One highlight of the Delaware County Historical Society’s “A Glimpse of Black History 1800s — 2019” exhibit is a focus on prominent local athletes and champions.
Thanks to the Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum, one case includes items such as Granny Lash’s Harlem Globetrotters uniform, three-time champion Freida “The Cheetah” Gibbs’s kickboxing champion belt and a jersey from the Darby Hilldales.
“All the items that we have there are very, very special,” Jim Vankoski, Sports Legends curator, said of the pieces on loan to DCHS. “They’re quality items that the people in Delaware County can all be proud of.”
Above the Hilldale jersey is a portrait of the team founded by Ed Bolden in 1910. Born in Concordville and a resident of Darby, Bolden formed the Hilldales as a powerhouse team in the Negro Baseball League as they took three first-place pennants, as well as the World Championship in 1925.
New York Giant Emlen Tunnell is represented by a life-size portrayal of him. Tunnell, who grew up in Radnor, was the first African American inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One of Gibbs’s championship belts is also included in the display. Gibbs, a Chester native, has been referred to as “The Most Dangerous Woman in the World.” After beginning her studies at Quiet Storm Karate under Master Rick Berry in Chester, Gibbs went to capture three world champion titles in kickboxing.
And the red, white and blue of Granny Lash’s Harlem Globetrotters’ uniform is also included. Lash was a 1960 Chester High alum who was often seen twirling a basketball atop one of his fingers.
Although Lash died in 2002, his two sons have loaned his uniform to the Sports Legends museum to keep the memory of their dad alive.
Vankoski said that mission drives what Sports Legends is.
“We exist so long as we are remembered,” he said.
These sports items and more are featured in “A Glimpse of Black History 1800s — 2019” at the home of the Delaware County Historical Society, located at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 1 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot.