NY Amsterdam News: Black Fives Foundation Reunites Families of Long-Ago Basketball League

On February 15, 2013, in Community, Culture, Descendants, Family, Kids, Race, Relationships, by Black Fives Foundation

Two consecutive weeks of full-page coverage in the New York Amsterdam News is an honor for which we are grateful.

Howie Evans of the New York Amsterdam News wrote this poignant article* about the special unveiling, on February 10, 2013, of the new Black Fives image compilation at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Here is an excerpt:

While the San Antonio Spurs and Tony Parker were putting a 102-88 whipping on the Brooklyn Nets a few days ago at Barclays Center, a young man hollered out to his lady friend, “I’ll meet you by the pictures over there.” The pictures being a collection of images blown up to mural- size, showing the basketball players of a century ago.

While it may have been a disappointing evening for the man and his lady, presumably local Nets fans, not so for about 60 people who were guests of the Nets and Barclays Center. They had gathered on the practice court of the Nets for their own special celebration. A celebration of the past. A celebration of family.

Many of them had never met one another. But thanks to Claude Johnson, the founder of the Black Fives Foundation, thanks to the Nets organization and, in particular, thanks to David Berliner, a vice president at Forest City Ratner, owner of the Barclays Center, a special ceremony was organized in honor of Black History Month, bringing together descendants of the players from the Black Fives basketball teams, dating back as far as 1908. More …

* A free Amsterdam News online subscription is required to see the entire article.

Vincent Norman (far right) and his wife stand with the small version of a photographic image of the New York Girls, a 1910s all-female all-black basketball team managed by Mr. Norman’s father, Conrad Norman, pictured standing in the image. Conrad Norman’s grandson, Kevin Norman, stands on the left. A mural-sized version of the image is permanently displayed in the Barclays Center, along with five other enlarged vintage Black Fives Era images in the compilation. (Photo: Bill Moore, Amsterdam News)

This was the second of two major pieces of coverage by the Amsterdam News. The first one — only available in print — was published a week earlier. Both of them were full-page pictorial articles.

We are very grateful and also very proud of this immensely generous amount of exceptional coverage. Not only is the New York Amsterdam News one of the oldest African American newspapers, but also Howie Evans is an icon of New York City sports journalism.

“This is also the first time that the name of our new foundation has been featured in a headline,” said Black Fives Foundation founder and executive director Claude Johnson.

Amsterdam News Coverage of Barclays Unveiling

Two consecutive weeks of full-page pictorial coverage in the New York Amsterdam News by iconic sports journalist Howie Evans is an honor for which we are grateful.

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“It is very seldom that the pioneer in any walk of life reaps the harvest from the seed he has sown. Ofttimes many of them even die without knowing the real good they have accomplished.”
—Lester Walton, pioneering African American sportswriter for the New York Age, 1907

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