We'll tell the story later (it's a story drenched in blackness), but suffice it to say, it cost the first black mayor of St. Louis his job. A hilarious political ad - by the more white-friendly black mayoral candidate Clarence Harmon - read:
"$120,000 stolen from midnight basketball. Money for police and children's health care squandered. Hundreds of city cell phones misused. And millions in city contract handouts to his political cronies."But that's a story for another day (one of those perfect antidotes to the endless onslaught of positively impossible Black History Month stories)...
Only days after the announcement of the 2nd Annual "40 Days of Non-Violence" tipped off in 98 percent black East St. Louis, the upstanding black leaders of the most African in America city in the entire USA have decided to call midnight (midnite) basketball off the bench. [Midnight Basketball Returns to East St. Louis, CBS St. Louis, 2-2-15]:
They’re bringing back midnight basketball in East St. Louis, hoping to get young males off the streets on Friday nights and get them exercising with mentor supervision.
One of the organizers, Harold Lawary, says it’ll be run similar to league play East St. Louis had back in the late 1990’s, started by St. Clair County Judge Walter Brandon, “Any given Friday we had well over 200 young men there in the gym between the hours of 10pm and 2am. We had four games of basketball each Friday. There were no problems, no fussing, and no fighting. Everything was smooth.”
Lawary says the the Greater Metro East Male Involvement Program has support from law enforcement and the city of East St. Louis leaders, “We’re giving the males an opportunity to have some place to be during the hours identified as the high crime hours in our city.”
The season is expected to begin February 13, with games being held each Friday night at the Sunshine Cultural Art Center, 630 N. 59th Street in East St. Louis.
Lawary says they’re hoping to raise $30,000 in donations from businesses and individuals to fund the program.
He says checks may be made out to the Community Performance Ensemble, in care of the Midnight Basketball Program, 630 N. 59th Street in East St. Louis 62203.Just for the record: one of the reasons "midnite basketball" failed in St. Louis back in the mid-1990s was because the black mayor of the city appointed a black crony to run the league. This black crony, Darryl "Pee Wee" Lenard, was accused of stealing $50,620 from the Midnite Basketball program.
The reason? Because he was allegedly kidnapped by drug dealer in East St. Louis and his family had to pay ransom... [BASKETBALL MONEY WENT FOR RANSOM, SOME SOURCES SAY, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8-24-1997]
No program in all of American history celebrates the unique contributions of black people to the communities they belong to across the country like midnight "midnite" basketball, for it is these programs that are designed to keep them from engaging in uniquely black criminality....