“In a normal world, this man could have been anything. He could have been president of the United States. He could have been a Fortune 500 CEO. But he got kicked out of the YMCA for being black. But like most black leaders, that didn’t stop him. He went on to do great things to help his people but also to plant the seeds for what became the modern national basketball association.”
So said President Ronald Mason of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) at the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of Falls Church’s Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson last month.
Mason described Dr. Henderson, known as the “Grandfather of Black Basketball,” as “an educator, scholar, author, athlete, coach, referee, organizer and civil rights activist.”
The ceremony saw the unveiling of the statue at the entrance to the Henderson Sports Complex on UDC’s Van Ness campus, named for the grandfather of Falls Church activist Edward Henderson III (see photo on page one of this edition).
The statue was created by Brian Hanlon, founder of the Hanlon Sculpture Studio in New Jersey, and recognized for his sculptures of notable African-American figures, including Harriet Tubman and Georgetown University basketball coach John R. Thompson.