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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " BOBO BRAZIL - REAL NAME HOUSTON HARRIS " WAS A PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES "

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 Bobo Brazil


Bobo Brazil
Bobo Brazil.jpg
Birth nameHouston Harris[1]
BornJuly 10, 1924[1]
Little Rock, Arkansas[1]
DiedJanuary 20, 1998 (aged 73)[1]
St. Joseph, Michigan
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Bobo Brazil[2]
Boo-Boo Brazil[3]
BuBu Brasil[1]
Houston Harris[4]
Billed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[1]
Billed weight270 lb (120 kg)[2]
Billed fromBenton Harbor, Michigan
Trained byJoe Savoldi[1]
Debut1951[2]
Retired1993[4]
Houston Harris[1] (July 10, 1924 – January 20, 1998)[1] was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring nameBobo Brazil. Credited with breaking down barriers of racial segregation in professional wrestling, Harris is considered one of the first successful African American professional wrestlers.[3][

Early life

Houston Harris was born in Little Rock, Arkansas but later lived in East St. Louis, Illinois, and Benton Harbor, Michigan.[1] He playedbaseball and worked in a steel mill.[1]

Professional wrestling career

Harris was trained by Joe Savoldi after meeting him at matches at the Naval Armory.[1] Originally, Harris was to be known as "Boo-Boo Brazil", but a promoter misprinted his first name as "Bobo" in an advertisement and it stuck.[3]
Early in his career, some wrestling promoters would match Brazil against fellow African American wrestlers, including Ernie Ladd andAbdullah the Butcher.[3] Fans clamored to see Brazil face opponents of any type and Brazil would have many matches with competitors such as Killer KowalskiDick the BruiserJohnny Valentine, and The Sheik, who feuded with Brazil over the course of several decades.[3][6] These and other rivals would all fall victim to Brazil's finishing maneuver, the Coco Butt. Brazil also once wrestled Bill Miller to a draw,[7] and challenged Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF World Heavywight Championship in a battle of two top babyface competitors.[3] On October 18, 1962, Brazil made history by becoming the first African American to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers (this distinction is usually given to Ron Simmons, the first recognized African American world champion after winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship). Although Brazil initially refused the title (because of an "injury" that Rogers had claimed to have), Brazil was awarded the title the next day after doctors had found nothing wrong with Rogers. However, this title change is not recognized by the NWA.[8]
On October 9, 1970, Brazil and El Mongol defeated Mr. Ito and The Great Ota in the first racially mixed match in Atlanta history.[2][3]
Brazil served as a mentor to wrestler "Soulman" Rocky Johnson. Brazil's manager was James Dudley, the first African American to be in charge of a major arena in the United States. Dudley would run to the ring waving a towel, as Brazil followed behind.[3]
Brazil retired in 1993 after a four decade career. His last official match was in Chicago, Illinois against Kelly Kiniski, son of rival Gene Kiniski. Brazil was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1994 by Ernie Ladd.[3][6][9] The following year, Brazil inducted Ladd into the WWF Hall of Fame.[3]

Personal life

After retiring from wrestling, he ran a restaurant.[1] Harris had six children.[6]

Death

Harris died on January 20, 1998 at the Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph, Michigan.[6] He had been admitted to the hospital on January 14, after suffering a series ofstrokes.[6]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Midwest Wrestling Association (Ohio)
    • MWA Ohio Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]
    • MWA Ohio Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Frankie Talaber[2]
  • Superstars of Wrestling
    • SoW United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
1 Not officially recognised as champion because conflicting interests