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How the Harlem Globetrotters Rose From Midwest Obscurity to Become Global Stars: Photos

February 25, 2020 in History

By Rashad Grove

The team got their start in Chicago during a time when segregation was pervasive and basketball was not even a well-known game.

For nearly a century, the Harlem Globetrotters have brought flair and antics to the game of basketball. The team has played to more than 148 million people, in over 26,000 exhibition games in 124 countries and territories.

The Harlem Globetrotters began in 1926 as the Savoy Big Five, an African American basketball team who mostly hailed from Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago’s South Side. They first played under the banner of the South Side’s Giles Post of the American Legion and then became known as the Savoy Big Five after Chicago’s Bronzeville’s Savoy Ballroom hired the team to play as pre-dance entertainment. For Midwest audiences, the game of basketball was still novel and, from early on, this team brought an entertaining style of play to the sport.

The Harlem Globetrotters began in 1926 as the Savoy Big Five, an African American basketball team who mostly hailed from Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago’s South Side. The team was renamed the Harlem Globetrotters in 1930 to link the squad with the neighborhood known as the mecca of black culture.These portraits show team members in 1931.

View the 14 images of this gallery on the original article

Seizing on a golden opportunity, sports promoter Abe Saperstein purchased the team and became the manager and coach. Saperstein, a short-statured Jewish man from Chicago’s North Side, even pitched in as a player from time to time when a team member was ill or injured.

They played their first road game in Hinckley, Illinois on January 7, 1927. Eager to advertise the team’s unique all-black roster, Saperstein changed their name in 1930 to the Harlem Globetrotters to link the squad with the neighborhood known as the mecca of black culture. Despite the name, the Harlem Globetrotters didn’t actually play a game in Harlem until 1968.

READ MORE: The Harlem Renaissance: Photos

Before they became known for their on-court antics, the Globetrotters were highly competitive in professional basketball and introduced a flashy, schoolyard style of play. They popularized the slam dunk, the fast break, emphasized the forward and point guard positions, and the figure-eight weave.

In 1940, the team captured the World Professional Basketball Tournament title. Even as they introduced tricks and comedy into their play, the …read more


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Rachel Carson’s "Silent Spring" is published

February 25, 2020 in History

By Editors

Rachel Carson’s watershed work Silent Spring is first published on September 27, 1962. Originally serialized in The New Yorker magazine, the book shed light on the damage that man-made pesticides inflict on the environment. Its publication is often viewed as the beginning of the modern environmentalist movement in America.

Carson received a master’s degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932 and spent the next several decades researching the ecosystems of the East Coast. She rose through the ranks of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and published many works on the environment, including The Sea Around Us. In the late ’50s, she became concerned by reports of the unintended effects insecticides were having on other wildlife, and the Audubon Society approached her about writing a book on the topic. Silent Spring was the result of this partnership and several years of research, focusing primarily on the effects of DDT and similar pesticides. Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer during this time, causing the book’s publication to be delayed until 1962.

READ MORE: The Early Environmentalists

Silent Spring did not call for an outright ban on DDT, but it did argue that they were dangerous to humans and other animals and that overusing them would dramatically disrupt ecosystems. Carson met with staunch criticism, largely from the chemical industry and associated scientists. She was called “a fanatic defender of the cult of the balance of nature” and “probably a communist,” among other things, but the firestorm around her drew attention to a problem Americans were finally ready to acknowledge.

Despite her illness, Carson made a slew of media appearances and testified before President John F. Kennedy‘s Science Advisory Committee, finding more supporters than detractors. Though she died only two years after the book’s publication, the movement she helped popularize blossomed over the next decade. Her successors fought for the creation Environmental Protection Agency, formed in 1970, and her arguments were instrumental in securing a nationwide phase-out of DDT, which began in 1972. Carson’s work on pesticides not only drew attention to their unintended consequences but also familiarized the public with the extent of the harm mankind could inflict upon nature, one of the most important lessons our species has had to learn.

READ MORE: How Nixon Became the Unlikely Champion of the Endangered Species Act

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