Role: Pioneering athletic director, youth recreation organizer, and amateur sports advocate.
“Our team shall be made up of simon pures only.”
—Reverend Everard Daniels, 1920
Teams: St. Christopher Club
Rev. Everard Daniel was an African American clergyman who played a significant role in the development among blacks of athletics in general and basketball in particular.
During a nearly 20-year period from 1905 through the early 1920s, Daniel was the athletic director of the St. Christopher Club, the athletic arm of St. Philip’s Protestant Episcopal Church in New York City, one of the country’s oldest and most influential African American congregations.
As the St. Christopher Club grew in stature and success, Daniel became one of the most powerful voices in black organized sports.
According to the Archives of the New York Diocese of the Episcopal Church, he was ordained as a deacon in 1902 at New York General Theological Seminary on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, before eventually becoming an assistant minister and the curate at St. Philip’s in 1905, the year he took over as the St. Christopher Club’s athletic director. The church was located on West 25th Street in the predominantly black “Tenderloin District,” known today as midtown Manhattan, which at that time housed the city’s largest concentration of African Americans.
A native of the Danish West Indies (known today as the U.S. Virgin Islands), Daniel was linked closely to Conrad and Gerald Norman, the Jamaican-born brothers who were founders of the Alpha Physical Culture Club in Harlem, America’s first independent all-black athletic outfit. Like the Normans, Daniel advocated strict adherence to principles of amateurism in sport.
Originally organized in 1896 as a program to reach out and engage black youth in the notoriously seedy and often dangerous neighborhood surrounding the church, the St. Christopher Club, named after the patron saint of safe travel, eventually added boxing, track, and then basketball teams.
The St. Christopher Club’s basketball team, nicknamed the “Red and Black Machine,” dominated amateur basketball during Daniel’s tenure as athletic director, winning four Colored Basketball World Championship titles during the 1910s.