“Lifechangers” changing lives in West Philly

The Black community is full of success stories in chess, but oftentimes the works of hardworking pioneers go unnoticed and underappreciated. Mikyeil El-Mekki is one of those figures tapping potential in Philadelphia youth in a city also known for prowess in athletic pursuits. El-Mekki presents founded the Paul Robeson Chess Club in honor of the great scholar, singer, orator, and athlete who lived his last days in Philadelphia with his sister.

Robeson House in West Philadelphia

Paul Robeson with wife Eslanda and son, Paul Jr.

Chess is often used as a tool to view the possibilities of life. Many organizations have a similar ring, but each approach changes with the environment. The concept of “life strategies” has deep roots in the city’s culturally-rich traditions. Philadelphia is home to a well-known chess pedigree with the Vaux championship teams.


“Life is the only thing that has more possibilities than a chess game.”

~Mikyeil El-Mekki


With so many social challenges in the Black community, youth are looking for constructive outlets and there is none more inviting than chess. It is an activity to help in the development of social skills and analytical abilities. Lifechangers made some bold pronouncements when interviewed for the CBS affiliate. Take a look.

Link: https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2020/02/20/gamechangers-mikyeil-el-mekki-paul-robeson-chess-club/

Robeson House in West Philadelphia

Robeson House in West Philadelphia

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

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