and, with another man, tracked down Bill Cullum and shot him several times.
The dying man was able to crawl to a nearby house and name his attacker before he expired.
The local KKK chapter was outraged. William German had committed his act wearing their garb, but without their authorization and against their rules.
"BLACK ALBINOS WERE KIDNAPPED & EXPLOITED"
The Muse brothers had an incredible career. The story of the two black albino brothers from Roanoke, Virginia is unique even in the bizarre world of sideshow. They were initially exploited and then later hailed for their unintentional role in civil rights.
Born in the 1890’s the pair were scouted by sideshow agents and kidnapped in 1899 by bounty hunters working in the employ of an unknown sideshow promoter. Black albinos, being extremely rare, would have been an extremely lucrative attraction. They were falsely told that their mother was dead, and that they would never be returning home.
The brothers began to tour. To accentuate their already unusual appearance, their handler had the brothers grow out their hair into long white dreadlocks. In 1922 showman Al G. Barnes began showcasing the brothers in his circus as White Ecuadorian cannibals Eko and Iko. When that gimmick failed to attract crowds the brothers were rechristened the ‘Sheep-Headed Men’ and later, in 1923, the ‘Ambassadors from Mars’.
As the ‘Men from Mars’ the two traveled extensively with the Barnes circus. Unfortunately, while they were being fed, housed and trained in playing the mandolin, they were not being paid.
In the mid 1920’s the Muse brothers toured with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1927, while visiting their hometown, their mother finally tracked them down. She fought to free her sons, some 20 years after their disappearance. She threatened to sue and the Muse brothers were freed.
The brothers filed a lawsuit for the wages they earned but were never paid. They initially demanded a lump-sum payment of 100,000. However, as time passed the Muse brothers missed the crowds, the attention and the opportunities sideshow provided. Their lawyer got them a smaller lump-sum payment and a substantial contract with a flat monthly wage. The pair returned to show business in 1928.
During their first season back they played Madison Square Garden and drew over 10,000 spectators during each of their performances. They made spectacular money as their new contract allowed them to sell their own merchandise and keep all the profits for themselves. In the 1930’s they toured Europe, Asia and Australia. They performed for royals and dignitaries including the Queen of England. In 1937 they returned to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for several years and finally ended their career in 1961 with the Clyde Beatty Circus.
The brothers returned to their hometown and lived together in a house they originally purchased for their mother. Neither brother married, though they were well known for their many extravagant courtships.
George Muse died in 1971 and many expected Willie to quickly follow his brother. Those people were wrong as Willie continued to play his mandolin and enjoy the company friends and family until his death on Good Friday of 2001.
He was 108 years old.
At the 1934 World’s Fair, Robert Ripley – of the famed Ripley’s ‘Believe It Or Not’ empire – unveiled to the public his very first Odditorium. Previously, Ripley was known for his “Believe It Or Not” comic strip in newspapers. However, his World’s Fair Odditorium featured real anatomical curiosities and the most spectacular of his presentations was an infant girl named Betty Lou Williams.
Betty Lou Williams was born Lillie B Williams in Albany, Georgia on January 10, 1932. She was the daughter of a poor farming family and the youngest of twelve children. She was also born attached at the side to a parasitic sibling that consisted of two legs, one tiny arm-like appendage and a more developed arm with three fingers. Despite the fact that the head of her twin was embedded deep within her abdomen, Betty Lou was a very healthy girl and doctors proclaimed that there was no reason she could not live a long and healthy life.
She was originally discovered at the age of one by a professional showman named Dick Best. Best changed the name of the little girl to Betty Lou – perhaps in an attempt to promote the parasite as a male, a lie that was popular in parasitic twin displays – and he began to display the infant in his New York Museum. It was there that she drew the attention of Ripley.Working for Ripley, at the age of two, Betty Lou made an astounding $250 a week. As she grew into adulthood, she made over $1000 a week. With her earnings she purchased a 260 acre ranch for her parents and sent all eleven of her siblings to college.
The jump in Betty Lou’s earnings was due in part to the fact that, as she matured, she developed into quite an attractive woman. Her beauty and generosity drew many male suitors and, at the age of twenty-three, she became engaged to one of her admirers. However the husband-to-be was little more than a heartbreaking thief. He left Betty Lou taking a great deal of money with him and, distraught over the breakup, Betty suffered a severe asthma attack at her home in Trenton, New Jersey.Betty Lou suffocated to death at the age of twenty-three.
(THE TWO HEADED NIGHTINGALE)
Conjoined Negro twins Mille and Christine McCoy were born July 11, 1851, on a plantation in Southeastern North Carolina to slave parents Jacob and Monemia. They, and the plantation they worked, were owned by blacksmith Jabez (some accounts list his name as Alexander) McCoy. Monemia's labor and delivery was attended by "Aunt Hannah", a slave midwife. Christine was born first, and was larger than Mille, who, according to Hannah, was so small that she seemed little more than a bump on Christine's back. The babies were joined at the coccyx, and shared one pelvis, but had two heads, two upper bodies, and two full sets of arms and legs. Together, their birth weight was seventeen pounds. It was estimated at the time that Christine weighed approximately twelve pounds and Mille, five. The twins had a total of fourteen siblings (not counting each other), seven born prior to their birth and seven who were born afterward. Although the girls were clearly two personalities, with different brains, they referred to themselves in the singular, and their mother simply addressed them as "Sister."
An Unusual Childhood:
The story of Mille and Christine's childhood is both colorful and murky. The children are said to have grown normally, with Mille nearly catching up to Christine in size, although she would always remain slightly smaller. They reportedly learned to walk at twelve months and to talk at fifteen. Christine was always stronger than Mille. They played a game as children in which Mille would lift her feet up off the ground and Christine would backpack her about. Both girls' front legs were stronger than their rear, and they could lift their rear legs off the ground and walk about, each using one front leg.
The birth of such unusual babies was surely the talk of such a small and rural community. No doubt there were frequent visitors who came to gawk and who interfered with work on the plantation. At this point in history, it was considered normal for people with anomalies to be exhibited to the public, and what were initially "freak" museums were gradually absorbed into traveling "shows" such as P.T. Barnum's circus.
It's difficult to ascertain exactly what transpired regarding the twins in terms of ownership as even "official" and newspaper accounts conflict. The children were definitely placed with a side show "promoter" (along with their mother) and then changed hands several times. They were reportedly twice kidnapped and recovered. One account says they were sold at birth for a thousand dollars, another that they were given as babies to a South Carolina promoter in return for a 25% share of their exhibition proceeds. They were apparently sold and resold, their value rising each time. The New York Times reported in an article published upon their death that they once sold for as high a price as $40,000.00.
Also lost in the whisperings of time is the original spelling of Jabez, Mille and Christine's surname. I have chosen to use McCoy in this account of their lives as McCoy is the name on Mille and Christine's grave, and McCoy is the name given to Jabez in the Raleigh, NC newspaper account of their life and death, published upon their death.
What is clear is that they spent most of their childhood with one Joseph Pearson Smith, and his family. It was from Smith they are said to have been kidnapped and recovered. They were exhibited privately to the medical community and publicly to all and sundry. When interest began to wane in their conjoined uniqueness, Smith and his wife groomed the twins as a performing act. Both girls had beautiful voices. Christine was a soprano and Mille, a contralto, and they were known for their beautiful harmonization's and renditions of Negro Spirituals. Smith's wife also tutored them in languages. While their siblings worked as slaves on the plantation, Smith's wife was teaching Mille and Christine to read, write, sing, dance, and play musical instruments. Smith took the twins on tour up and down the East Coast as well as to Canada and Europe, all before the outbreak of the War for Southern Independence. They were presented in such billings as "The Carolina Twins," "The African Twins," "The Two Headed Nightingale" and "The Carolina Nightingale."
An Unusual Life:
When Mille-Christine was twelve, the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery, and the girls were freed. During the War they were kept in a well hidden location near Spartanburg, South Carolina. (They would not be considered free in the South until after the War as Lincoln's Proclamation did not affect the Confederacy.) When the War ended, they continued to travel and perform all over the United States and Europe. Their unusual appearance, beautiful voices plus their ability to play two musical instruments at one time, (one twin played the guitar while the other played the piano) made them a popular and sought after act. They spoke fluent German and French in addition to English, and sang, danced and recited poetry, some of which they wrote themselves. Over the course of their career they performed in nearly every state in America, and in nearly every country in the world with the exception of Australia, and those in Asia and Africa. They performed four times for English royalty, for Queen Victoria, who presented them with jewelry as a gift, three times for the Prince and Princess of Wales, and also for King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
They chose to remain with their promoter's son, Joseph Jr., who had taken over his father's business upon his father's death in 1862. The younger Smith remained their manager for the remainder of their 30 year career. Mille and Christine must have been fond of the Smith family, for they used part of their earnings to care for Joseph Smith's widow.
Mille and Christine made a great deal of money, a reported 25% of their total sales, and as much as $750.00 a week, a tremendous sum in those days. With their aid, their father was able to purchase neighboring land to the plantation where they were born after the War. (Versions regarding this purchase vary: some say Jacob purchased the very plantation upon which the family had always lived and worked, and others, that he purchased only a portion of the original plantation. Still others say Mille and Christine purchased the plantation themselves, and resided there between tours.)
Mille and Christine were known for their kind hearts. They were good friends with Anna Swan and Martin Bates, P.T. Barnum's most famous giant and giantess. They were also friends with Giuseppe and Ernesto Magri, midget brothers from Italy, whom they enabled to come to the United states. Although they earned a great deal of wealth, they died owning little, having given most of their money away to the poor and needy.
After a long and successful career in show business, Mille and Christine retired to their birthplace in Columbus County in the late 1880s, where they had built a comfortable ten room home. There they were able to display the treasures they had collected in their travels ... diamond hairpins and broaches presented to them by Queen Victoria, a curious chair made of cow horns, etc. This home, and all of their possessions, burned in 1909, and was replaced by a six room cottage, where they resided until their death, three years later.
An Unusual Death:
Mille and Christine McCoy lived to be 61 years old, the oldest conjoined twins on record. Mille suffered from consumption (tuberculosis) for the last two years of her life. Mille-Christine had even spent several months in a tuberculosis sanitarium, to no apparent avail. Mille died October 8, 1912. Dr. W. H. Crowell, of Whiteville, consulted with physicians at John Hopkins Medical Center about the possibility of postmortem separation surgery, but was recommended not to pursue such a path. Instead, it was suggested that Christine be heavily dosed with morphine to deliberately end her life, and following a petition to the governor of North Carolina for approval, this recommendation was apparently followed. Christine survived Mille by seventeen hours, and then she, too, went home to be with her Lord on October 9, 1912.
Unusual in life, they were also unusual in death, as Christine was quite possibly North Carolina's only doctor assisted death.
Today the twins are buried in the quiet Welch's Creek Community Cemetery in Columbus County, NC.
"UNSOLVED MURDER MYSTERY"
Denise Johnson's son Gregory, another young black man, was killed in November 2008 at San Jose University in his Sigma Chi fraternity house. He was the only black person living there. Police claimed Gregory hung himself, but why and how?
Gregory, a promising student who planned a career in sports medicine, was over six feet tall. Yet he supposedly hanged himself in the basement where the ceiling was only six feet high. He had absolutely no ligature marks on his neck to indicate hanging and no bulging, bloodshot eyes or any other indications.
What Gregory did have was a large gash on the back of his head where brain matter was oozing out. His UNMARKED neck was broken so badly that his head nearly fell in his mother's lap when she tried to cradle his body after authorities finally released Gregory's remains. He was murdered after President Obama had been elected president but before he took office in January.
Tempers were high during that time period, as racists were not pleased to have a black president. Gregory had dated a Caucasian young woman who was a fellow student. Denise assumes that law enforcement and the medical examiner lied to protect a wealthy, well-connected student who killed her son.
Miles Davis never understood why Sheila Guyse wasn't a well known legend. Not only was she a good actress, he considered her a great singer; in the same category as Billie Holiday.
Sheila Guyse, a popular actress and singer who appeared on Broadway and in so-called race movies in the 1940s and ’50s, and who for a time, despite limited opportunities in the entertainment industry, appeared headed for broader fame, died on Dec. 28, 2013 in Honolulu. She was 88.
The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, her daughter Sheila Crystal Devin said.
For several years, Ms. Guyse (rhymes with “nice”) was compared to stars like Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne (pictured above) and Ruby Dee, black actresses who broke through racial barriers. But by the late 1950s she was out of show business, a result of some combination of health problems, a religious conversion and family obligations.
She left behind a handful of films. The best is probably “Sepia Cinderella” (1947), in which she played a girl-next-door who is initially overlooked by the musician she loves, played by the singer Billy Daniels. She also appeared in Broadway musicals and in nightclubs. Her only album, “This Is Sheila,” a collection of standards released by MGM Records in 1958, a decade after her heyday, was supposed to be a comeback. That November, Jet magazine put her on its cover.
“Sheila Guyse, a glamorous, high-octane performer under supper club spotlights,” the article said, “is a singer who has had to overcome serious illness, marriage failures, financial pressures and professional disappointments in her long campaign to create a career in show business.”
The article quoted Ms. Guyse as saying, “I was discouraged and depressed for a while, but now life looks a lot better to me,” and mentioned a five-year recording contract. But the comeback never happened.
Ms. Guyse, who had surgery for bleeding ulcers in the mid-1950s, continued to have health problems. Ms. Devin, her daughter, recalled once finding her collapsed in her bedroom, bleeding from the mouth.
In addition, Ms. Guyse’s husband did not want her to have a career, Ms. Devin said.
Ms. Guyse’s first two marriages had ended in divorce, and she was a struggling single mother when she met Joseph Jackson, a New York sanitation worker so enthralled by her that he would sometimes follow her in his garbage truck. After they married, in the late 1950s, Ms. Guyse stopped performing and became increasingly involved with a Jehovah’s Witness hall in Queens.
“It wasn’t easy to be a glamorous movie star with people following you for your autograph and now you’re home making pancakes,” Ms. Devin said. “She did it, but I don’t think it was easy.”
Etta Drucille Guyse was born on July 14, 1925, in Forest, Miss. She took Sheila as a stage name. She followed her father, Wilbert, to New York when she was a teenager and, her daughter said, lived for a time in a Harlem rooming house with Billie Holiday.
After winning an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater, Ms. Guyse had a small role on Broadway in the musical “Memphis Bound!” and appeared in a series of all-black films, beginning with a small role in “Boy! What a Girl!” (1947), which starred the vaudeville performer Tim Moore. She moved on to starring roles in “Sepia Cinderella” and “Miracle in Harlem” (1948), in which she played a woman wrongly accused of murder.
She also appeared in the Broadway musicals “Finian’s Rainbow” (1947) and “Lost in the Stars” (1949).
In addition to Ms. Devin, who has worked as a model and actress under the name Sheila Anderson, Ms. Guyse is survived by another daughter, Deidre Devin, from her marriage to Mr. Jackson; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. A son, Michael Jackson, died a few years ago. Joseph Jackson died in 2012.
Ms. Guyse moved back to Mississippi in the 1980s and to Hawaii about five years ago. She died in Hawaii.
(THE BOY WITH ALL GIRL BLOOD)
In 1995, a medical report in the journal of Nature Genetics explained the fascinating story of a baby boy who was brought to the doctors after his mother noticed that his head wasn’t developing normally.
After a blood analysis, the doctors found that while the child was anatomically male, all his blood cells were genetically female—as in, they only consisted of his mother’s genetics.
Other parts of him—like the cells in his urine—were genetically normal, but over half of his body was completely without his father’s DNA.
Nobody knows for sure how this happened. The possible explanation was that immediately after being fertilized, one of his mother’s eggs had fused with a neighboring unfertilized egg that was dividing parthogenetically.
Still, pretty strange stuff.
"HIRED TO ASSASSINATE MOB BOSS FOR ENTRY INTO UNDERAGE BOY SEX RING"
The most powerful and feared mob boss-Joe Colombo (2nd pic) was shot by Jerome Johnson (above), a black contract killer, during the June 28, 1971 rally for the Italian American Civil Rights League which served as a public relations front for the mob boss. The mob boss didn't die but he remained in a coma until his death.
Johnson was "a would be Black wise guy" and hung out in Greenwich Village. An informant said Johnson never had the reputation of being a militant or a "kook" and that Johnson had often visited Italian social clubs and after hours R&B joints in Brooklyn, NY.
Johnson had been supplied with press credentials from the Civil Rights League and was accompanied by a black female assistant which shows sophisticated planning, and no doubt the hit was orchestrated by the mob. At the time of the Colombo hit Johnson was attempting to become involved with the porn rackets through Gambino associate and gay bar operator Mike Umbers, and perhaps was told that the price of admission (initiation) was the murder of Colombo.
Johnson isn't spilling any secrets: he was shot and killed at the assassination scene by a presumed Colombo bodyguard who immediately fled.
During the 1960s and 1970s Genovese associate Ed "the Skull" Murphy and Gambino associate Mike Umbers -- longtime figures in the gay bar industry who now are dead -- were involved in running boy prostitution rings. Jerome Johnson couldn't wait to join the business.
Umber's three big operations are "Christopher's End," when it's open, the Studio Book Store, and "Gay Dogs." All right-out exploitative. Umbers calls himself a gay catalyst and flesh peddler. He deals in boy-boy sex. He describes "Mark Lithko," his publishing house, as a means to produce paper flesh that his Studio Book Store peddles. Gay Dogs is cruising flesh. And Christopher's End, with its backroom and nude boy shows, is climax flesh.
"According to an official assigned to the case, the men (Umbers and Murphy) conspired to conduct a pornography operation soliciting young boys of 16 and under. They'd have them participate in 'deviate sexual acts' which they’d film and distribute. Umbers procured the kids."
Skull Murphy was into young boys. Most definitely. And he was very, very involved with the procurement of young boys." Danny Garvin recalls how he would "always see these hustlers hanging out with [Murphy]. He had connections,and these hustler kids would hang out with him." Tommy explains why the Mafia would operate the "Tenth of Always," as an ice-cream parlor in terms of Murphy's predilections: "The Tenth of Always had a kind of particular feeling, that you knew you were there because Murphy liked chicken. In there I felt like I was in some surreal Catholic Youth Organization dance, because everybody was like my age or younger, and the drag queens just looked like regular high-school girls, and the hustlers looked like regular high-school boys. And then it really looked crazy because everyone was sitting, sipping these sodas, and it was like – there’s no word to describe – it wasn't a brothel, a bawdyhouse, or whatever. It was like the pickings of johns: that's what it was set up for."
Some of Murphy's young charges allegedly did not fare well, and Carter further writes: "The suspicion that Murphy was involved in the murders of youths goes back at least to the early sixties. Stephen van Cline recalls, for example, that Murphy had been involved with the early 1960s waterfront gay bar called Dirty Dick's, where, he says, a number of young men were seen for the last time." According to one eyewitness in the late 1960s a Puerto Rican youth known as Tano with whom Murphy was sexually involved was kidnapped right off the streets never to be seen again. And 11-year-old Giuseepe DiMatteo was kidnapped and tortured for two years before being killed. His body was dissolved in acid.
For 18 months a team of as many as 56 investigators from homicide, vice, narcotics, and intelligence worked under the command of the department's Organized Crime Control Bureau. In all, Operation Together made dozens of arrests for dope peddling, prostitution and other morals charges, and attempted bribery of police. The strategy of the investigation was to target people involved in gay bars, nab them on narcotics charges and get them to turn on their mob controllers, partners or extortionists. Among the depravity unearthed by this team was a network of chicken hawks—patrons of child prostitution and kiddie porn—as well as mob control of the gay bar scene. Then suddenly, just as members of Operation Together felt they were getting close to making investigative breakthroughs, the plug was pulled. The task force was broken up; detectives, undercover officers and the assistant Manhattan district attorneys were reassigned.
"The Hay Market," bar was five deep with men and boys hustling, talking, laughing—and drinking. Lots of drinking. The air was thick with cigarette smoke. The jukebox played loud pounding rock music. Patrons moved unselfconsciously to the beat. The bar was long and thin, with a shelf of liquor lined against the back wall. Against the opposite wall hustlers were seated against a railing, some of the boys looking as young as 15.
One was staring into space, his thin frame covered with a faded denim jacket, scruffy jeans and black boots. Several of the men from the bar across the way were watching. Several of the boys wore varsity jackets with leather sleeves. Others had shiny plastic jackets. They were all working. One of the men at the bar in his early twenties wore an elegant camel's-hair jacket, black pants and silk ascot. A portly, balding man in a business suit sat next to him. He wore rimless glasses and could have passed for an accountant at any midtown office.
Another boy came up to the balding man and whispered in his ear. Two stools down, a handsome man smiled at the mirror. Behind him stood a goon wearing a T-shirt with barbells stenciled on front, with the sleeves rolled up. His arms were folded across his chest and he flexed his biceps. In the doorway, a young boy with a woolen stocking cap blocked the way, forcing everyone who came in or walked out to ask him to move.
"REAL LIFE SCIENCE FICTION" (HUMAN ANIMAL HYBRIDS)
Do we really want to start creating entities that are part-human?
Apparently, it is now possible to grow entire human organs inside animals. In fact, scientists in Japan plan to start systematically growing human organs inside of pigs within 12 months. The goal is to increase the number of organs available for medical transplants as a recent Infowars.com article explained…
A panel of scientists and legal experts appointed by the Japanese government will be gathering together to begin drafting guidelines governing Japan’s historic embryonic research. If all goes according to plan, scientists hope to begin growing human organs in animals within the next 12 months.
The research sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. Scientists place a human stem cell into the embryo of an animal to create a “chimeric embryo” that can be implanted into the animal’s womb. According to the Telegraph, the animal in question will most likely be a pig.
Once the embryo is implanted it will grow into a perfect human organ – a heart, a kidney, a pancreas, and so on. Then, when the adult pig is slaughtered, the organ will be harvested and transplanted into someone who needs a new one.
But once a human organ is grown inside a pig, that pig is no longer fully a pig.
And without a doubt, that organ will no longer be a fully human organ after it is grown inside the pig. Those receiving those organs will be allowing human-animal hybrid organs to be implanted into them.
Scientists all over the world are creating extremely bizarre human-animal chimeras (pictured above). Over the past decade, there has been stunning advances in the field of genetic modification. Today, it is literally possible for college students to create new life forms in their basements.
Need a new body part? Grow one from another animal and then harvest it.
Unfortunately, man’s laws have not kept pace with scientific advancements, and in many countries there are very few limits on what scientists are allowed to do. Extremely creepy human-animal hybrids are being created in laboratories all over the globe.
Can you imagine what kind of sick, mad and twisted experiments are taking place in the dark corners of secret labs that nobody knows about? This is the stuff sci-fi movies are made from and what happens if these creatures start mating? At that point, it would be nearly impossible to “put the genie back into the bottle”. Scientists seem very eager to test the limits of what is possible, but what they are unleashing may have consequences.
Some feel the Illuminati are behind this, others say it’s Satan and some feel it is simply evolution.
"REAL LIFE SCIENCE FICTION" (WAS MYSTERIOUS MAN REALLY A NEGRO?)
The Grinning man is a real life man who shows up for U.S. catastrophe's.
He was first spotted in the 60's and was described as "dark in complexion" by two kids yet over time, his image became whitewashed (pictured above). Is he really a Negro?
He also shows up for UFO encounters but disappears just as quickly and he avoids news cameras and photographers. Witnesses say he has a "not of this world" air about himself.
He was depicted in the "Fringe," (TV series). A white actor portrayed him.
If a UFO streaks across the night sky, the show isn't over. Throughout the 1960s, a mysterious man, unnaturally tall, with a very dark complexion and an permanent smile appears.
The Grinning Man has frightened UFO witnesses for many years, and some say his visitations are not yet finished.
The first incident concerned two boys (Jimmy Yanchitis and Martin Munov) walking along a street in New Jersey one night in October 1966. They saw a strange tall man standing in some brush beneath a turnpike:
Jimmy nudged me... and said "Who's that guy standing behind you?" I looked around and there he was... behind that fence. Just standing there. He pivoted around and looked right at us... and then he grinned a big old grin.
The man was over six feet tall with a very dark complexion and "little round eyes... real beady... set far apart." They could not remember seeing any hair, ears, or nose on this figure, nor did they notice his hands.
That same evening, a strange UFO was being reported just kilometers away at several sites throughout New Jersey. It was a brilliant white light, darting through the sky and behind hills, and was reported in various locations by civilians and police officers alike, most notably at Wanaque Reservoir.
"ACTORS: BEAUTIFUL FATHER & SON" (SEX, DRUGS, ORGIES, DISAPPEARANCE)
Actor Errol Flynn (1st pic) was a notorious womanizer, alleged pedophile and drug addict. In 1942, two underage girls (Betty Hansen and Peggy Satterled accused him of statutory rape, he was acquitted.
L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. claimed his father had a strong friendship with Errol and they engaged in various illegal activities together, including underage girls and drug smuggling.
Allegedly, Flynn loved orgies and according to Florence Aadland, Flynn was involved in a sexual relationship with her 15-year-old daughter; a child actress.
Errol seduced an estimated 14,000 (allegedly he was also bisexual). According to author Darwin Porter, he even seduced billionaire Howard Hughes, Evita Peron and two of the world's richest women (Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton) and a royal family member.
Sean Flynn (2nd pic) was Errol's son.
Darwin Porter adds: Errol was hardly a model parent. Before Sean turned 15, his father was escorting him to brothels where he taught his son to share the same prostitute in the same bed at the same time of his own seduction.
Porter claims Sean broke down and allegedly told his mother (Lili) that he was father was abusing him.
Following in his father's footsteps, Sean attempted a film career which he eventually abandoned for photojournalism.
In 1970, while on assignment in Southeast Asia with his friend Dana, they rode a motorcycle toward a Vietcong roadblock and were never seen again.
Sean's mother paid vast sums of money to send search parties into the jungles of Cambodia looking for her son at war's end.
Living in Palm Beach, she left a sample of her blood in a blood bank so if Sean's remains were found after her death, DNA tests could identify him. She wanted his remains buried next to hers. His body was never recovered.
At the time of her death in the spring of 1994 in Palm Beach, she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and did not remember her son or even her former life.
Recently unearthed news indicates that Dana was beheaded and Sean was buried alive in an unmarked grave.
(NEGRO OVERSEERS BRUTALIZING SLAVES ON PLANTATIONS)
During the Civil War, there were 11 Negro overseers in New Orleans in 1850 and 25 in 1854 (of which 24 were mulattos). Cuba also had Negro overseers (pictured above).
Surprisingly, a few Negro women also served as overseers.
The overseers would manage 50-100 slaves.
Slaves were often kidnapped from villages and shipped to the Southern colonies and other areas of the Atlantic. They were sold like cattle on auction blocks as buyers size-up and evaluated potential slaves for the task that awaited them.
During slavery in the deep South slaves were flogged and sometimes killed in a most gruesome way to leave a sign to other slaves of what would happen to them if they were to flee the plantation. Negro overseers could be more brutal than white overseers.
If a slave was caught trying to learn to read they were severely punished. Some slaves would have their fingers or tongues cut off by White and Negro overseers. This was to discourage others from perusing the idea of reading and writing. The people of the South were terrified of slaves learning to read and write. That type of knowledge could empower the slaves to revolt against them being that blacks out-numbered the whites 20 to 1 during these times.
Writer Frederick Olmsted said:
"The plows were at work, both with single and double mule teams, were generally held by Negro women, and very well held, too. I watched with some interest for any indication that their sex unfitted them for the occupation. Twenty of them were plowing together, with double teams and heavy plows. They were superintended by a Negro man (overseer) who carried a whip, which he frequently cracked at them, permitting no dawdling or delay at the turning; and they twitched their plows around on the head-land, jerking their reins, and yelling to their mules, with apparent ease, energy, and rapidity.
Throughout the Southwest the Negroes, as a rule, appeared to be worked much harder than in the Eastern and Northern Slave States...
At another plantation Olmsted said he saw a tall and powerful Negro who walked from the beginning to the end of the line, frequently cracking his whip, and calling out in the surliest manner, 'Shove your hoe, there! Shove your hoe here!'
Olmstead adds: "I happened to see the severest corporeal punishment of a Negro that I witnessed in the South while visiting different plantations with Negro overseers."
I had accidentally encountered another overseer, and he was showing me his plantation. In going from one side of it to the other, we had twice crossed a deep gully, at the bottom of which was a thick covert of brushwood. We were crossing it a third time, and had nearly passed through the brush, when the overseer suddenly stopped his horse exclaiming, 'What's that? Hello! Who are you, there?'
It was a girl lying at full length on the ground at the bottom of the gully, evidently intending to hide herself from us in the bushes.
'Who are you, there?'
'Sam's Sally, sir.'
'What are you sulking there for?'
The girl half rose, but gave no answer.
'Have you been here all day?'
'How did you get here?'
The girl made no reply.
'Where have you been all day?'
The answer was unintelligible.
After some further questioning, she said her father accidentally locked her in, when he went out in the morning.
'How did you manage to get out?'
'Pushed a plank off, sir, and crawled out.'
The overseer was silent for a moment, looking at the girl, and then said, 'That won't do; come out here.' The girl arose at once, and walked towards him. She was about eighteen years of age. A bunch of keys hung at her waist, which the overseer espied, and he said, 'Your father locked you in; but you have got the keys.' After a little hesitation, she replied that these were the keys of some other locks; her father had the door-key.
Whether her story was true or false, could have been ascertained in two minutes by riding on to the gang with which her father was at work, but the overseer had made up his mind.
'That won't do,' said he; 'get down.' The girl knelt on the ground; he got off his horse, and holding him with his left hand, struck her thirty or forty blows across the shoulder with his tough, flexible, 'raw-hide' whip (a terrible instrument for the purpose). They were well laid on, at arm's length, but with no appearance of angry excitement on the part of the overseer. At every stroke the girl winced and exclaimed, ''Yes, sir!' or 'Ah, sir!' or 'Please, sir!' not groaning or screaming. At length he stopped and said, 'Now tell me the truth.' The girl repeated the same story. ''You have not got enough yet,' said he; 'pull up your clothes-lie down.'
The girl without any hesitation, without a word or look of remonstrance or entreaty, drew closely all her garments under her shoulders, and lay down upon the ground with her face toward the overseer, who continued to flog her with the raw-hide, across her Slave quarters naked loins and thighs, with as much strength as before. She now shrunk away from him, not rising, but writhing, groveling, and screaming, 'Oh, don't, sir! Oh, please stop, master! Please, sir! Please, sir! Oh, that's enough, master! Oh, Lord! Oh, master, master! Oh, God, master, do stop! Oh, God, master! Oh, God, master!'
*The following is disturbing in description
Thomas Thistlewood (16 March 1721 – 30 November 1786) was a British landowner and estate overseer who migrated to western Jamaica. He is remembered for his diary, which became an important historical document on slavery and history of Jamaica.
Consequently, whites like Thistlewood lived in an Africanized society that rested on white fear, white equality, and white brutality. With almost no restraints placed on their personal freedom, whites ruled their slaves with a degree of violence that left outside observers aghast. Thistlewood routinely punished his slaves with fierce floggings and other harsh punishments, some of them very sickening. One of his favorites was "Derby's dose," in which a slave was forced to defecate into the offending slave's mouth, which was then wired shut for four or five hours.
Thistlewood was not an uneducated man. He was a prolific book buyer and reader; he practiced medicine on his slaves and was something of an expert in botany and horticulture. Although Trevor Burnard at one point calls Thistlewood "a brutal sociopath, "he generally suggests that Thistlewood's treatment of his slaves was not that unusual.
Thistlewood arrived in Jamaica in 1750 at age twenty-nine with very few possessions. He was immediately sought after as an overseer and his wages rapidly rose to three figures a year, an enormous sum when compared to the average salaries of white British or North American workers. He bought slaves and hired them out, and although he could have continued to make more money working for others, he decided in the mid-1760s to become an independent landowner, not as a rich sugar producer but as a modestly well-to-do market gardener and horticultural expert for the western end of the island. He acquired local respectability, often dining with the wealthiest planters in his parish, and served in several local offices, including justice of the peace.
During his thirty-seven years in Jamaica he dutifully entered into his diary his 3,852 acts of rape and/or sexual intercourse with 138 women, nearly all of whom were black slaves.
Although Thistlewood was a sexual opportunist, he had a favorite slave partner, Phibbah, who essentially became his "wife" and with whom he had sex most often. Over the thirty-three years they were together Phibbah and Thistlewood developed what Burnard calls "a warm and loving relationship, if such a thing was possible between a slave and her master." Eventually Phibbah acquired property, including land, livestock, and slaves, and sufficient respectability even to entertain white women. By being Thistlewood's mistress, Phibbah, says Burnard, "accommodated herself so well to slavery that in the end she transcended it." She acquired a sense of self-worth and a greater sense of equality with Thistlewood than was possible for any other slave. In this respect, Burnard concludes, she undermined the Jamaican slave system more effectively than all the attempted slave rebellions.
"THE MURDER OF A STAX DRUMMER"
Drummer Al Jackson, Jr. returned home from a championship fight and found intruders in his house. He was reportedly told to get down on his knees and then shot fatally five times in the back. Around 3:00 a.m. on October 1st, Barbara Jackson (his wife) ran out in the street, yelling for help. She told police that burglars had tied her up, and then shot her husband when he returned home.
Mysteriously, police found nothing in the house out of place and Al Jackson's wallet and jewelry were still on him. The man police believed to have pulled the trigger – the then-boyfriend of R&B singer Denise LaSalle – had reportedly known someone in Memphis and after robbing a bank in Florida, told them to meet him over at Al Jackson's house. Indictments against Barbara Jackson, Denise LaSalle and her boyfriend were supposed to be served, but never were. Tracked through Florida to Memphis to Seattle, Washington the boyfriend was killed by a police officer on July 15, 1976 after a gun battle.
In a newspaper interview given November 21, 1975, Memphis Police Director E. Winslow 'Buddy' Chapman said the police knew what happened, "But, what we know and what we can prove in court are two different things. We feel there are some individuals who are probably in a position to know first-hand or second-hand what happened. They were either there or came on the scene." Chapman appealed, "If we can get the black community to convince these certain people to come forward, the Al Jackson case could be solved." To this day, Memphis police won't talk about the case, claiming it's still an open investigation.
When Al Jackson was murdered, the heart of the Stax family was lost, and the once-mighty label officially closed its doors less than a year later.
Al Jackson, Jr. (November 27, 1935 – October 1, 1975) was a drummer, producer, and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, a group of session musicians who worked for Stax Records and produced their own instrumentals. Jackson was called "The Human Timekeeper" for his drumming ability.
Jackson became one of the most important and influential drummers in the history of recorded music at Stax, providing an instantly recognizable backbeat behind the label's artists which included Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, and blues guitarist Albert King, who Jackson also produced. In the Seventies, Jackson co-wrote and played on several hits by Al Green, including "Let's Stay Together" and "I'm Still in Love with You."
Though still legally married, Jackson was estranged from his wife. In July 1975, his wife had shot him in the chest. He decided not to press charges, but was in the process of a divorce and was planning to move to Atlanta, Georgia, to begin working with Stax singer/songwriter William Bell.
Jackson was murdered by intruders on Oct. 1, 1975.
"MAILING CHILDREN VIA THE US POSTAL SERVICE"
In 1913, it was legal to mail children with stamps attached to their clothing (above). Children rode trains to their destinations accompanied by letter carriers.
One newspaper reported it cost 53 cents.
As news stories and photos popped up around the world, it didn't take long to get a law on the books making it illegal to send children through the mail.
Source: Thomas Doty
The city has settled a lawsuit filed by two members of a notorious Brooklyn clan who claimed the NYPD illegally searched their Brooklyn townhouse, where the family patriarch was convicted of dismembering three women in the 1970s.
Two family members, Lagarthucin and Shavaston LeGrand, were among nine people arrested in the ramshackle four-story building on Brooklyn Ave. in Crown Heights on drug and weapons charges when detectives raided the place on Sept. 15, 2011.
Criminal charges against Lagarthucin, 40, and Shavaston, 56, were dismissed and the cases sealed, authorities said. The city Law Department paid $12,500 to end the civil suit, according to papers filed Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Cops recovered an imitation pistol, a loaded rifle and marijuana during the search, according to a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
A family tree indicates both men are sons of the sect founder, Devernon (Bishop) LeGrand (above).
The March 13, 1976 edition of the Daily News. Devernon (Bishop) LeGrand was convicted of beating his ex-wife and two teenage girls to death and dismembering them. He died in prison in 2006.
Aaron LeGrand, 44, pleaded guilty to an administrative code violation for an illegal weapon, and Sabaston LeGrand, 55, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance, the spokesman said. Details of the other arrests were sealed.
“They kicked down all the doors and pulled guns on my grandkids,” said a man at the house who told the Daily News he was a member of the LeGrand family.
“The bottom line is the police had no right coming in. They said we had drugs in the house and they didn’t find nothing. Simply because a lot of kids from the neighborhood come here. We don’t turn anybody away. We feed them.”
The flamboyant Devernon LeGrand died in prison in 2006. He was a self-proclaimed bishop of the St. John’s Pentecostal Church of Our Lord, headquartered in the building, which deployed women dressed in nuns’ garb to panhandle on the streets and in subways.
The well-attired, Cadillac owning LeGrand insisted the donations went to orphans.
LeGrand drove a Cadillac, wore silk suits and had an expensive toupee, but insisted the donations went to orphans.
There were even darker secrets in the bowels of the church.
Even after LeGrand's conviction,the Brooklyn Ave. building continued as the base for the so-called church.
While serving time with his son for raping a young woman, Devernon was convicted in 1977 of beating to death and dismembering his former wife Ernestine Timmons and two teenage sisters in the house of horrors. The sisters’ charred body parts were recovered in a pond near LeGrand’s 58-acre Catskills farm.
Devernon fathered at least 67 children, and the Brooklyn Ave. building continued to function as the base for so-called church under several different names in the ensuing years.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Michael Hueston, declined to comment on his clients’ ties to Devernon, but said the location’s grisly history had nothing to do with the raid.
"CHRIST'S FORESKIN FROM CIRCUMICISON, WHERE DID IT GO? CHRIST CLONES?"
The following is the plot for the fictional film "Boys From Brazil," and it closely resembles the real life story of Jesus Christ's missing foreskin (in regards to cloning).
Investigators traveling throughout Europe and North America were investigating the suspicious deaths of a number of aging civil servants. They met several of the widows and are amazed to find an uncanny resemblance in their adopted, black-haired, blue-eyed sons. It is also made clear that, at the time of their deaths, all the civil servants were aged around 65 and had a cold, domineering and abusive attitude towards their adopted sons, while their wives were aged around 42 and doted on the sons.
A former Nazi guard who worked with an adoption agency, before realizing during a meeting with a professor (an expert on cloning) revealed the truth: In the 1960s, several surrogate mothers in a Brazilian clinic were fertilized with ova carrying a sample of Hitler's DNA preserved since World War II. 94 perfect clones of Hitler had then been born and sent to different parts of the world for adoption.
The Holy Prepuce, or Holy Foreskin is one of several relics attributed to Jesus, a product of the circumcision of Jesus.
At various points in history, a number of churches in Europe have claimed to possess Jesus' foreskin, sometimes at the same time. Various miraculous powers have been ascribed to it.
The Pope placed it into the Sancta Sanctorum in the Lateran basilica in Rome with other relics. Its authenticity was later considered to be confirmed by a vision of Saint Bridget of Sweden. The foreskin was then looted during the Sack of Rome in 1527. The German soldier who stole it was captured in the village of Calcata. Thrown into prison, he hid the jeweled reliquary in his cell, where it remained until its rediscovery in 1557.
Many miracles (freak storms and perfumed fog overwhelming the village) are claimed to have followed. Housed in Calcata, it was venerated from that time onwards, with the Church approving the authenticity by offering a ten-year indulgence to pilgrims. Pilgrims, nuns and monks flocked to the church. "Calcata was a must-see destination on the pilgrimage map." The foreskin was reported stolen by a local priest in 1983.
The foreskin arrived in Antwerp in the Brabant in 1100 as a gift from king Baldwin I of Jerusalem, who purchased it in Palestine in the course of the first crusade. This foreskin became famous when the bishop of Cambray, during the celebration of the Mass, saw three drops of blood blotting the linens of the altar. The relic disappeared in 1566, but the chapel still exists, decorated by two stained glass windows donated by king Henry VII of England and his wife Elizabeth of York in 1503.
The abbey of Charroux claimed the Holy Foreskin was presented to the monks by Charlemagne. In the early 12th century, it was taken in procession to Rome where it was presented before Pope Innocent III, who was asked to rule on its authenticity. The Pope declined the opportunity. At some point, however, the relic went missing, and remained lost until 1856 when a workman repairing the abbey claimed to have found a reliquary hidden inside a wall, containing the missing foreskin.
The reliquary containing the Holy Foreskin was paraded through the streets of this Italian village as recently as 1983 on the Feast of the Circumcision, which was formerly marked by the Roman Catholic Church around the world on January 1 each year. The practice ended, however, when thieves stole the jewel-encrusted case, contents and all. Following this theft, it is unclear whether the holy foreskin still exists. In a 1997 television documentary for Channel 4, British journalist Miles Kington travelled to Italy in search of the Holy Foreskin, but was unable to find any remaining example.
With today's technology, the missing foreskin "might" be viable for cloning. Which creates a potential for Christ clones.
First Black Child Born In America:
*On this date (Jan. 3rd) in 1624, the first recorded birth of a black child in the continental United States occurred. This was is in the Cathedral Parish Archives in St. Augustine, Florida, thirteen years before enslaved Africans were first brought to the English colony at Jamestown in 1619.
William Tucker, the first Black child born (recorded) in the American colonies, was baptized in January in Jamestown, Virginia. Two of the first Africans to be brought to North America in the 1600's were simply called Anthony and Isabella (the parents). They were married and in 1624 gave birth to the first Black child born in America naming him William Tucker in honor of a Virginia Planter.
After the 1600's, all Africans brought into the colonies were sold as slaves. Today, the black population in the U.S. is over 35-million, or nearly 13-percent of the U.S. total. The largest numbers of African Americans live in New York State (more than 3-million). Other states with African American populations of more than 2-million include California, Florida, Georgia and Texas.