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Saturday nights at the Renaissance
Ballroom defined Harlem’s beat.

1920: When Jim Crow laws banned African Americans from playing in white basketball leagues, a group of locals united by the love of the game and community formed the first basketball team in Harlem.

People brought more than passion to the ballrooms: They brought creativity that changed the world.

Harlem’s basketball players trained in ballrooms, developing a style of play that reflected their ability and creativity. Built on a mastery of pace and grace, their contests set the tone for the vibrant jazz concerts that followed, where Harlemites were encouraged to bring their dance floor A-game, spawning America’s first true dance: The Lindy Hop

The Harlemites proved they had one of the greatest teams in the world. To take a stance, players removed the word “colored” from their championship jackets, making the statement legend.
Harlem was not only the true epicenter of basketball, it was a cultural example of the power and influence of community.