A chronology of important dates in the history of the Black Fives Era of basketball.

Dr. James Naismith invents the sport of basketball after he is asked to come up with a game that can keep young men occupied and physically active during the winter months. The first game is played in a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts, after Naismith nails a peach basket to the bottom of the running track there.

St. Philips Protestant Episcopal Church, the most prestigious black church in America at the time, organizes the St. Christopher Club in the Tenderloin District of New York City (now midtown Manhattan) as a religious program for young African American men, that soon expands to include athletic activities to keep the attention of its members.

True Reformer’s Hall, the first post-Reconstruction building to be financed, designed, and built entirely by African Americans, is dedicated in Washington, DC. Beginning in 1904, the hall will become the center of the region’s black basketball scene and remain so for more than a decade.

Now with over 600 members, the Colored Branch of the Washington, D.C. Y.M.C.A. moves from its Eleventh Street office into the newly completed True Reformer’s Hall building.

Returning from a summer class at Harvard University where he learned the game, a black physical education instructor named Edwin Henderson teaches basketball to colored students in Washington, DC’s segregated public school system, and soon organizes teams and events, marking the first time that the sport is widely introduced to African Americans.

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