A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 27, 2005
Blackbirds (Long Island University teams)
It is not known when or why Long Island University called its sports teams the "Blackbirds," but the nickname had been used since at least 1935. In 2019, the "Blackbirds" nickname was replaced with "Sharks."


Wikipedia: Long Island University
Long Island University (LIU) is a private university in the U.S. state of New York, overseas, and online. The university offers more than 500 academic programs at two main campuses, LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn, as well as non-residential programs at LIU Brentwood, LIU Riverhead, and LIU Hudson at Rockland and Westchester. LIU has NCAA Division I and II athletics and hosts the annual George Polk Awards in Journalism.

31 January 1935, New York (NY) Times, pg. 25:
With it came a fitting climax to the fourth of the series of the college double-headers as Long Island University administered a sound setback to St. John's by an almost similar score, 31 to 19, in the opener.
(...)
Like Duquesne, the Blackbirds were slow in getting started, but once they began to clock there just was no stopping them.

4 February 1935. New York (NY) Times, pg. 21:
Long Island University also performed well during the week. The Blackbirds brought themselves into the limely as strong contenders for the Metropolitan crown with victories over St. John's and St. Francis, both by wide margins.

4 March 1936, New York (NY) Times, pg. 27:
The Long Island University Blackbirds, holders of the best college basketball record in these parts, apparently have no wish to try basketball in Berlin this Summer and have declared themselves out of any Olympic trials.

25 July 1937, Washington (DC) Post, pg. X5:
L. I. U. Blackbrids, high in national basketball standings for the past several years, will be played in Brooklyn January 19 and here on February 22.

30 March 1939, New York (NY) Times, pg. 30:
L. I. U. Blackbirds Bow

19 March 1947, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 10:
The LIU Blackbirds then put on an inspired drive with three little operatives - Ed Gard, Jackie Goldsmith, and Nat Miller - and lanky Dick Holub burning up the court at such a hot pace that the locals tied the score at 62-all with 25 seconds left.

New York (NY) Post
LIU finally settles on a new nickname
By Ted Holmlund May 16, 2019 | 3:29am
(...)
The school, on the verge of merging its Brooklyn and Post athletic programs, on Wednesday has renamed its team the Sharks. The nickname beat out Eagles and Falcons in a vote by student and alumni.

But there were many former LIU Brooklyn athletes and alumni that wanted to keep the Blackbirds nickname.

On March 25, a group of 12 former LIU Brooklyn athletes and alumni met with the school’s president, Kimberly Cline, to address their concerns. But she told them they were getting rid of Blackbirds because they didn’t want to diminish Post, and that the university also heard from people that the Blackbird was an offensive racist mascot, a source, who attended the meeting, told The Post’s Zach Braziller.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Friday, May 27, 2005 • Permalink