The Alpha Physical Culture Club basketball team, known as the Alpha Big Five, was formed in 1907 under the sponsorship of the Alpha Physical Culture Club, which was America’s first all-Black athletic club. The club itself was formed in Harlem in 1904. Most of its members were Caribbean immigrants, including Jamaican-born club founders Conrad and Gerald Norman.
Location: Harlem, New York City Home Court: Manhattan Casino Nickname: “Alpha Big Five” Colors: Burnt Orange, Slate Gray, White Manager: Conrad Norman
In addition to basketball, the Alpha club competed in several other sports including track and tennis. The club founders picked the name “Alpha” because they saw themselves as pioneers in the field of physical culture (as “fitness” was called then), which was seen as a possible solution to the high incidence of tuberculosis and pneumonia among Black residents in large, overcrowded industrial centers like New York City. In addition to basketball, the Alpha club competed in several other sports including track and tennis.
A collage of photographs and images relating to the Alpha Physical Culture Club of Harlem
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