As a young man growing up in the 60’s and 70’s Muhammad Ali was a hero and inspiration to me and too many young Black man during that period in American history. It was a time of redefining and discovering who we were and who we were not.
When you have the courage and faith to believe in yourself, you can achieve what many consider greatness. Ali taught us by example that we all had the ability to be great if we truly believed in ourselves; this is why he will always be the Greatest.
The 2016 Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic will take place on June 19th the day that I was born a few decades ago. This historic event was created by an African-American police officer David Walker. In the beginning the cycling even was focused on bicycle racing and cycling safety awareness programs for community youth.
In a few years this annual June event which is always held on Father’s Day became a premiere attraction of the United States Cycling Federation attracting national and international cycling champions as well as local cyclist from Harlem and the greater New York area to compete. Nelson Beasley Vails was one of the local cyclists who competed in this event.
Nelson was a bike massager who lived in the projects on 115th street and Lenox Avenue. Nelson’s success in riding as well if not better than many of the professional cyclists each year at the Skyscraper Classic, allowed him to be discovered by scouts and become a national and international champion himself.
He went on to become the first African-American to win an Olympic medal in cycling. He won a silver medal at the 1984 summer Olympics and came very close to winning the gold.
The Harlem Arts Festival will close out the wonderful month of June with the annual free festival featuring dance, theater, & visual arts during the last weekend in June. The Harlem Arts Festival will also take place in Marcus Garvey Park. For further information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.