ALTON H. MADDOX, JR.
TEL.: (718) 834-9034
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P.O. BOX 35
BRONX, NY 10471
In Remembrance of Gil Noble
By Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
When I received the word that Gil Noble, longtime host of “Like It Is”, had made his transition, I had just completed a letter to WABC-TV complaining about the lack of public affairs programming in dealing with the presence of racial violence in the United States. This is a national epidemic.
Gil Noble made his transition on April 5. Two of his favored ancestors had made their transitions on April 4. Every year, Gil would give Blacks, in the tri-state area, a steady diet of their contributions. These giants were Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. and Cong. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
“Of all the disciplines, history is best qualified to reward our research”. These are the words of Malcolm X. Gil was big on Malcolm. Actually, Malcolm may have been Gil’s most revered ancestor. Although “Like It Is” was a public affairs program, Gil sprinkled it with African history.
Nationalism was the engine that drove “Like It Is”. Marcus Garvey had a prominent script on “Like It Is”. So did Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Dr. Yosef ben Yochannan. This irked WABC-TV but Gil knew that the airwaves belonged to the public. Our revered ancestors have died with “Like It Is”.
An opening statement gives a jury a bird’s eye view of litigation. So did the opening to “Like It Is” give the same bird’s eye view to it audience. There was the distinguishable and intense, drumming sounds. This was followed by a collage of revered ancestors. Black nationalism would unfold before your very eyes.
Gil stayed on at WABC-TV until he was 79 years of age and, afterwards, contracted a stroke. He doubted that anyone would pick up the blood-stained banner. Throughout the decades at WABC-TV, he had to carry a heavy burden. It is difficult for whites to finance the liberation of Blacks.
WABC-TV could not wait until Gil fell to his knees. There was an urgent need to not only change the name of the program but also its format. “Like It Is” was reduced to “Here and Now”. The format went from public affairs programming to arts and entertainment. There is no trace of our African heritage on “Here and Now”.
Since October 2011, there has been a protracted struggle to get “Like It Is” back on track. The African philosophy of Gil Noble and Elombe Brath was too much for WABC-TV. Black nationalism contradicts all of the tenets of white supremacy and this contradiction was aired openly every Sunday at noontime.
I went to the FCC in Washington, DC this past February. I left the FCC with too many questions unanswered. Important records supposedly were located at another venue. I vowed to return next week. In tribute, I will be back at the FCC next week. Gil’s valiant work must not be enjoined. Our story is still incomplete.
Three African giants died in the same month and in the same year. The month was April. The year was 1950. These giants were Dr. Charles Drew, Charles Hamilton Houston and Dr. Carter G. Woodson. My mother also died in April but years later. Now, Gil Noble made his transition on April 5, 2012. The skies are open and he is being welcomed back home by all of our revered ancestors.
The struggle continues.