Black Fives Foundation Founder Claude Johnson is Today’s Honoree

(Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

Claude Johnson is an author, historian, writer, and founder of the Black Fives Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity whose mission is to research, preserve, showcase, and teach the pre-NBA history of African-American basketball while honoring its pioneers and their descendants. The Black Fives Foundation Archives contain the world’s leading collection of historical artifacts from that period, known as the Black Fives Era.

He was born in Vienna, Austria — his father is African American, from the South Side of Chicago, and his mother was German, from the Römerstadt section of Frankfurt am Main — and lived in the Republic of the Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) before moving to the USA with his parents at age six.

During a 20-year career in corporate America, Claude held management and exec positions at IBM, American Express, NBA Properties, Nike, Phat Farm, and Benetton Sportsystem. He has a BS in Civil Engineering and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Claude is the author of “Black Fives: The Alpha Physical Culture Club,” the history of a pioneering early 20th-century all-Black basketball team, and is writing his second book, with Macmillan Publishing. He also contributed a chapter in the new book “Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs In Sports History,” by Mike Pesca, a compilation of stories by an all-star list of sportswriters. Publishers Weekly called his piece “one of the best” chapters in the book. He is also a contributing writer for ESPN/TheUndefeated.

Claude’s work has been featured by numerous media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Slate, Fox Sports, SI for Kids, the History Channel, NPR, the BBC, MTV, ESPN, NBA TV, and Turner Broadcasting.

Claude has three sons. He and his family live in Greenwich, Connecticut.

For more information, please visit Claude Johnson’s profile page at LinkedIn

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