Sonny Liston Birth Certificate Part 4

Sonny Liston, was the first Birtherism casualty of a racist society. That Predated Barak Obama.

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“For war weary men like Holmes, for workers involved in grinding strikes and bosses avid to make their fortunes, for so many white Americans eager to get on, move ahead, forget the past, this was an appealing bargain. All white Americans’ tensions and wounds could heal, as long as the nation understood that the lynch mob was right. New America would find its destiny only by destroying the black beast.”


Good afternoon everyone. I want to thank all of you for coming to this press conference today. After speaking to my family and friends, after thinking this over for many weeks now, I have come to realize that after 13 years of age I must submit my resignation. I no longer feel that I am capable of being a Black American anymore. It’s just not as easy as it used to be. It used to be fun getting up in the morning proving to the world that I was more than 3/5thhuman. I used to love the challenge of proving I was equal to those who thought they were superior to me. The bruises just don’t heal as fast as they use to. And my muscles are aching day in and day out.

And to tell you the truth, my family is getting tired of me complaining about it. But now it seems as though my body is telling me that it’s time to retire. And you should always listen to what your body is telling you. So I must apologize to the haters, members of the KKK, The Red Shirts, the Neo-Nazi’s, and The Skin Heads. You won’t have this Nigger to kick around anymore.  I have been in my lifetime a, Negro, black, and now an African American.  From now on just call me Joe.

I know, “Say it ain’t so Joe” is what you’re thinking. How could I just throw it all away, the athleticism, the sexual prowess, the dance moves? But to tell you the truth, I had to learn how to dance. Now you know. I want to thank you for giving me the ability to read and write, and to vote without the fear of being lynched. But I think that my retiring may give all of you the chance to rethink how we relate to one another. I believe my color has been standing in the way of all of that.

I just want to be a part of the human race now. The last thing I want to say is “If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry … just walk on by.” If the press has any questions, I’m willing to take questions at this time.

Click the link below, to read my Amazon book, “BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON” , and leave a review. Thank you


Just when the wound of racism was about to heal. America, pulled the scab right off.

“For when Negroes leave the South they don’t move to New York – they move to Harlem, they don’t move to Chicago- they have to move to the Southside. Without question, Harlem is a great improvement over Birmingham- but not nearly so great as white men assume. Northern discrimination is less brutal and less personal than the Southern variety, and it lacks the overt action of law. It hurts none the less. The North leads the way by showing that Negroes can be “kept in their place” without written laws. Southern cities are rapidly learning the de-facto technique of the North. In the Spring of 1963, for example, Albany, Georgia removed all segregation ordinances from its city code in order to balk the Negro legal attack. The City remained as Jim Crow as ever.”

Just when the wound of racism was about to heal. America, pulled the scab right off.

This reminds me of when people talk about Sonny’s troubles with the police in Philadelphia and in St. Louis: People tend to say that Sonny was always getting in trouble with the police. It is almost as if by saying things like that, people believe they can just tear out the pages of our history books that they don’t like, and only keep the parts of history that they like. It’s as if all Americans are suffering from a case of amnesia on a national scale.

By saying that Sonny was a problem for police, we are then excusing the history of police brutality, which has forced the African American community to resist that abuse in the first place. The problem with our Democracy is in its design. The majority must always win and the minority must always lose. This has a tendency to create friction and tension between the winners and losers in our political process. This ultimately puts our police at odds with the minority population who are not in power. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

What the police tend to forget is that our Constitution gives the minority population their constitutional right to resist the majority if they do not like how they are being ruled. The police usually find themselves stuck in the middle of Democracy in action. The police have historically worked on behalf of the majority and the status quo more often than not at the expense of the minority. This is not true Democracy. In order for the police to keep the peace they must maintain an air of neutrality by treating the majority and the minority populations with mutual respect and equality.

Because ultimately even though one population is the majority and the other population is the minority both are citizens of the United States of America. So the job of the police is to help to enforce the constitution and in doing so they will start to protect the rights of all citizens.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such a form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and Happiness.”

 The police have a duty to serve the people and must avoid the trap of being stuck in the past as the world moves more and more toward globalization.

“The police in all societies are charged with maintaining public order and protecting public safety, and that generally means conserving the status quo in whatever form it may take. The police are inherently conservative in both their actions and their predispositions. They represent the vested economic and political interests and values of the societies in which they perform their policing duties. Where countries are changing and adding cultural and ethnic multiplicity, the police are most likely to be aligned with the old cultural and ethnic  guard, or they may be perceived as such by new or newly empowered constituents. As a result, questions about the philosophy and practice of policing are ultimately liable to come under close and probing scrutiny.”

This is the reality that Sonny was living in when the status quo at that time in history did not necessarily believe that black people should have equal status in American society. By blaming the victim, we are not dealing with the real problem, and that is that we live in a society with a history of racism, a history that has terrorized a segment of society solely based on the color of their skin.

By allowing police brutality to exist on a state, local, and government level, we as a nation are giving our police the consent to implement terror. What we are not willing to come to grips with is that Sonny did not have a problem with the police. The police had a problem with Sonny. Sonny was not anti-American nor was he anti-police; he was just anti-hatred.

 “Race riots decades before the Civil War in such Northern bastions of abolition as Cincinnati, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York, and in smaller cities and towns throughout the North, blacks were attacked in the streets by gangs of whites and their neighborhoods were invaded and sacked. African Americans were severely beaten and even killed and black homes and institutions- including schools, churches, and even orphanages-were destroyed by white mobs long before the end of slavery. 

The negroes were not generally welcomed in the North. Many of the northerners who sympathized with the oppressed blacks in the South never dreamt of having them as their neighbors. In the second decade of the twentieth century alone half a million African Americans moved from the impoverished rural to the booming industrial cities of the North, wooed by the promise of jobs and freedom. The migration intensified in the second half of the decade in an industrial boom fueled by the First World War.

Blacks arrived by the trainloads, and many whites responded to the African American incursion with a horrific series of racial confrontations, riots and massacres that broke out in cities across the nation beginning in the summer of 1917 in East St. Louis.”

When African American soldiers came back from World War II wearing their medals and uniforms in the city streets of America, there was a surge of lynchings across America especially in the South. The reason for this was because they wanted high- profile black males and women to remember their place in society. Sonny Liston was a high-profile black male who, with his fame, fortune, and success was beginning to disrupt the status quo.

But he may not have been lynched in the literal sense of the word. He was now being lynched in the figurative sense, through the Media.  And the by-product of that began to have an effect on the public’s opinion of him. One man who went out of his way to lynch Sonny from a popular tree was Walter Annenberg, the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer. One of the nicest things Mr. Annenberg ever said about Sonny was that, “He was a bum.

I didn’t want to give him publicity.” Could this lack of publicity on the part of Mr. Annenberg’s be partially responsible for no one showing up at the Philadelphia Airport to greet Sonny Liston after he had won the heavyweight championship from Floyd Patterson in 1962? Until we take a good look at the power and influence that Walter Annenberg and his father Moses Annenberg wielded with their newspaper empire, we will not even come close to understanding the political and social impact that their practice of yellow journalism had on the people listed on their black list, including the name of Sonny Liston.

The assertion that some people have made over the years that Sonny was a strike breaker for the mafia or that he was a part of some goon squad seemed rather unusual in light of the fact that,

“For approximately 150 years, union organizing efforts and strikes have been periodically opposed by police, security forces, National Guard units, special police forces such as the Coal Iron Police, and/ or use of the United States Army. Significant incidents have included the Haymarket Riot and the Ludlow massacre. The Homestead struggle of 1892, the Pullman walkout of 1894, and the Colorado Labor Wars of 1903 are examples of unions destroyed or significantly damaged by the deployment of military force. In all three examples, a strike became the triggering event.”

For the sake of argument, let us say that Sonny was a strike breaker, even though there is no proof of it. The first thing we must ask ourselves is why we are choosing to make such allegations against Sonny without the burden of proof? When, on the other hand, we have mountains of proof that will substantiate for us the true culprits of these acts against the IWWW and other Union agencies; names like, The Auxiliary Company, Jack Whitehead, James Farley, The Bergoff Brothers, Anti Union Vigilantes, The United States Army, and local authorities. Sonny may have made mistakes when he was a young man.

But he paid the price for those mistakes by the evidence of the time he spent in jail. With the amount of accusations that have been made against Sonny by the many journalists, authors, filmmakers, sports commentators, actors, and/or athletes, it is just not possible for one man to have committed so many of these acts of crime and violence in just one lifetime.  And that is why the true facts about his life and the accusations made against him just don’t add up. We have to come to the realization eventually, that Sonny Liston could not possibly be responsible for all the world’s problems.

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Elusive Blue

“Over categorization is perhaps the commonest trick of the human mind. Given a thimble full of facts we rush to make generalizations as large as a tub.”

Why didn’t we listen to Cassius Clay when he told the world that he had invented the “Anchor Punch”, the punch that brought down “ The Bear” in the first few minutes of the second fight? Why…? Because in the mid 1960’s we did not know what Cassius Clay had known about himself all along. And that was, that what he was doing in the ring in those two Championship title fights with Sonny “Charles” Liston would one day make him “The Greatest.” Looking back in hindsight if we only knew then what we know now about Muhammad Ali we would have never allowed the words, “Phantom Punch” to enter into our vocabulary.

Was this the first and the last time Cassius Clay brought his opponents down to the canvas using the “Anchor Punch”? If we trace the history of Cassius Clay before and after he became Muhammad Ali, we might see the punch being used in his amateur fights. But we definitely see it being used time and time again after he took the title away from Sonny Liston. If we really take a close look at those two fights with Sonny Liston, we can see the beginnings of what the great sports color commentator Howard Cosell would later announce to the world as the “Ali Shuffle”, the “Rope a dope” and expound on Ali’s legendary speed, ability to bob and weave, and the use of his legendary mouth to mentally wear his opponents down. It was not that he

was not as great in those two fights with Sonny, it was the fact that at that time in history the boxing world was not sophisticated enough to see how truly great he was. Looking back we can now see how it was possible for Cassius Clay to not only beat Sonny Liston once, but also twice. Every boxer while preparing for a fight watches pre-fight films of the boxers they are about to fight in the ring. They do this in order to study not only their opponent’s strengths but also their weaknesses. Once a boxer understands what he will be up against in his upcoming fight, he then sets out to train himself accordingly. The first thing he will do is look for a sparring partner who fights in a similar style and fashion as his future opponent.

Knowing his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, he will use his time in training camp as an opportunity to learn how to avoid his opponent’s strengths and exploit his weaknesses. One of Sonny’s strengths was his powerful left jab and his ability to take a punch. He was one of the few boxers in the world that could generate enough power to knock out another boxer just with his jab. Now Sonny using his jab as a potential knockout punch was not only revolutionary but also non-traditional. Traditionally,

“The left jab begins almost every offensive pattern in boxing, it closes or gauges the distance for the harder blows (the left hook and the straight right), and it is the lead- in blow for the majority of the combinations. Although the left jab is classified as a light- hitting blow, it can be most effective on both offense and defense. A short, snappy jab keeps an opponent off balance and can offset the harder but slower blows by beating them to the punch.”

Even though Mr. Ali and Sonny Liston were basically of different boxing styles and from different era’s they both found a way to reinvent the sport. The reason Sonny Liston’s jab had knockout potential was because he could put his whole body into that jab. He threw that jab as if he was sacrificing his life; body, mind and soul. Just imagine a man of the size and girth of Sonny Liston coming at you with his jab as if he were a train coming down the tracks at full speed, a “Night Train”. This was both a blessing and a curse for Sonny Liston. The reason being that after he threw his left jab, it always left him more often than not off-balance and exposed to an overhand right. The sheer force of the jab made Sonny’s left arm overextend his bicep making the bicep muscle recoil pulling his arm downward below his chin. If it weren’t for Sonny’s ability to take a punch, he would have been knocked out much sooner in his career.

I believe that my grandfather saw that most fighters feared his left jab. If you look at his fights, prior to the Cassius Clay fights his opponents tended to train to avoid his jab by always moving not toward it, but away from it. Soon Sonny did not need to be afraid of or worry about attacks from the left side of his head and body. At least the attempts to his left side would be few and far between. But in my opinion, that made him take his left side for granted by not bringing his guard back to protect his head after throwing his left jab.

“After a left jab lands, fold it back to the on-guard position to be ready for another maneuver. It is important that the arm recovery be made through the same plane that the blow takes on its way to the target. At no time should an opening be created by dropping the left hand on the recovery.”

No one, I mean no one, even ventured into that territory for more than a few seconds. A boxer’s fear of being knocked out by Sonny’s left jab had made Sonny Liston invulnerable. Sonny was so confident about his jab that he kept his left hand almost always at the level of his chest and at times only waist high.

Sonny went on record stating that he thought Cassius Clay was crazy and that he was scared of Cassius Clay. The reason I believe that Sonny feared Mr. Ali was that Mr. Ali was the first boxer he had ever faced who had trained not to move away from Sonny’s left jab as he fought him, but to move (toward) his left jab has he fought him.

Yes, Muhammad Ali was moving to the left in both title fights like every other boxer that had faced Sonny Liston. I’m speaking specifically about his pre-fight preparation of what he would term the “Anchor Punch”. I’m saying that Muhammad Ali was the first boxer crazy enough to train to knock Sonny out with a punch that not only Sonny would not expect, but also that the world would not expect. And that is one of the main reasons why no one saw the “Anchor Punch”. No one saw Mr. Ali’s punch because no one was looking for it. We were also blinded by 350 years of slavery,

100 years of legally enforced segregation, and decades of racial discrimination and prejudice in every facet of life. That history kept us preoccupied like a magician who uses sleight of hand (quick fingers) to manipulate cards and coins. And just like a magician, Muhammad Ali used not his fingers, but his quick fist to knock out Sonny Liston, while he manipulated us with our concepts on race. If you look at the faces of the fans who were at ringside, right up until the moment before Mr. Ali throws his famous Anchor Punch, you will notice that the fans seemed to be preoccupied; as if their minds were somewhere else. I’m not talking about the photographers, judges and time keepers. I’m talking specifically about the fans. Now if your mind is somewhere else then you aren’t living in the present. What could have been so compelling to the fans at ringside to make them collectively drift off from a championship fight; So much so that they missed the knockout punch?


And the genius of Ali was that he recognized Sonny’s hubris and by doing so he turned Sonny’s strength into his weakness. I say weakness because Sonny thought that no one would dare spend too much time in the range of his dangerous left jab for him to ever have to worry about defending himself from an over hand right. I mean there were boxers in the fifties like Whitehurst, Williams, Griffin, and Harris who attempted to venture over to Sonny’s left jab but only briefly. The overhand right’s these other boxers would throw at Sonny would not have the force necessary to knock him out.

When you see a train coming down the tracks, your natural instincts would tell you to get the hell out of the way. You would have to be either suicidal or crazy to play chicken with an oncoming train. But Cassius was the first boxer to “Walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil”. And that was also part of Mr. Ali’s way of psyching out Sonny. Sonny would also try to psyche out boxers before the beginning of each fight by using his stare of death.

By the time Sonny faced Muhammad Ali in the second title fight almost a decade after he fought Whitehurst, Williams , Griffin and Harris there was no reason for Sonny not to believe that his left jab and his left side to be impenetrable. Even when Sonny’s matches were filmed, they tended to follow the action of the boxers and only film Sonny on his right side as his opponents tended to always move predictably to Sonny’s right. It was almost not even necessary to have multiple cameras for Sonny’s fights. One camera on one side of the boxing ring seemed to be enough to follow the action during his fights. Anyone ever countering Sonny’s left jab was considered to be an afterthought. Sonny had no reason to change his left jab or evolve as a boxer because the boxers he had been facing had yet to evolve to counter his jab.


Boxing, up until the sixties had been steeped in tradition and had become predictable, safe, and somewhat conservative. But boxing has always needed to evolve as time went by. From the days of Queens Berry to the days of Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano, boxing has seen its styles, rules, and traditions change with the times but little did Sonny know and little did anyone else know that there was a “change gonna come” again. As soon as Sonny faced Cassius Clay not only would his left jab become a relic of the past, but also his way of fighting would become a remnant of a bygone era. For over fifty years the angle of the “Phantom Punch” was the only angle we were able to see.

The only reason they call it a “Phantom Punch” is because just before it lands on the chin of Sonny Liston it disappears out of camera range. But you see Sonny’s head snap viciously to the right at the time when his head should have snapped if he were punched. This great mystery is, after all these years only a silly technicality. Again, you only have to look at Sonny’s fights up until his title defense with Mr. Ali to see that he was unable to guard himself after throwing his left jab. It was only a matter of time before someone with enough power, strength and speed would bring him down.

When it comes to his stature, Mr. Ali is a big man. I would even call him a giant amongst men. I stand five foot ten and a half and still I had to look up at him while I was talking to him. What amazed me the most about his stature was how broad his shoulders were. The difference between a Muhammad Ali overhand right and most heavyweight boxers of that era or before it, is the blink of an eye. Muhammad Ali could throw his over hand right faster than you could blink your eye. This was actually scientifically proven after his fights with Sonny Liston. Mr. Ali was faster than any boxer in the world at that time in history. Come to think of it, he could have probably thrown it faster than anyone in the history of boxing up until that time.

Why? Because when he said he invented the “Anchor punch” he was telling us the truth. To understand this we have to go back to the ring. We have to go back to Mr. Ali’s pre-fight preparation. Remember that his sparring partner is fighting just like Sonny Liston would be fighting if he were in the ring for real. So what Mr. Ali had time to do that he didn’t have time to do in the actual fight was start and stop and analyze his sparring partners tactic’s. He can also stop and start the film that he is watching on Sonny Liston in order to do the same thing. This is where Muhammad Ali created his hypothesis on how to knock out Sonny Liston. He discovered that you could never knock out Sonny Liston if he saw your punch coming. Because when you see a punch coming you’re mentally prepared to take it.

He discovered that the only way to knock out Sonny Liston was for Sonny to never see the punch at all. A “Phantom Punch” as it we’re. It was at this time that Cassius Clay invented his “Anchor punch.” What made this punch different than the rest was in its design and application. At first glance, it was an overhand right like any other overhand right.


“An overhand (or overcut or drop) is a semi-circular and vertical punch thrown with the rear hand. It is usually when the opponent is bobbing or slipping. The strategic utility of the drop relying on body weight can deliver a great deal of power.”

If you go back and you watch the second fight, you will see Sonny throw the left jab to Mr. Ali’s head and Mr. Ali does what most classical boxers would do; and that is to back the hell up and avoid the jab. But how Mr. Ali revolutionized the overhand right was that he did not do what a hundred years of tradition told him to do. He decided to buck tradition and in doing so, he pissed off a lot of traditionalists who loved the Marciono’s, Lamata’s , and Louise’s . He took the chance of causing confusion and misunderstanding to a sport that had been set in its ways.

He decided that instead of jumping back to avoid the jab and landing on the ball of his foot and then to his heel, then from his heel moving the weight of his body back to the ball of his foot and then rotating on the ball of his foot and pushing off from it, rotating his hips to the left and then throwing the over hand right to Sonny’s head; that he would instead jump back from Sonny’s left jab, but while still in the air rotate his hips to the left so by the time he landed on to the ball of his right foot he could immediately throw his overhand right knowing that Sonny would not only not see it coming but also not be mentally ready to absorb it.

The reason Sonny would not have been ready for it or would not have seen that the punch was coming was because no one had ever thrown it that fast before. In actuality, it wasn’t even supposed to be there. At that very moment, Cassius Clay became not only a boxer but an astronaut. He said it himself and I quote,“I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”

At that exact moment boxing had begun its evolution and it would never again be what it once was. In the first, fight people protested that Sonny wasn’t trying hard enough. Sonny kept complaining about his shoulder and was not throwing the left jab as often as he would have in other fights. Well, what most people don’t know is that Sonny had been cleaning out the leaves in the storm drain at the house and fell off the ladder on to his left shoulder.

My Grandmother said that the dumbest thing Sonny Liston ever did was fight Cassius Clay in that first fight knowing that he had hurt his shoulder. But she said that Sonny’s management had convinced him to go ahead with the fight anyway. Let’s not forget that there was an unprecedented amount of money being offered for both the Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay fights. Geraldine Liston also told me that the two brothers who managed Sonny ruined their relationship over money. She told me that people change when it comes to money and they will fight over it even if it is a nickel more than they had before. Little did I know that this lesson in life would come back to haunt not only Geraldine but also the Liston family.

The real phantom in the second championship fight between Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali and the only phantom in the auditorium that day was not a punch at all. The only criminals in the room that day were not the Italians or the boxers. The real “Phantom Punch” was the American people being thrown for a loop by our shared history and history’s effect on the human consciousness.

Click the link below, to read my Amazon book, “BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON” , and leave a review. Thank you 

God is on the grindstone. Sharpening his children, to be used as a tool, to till the garden. So that it will one day bare fruit.

Man is imperfect, so if the Constitution is made up by men, is it not also imperfect? The Supreme Court was and is made up of fallible men. But they during their Judicial Oath, ask god to help them to uphold imperfect laws. And we wonder why they find themselves and our nation, in a conundrum, generation after generation.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brothers eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’when there is a log in your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:1-5 – Lynel Gardner

Sonny Liston Training

Real name Charles L. Liston
Nickname(s) The Big Bear
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Reach 84 in (213 cm)[1][nb 1]
Nationality American
Born c. 1930, exact date unknown
Sand Slough, Arkansas, U.S.
Died c.December 30, 1970 (aged 39–40)
Las VegasNevada, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 54
Wins 50
Wins by KO 39
Losses 4

Click the link below, to read my Amazon book, “BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON” , and leave a review. Thank you

In the spirit of Harriet Tubman and John Brown. Who together helped slaves escape through the underground railroad. Thee John Brown family, that escaped to Saratoga California. History repeats itself, as White and Black people, come together again in Los Gatos. To take a knee. Because,”Black Lives Matter!”.

Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship or limitation, or both. The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as ―hate speech






“The conqueror’s rule and write history in their own image.”

I remember growing up and being around my white friends, at Saint Lawrence Academy in San Jose, California in the early seventies and being only one of a handful of black kids in the whole school. I felt the need to fit in. I was always a little hypersensitive about my color, since I was constantly being reminded of the color of my skin on a daily basis. I used to hate Black History Month because being only one of two black kids in the 7th grade, I and the other black kid had to play every black person in the history of the world whenever the school needed a black character for their plays. I remember my English teacher would always say to the class when it was time for a new school play,

English Teacher. Well class, we are planning to do the Thirteen Stations for the school play this year, and there is just one more role we need to fill. Did you know that a black man helped Jesus carry the cross?

Little Lynel. Shit!

English Teacher. So who do you think should play the role of the black person who helps Jesus our lord and savior to his crucifixion?”

Class: Lynel!

Lynel: Shit!

Not only did I have to be the token black kid in the play but I also had to portray a character who helps Jesus carry His cross to His death. I did not see this as a good thing. I would rather have been the brother who helped Him to escape. I didn’t really know anything about racism until I started attending white schools and living in white neighborhoods. That is the first time I became aware of the fact that I had more than one name. I had the name that my mother and father had given me, and I also had the name that I inherited, as a member of my particular community.

To some people my name was Lynel, and to others, my name would always be…“The Nigger!” At that time in my life I was in need of acceptance and acknowledgement, especially not having my mother and father in the picture. My mother was a prostitute and my father was a pimp, so I sometimes had to make friends with people who I didn’t necessarily agree with wholeheartedly, in order not to be alone or for protection. As the saying goes “misery loves company”. So I clung to those friends who would accept me, even if it was only on their terms.

I remember one day, when I was hanging out with my friends at the lunch break. The word around school was that there was a new black kid. That seemed to be welcome news to me since I was tired of being the only Black thespian in the school. My hope was that this new kid could act. My white friends expressed their anger and hatred towards him, and looked at each other in agreement, and said in unison, “Now that’s a nigger” as he walked by us as we were standing by the gym. But they immediately turned to me and said, “Don’t worry Lynel, you’re one of us”.

I thought to myself, if the new kid is a nigger, then what am I? I felt like that kid again, the one who used to pretend that he was invisible; walking around town, surprised that people could still see me, in spite of having the powers of invisibility. I remember when my older brother told me to go inside the drugstore and steal a pack a bubble gum for him. I think I was five or six at the time. I knew that I could get away with it because I could become invisible. So I walked into the drug store and made my way over to the candy section.

I picked up the pack of gum and put it into my pocket. It did not matter that the clerk was standing right in front of the candy section because I was invisible. And as I started to make a bee-line for the front door, the clerk stopped me and said “Are you stealing that gum?” I just kept asking him “How did you see me?” “I’m invisible”! He asked me if my older brother had told me to come in to the store and steal the gum for him, since he could see my brother standing right in front of the front door waiting for me. The next thing I know, my brother took off up the street like he had stole something and not me.

Anyway, what did my friends at Saint Lawrence mean by saying that I was one of them? I certainly wasn’t white like them. To tell you the truth, I looked more like the new black kid than my Caucasian classmates. Hmm… it took me awhile, but I finally understood what they were trying to say. I was the type of black person that they were willing to accept, and he wasn’t. At that moment I knew that a decision had to be made and made quickly.

I had to choose to live my life being accepting of white people, in order to make it in the white man’s world, or choose to side with the black kid, and become the subject of ridicule and disdain. I had to hurry up and make a decision, because they were waiting for my response. At that moment time stood still and while deciding ,I had a flashback. All of a sudden I was back in my room, and I was five years old again, and Grandma Pocahontas was next to me helping me to say my bedtime prayers for the very first time.

Grandma Pocahontas. Ok, now let’s try and say it together. Are you ready?

Little Lynel. Yes grandma.

Grandma Pocahontas. Here we go on three alright? Ready? one…two… three…

Grandma Poky and Little Lynel. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I should die, before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take.

But I was just daydreaming, because when I came to, my friends were still standing there waiting for my response to the new kid. This was going to be the hardest decision of my young life, to not only abandon my own people, but to also abandon myself. And on March 26, 1977, “a day that will live in infamy”, I made the choice to survive at the cost of my soul. And once I did this, the words that my friends had been waiting for started to pour out of my mouth .Like a mighty river. I said to them, “Yeah, the new kid… is a nigger” and we all laughed… all the way home.

Click the link below, to read my Amazon book, “BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON” , and leave a review. Thank you 

Sonny Liston Birth Certificate Part 3

The history of Vital Records in Arkansas

Sonny was born at the hospital, and not at home. That is why his name, was not in the family bible.

Click the link below, to read my Amazon book, “BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON” , and leave a review. Thank you The history of Vital Records in Arkansas