THE ADVENTURES OF SINBAD THE SAILOR/UPN/1996 (Mute)
Rongar (Oris Orhuero), a black, knife-throwing mute sailor who accompanied Sinbad the Sailor on his ancient mid-eastern voyages.
His tongue was cut out when he refused to betray his brother.
Dr. Miles Hawkins (Carl Lumbly), a black scientist and owner of Hawkins Technologies who was shot by a crooked cop and left paralyzed from the waist down during the L.A. Riots of the 1990s.
Developing an exoskeleton suit that gave him the ability to walk, Miles Hawkins fought corruption from his secret headquarters beneath his coastal home near Port Columbia.
Hawkins originally developed his exo-skeleton with the help of his associate John Stonebrake (Roger Rees).
When Miles discovered the suit’s superhuman strength and speed, he decided to fight crime as a vigilante known as M.A.N.T.I.S. To stop criminals, M.A.N.T.I.S fires special darts that impart a temporary paralytic shock.
Miles fought corruption from his secret headquarters beneath his coastal home near Port Columbia. Dr. Hawkins placed the following newspaper ad “Need Help? No One To Turn To? 1-500-4-MANTIS.”
He traveled via a flying car known as the Chrysalis, originally designed as a prototype for the police. Miles’ alter ego was eventually discovered by a police detective Lt. Leora Maxwell (Gaylyn Gorg) but instead of exposing Miles, she joined forces with M.A.N.T.I.S to battle crime and bring back justice to the streets.
A bicycle courier named Taylor Savidge (Christopher Russell Gartin) – who also knew about M.A.N.T.I.S. – did the legwork for Miles Hawkins.
M.A.N.T.I.S. stood for Mechanically Automated Neuro Transmitter Interactive System.
NCIS: NEW ORLEANS/CBS/2014+ (Wheelchair)
Patton Plame (Daryl Mitchell), an African American computer specialist in a wheelchair. Based in Crescent City, New Orleans, Special Agent Plame works with NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service).
His coworkers consist of Senior Special Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula), Special Agent Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black), Special Agent Meredith Brody (Zoe McLellen), Forensic Scientist Sebastian Lund (Rob Kerkovich), former ATF Agent Sonja Percy (Shalita Grant) and Medical Examiner Dr. Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder).
“Chill” Trainor (Daryl Mitchell), an African American owner of a sports-themed restaurant who is confined to a wheel chair after getting hit by a drunk driver.
He shares his parent’s Houston home with his brother, Mike (Michael Strahan), a retired NFL pro-ball player whose business manager ran off with all of his money.
“Chill” blames his brother for his accident because Mike never arrived to pick him up one night and soon after he was crippled by an an inebriated driver. Resentful, “Chill” refuses aid from his brother whose notoriety as a sports star could help his brother’s struggling restaurant. But, in the end, the brothers still care about each other.
Caught in the middle of all the tension are Mike and Chill’s parents, Coach (Carl Weathers), a opinionated high school football coach and Adele (CCH Pounder), the boy’s scheming mother.
ER/NBC/1994-2009 (Mentally Challenged)
Leon (Marcello Thedford), a mentally deficient 27-year-old African-American brother of Chicago-based Dr Gregory Pratt (Mekhi Phifer). Dr. Pratt has looked after and cared for Leon since the man had a head injury on the streets of Detroit. Before the accident, Pratt’s mom had taken Leon into their house when he was only nine-years-old.
Although Leon can be as sweet and as lovely as a small child, his strength and large beefy physique can make him an ominous foe when he gets excited or becomes violent. Dr. Pratt keeps Leon a secret from his colleagues at Cook County General because he is too proud to ask for help.
Despite Pratt’s advise for Leon to stay in the apartment and out of trouble, the easily-duped Leon gets involved with street gang members who were just using Leon.
As Doctor Pratt confided to a medical colleague “I try to keep him out of trouble but he wants his own friends. He wants to be cool. But they talk him into doing things.” On one occasion, Pratt came home to find Leon knifed and seriously bleeding.
Once, Leon left the apartment and got lost. He remembered that Dr. Pratt worked at the hospital and showed up looking for him. Frantically yelling “G!”, Leon wandered the halls of the emergency department, while many onlookers, not knowing his mental condition, just thought he was a crazy guy. Security guards called to subdue Leon, soon learned what a handful he could be. Luckily, Dr. Pratt arrived in time to ease the situation and then took Leon home.
When luckless Leon was fired from his menial job for stealing, once again Dr. Pratt went to bat for him. But when Leon and a friend were involved in the shooting of cop, and Leon cried “I’m sorry ‘G’. I don’t want to go to jail,” Pratt sent Leon away to his Aunt Rose in Baltimore.
The Leon character debuted on the ninth season episode “Dead Again” that aired 10/03/2002
Mr. Macavey (David Alan Grier), a high school teacher with the responsibilities of monitoring hallways. He carried around a miniature bull horn and hobbled about on his shatter hip.
He injured himself playing an innocent game of Twister. As his character said, “Left hand. Blue dot. That’s all she wrote.”
IN LIVING COLOR/FOX/1990-94 (Man with only a head and feet)
The Head Detective (Damon Wayans), strangely handicapped police officer so named because all he was…was a head sitting on a pair of shoes with a small pair of arms sprouting from his neck. He worked undercover with a police officer named Adam (Keenan Ivory Wayans) who carried “Head” around in a bowling bag.
According to the series script the Head Detective was “Built sort of like a Mr. Potato Head: his hands are attached to flexible rods which come out of his ears, and his head rests on two large floppy shoes. A gun is permanently stuck to the palm of one hand, and a police badge is permanently stuck to the palm of the other. The hands sway up and down on a flexible rod.”
DIFF’RENT STROKES/NBC/ABC/1978-86 (Short Person)
(Gary Coleman/costar) Gary Coleman, the 10-year old black star of this popular sitcom about two black youths (Arnold and Willis) adopted by a white Park Avenue millionaire after the boy’s mother, a maid for the wealthy family, died.
Coleman was born with a congenital kidney problem. He got a new kidney at the age of five from a Greek boy at Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Each December 18th (date of his first operation) Gary gives a birthday party for his kidney.
Coleman had additional kidney transplants over the years. His smaller stature is attributed to his kidney condition.
Coleman died from a brain hemmohrage in 2010.
See also: Diff’rent Strokes (2)
NASH BRIDGES/CBS/1996-2001 (Epilepsy)
Antwon Babcock (Cress Williams), black police detective assigned to the SIU division of the San Francisco Police Department. His character was introduced in the fall 2000 season.
On the episode NO. 617 “Blood Bots’ (aired 3/30/01) Antwon accompanied a group of officers to a warehouse to find a techno geek whose robot robbed a convenience store and killed the clerk on duty.
While busting into a warehouse, a rigged strobe light designed to blind the officers to booby traps, flashed brightly in the officers eyes. Immediately Detective Babcock retreated from the scene saying: “I gotta get out of here.”
Later, one of his fellow officers (Det. Dominguez) discretely noted that Antwon’s actions reflected someone who exhibited signs of epilepsy.
See also: Nash Bridges
Reese Benton (Matthew Watkins), deaf son of black physician Dr. Peter Benton, an emergency room doctor at Cook County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
On episode “The Longer You Stay” (aired 10/04/2001) Reese and his mother Carla Reese had a car accident. Reese survived with minor trauma. Carla died.
Dr. Peter Benton used sign language to tell his son that his mother had “gone away” to God. Peter learned that Reese was not his biological son, but he loved him just the same.