Negro League Baseball Civil Rights Onlooker/Participant Or Separate Entity
“ If We Can Stop Bullets Why Not Balls”
Late 1800’s (post civil war) Blacks and whites played together on baseball teams
Early 1880’s it became seen as a social stigma if a black man was on your team
Social stigma develops into an unwritten rule Post 1880’s in which no blacks may play on white teams.
This only means that they cannot play with, does not bar playing against. (I.E. Barnstorming)
Andrew “Rube” Foster
“ Pitfalls in Baseball”
Negro National League
Many teams left league
Chicago American Giants only constant
Tulsa Race Riots
“ No government can wave a magical wand and take a race from bondage to citizenship in half a century.”
Dyer Anti-lynching Bill
Passed in H.O.R.
“ Congress, speaking for the American people, has finally set the stamp of disapproval on mob murder.”
Downed in Senate
Eastern Colored League formed (1923)
Many teams dismantled
NNL losing money and players
Negro League World Series formed
NLWS and All Star Game become the basis of East-West game (TBDL)
Tulsa makes news again!
Civil Rights History?!
Nope just kidding…
“Rube” was the “Glue” in 1925 rumblings of his managerial style prompted him to resign, realizing this would leave more work, owners simply shut up.
1927 saw “Rube” Foster admitted to a hospital for “losing his mind”
1925-1932 Baseball (cont.)
1930 “Rube” Foster dies of mental illness, with him ECL dies
1932 Having been without Foster for 5 years, NNL folds.
1932 Cum Posey Erected the East-West League, this league folded quicker then it’s inception
1925-1932 Civil Rights
A. Phillip Randolph, Sleeping Car Porters
“ In March 1931, nine young black males, aged 13 to 21, riding in an open freight car through rural Alabama were jailed and put on trial after being accused of raping two white women”
“ Powell v. Alabama” (1932) Legal Counsel
The all black New York Rens defeated the Original Celtics, in the first world basketball championship. (1932)
“Gus” Greenlee Re-institutes the NNL
Much like the East-West league the previous year the end seemed near
Similar to modern day all star games, separated geographically by East and West.
Chicago Defender , Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American, and the Kansas City Call
1933 East-West Game
Major League Owners present
NFL adopts a “gentlemen’s agreement” much like MLB’s barring blacks from professional competition.
Joe Louis, becomes light-heavyweight champion in boxing
“ They are, on the whole, better hitters than the Detroit Tigers”
1934 E-W Game
Some found it to not be prosperous, but a cash cow
20,882 viewed the game
Estimated 4,000 fans were white
Depression Era was hurting White Baseball, Black baseball (E-W Game) Prospering
1935 E-W Game
27,000 fans attended
White fan base increased proportionally
Other sports had interracial success…
Jesse Owens (4 medals, contested WR)
NAACP put forth a lawsuit to end pay discrimination between Black and White teachers.
“ I see no reason why Negroes should not be admitted to major league baseball. If it weren’t for them, where would America be in Hitler’s Olympics? There is no place for racial discrimination in the American national game” – New York Daily Mirror (w)
“… In the interest of fair play and sportsmanship, we must wipe out this Jim-crowism and allow Negro ball players of ability on big league teams…There is no place for racial discrimination in the American plan of fair play and sportsmanship.”
1936 E-W Game
Satchel Paige the biggest drawing power again
With arguments arising from the Olympics the baseball integration issue became very hot
Joe Louis becomes the Heavyweight Boxing champion in front of 45,000 people
NAACP, begins rallying support for baseball integration through newspapers
First direct connection to CRM
1937 E-W Game
No less then 20,000
Decline from previous year, but number still does not dip below 20,000
1938 (Damn Yankees)
Jake Powell Utility outfielder for Yankees is recorded in interview as making racist remarks
He states that his off-season activities include “cracking niggers over the head” as a police officer
Powell suspended 10 day
1938 E-W Game
30,000 view the game
White newspapers start to compliment the black players in articles even dubbing them superior in some ways
All but one major league stadium had integrated their seating.
Two black papers began interviewing MLB execs about their ideas on integration
Many replied they were not unwilling to accept the talent that the NL’s could offer.
1939 E-W Game
Joe Louis threw out the first pitch
40,000 (a record at that time) viewed the game
Even more heard the game over the radio for the first time (in the New Orleans area)
A second E-W game was played in Yankee Stadium (12-17,000 attended, comparable to the first Chicago crowd)
1940 E-W Game
No Satchel Paige
Only 25,000 in attendance
NAACP protested segregated military units
Executive Order by President Roosevelt is issued, banning “discrimination in war facilities and military training camps.”
Pearl Harbor ambushed
1941 E-W Game
Satchel Paige returned
50,000+ attended, many were turned away (exact number unknown)
“ Can you read, Judge Landis?” Campaign
“… Negroes are not barred from organized baseball by the commission and have never been since the 21 years I have served. There is no rule in organized baseball prohibiting their participation to my knowledge…”
Jackie Robinson and Nate Moreland arrive unexpectedly at Chicago White Sox training camp asking for tryouts…nothing came of it.
1942 E-W Game
48,000+ Attended, with thousands more again being turned away.
Same teams played an Army-Navy relief fundraiser, raising nearly nine thousand and five hundred dollars
1943 E-W Game
Satchel Paige still playing
51,000 in attendance
Avg. of 49,000 fans per game over three years prompted one Black Sportswriter to say “…This is not only the biggest Negro sports event, but the largest proposition in the nation from the point of view of patron interest to the extent of paying an admission price…”
Judge Landis Dies
Satchel Paige refuses to play in E-W game over monetary dispute
E-W Game sees 50,000 in attendance
NAACP helps to initiate the passage of the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC)
End Jim Crow in Baseball Committe e is formed as a result
New league formed by Greenlee, and Branch Rickey called the “United States League” this league folded in less then a year
Branch Rickey signs Jackie Robinson to the Montreal Royals, the farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers
The East-West game would continue on until 1953, eight years after the signing of Jackie Robinson. Eventually the Major leagues would be fully integrated, and it was every baseball player for himself, to find his way on to a Major league roster.