Black Interests

Black/American History: Friends & Heroes In High Places – By Harold Bell


December 8, 2018

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Major League Baseball Trailblazer Jackie Robinson

Washington, DC TV 4 Anchor Jim Vance left a trail in media for others to follow

It is often said, “Time brings about a change” but change this time was for all the wrong reasons. George Washington University located in the Georgetown section of DC decided to phase out the Jackie Robinson project that had been housed in the university for over two decades. Jackie broke the color barrier in Major Baseball on April 15, 1947. On that day in baseball history Jackie took a major step in the direction of Civil Rights. His courage and crusade for equal opportunity forever and for everyone altered the social landscape of the country. Jackie is one of my heroes along with the great athlete/actor Paul Roberson. They will always be defined by their courage. I was not aware that George Washington University house a Jackie Robinson exhibit.

Jackie was a talented and versatile athlete, he also ran track and played football and basketball. NBA icon Red Auerbach said, “He was a better football player than a baseball player. When it comes to naming the greatest all-around athletes of all-time, two names always surface, Jim Brown and Jackie Robinson.” The Board of Directors are taking steps to assure that Jackie Robinson’s name will never surface again on the campus of George Washington University.

Hopefully, I will get a chance to visit the exhibit before it disappears without a trace.

In the meantime, across town in NE Washington, DC on the campus of Archbishop John Carroll High School, philanthropist Richard Dyer a former John Carroll student and President/General Manager of W-U-S-A TV 9 made an endowment of 5 million dollars to the Jim Vance Media Program. The program will be a highly competitive for incoming freshmen interested in making television journalism a career. The scholarship will include full-tuition scholarship support for 20 students annually. In the spring of 2019 the school will break ground for major renovation to include recording studios, editing booths, suites and master control rooms.

Jim hailed from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Education was always big with him, he taught school before pursuing a career in media. He joined the WRC-TV 4 news team shortly after the 1968 riots. He became a fixture in the DC community when he became a part of my non-profit Kids In Trouble team in 1969. Along with Judge Luke C. Moore of the DC Superior Court and members of the Washington Redskins, Roy Jefferson, Harold McLinton, Larry Brown and Ted Vactor we became a inseparable team in the DC community.


W-H-U-R- Radio icon Melvin Lindsey and Jim Vance co-host my annual Toys for Tots drive.

Click here to go to Harold Bell’s blog and read the rest of the story.

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