Biblical, not necessarily historical
studies figured prominently in Freeman’s early years. Born
43 years ago in Lewiston, Maine, he moved with his family in
1960 to Alberta, Canada, where he grew up.
At age 17, he left Canada to travel and eventually ended
up at his sister’s home in Maine.
It was there that he began his formal Bible study. Mr.
Freeman graduated from a bible school in southern, Maine,
which he says has since closed.
In 1977, Mr. Freeman moved to this area and became
chaplain for the NBA Washington Wizards (formerly the
Washington Bullets) two years later. This year marks his 19th
As chaplain, he counsels the players, some of whom seem
in need of his ministerial touch. In November, star player
Juwan Howard was arrested for driving while intoxicated. He
entered alcohol rehabilitation, and charges were not
pursued. More recently, Wizard point guard Rod Strickland
was arrested and charged with driving under the influence
and disorderly conduct. He has pleaded not guilty.
"Sometimes when someone is in trouble, the instinct
is for the person to hide and run away from help," Mr.
"What I do is let them know that I know what has
happened, if it’s a DWI or something that’s in the
press. I let them know that I’ve been thinking of praying
for them and that I’m open to talk," he says.
Mr. Freeman holds a doctorate in counseling and lives in
Severn, Maryland, with his wife, Shirley, and their four
children. He serves as chaplain part time and runs The
Freeman Institute™, his own leadership and
communications consulting firm.
The importance of the historical data he and Mr. Griffin
found in their research compelled them to write "Return
to Glory," Mr. Freeman says.
The first part of the book was written by Mr. Griffin and
explores ancient civilizations and contributions that blacks
made to them. The second half, written by Mr. Freeman, deals
with problems that confront black men about their black
heritage," says Mr. Freeman.
However, some of the information he and Mr. Griffin offer
in their book about ancient Egypt and other civilizations
has long been disputed by various historians and critics of
It took the men a year to complete the 184-page book,
which was published by Renaissance Productions Inc. in
Woodbury, NJ. "Return to Glory" hit area
bookstores in May. So far, 6,000 copies have been sold.
"It’s not as far-reaching as I’d like to see
it," Mr. Freeman says.
He and Mr. Griffin are making radio and TV appearances to
promote the book. Meanwhile, churches around the country
around the country are using the book in their Sunday school
classes, Mr. Freeman says.
"I am personally going to be putting the book in the
hands of every NBA player in the league, with the idea that
it will be an educational tool for them. Maybe they might
want to give the books to young people in their
spheres," he says.
He hopes the book offers young black males a sense of
pride in what their ancestors accomplished and wants them to
have hope for the future.
"If this book sparks just a few people, then it
would be a smashing success," he says. "Our
expectations are more on each individual becoming
vision-driven, not anger-driven.
"Let’s hope also that whites will read it and use
the book as a tool for creating deeper dialogue with African
Americans," Mr. Freeman says.
His favorite chapter is "The Young Warriors,"
which deals with acceptance and taking personal
responsibility for one’s mental state and resisting being
drawn into despair.
Mr. Freeman says the book, in essence, provides a
"road map to wholeness."
He says he and Mr. Griffin targeted black males ages
12 to 25 as their reading audience, they noticed that many
books on black history were written on a 12th
grade reading level.
"Our eyes were glazed over at such heady, high-level
reading’" Mr. Freeman says, adding that he and Mr.
Griffin sought to make their book