Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 7, 2008
It’s Black History Month, and it may seem odd to talk about someone who was a professional wrestler. However, I’ve always loved wrestling, and when I was a kid, one of my favorites was a guy named Bobo Brazil, probably because he was one of the few black wrestlers of the day, and a good guy to boot.
With all the problems there used to be between the races, along with segregation, and the stories of trailblazers like Jackie Robinson who broke color barriers in professional sports, I have to admit that I never thought of wrestling as one of those sports where a black man would have problems breaking the color barrier, and how, oddly enough, someone like Bobo Brazil could actually make promoters break the color barrier.
First things first; for some odd reason, we can’t even get confirmation on what his real name was. Wikipedia lists it as Houston Harris, but they haven’t been able to confirm it, nor his actual date of birth. What is known is that he started wrestling in the 1950’s against all black competition, traveling with other wrestlers, sometimes in places with segregated audiences, which was standard for the time. What eventually happened, though, is that the fans clamored for Bobo to be put into matches with white wrestlers, and seeing the tides of change, it happened. And, because he crossed lines, and the fans loved it, other wrestlers were finally able to compete against anyone, and it made things better for everyone.
To read more about Bobo Brazil, check out this page from the WWE Website; not sure how long it’ll be up. And while you’re there, since I have no real idea how many people might be wrestling fans, check out some of the other black wrestlers from the past that are being highlighted this month. It makes for good reading, whether you are a fan or not.