By Claude Johnson

A week ago I was in Falls Church, Virginia attending the 3rd Annual Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation’s Black History Month Celebration, Celebrity Basketball Game, and Awards Ceremony.

I was invited down to participate in the panel discussion, and to receive that foundation’s Living Legacy Award.

This award is in recognition of contributions and devotion in the area of preserving African American basketball history.

It was a double honor because the other recipients were former New York Rens and Washington Bears star John Isaacs, author and historian James Henderson, who’s book Molder of Men chronicles the life of his father, Edwin “E.B.” Henderson, historian Susan Rayl, and author and blogger Bijan Bayne, who’s book, Sky Kings was one of the first to cover the teams of the Black Fives Era.

Tinner Hill panel

Panelists: l. to. r., Ed Henderson II, James Henderson, John Isaacs, Claude Johnson, Bijan Bayne, and Susan Rayl.

Living Legacy Award recipients

Award recipients with hosts: l. to r., Nikki Graves, Isaacs, Johnson, Bayne, Rayl, J. Henderson, and E. Henderson.

The panel was moderated by Ed Henderson II, the grandson of E.B. Henderson. Henderson’s wife, Nikki Graves, did a great job organizing the whole event. Together they do a great job and they’re great people.

Living Legacy Award

The actual award is meaningful and impressive.

Anyway, how many people do you know who’s grandmother (Ed II’s) has a middle school named after her?

The panel was insightful and well attended. A range of topics included a discussion of the merits of E.B. Henderson’s enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The basketball game, between the Harlem Magic Masters and the Falls Church All Stars, was a classic. The mayor of Falls Church, the Honorable Robin Gardner, was there with her kids. A fine touch.

And, yo — the award hardware is impressive too.

I would encourage you to attend next year’s event, because you have to see in person what’s going on in Falls Church to really appreciate it.

I’m proud of the Hendersons, and also of the entire City of Falls Church.

(Top photos courtesy of Gary Mester.)