World’s first African-American circus troupe inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The King Charles Troupe has been inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame, an award that recognizes people who have made a significant contribution to the art and culture of the circus.

8 News Now met some of the original members Thursday night. 

The King Charles Troupe was the first circus act comprised entirely of African Americans. During their show, the group played a game of high-energy basketball on unicycles. 

“The main focus was always that bike,” said Floyd Sweets Harrison, an original member. 

Back then, it was like nothing we’ve seen before.

“We were doing something that was special, and we needed to respect it as such,” said Harrison. 

The group of young men grew up in the southeast Bronx, New York. The circus was a way to escape the streets.

“It was absolutely a different world for us, coming out of the south Bronx,” said Harrison. 

The group was so successful that they even had a long-standing career in the entertainment capital of the world. 

“We were ready for Vegas! We had heard so much about Las Vegas that by the time we got here and seen all these lights it was like alright!”

Harrison visited his friend Tony Reid at the Silver Ridge Healthcare Center to show him the award on Thursday.

“I’m older than Tony, and I’ve always tried to grow up and be like him,” said Harrison. 

Reid suffered a stroke years ago, but he did have something to say:

“I feel proud… just very proud.” 

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