Harlem

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Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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The War on Poverty: 50 years later

On January 8, 1964, a mere six weeks after taking office, President Lyndon B. Johnson stood before the nation to deliver his first State of the Union address. In his address President Johnson proclaimed that “This administration declares unconditional war on poverty in America. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. Continue Reading →

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Current NBA stars honor their Black Fives predecessors

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we approach the wind-down days of Black History Month 2014, it’s refreshing to see other Black contributors besides the usual few names often presented — such as overlooked Black athletes who labored in virtual obscurity during the Jim Crow era. Thanks to the nonprofit Black Fives Foundation in New York for “tell[ing] the story of the pre-1950 history of African Americans in basketball.” The “Black Fives” name comes from the all-Black basketball teams that played in Brooklyn, Harlem, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Pittsburgh, Newark and Los Angeles. These teams “ushered in the Harlem Renaissance period, smashed the color barrier in pro basketball and helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement,” wrote founder Claude Johnson on the foundation’s website (www.blackfives.org). Johnson and director Loren Mendell teamed up with Fox Sports Net, which broadcasts NBA games for 13 teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves, to create a series of 30-second TV vignettes honoring Black Fives era pioneers during Black History Month. They are aired during halftime of the telecasts. Continue Reading →

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When good people essentially do nothing

Power, politics, and policy and the influence they have over African American people
 

Abraham Lincoln once stated, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” I say nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, educate him on the tools needed to empower his people and watch to see what he does with it! In the 1920s, African American neighborhoods all over the United States were in vogue. Jazz artists such as Jelly Roll Morton, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington were soothing the souls of Americans everywhere. Harlem, New York was experiencing what we now call the “Harlem Renaissance Era.” Great literature, art, poetry, music, and Black-owned businesses filled the streets of Harlem. Black folks had taken their claim to America despite the race tensions, and business was good! Continue Reading →

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