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 February 7, 2010
What follows is a four-part series on the emergence of
Black basketball in Washington under the driving force of
Edwin Henderson.
 Getting in Shape
1. The industrial age led to more leisure time for the middle class. By the 1880s Americans went on a physical fitness binge, building recreational centers, playgrounds, and school gymnasiums. But....
2. African American communities were denied these facilities. Black leaders expressed their concern..."Without an organized effort, the physical condition of our young people will lag far behind the whites...
3. "thus verifying the various myths about black inferiority."
4. A 12-man committee built one of the first African American sports centers in 1901, the Eureka Aid & Atletic Club in Savannah, GA.
5. In 1906 several black educators in Washington, DC organized the all-black Interscholastic Athletic Association (ISAA).
6. Its leader was a Phys Ed instructor named Edwin Henderson. "The ISAA promotes the well-being of black students in Baltimore and Washington.
7. The ISAA sanctioned the first legitimate black high school football and basketball games and track meets in Washington.

Part Two
 1. The person who had the most influence on physical fitness and organized sports among young African Americans in early 20th century Washington, DC was Edwin Bancroft Henderson.
2. Born in Washington in 1883, Ed's family moved to Pittsburgh when he was 5 years old.
He loved playing sports, but every Sunday he and his younger brother, Charles, sold their mother's baked buns to people walking home from church.
3. The Hendersons returned to Washington in 1894. In 1902 Ed graduated with honor from M Street High School (now Dunbar) where he excelled in sports.
4. Two years later Edwin took top honors from Miner Normal School, a 2-year college that trained teachers for Washington's black public schools.
5. That September Ed Henderson joined the staff ow Bowen Elementary School, 101 M Street, SW as a physical education teacher.
Thus, he bacame the first African American male to teach phys. ed. in an American public school.
6. During the summers of 1904, 05, and 07 Edwin studied physical education at Harvard University where...
7. He discovered and mastered the recently invented game called basketball. He would soon make it the most popular sport in DC.

Part 3 February 21, 2010
 A League of Their Own
1. One evening in 1907 two African Americans, Edwin Henderson and Benjamin Brownley, walked into the all-white Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Washington, DC to watch a basketball game. Athletic director in background: "Hey! You two..."
2. Just days earler at the 334th Annual International YMCA conference in Washington, thousands of men of all races attended seminars together, sang hymns, and embraced the Y's ideals of love, brotherhood, and equality.
3. Nobody seemed to mind the presence of two black men in their midst but, on this night, Mr. C. Edward Beckett, the club's athletic director, took exception to the Y's ideal of equality.
Beckett: "This is a segreaged club an' you don't beling here!
4. "Now get out an' don't come back!"
5. As the two men walked home, Henderson declared, "IfMr. Ed Beckett won't let us attend games at the Y...
6. "I'll organize our own league."
7. Henderson reserved a space in the basement of M Street High School and conducted training sessions several evenings a week.
8. Their firs tgame was scheduled on December 26, 1907 at True Reformers Hall on 12th and U Streets, NW. Continued....

Last of Four Parts----February 28, 2010
 Saturday Night Delights
1. Physical Education instructor Edwin Henderson held the first official all-black basketball game in Washington on December 26, 1907. Local high school students beat Howard College 12 to 5.
2. The game was part of a Winter Athletic Carnival in True Reformers Hall at 1200 U St., NW. Afterwards there was dancing to the tunes of the Lyrical Orchestra.
3. A few days later Henderson announced the formation of a new African American league simply called the Basketball League.
Henderson: "The league consists of Armstrong High School, M Street High School, Crescent Athletic Club, Oberlin Academy, Howard Academy. Howard Medical, Howard College, and LeDroit Park.
4. Every Saturday night hundreds of fans went to True Reformers Hall and paid 25¢ to watch two games and dance afterwards.
5. When the first season ended in May 1908 M Street High topped Armstrong High for the championship.
The Howard University Journal of May 10, 1908 reported, " among schools and athletic clubs has won a permanent place."

Hot Potato How Washington and New York Gave Birth to BLACK BASKETBALL and Changed AMERICA'S GAME Forever
by Bob Kuska
This book chronicles the many successes and failures of the early years of black amateur basketball, followed by the emergance of black college basketball in the U.S., documenting the origins of the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association which would become the Big Ten of black collegiate sports. For the first time the history of black professional basketball is told in detail with emphasis on the New York Renaissance team.
6" x 9" 240 pages, index, photos, paperbound
#503 Hot Potato $14.95

Previous weeks' stories and references:
Animals...Atomic Bomb....Arlington National Cemetery...Aviation History....Black History....National Archives...Children...Constitution-How & Why we got it...Civil War... Autocamping...American Presidency...Auto Racing...Baseball History...the Bible & the Presidency...Blizzard of 1888...Bubble Houses...Chinese...Combat Artists...The CCCs Civilian Conservation Corps...Declaration of Independence...DC Neighborhoods...The Ghost Army of WWII... Artists in War The Limb Maker...Duke Ellington...Ferries Across the Chessie .. Food History,,, HOLIDAYS...German Americans...Italian Americans...The Italian Crisis...
Ninian Beall Sequence.....UFOs Over Washington... Culpeper of Virginia...The Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918...Indians of the Eastern Shore of MD & VA... Pirates on the Chesapeake...Chesapeake Beach...Quiltmaking...Chesapeake Bay Stories...Ghost stories... Maryland History...Movie History ...Music History...Naval History (Seebees, Armed Guard, etc)...Rock & Roll History...Hoover Airport....Robert Smalls....Slavery...Swampoodle...Sports...Origins of Words & Phrases...Inventions...Railroads...Treaty of Paris...Virginia History...Washington, DC History...Nazis in America...Wilkes Expedition...Stamps...Women...Girl Scouts...V-Mail...Word Origins


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