Internationally known and appreciated, Reginald Siki was born on December 28, 1899 in
Kansas City, Missouri to parents, Richard and Ella M. Berry. He was followed by siblings,
Chester, Verda, and Baby Berry, and was attending Lincoln High School when he filled out a
registration for service in World War I at 18 years of age. His date of birth, however, was
listed as December 20, 1899 on that specific record. Tall and slender, Berry was a gifted
athlete, and by 1923 was traveling the wrestling world as one of the few noted African
American professional grapplers.
On October 8, 1924, he filled out an application for a passport to travel abroad, and Frank
Jedlenski (a fellow wrestler named Frank Judson) was the witness who signed vouching for
him. Siki planned on traveling to the Azore Islands, Spain, and U.K. One of his distinguishing
marks were his cauliflower ears, which easily identified his occupation.
Siki later changed his name, after converting to Islam, to Kemal Abdur Rahman and married
Mildred, who became Mildred Abdur Rahman. The last name was sometimes spelled as one
With the name change came the promotional tactic of billing him as an Ethiopian wrestling
hero, and he was billed that way in advertising pieces.
His death has been a mystery for many years, and only recently was he located in the
California Death Index. His name was spelled, "Kemal Abdurrahman," born on December 28,
1899 in "Other Country," and died on December 24, 1948 in Los Angeles. His father's
surname was spelled, "Abdurrahman," according to the index.
He was born in Kansas City and, according to evidence, "Berry" was his legitimate birth
name. Sometimes the lines between wrestling folklore and the real world become overly
blurred, and people can't separate the two.
Much more will be added to this page in the days ahead.
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Reginald Siki Wrestling History