February 15, 2024
610 Main Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
'The Original Bucky Lew' with Chris Boucher
Thursday, February 15, 2024
Celebrate Black History Month by learning about Fitchburg's role in the integration of pro sports. Author Chris Boucher will discuss his new book, "The Original Bucky Lew," in an interactive presentation at the library on February 15 at 6:30 PM.
Lew became basketball's first Black professional in 1902. And he didn't stop there. He further defied the segregated Jim Crow era and became the first Black executive and owner of an integrated team in 1915.
Fitchburg was a key station on Lew's journey. His teams appeared many times at the old Armory, one of the few places he played that still stands today. And he "played" more than basketball there. In those days of combined basketball and dancing events, Lew also played violin with the band. He met his wife Florence at the Armory and word is she was more impressed with his musical ability than his basketball skills.
While Lew's achievements are largely forgotten today, they were well documented in the newspapers of his day, and the digitization of those papers is bringing his fame back to light. And although the full integration of sports didn't happen until a generation after his retirement, evidence suggests some of the key players involved in that effort were likely inspired by Lew's incredible success.