Former Falls Church citizen and civil rights pioneer, the late Edwin Bancroft Henderson, is one of five Black Virginians being honored with a new series of highway plaques aimed at highlighting Black history throughout the state. Options for the new markers were submitted by Virginia students, and of the 100 submissions, five were chosen.
According to a statement from the office of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, “Henderson, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and known as the ‘Father of Black Basketball,’ organized athletic leagues for African Americans, wrote ‘The Negro in Sports’ (1939), organized the first rural chapter of the NAACP, and was president of the NAACP Virginia state conference as he worked for civil rights.”
The marker for Henderson was suggested by Sullivan Massaro from Kings Glen Elementary in Springfield, Virginia. “The Historical Marker Contest helped me learn more about Black Virginians who have made a difference, like Dr. Edwin Henderson,” Massaro said in the press release. “Dr. Henderson introduced the sport of basketball to Black athletes in Washington, D.C. and is a big part of why basketball is so popular today. As I researched him I learned how much he did not only for the sport of basketball, but for civil rights in Virginia. I couldn’t believe that he did not already have a historical marker, so I chose to nominate him for the contest.”
In 2013, Henderson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is the grandfather of current F.C. School Board member and Tinner Hill Foundation founder Edwin Henderson II.