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The Grandfather of Black Hoops

Monday, December 03, 2007

Courtesy: Edwin B. Henderson II, The Black Fives Blog

Last week, 124 years ago, on Nov. 24, 1883, Edwin B. Henderson, my grandfather, for whom I was named, was born in Washington, D.C.
In addition to spending every summer and holidays with my grandfather, he and my grandmother lived the last decade of their lives in their own little apartment attached to our family home in Tuskegee, Alabama.

As a result, I got to know Grandpa pretty well.

In my eyes he always stood head and shoulders above other men. I was impressed by his sheer physical strength and stamina. Even in his 90’s, we went on trips to Florida and we would go deep-sea fishing. And while I was spilling my guts, we were catching 25-30 pound fish.

In some ways, Grandpa was a typical grandfather spinning tales of his youthful bravado. The difference I noticed was that his stories were peppered with the names that, as a budding sports buff, I both recognized and appreciated.

Two things happened during my youth that made me begin to realize Grandpa was pretty special even beyond our family and community circle.

At a high school track meet that I was competing in, Jesse Owens was the guest speaker. When my coach informed Mr. Owens that E. B. Henderson’s grandson was in the audience, he stepped down from the stage, strolled over to me, shook my hand and said he was honored to meet the grandson of E.B. Henderson.

I then began to look at my grandfather in a different light, and began to listen more intently to his stories of his exploits.

To read the rest of Edwin B. Henderson II's account of his grandfather, the great E.B. Henderson, please click here.

Click here to read Eddy Lentz's feature on Mr. Henderson from the Ivy League's Black History archives.