We research, preserve, exhibit, and promote the pre-NBA history of African Americans in basketball from 1904 to 1950, a period known as the Black Fives Era. In short, we "showcase" and light up this once forgotten but important past.
With this history we engage, teach, and inspire youth, with content and messaging that’s relevant today, in areas like leadership, inclusion, and finding common ground. Our slogan is “Make History Now.”
We salute Black Fives Era pioneers and their descendants, applaud their accomplishments, and advocate for their proper recognition. We also identify and celebrate related historically important milestones, stories, and venues.
Discover the rich history of the Black Fives Era! See our images and videos, read our articles, listen to our interviews, and explore our online exhibition of historical artifacts. Enjoy the story telling and contribute some stories of your own!
Learn why this history is important, appreciate its relevance today, gain new insights into basketball and its progress, realize the role of stewardship in keeping the sport special, and reinforce your own love of the game.
Make History Now! Whether you contribute to our fundraising, volunteer for an event, share your skills on a project, or simply tell some friends about our mission, your generous actions make all the difference. Thank you!
“But when Claude Johnson, then an NBA executive, first learned about the era in 1996, he became dedicated to educating people about this crucial period in history. His efforts are paying off.” ("Hidden Hardcourt Heroes" | November 2014)
This perspective on the pre-NBA history of African Americans in basketball, through the lens of award winning director Marco Williams, was an introduction for the New-York Historical Society's recent highly-acclaimed museum exhibition.
35 NBA players render amazing television shoutouts to Black Fives Era pioneers.
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