The Black Fives Exhibition at the New-York Historical Society and Black Fives Foundation executive director Claude Johnson made the pages of New York City’s premier neighborhood news publication, DNAinfo New York, a real honor, in an insightful and well done article by Gustavo Solis!
Here is a brief excerpt:
Johnson then looked through clippings from African-American newspapers to search for names of former players and managers, using Ancestry.com to look up living relatives of “The Black Fives”-era players.
The name is a reference to the five starting players on each all-African-American team, which sprang up in NYC, Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlantic City, Cleveland and other areas where there was a sizeable population of African-American fans.
Johnson also started collecting artifacts from that time period, including shoes, tickets and other memorabilia.
“You would go online and find stuff that no one wanted,” Johnson said of his frequent eBay searches. “We found the earliest known in-arena giveaway.”
The giveaway, a gold-painted medal, was from a 1915 game between Harlem’s St. Christopher Club and Washington D.C.’s Howard University team. It was created by the same company that made the Congressional Medal of Honor.
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