Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful and so pleased to announce that through a generous donor gift we were able to acquire an amazing private collection of early African American basketball photographs and items of ephemera for our Black Fives Foundation Archives.

Their generosity directly supports our mission to preserve this important history.

private-collection-collage

The exceptional collection contains 17 rare and historically important items, some dating back more than 100 years.

Of special significance is a photographic image of Harry “Bucky” Lew, who in 1902 became America’s first black professional basketball player. This is the only known image of Lew with the Springfield Athletic Club, the 1906-07 Vermont state basketball champions. It was not previously known that he had played on any hoops team outside of Massachusetts.

The other items are equally noteworthy and beautiful (see below for some examples) because they open up new directions for research and understanding as well as cultural enjoyment.

If you are interested in making such a gift of your own in the future, then please use the button below to open a pop-up where you can add your name to our select list of potential acquisition underwriters by checking the box that says you are interested in making a gift for artifact acquisition:

REVISE OR ADD YOUR NAME

Historically important artifacts like these help all of us grow, because by learning from the past we can draw inspiration for our present and our future. That’s why your gift will literally make history now. Thank you very much for your important consideration!

Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks once again for the generous gift that made this important acquisition possible.

Harry "Bucky" Lew (back row, far right) with the Springfield Athletic Club basketball team, 1907. (The Black Fives Foundation Archives)

Harry “Bucky” Lew (back row, far right) with the Springfield Athletic Club basketball team, 1907. (The Black Fives Foundation Archives)

Unidentified team, 1919.

Unidentified team, 1919. (Black Fives Foundation Archives)

Louisville "Fightin' Five" basketball team, ca. 1920.

Louisville “Fightin’ Five” basketball team, ca. 1920. (Black Fives Foundation Archives)

As yet unidentified Colored Branch YMCA basketball team, 1919. (Black Fives Foundation Archives)

As yet unidentified Colored Branch YMCA basketball team, 1919. (Black Fives Foundation Archives)