Author, basketball historian, and founder and executive director of the Black Fives Foundation–a non-profit organization sharing the origins of African Americans in Basketball known as the Black Fives Era, Claude Johnson gives basketball fans and history fans a long overdue book titled The Black Fives - The Epic Story of Basketball’s Forgotten Era. The book highlights the accomplishments of the trailblazing men and women who paved the way for today’s basketball stars. Claude shares the stories of pioneering players and teams, one being that of John Issac, one of the stars of the Harlem Rens, a powerhouse team that rarely lost games. Many multiple sport athletes like Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson showcased their talents during the Black Fives Era. Johnson incorporates firsthand accounts from former players and the grandson of league founder Edwin Henderson to illuminate the origins of the Black Fives Basketball League, which started in Washington DC and throughout the East Coast. The Washington 12 Streeters YMCA in Northwest Washington still exists today as a historic landmark!
Many of the teams began during times of segregation from 1904 to 1950 and originated out of YMCA’s, Black Colleges and Social Clubs. Black players couldn’t play in the NBA until 1950 due to a little-known rule that restricted teams to no more than two black players per team–unlike today’s NBA. Claude has devoted more than 30 years to the education, preservation and history of the Black Fives. Through his clothing brand Physical Culture, basketball fans can wear and support educational efforts through purchasing Black Fives merchandise. Charles Collectibles and Books rates The Black Fives – The Epic Story of Basketball’s Forgotten Era 4.5 out of 5 stars.