(ATLANTA – April 13, 2023) – Morocco Coleman nominated “Hal” Lamar for a Joe Manns Black Wall Street Award. Lamar is but one of the honorees at the upcoming Black Wall Street ATL 2023 in Atlanta, GA on Wed., May 17, 2023, from 6 to 8 pm at the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center located at 807 Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard Atlanta, GA 30314.
RSVP to https://blackwallstreetatl2023.eventbrite.com/.
Who is Hal? Well, we’ll let him do the talking …
HAROLD D “HAL” LAMAR
Birthplace: Atlanta, January 23, 1950
EDUCATION: Atlanta Public Schools K-12
Frank L Stanton, Collier Heights Elementary,
CL Harper High school
Studied: Morehouse College, (1968-1970)
Georgia State University (1970-1971)
Defense Information School of Journalism, Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana (May-July, 1971)
MILITARY: Vietnam Veteran, (1971-1973)
“I started out with career goals of being an architect and took mechanical drafting under the late Eddie Peters from 1966 to 1968. But in ’68, I happened upon radio station WIGO, located then in the basement of the Georgian Terrance Hotel at Peachtree and Ponce de Leon Avenue. I caught the attention of popular Atlanta broadcaster John Wesley “Jivemaster” Persons who welcomed me to the studio. The visit intrigued me enough to visit him several times. I also met the late Otis W. Mack, known as Lee Cross “with the hot sauce, and “the geeter with the red hot heater” on the air. He, too, was a native son and got into radio while working as a janitor at the station. Between the two, I got to know how radio works from the inside. I continued to frequent the station, meeting other announcers, entertainers, and singers along the way.
Slowly, the dream of being an architect faded like so much snow in hell. Meanwhile, I learned that Georgia State University maintained a campus radio station. In December 1969, I left “WeGo” and Morehouse for WRAS-FM, becoming a station staff member. But by late 1970, the draft was breathing down my neck and my studies at both Morehouse and Georgia State suffered … badly. So, expecting to get the brown “greetings” letter any day and especially with my draft number being 118-( in other words 1A), I went downtown to an Army recruiting office to see what I could do. An Army staff sergeant suggested I “volunteer for the draft” which offered me an opportunity for placement in a military occupational skill (MOS). I ended up in military journalism because broadcast school was full. I departed for Fort Polk, Louisiana on March 3, 1971.
After basic training and Journalism School, I was sent to Vietnam as a combat photographer in the city of Da Nang in the northern part of Vietnam. I brought along a copy of one of my radio shows hoping to land a spot on the American Forces Vietnam Radio and TV Service (AFRTS). As it turned out, the host of AFVN’s R&B show named CJ “the nighthawk” McMurray was returning to the US and they needed a replacement. My tape was in the right place at the right time!
I spent 10 of my 12-month tour “spinning wax and talking trash and facts” as Army Specialist 4 Harold ‘The Seventh Son” Lamar, host of “Soul Train”. I returned to the US in September of 1972 and served the rest of my hitch at Fort Lewis in Washington state. I spent 18 months as head of the Fort’s radio and TV wing and “moonlighting” nights and weekends at KGY-AM in the capitol city of Olympia as its first Black announcer and spinning records for KTOYM in Tacoma. I returned to Atlanta in December of 1973 and picked up where I left off at WIGO as my instructor Jivemaster’s morning news anchor.
In 1976, I went to WAOK Radio as an announcer/sports director until 1980 when I joined the staff of WABE-FM, the local affiliate for National Public Radio. From 1980 to 1981, in addition to my local duties, I filed 300 stories for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, two highly-rated news magazines. I returned to commercial radio in 1982 at WAOK radio and under program director and colleague Larry Tinsley, anchored news, sports, and football play-by-play, including the very first Atlanta Football Classic at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium by the Atlanta chapter of 100 Black Men. Our broadcast crew included me as anchor chief, former pro football player Ron Snorton, and sideline reporter Robin Roberts (now with Good Morning America). Technically, as crew chief, I was Robin’s boss for three hours.
The company that owned V-103 at or around this time purchased WAOK and we wound up working both stations. I eventually would join the morning show team of Mike Roberts, Carol Blackmon, the late Joe Walker, and Roberts who also worked at WAGA-TV, then ESPN, and now ABC’s “Good Morning America”. In 1998, the station underwent a personnel change and I wound up working for about a year under the late Ron Sailor on KISS 104.1. I then contemplated retirement but decided to try a hand at full-time newspaper writing and was hired on as a news/sports reporter for the Atlanta Voice with a tough-nosed newspaper and radio man, Stan Washington. I also delved into a little TV by hosting “Round Town with Hal Lamar” on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcast cable channel (AIB).
In 2010, I retired from day-to-day journalism but still kept a hand in and decided to continue writing for the Atlanta Inquirer as a reporter and Sports Editor.
Fifty-one years in this business has been a blessing which I see as more of a ministry than a job to keep my “people” informed, often working “off the clock“ to do that. I saw it as a ministry and because I knew if I kept God first, the windows of heaven would pour out a blessing.“
Here is my timeline in broadcast and print:
1968-1969-Writer and editorial cartoonist for the Morehouse College newspaper and later in the same position for the Georgia State Signal.
1970-Staff Announcer for WRAS-FM, Atlanta
1971-72- Voted second most popular announcer on Armed Forces Radio and TV (AFVN) by soldiers, non-coms, 0fficers, and the Vietnam public. Our 50,000-watt signal reached not only Vietnam but Thailand, Laos, Australia, Guam, the Philippines, and, according to some accounts, the state of Hawaii!!!
1972-73-Announcer for KGY-AM Olympia Washington (their first black announcer), KTOY-FM, Tacoma Washington, and broadcast chief, 9th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington
1974- was part of a two-person news team at WIGO-1340 AM who shared Associated Press’s news team of the year with WSB Radio
1976-was a founding member of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists
1979-Staff announcer for WABE-FM, owned by the Atlanta public school system. (WABE was a major affiliate in Atlanta for National Public Radio)
1980- a co–finalist with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for the documentary, “Black Colleges-an educational oasis.”
1991- Communications award by the Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta
1995, I was named the Pioneer Black Journalist by AABJ
1997-was named a “Drum Major for Justice award winner by SCLC Women
2001-named sportswriter-sportscaster of the year by the 100% Wrong Club of Atlanta
2002-Awarded the Malcolm X Self Determination Award by the Malcolm X grassroots movement of Atlanta
I am also blessed to be the husband of a “saint”, the former Patsy Collier of Hammond, Louisiana. The amalgamation created a family that provided me with three stepsons, Tracie, Chris, and Hughey “Buck”, two sons in–law Sylvester and Alex, three stepdaughters Sabrina (Sylvester), and Stacey, a biological daughter Anita M Lamar-Huber, Esq., plus 17 grandchildren and 11 great-grands.
I‘m also so blessed to have had loving parents, the late Alfred and Farris Lamar who tolerated me enough to love my radio career, my sister, retired registered nurse (BSN) Peggy Lamar, and countless mentors. A partial list: Radio; Doug Steele (WAOK), John Persons and Lee Cross(WIGO), Brother Esmond Patterson (WAOK), Bon Mckee (WAOK), Ben Handy (WAOK) Charles “ Scotty” Andrews(V103 ), Military; Army command Sergeant Major Emmanuel Harper (AFVN), Art Burnett (‘Nam roommate), “Fast” Eddie Thomas (WIGO), bosses Myriam Richmond (News director, WAOK), Mike Bucki (news director, WABE-FM), Randy Humphrey (news boss, WIGO), Paul EX Brown (broadcast mentor), Herman “H” Johnson (WIGO, WABE); school teachers Eugene Thomas (6th grade, 1st football coach), Wallace Bibbs (teacher), Jimmy Askew (mentor), Mrs. Virginia Hawkins (7th grade, Coach Alexander Shepherd(soccer), Coach William ”Bill” Montgomery (baseball), Herman Reese (8th grade English), Vanester Pugh (senior English) , Alice Bass (English), Anita Peek (math), Eddie Peters (mechanical drafting, baseball coach); pastors/spiritual advisors Rev. JA Wilborn, Dr.Otis Moss Junior, Rev-Dr. William Womack, Bishop Michael Paden, Rev. James Bullard, Deacons Harrison Whatley, William “Bill” Boykin, Leo Davenport, friends; Willie Street, Barry, and Bobby(Amin Sudan) Westbrooks, Rev James “Jimmy” Wilborn( and his brothers Rev Reginald and Dewitt Wilborn, Kent Williams, Jacques Taylor, Ronald Campbell (business partners), Johnny Simon, Mike Williams, Robert Fitzpatrick and William “Gilmore” Thomas (the Naturals), photographer Harmon Perry, Ms. Janis Ware (publisher, Atlanta Voice)
And Presently: I keep holding on to the 4th estate. I freelance write for the Atlanta Inquirer under publisher/editor John Smith Junior and where the association with the paper began at age 11 – delivering newspapers from 1961 to now. That’s right…60 years. I celebrated my 73rdt birthday on January 23, 2023.
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