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Bobo Brazil (1923-1998)


Real NameHouston Harris
Lifespan7/10/23 - 1/20/98
6'4" 270 lbs. - Benton Harbor, MI

Athletic BackgroundBaseball (Semi-Pro) 

Teacher(s)Jumping Joe Savoldi

Professional BackgroundSan Francisco[NWA](`61-`62), San Francisco[AWA](`65-`66), San Francisco[AWA](`67) Nashville(`74), GCCW(`74-`76), Nashville(`77), Memphis(`78) Indies(`??-`97) 

AliasesBubu Brazil 

Peak Years`56-`70

Place in HistoryPro-wrestling has been knocked as a racist sport years after the days of segregation, but a few black wrestlers were able to achieve unprecedented popularity and Bobo Brazil is at the top of the list. Houston Harris was born in Arkansas, but raised in the pro-wrestling hotbed of St. Louis. He was broken in by Jumping Joe Savoldi, but introduced to a difficult sport to get acceptance in. A muscular giant with natural babyface charisma, Bobo was quick to get over with black fans and eventually won over white fans as well. Working in Washington D.C., Brazil was only allowed to work against other blacks to avoid race riots, but eventually the NAACP intervened and he was programmed with top level heels like Killer Kowalski and Freddie Blassie. Brazil also established himself first in Ohio and by the mid-50s was the usual challenger when the NWA World Champion came to town and it went to the next level when scored a disputed win over NWA Champion Buddy Rogers and won the WWA World title from Buddy Austin. While never a great in-ring worker to begin with, Bobo Brazil was in his late 40s when he had the feud that he would forever be tied to. In Detroit, Bobo Brazil was a local favorite as he moved to the area, raised his family and opened Bobo's Grill. The Sheik, Ed Farhat, was the promoter in Detroit since the mid-60s, began a feud with Bobo Brazil that lasted for about a quarter of the century. They exchanged Detroit's version of the United States title, starting in `67 and lasting through `76. In the late 70s through the early 90s, Bobo continued to wrestle sporadically, but his game and drawing power dropped off as pro-wrestling went national. He was continually recognized as a legend before a stroke took his life in 1998. Pro-wrestling is largely a racist sport, it plays to stereotypes and while Bobo Brazil helped break the color barrier, he also played up the age-old role of a happy-go-lucky black man. He also perpetuated other stereotypes exclusive to pro-wrestling like the friendships with other minorities, being a fan-loving hero who represented "his people" and having a rock hard head using the "Coco Butt" as his finisher. Houston Harris was a generous man who helped pro-wrestling evolve greatly and should be recognized for his accomplishments in the face of racism.