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Michael Ezra

WBA heavyweight boxing champion, entertainer, and businessman, was born in Belzoni, Mississippi, one of ten children of Lovick Terrell, a metal dipper, and Annie Terrell. Terrell's family moved to Chicago in 1953. As a teenager, Terrell discovered the Midwest Gym, on the corner of Madison and Hamelin streets near Garfield Park, and became interested in watching big-name professional fighters—men like Rocky Marciano, Kid Gavilan, Sugar Ray Robinson—train. Observing great fighters sparked Terrell's desire to become a boxer, and while enrolled in Farragut High School, from which he would graduate in 1959, he began to enter amateur tournaments.

Terrell won the Chicago Golden Gloves tournament and later captured an intercity Golden Gloves championship. In 1957 while still in high school Terrell turned professional Also that year while organizing a talent show to celebrate his high school graduation Terrell purchased his ...


Edward E. Baptist

singer and business owner, was born Irma Lee in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, the daughter of Percy Lee, a steel mill worker and longshoreman, and Vadar (maiden name unknown), an elevator operator. At the age of three, Irma moved to New Orleans with her parents, but when the time came for her to start first grade, she returned to the country to live with her aunt. When she was in fourth grade, she moved back to New Orleans to stay.

In New Orleans, Irma, whose other musical influences included singing in church and listening to records of her father's favorites, like Percy Mayfield and Mahalia Jackson, soaked up the emerging rhythm and blues scene of the city. At age fourteen, however, her youth came to a sudden halt when she became pregnant. Her parents insisted that she marry the father of the child, Eugene Jones Irma s mother ...