Thursday, January 28, 2010

A look at the Negro Leagues at Roanoke College

The 1938 Homestead Grays featured home run king Josh Gibson (inside left, second row).

One of the most interesting of the 20th Century's race artifacts, baseball's Negro Leagues, will be the topic of a lecture and film Feb. 11 in celebration of Black History Month. “The Negro Baseball Leagues–An American Legacy” is scheduled Thursday, Feb. 11, 8 p.m. at Roanoke College’s Colket Center Wortmann Ballroom.

The lecturer is filmmaker Byron Motley, who will take a look at yet another piece of intriguing history you won’t find in many books. Negro League players—some of the best ever when you consider people like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and many, many others—lived an entirely different life than their Major League brethren, often being assigned to “Negroes only” living and eating facilities while on the road and playing in secondary facilities, although their crowds were loud and raucous.

The leagues, of course, came about because African-Americans were banned from baseball from the early 20th Century (think "Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis," who also banned eight Black Sox--"Eight Men Out," a great movie--for life) until Robinson’s debut in the late 1940s. Colorful, interesting, exciting period in our bleak history of race relations. Or, more accurately in this case, non-relations.


  1. Dan,

    The assistant principal at Forest Park Academy, Mac McCaden, is in this League's Hall of Fame.

    You should interview him sometime about it. dd

  2. Donna: This league disbanded in 1962 and I think McCaden was about 2 at the time. I think you may be confusing leagues unless they inducted him for something other than being affiliated with the league directly.