Black Fives by Claude Johnson
The Alpha Physical Culture Club's Pioneering African American Basketball Team, 1904-1923 (Volume 1)

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Synopsis

Formed in 1904, the Alpha Physical Culture Club of Harlem was America’s first African American athletic club. Conrad Norman, its Jamaican-born founder, hoped to address rampant lung disease among blacks living in New York City’s overcrowded tenements by providing proper exercise facilities they could use without bias. The club’s basketball team, the Alpha Big Five, became nationally famous during the 1910s while sticking faithfully to the strictest amateur ideals. But the times were changing. The Alphas' version of pure sport for its own sake was threatened by new black fives with visions of play-for-pay, led by team owners like fellow Caribbean immigrant Robert Douglas. Which ideal would prevail? The future of basketball was at stake. The author is the founder and C.E.O. of Black Fives, Inc. and BlackFives.com. The book includes a foreword by world renowned D.J., sneaker aficionado, publisher, voiceover artist, television personality, record label owner, writer, radio host, M.C., author, and film director Bobbito García. There is also a Reader Discussion Guide included at the end of the book.
 

About Claude Johnson

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Claude Johnson is the founder and C.E.O. of Black Fives, Inc., a vintage sports organization which strives to be the world's leading resource and steward for the research, preservation, education, and promotion of the pre-1950 history of African-American basketball teams, as well as a leading advocate for the proper recognition of its pioneers and their contributions. This is his first book. Born in Vienna, Austria, Johnson's father is African American, from the South Side of Chicago, and his mother was German, from the Romerstadt section of Frankfurt am Main. He also lived in Leopoldville in the Republic of the Congo (now Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo) before moving to the United States with his parents at the age of six. Johnson has held management and executive positions in various disciplines during a 20-year career in corporate America that included IBM, American Express, NBA Properties, Nike, Phat Farm, and Benetton Sportsystem. He has B.S. Civil Engineering and M.S. Mechanical Engineering degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University, respectively. His insightful, evocative articles and commentaries have been published in SLAM Magazine, Bounce Magazine, and on his own blog at BlackFives.com. Johnson has appeared on television and radio programs as well as in print, in a variety of venues that include NPR, Sirius Radio, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and ESPN. Johnson is a lecturer and motivational speaker, a trustee of the Greenwich Public Library, an accomplished hobby photographer, and a volunteer youth football coach. The former candidate for the Connecticut State House of Representatives is a concerned parent-citizen when it comes to education and kids' health. Johnson, his wife, and their three boys live in Greenwich, Connecticut.
 
Published February 28, 2012 by Black Fives Publishing. 122 pages
Genres: History, Sports & Outdoors.

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