When Basketball Meets Jim Crow

March 28, 1939. Two teams are facing off for the final game of World Professional Basketball Tournament in Chicago, the first professional tournament to feature both white and black basketball teams. This is several years before the start of the NBA, and Jim Crow segregation was still the law of the land in many parts of the country. The New York Rens, an all-black team, have made it to this championship, but their road to the top was anything but easy. Who were the Rens? And how did they fight segregation and change the history of basketball?


Special thanks to Susan Rayl, African American Sports Historian & Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Cortland.


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