In 1965 Cisero S. Murphy won the Burbank World Invitational 14.1 tournament in California, and in the process became the first African American ever to win a national championship billiard title. On his march to victory, Cisero beat such greats as Luther Lassiter, Jimmy Moore, Joe Balsis and Jack Breit. But Cisero earlier had been kept out of national-class competition, despite racking up an incredible record at the city and state level. His exclusion from an important world title event in 1964 prompted a picket by the NAACP and others.
His son, Cisero K. Murphy, has now penned an autobiography describing his somewhat complicated relationship with his dad. The son’s love for the father comes through loud and clear in the book, although their story also includes its share of heartbreak and betrayal. As I said: the relationship was complicated. You can find the book online, here.
Cisero the pool player died in 1996 after suffering a massive heart attack while driving in Brooklyn. I visited with the pool player’s namesake son recently, and he was gracious enough to take me to the mural there celebrating his famous dad. That’s a picture of us, above. Next time you’re in New York be sure to check it out. The mural is located near Prospect Park, in the Flatbush area. And if you want to grab a copy of the new book, you can find it at this link.
— R.A. Dyer