The inspiration of historical Turkey Tour
It has been more than 50 years since legendary boxing promoter, indefatigable advocate for peace and women’s rights Don King decided to expand his philanthropy with his traditional Turkey Tour that will return to his home town of Cleveland on Monday Dec. 18.
King’s giving back to the community was inspired by Benny Mason, of the "B&M" policy house, and Buster Mathews of the "Goldfield" policy house, who were the main kingpins of the numbers game in 1930s and 1940s Cleveland.
Mason, who was owner a neighborhood grocery store, and Matthews made donations to Black churches and gave money to Black students for education in addition to buying coats for the homeless during the frigid winter season.
King rose from the Cleveland ghetto and numbers business and ascended into the greatest boxing promoter of all time and international figure who is on a first name basis with global leaders and United States Presidents past and present.
Today, he owns Don King Productions in addition the Cleveland’s institutional icon Call & Post Newspaper, in addition to maintaining the historical Turkey Tour, which has expanded to six cities including Cleveland, New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Florida.
For the past two year’s the Turkey Tour has been hosted by King’s publication the Call & Post at its offices on Shaker Blvd. in Cleveland.
Each year thousands of individuals and their families receive turkeys for the holiday season.
Here in Cleveland, the call began pouring into the Call & Post in advance of Thanksgiving inquiring when the event will take place.
King was born and raised in Cleveland and he resonates with generations of Clevelanders, thus the event is more than just an opportunity to receive a turkey but also to meet the legend himself.
The Turkey Tour is arguably the longest running individual turkey give away of its kind in America and depending on the city, individuals will brave the snow, fleet or rain to get theirs.
It is an exhausting exercise that begins with King, but includes scores of organizations, volunteers and community stake holders to make it possible.
This all happens because King learned early on the difference between doing things right, but the greater lesson is doing the right.
The greater good is taking the blame when things go wrong and less of the credit when things go right.
Action is indicated in your deeds and not just your words and because of the examples of giving back to communities of color by both Mason and Matthews, they would say, “Job Well Done.”