The 112th anniversary of the formation of the St. Christopher Club was last week.

St. Christopher Club logo

The official logo of the St. Christopher Club.

The St. Christopher Club, which had arguably the most successful non-professional basketball team of the Black Fives Era, got its start in 1896 as a bible study group to help keep young African American males off the seedy streets of what is now midtown Manhattan.

St. Philip’s Protestant Episcopal Church, one of the most prominent black churches in America, organized the bible study fellowship. The church was located on West 25th Street, in the middle of what was then a predominantly African American neighborhood called the “Tenderloin.” The Tenderloin was overrun by mostly white-owned establishments where gambling, liquor, vice, and its related crimes were so rampant that the district was known as “Satan’s Circus.” The St. Christopher Club was meant to prevent moral decay by offering an inspirational alternative.

More …