Little Known Black History Fact: Charles Adolphus Williams

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  • Charles Adolphus Williams was not only one of the first black British professional football players but he was Britain’s first famous black stand-up comedian. Williams’ catch phrase “me old flowers” became his claim to fame when he appeared on several British television shows in the 1970’s.

    Williams dropped out of school at age 14 and within five years he was playing with the Doncaster Rovers, a professional football team. After only scoring one goal in 171 games, Williams tried a singing career in nightclubs. It was his colorful jokes between songs that got the applause. Williams would tell the white hecklers in his audience: “If you don’t shut up, I’ll come and move in next door to you.”

    Williams was a regular for the popular British show “The Comedians.” In 1972, he had his own show, “It’s Charlie Williams, on Granada Television.” A year later, he was awarded his own television special, the “Charlie Williams Show” on BBC2.

    As a writer and personality, Williams published an autobiography, “Ee-I’ve Had Some Laughs” and was even featured on the comic strip Shiver and Shake. Williams finally retired in 1995 after critics called his humor (which was racially charged based on his 1970’s shtick), outdated.

    Aside from comedic and literary work, Charles Adolphus Williams released the song, “That’s What I Should Have Said” which received numerous plays on Barnsley radio stations.

    In 1999, Williams received the distinguished honor as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his charitable contribution. The following year he was given a lifetime achievement award at the Black Comedy Awards, for having “broken down barriers”.

    Charles Adolphus Williams died September 2, 2006.

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