(Below are the contents of a news release that is also available on PRWeb.)
Greenwich, CT (October 8, 2013) – The Black Fives Foundation (BlackFives.org), a Greenwich, CT-based non-profit that researches, preserves, exhibits, and promotes the pre-1950 history of African American basketball to engage, inspire, and teach youth and others while honoring its pioneers and their descendants, is pleased to announce it has received as a gift the entire historical archive of Black Fives Era artifacts, photographs, ephemera, objects, memorabilia, and related items previously belonging to historian and author Claude Johnson and his company, Black Fives, Inc., as well as the corporation’s complete portfolio of intellectual property (“IP”), including trademarks, logos, copyrights, domain names, social media handles, common law rights, and goodwill.
The archive contains over 300 rare and historically important items dating back to 1904, the year basketball was first introduced to African Americans on a wide-scale organized basis, and will debut publicly in an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society Museum from March–July 2014.
“This gift is now a catalogue that future generations can build upon,” says Black Fives Foundation board member Julia Alexander, great-granddaughter of early African American basketball pioneer Hudson “Huddy” Oliver, who was a four-time winner of the Colored Basketball World’s Championship with three different teams. “As a descendant, I am especially pleased with its educational and legacy value for kids today,” she adds.
“This donation allows the foundation’s efforts to really expand, by creating a more natural alignment with my original philanthropic goals,” says Johnson, who founded the non-profit in January 2013 and is its executive director. He is a foremost authority on this history and has received community service recognition for his work. The corporate entity Black Fives, Inc. will now cycle down its business operations and dissolve.
“This gift is now a catalogue that future generations can build upon. As a descendant, I am especially pleased with its educational and legacy value for kids today.”
– Julia Alexander, Director, The Black Fives Foundation
Among the collection’s earliest pieces are a 1914 gold-leafed basketball medallion used as an in-arena giveaway promoting the St. Christopher Club of Harlem, a postcard promoting the 1915-16 basketball season of the all-black, Harlem-based Alpha Physical Culture Club, and a 1917 print advertisement for the New York Incorporators basketball team, published in Crisis Magazine.
Other items include a 1930 handbill promoting the Cincinnati Lion Tamers vs. Lincoln University, a 1937 New York Renaissance (a.k.a. “Rens”) vs. Oshkosh All Stars game ticket stub, a first-edition 1939 hardcover copy of “The Negro In Sports” with its dust jacket, a 1939 Chicago Crusaders promotional poster featuring Clarence “Fats’ Jenkins, a New York Renaissance professional basketball player contract, a complete collection of event programs for the annual World’s Championship of Professional Basketball played from 1939-1948 and won by three different African American teams, and a bar glass listing each National Basketball League team, including the all-black Dayton Rens, for 1948-49, the circuit’s last season.
The archive also contains vintage African American basketball ephemera such as newspaper broadsheets and clippings, game placards and flyers, scrapbooks, and original photographs of a variety of teams, as well as an assortment of antique equipment including buckle-front shorts, leather & wool basketball knee pads, and vintage laced leather basketballs.
Earlier this year the Barclays Center, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, permanently installed in its main concoursean exclusive compilation of mural-sized vintage images of Brooklyn-based African American basketball teams provided by The Black Fives Foundation. The date of the installation’s unveiling, February 10, 2013, was declared as “Black Fives Day” for the City of New York by special proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The IP portfolio, which constitutes a licensable sports property, includes the names and logos associated with groundbreaking Black Fives Era basketball teams like the New York Rens, the Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn, and the Washington (D.C.) 12 Streeters. These pioneering all-black squads, and others, helped pave the way for today’s professional superstars.
Assignment of the IP to the foundation ensures that 100% of any future licensing royalties generated by it will go directly to charity.
Among next steps, the foundation has begun planning events and activities for its upcoming season.
About The Black Fives Foundation:
The Black Fives Foundation is a Greenwich, CT-based non-profit that researches, preserves, exhibits, and promotes the pre-1950 history of African American basketball to engage, inspire, and teach youth and others while honoring its pioneers and their descendants.
Its purpose is to teach leadership and character development, promote educational advancement, enrich appreciation of culture and the arts, build fitness and health awareness, encourage community-based youth programming, stimulate interest in sports industry career opportunities, advocate for the recognition of the era’s pioneers and their descendants, and, enable these efforts through innovative uses of technology as well as via traditional means.
The organization is incorporated with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in Washington, DC, and is organized to qualify as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. The preparation of its application for tax-exempt status by its legal counsel is underway.