Creator and original host of Soul Train, a syndicated music program that aired for over three decades. He began the program in 1970 on Chicago's WCIU-TV station.
He served in the United States Marine Corps during the mid-1950s.
As a journalist, he covered stories related to the Civil Rights Movement.
His first marriage, to Delores Harrison, produced two sons: Anthony and Raymond.
He helped pave the way for funk master James Brown.