Mass Moments reminds us that on this day January 4, 1884, Harry Haskell Lew – also known as Bucky Lew – was born in Lowell in 1884 to an African-American family with a long and illustrious history in Massachusetts. His great-great-grandfather, Barzillai Lew – a free black man who purchased the freedom of his future wife for $400 – served in the Revolutionary War. His grandparents home in Lowell was a stop on the Underground Railroad. His father, William Lew, was a delegate to the 1891 Equal Rights Convention in Boston. Bucky Lew would be the first black man to play in a professional basketball game. His siblings would also break some barriers. His sister Theresa graduated from Lowell High School as salutatorian, became a teacher, and later received a law degree. His brother Girard was a football star at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; he taught school and later co-founded the DuSable Museum in Chicago, the nation’s first museum of African American history and art.
…in 1884, Harry Haskell Lew was born in Lowell to a family that had long been active in the struggle for racial equality. Known from childhood as “Bucky,” he made his mark as the first African American to play professional basketball. After leading the local YMCA team to a Merrimack Valley championship, he played defense for the Pawtucketville Athletic Club in the New England Basketball League. When the League folded, Lew stayed in the game, working as a player and general manager for his own Lowell-based teams. In 1928, he moved to Springfield. One of the pioneers of basketball, he has never been inducted into the Hall of Fame, located just a few miles from where he spent the last 35 years of his life.
Learn more here at MassMoments.com: http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=9
You can learn more about the Lew family and some other African-American families in Lowell at the UMass Lowell/Center for Lowell History site: http://library.uml.edu/clh/Prof/Pro1.html