Three Times A Lady

By Harold Bell
Updated: December 9, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. — I want to express my deepest sympathy to the Murphy family who recently celebrated the life of the patriarch of the family, the late Mrs. Frances Murphy. She was a sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and a friend of the black community.

Mrs. Murphy was a giant in media and in our community. The Afro-American newspaper is one of the oldest Black newspapers in America. She gave me my first opportunity to hone my skills as a writer when she allowed me to write commentaries and columns in the Afro.

It all started when I gave Mrs. Murphy one of my commentaries at a community meeting we were both attending in DC. I had written the commentary for my sports talk show Inside Sports, never thinking I would see it in the newspaper. Two weeks later there it was in the Editorial section of the Afro along with the typos and bad grammar all corrected.

The published commentary inspired me to continue to improve my writing skills. This was long before my commentaries and columns appeared in the Washington Post and other print media outlets around the country.

She gave her approval for me to continue to write and reveal the darker sides and controversial sides of sports that included stories on Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson and boxing icons Sugar Ray Leonard and Don King, all heroes in the black community. The only time these stories were hear or read in the media was on “Inside Sports.”

These were stories the Washington Post would dare not touch until the Afro published them first. The Washington Post followed the Afro’s lead when it came to reminding the black athlete who he was and exactly where he came from.

Two months after my commentary on “John Thompson Up Close & Personal,” the Washington Post published the first of a two part series on the basketball icon with the second part of the series never appearing in print. Surely, a cover-up.

Mrs. Murphy and I would see each other in the community and we would pass each other like ships in the night. We would always speak and move on. In 1980 I would see Mrs. Murphy at Face’s Restaurant on Georgia Ave. NW. having lunch. Face’s Restaurant was then a popular hang out of the movers and shakers in the black community.

I stopped by her table as I was leaving to thank her for her support. She looked up at me and said, “Hi Mr. Bell, congratulations on being named Washingtonian of the Year, what a nice honor. I like what you are doing with our young people keep up the good work.”

In 1980, I was the first sports media personality ever named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. I was honored again by Mrs. Murphy’s kind and thoughtful words.

In February 2007, I was honored by Tom Joiner on his morning show heard in 142 markets throughout the country and I was the featured story on the during Black History Month. The story was titled “Living Black History: Broadcasting Icon Harold Bell, the Visionary Behind Inside Sports.”

On November 15, I was involved in one of the breaking stories on the 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm news on NBC-TV (Channel 4). The story was “Good Samaritan Rescues Child From Subway Tracks.”

On November 26, again I was cited by Tom Joiner on his morning radio show and again I was the featured story on the The story was titled “DC Broadcast Pioneer Lauded For Rescuing Girl Who Fell Onto Subway Tracks.”

I pay tribute and say thanks to Mrs. Frances Murphy “Three Times A Lady” for honoring and helping me to become all that I could be in the community and in sports media. She allowed me to take stands and make statements that others in print media dared not.

Mrs. Murphy proved that no man is an Island and we all need a helping hand in this “Game Called Life.”