E.B. "Ed" Henderson

When Edwin Bancroft Henderson introduced his hometown of Washington, D.C. to basketball in 1907, the game was still less than two decades old. Basketball was largely a segregated enterprise in those days, taking a cue from the broader set of symptoms that plagued America during the period of Jim Crow. Henderson, Harvard educated and civic minded, organized play for African-American youth in the D.C. metropolitan area and soon basketball was all the rage. He knew early on that basketball and other sports might open doors that were otherwise closed to his race. In 1904, Henderson helped establish the Interscholastic Athletic Association to foster high school and college athletics in Washington’s black community. The ISAA became the governing body for sports, and basketball was a top priority. Teams playing under the auspices of the ISAA flourished, and Henderson’s own 12th Street YMCA team went undefeated in 1909-10 thus earning the unofficial title of Colored Basketball World Champions. Henderson devoted his entire life to the development, promotion, and improvement of the game of basketball.