About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Spinning the Globe: The History and Legacy of the Harlem Globetrotters

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to “Spinning the Globe: The History and Legacy of the Harlem Globetrotters,” with our very special guests, Fatima “TNT” Lister, Chris “Handles” Franklin, “Sweet Lou” Dunbar, and Ben Green.

This program, part of our Black History Month presentations, is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation, through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund. We thank them.

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Before we begin, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Tuesday, March 2 at 5 p.m., renowned legal scholar Cass Sunstein will discuss his latest book, Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception. In the book, Sunstein probes the fundamental question of how we can deter lies while also protecting freedom of speech.

Then on Friday, March 5, at noon, Janice Nimura will discuss her new book, The Doctors Blackwell. In the mid-19th century, it was an unheard of notion for a woman to study medicine, but sisters Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell became path-breaking doctors.

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Among the vast holdings in the National Archives are documents and artifacts that illustrate the intersection of sports and the United States government.

The upcoming National Archives exhibit, All-American: The Power of Sports, will examine the stories told in our documents, artifacts, films, and photographs and reveal another side of the American experience. It will investigate the way sports have been used to unite Americans, promote American culture, and open doors to diplomacy. All-American will celebrate individual athletes, both legendary and little known, who changed American society and furthered the cause of social justice.

As a prelude to the exhibit, we are pleased to welcome the legendary Harlem Globetrotters—virtually—to the National Archives. The Globetrotters appear in our records through written documents, films, and photographs related to visits they have made to U.S. Presidents and other dignitaries, U.S. servicemen and women, and the many diplomatic tours the Globetrotters went on sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

This should be a fun evening, so let’s get to it.

Our moderator for tonight’s discussion is Ben Green. In addition to his book Spinning the Globe: The Rise, Fall, and Return to Greatness of the Harlem Globetrotters, Ben is the acclaimed author of Before His Time (the subject of a PBS documentary), The Soldier of Fortune Murders (which was the basis for a CBS miniseries), and Finest Kind.


But before we hear from Ben, it is my pleasure to “pass” the program to Fatima “TNT” Lister. Here you go!