Screen the provided materials, videos, and as well your own research to examine the importance of the Negro Leagues to African American society and culture. Then answer the following discussion questions:
- In the 1870s and throughout the 1880s, black baseball players actually played alongside white baseball players on professional teams. Why do you think it became necessary for black players to form their own baseball league?
- According to USA Today Sports, there were only 68 African Americans out of a total of 882 players in Major League Baseball on opening day rosters in 2019. Eleven teams didn’t have more than a single African American player on their 25-player roster. Three teams didn’t have any African American players on the roster.How does the NLBM and Negro League Baseball history fit with the American experience today given that there are fewer African American players playing in the MLB than has existed in the 1970’s, 80s, and 90s.
3. The Negro Leagues’ East-West All-Star Game, with its combination of celebrity athletes, musicians, actors and notable figures, singularly brought together the worlds of sports, media and popular culture. Where and how do we see this happening in 2020?
4. Mami “Peanut” Johnson was one of three women (along with Toni Stone and Connie Morgan who played in the Negro Leagues. Johnson was particularly good, pitching three years for the Indianapolis Clowns and serving as one of the original trailblazers for women in sports. Who are the female trailblazers today? Katie Sowers (49ers asst. coach), Alyssa Nakken (SF Giants coach), Jessica Mendoza (NY Mets front office advisor), US Women’s Soccer Team, etc.?Explain why you feel these and others are or why they should not be considered trailblazers.
Negro Leagues Online Resources
- Today Show – Feb 2020 clip – good intro on 100th anniversary, includes interview with Hank Aaron
Hank Aaron On The Negro Leagues: ‘There Was So Much Talent’ | TODAY (Links to an external site.)
- Discovering Greatness, ep. 193 – visit to the NLBM, clips showing the museum and featuring Bob speaking
Ep. 193 – “Discovering Greatness” (Negro Leagues Baseball Museum) (Links to an external site.)
- FOX 2012 All-Star Game Tribute to the Negro Leagues – features Bob speaking and good narrative about legacy of the Negro Leagues, role KC and the Paseo YMCANEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL TRIBUTE-MLB on FOX 2012 All-Star Pregame Show (Links to an external site.)
- Buck O’Neil Movie (short version) – Different clips showing Buck sharing stories about the Negro LeaguesBUCK O’NEIL MOVIE 2 SHORT VERSION (Links to an external site.)
- Buck O’Neil’s HOF Speech – uplifting message – The Greatest Thing (Links to an external site.)
- Audio only, but great content – interview with Bob, KCBX Public Radio (Feb 2020) – Bob shares how the negro leagues formed, talks about the cultural crossroads of 18th & Vine with jazz and baseball — story of economic empowerment, discusses why this is such an important story to share
https://www.kcbx.org/post/journeys-discovery-national-negro-leagues-baseball-celebrates-100th-anniversary#stream/0 (Links to an external site.)
The Undefeated, Feb 2020: “Rube Foster was the big man behind the first successful Negro baseball league.”
https://theundefeated.com/features/rube-foster-was-the-big-man-behind-the-first-successful-negro-baseball-league/ (Links to an external site.)
- Offers good background on the league’s founding in KC, the larger-than-life figure Rube Foster, and important takeaway for our class — how the negro leagues used baseball as a means for economic empowerment and pride in the black community
The Undefeated, July 2016: “Pots & Pans: Baseball Has Always Had Black All-Stars”
https://theundefeated.com/features/pots-pans-baseball-has-always-had-black-all-stars/ (Links to an external site.)
NPR: “Remembering D.C. Negro Leagues Legend, Mami ‘Peanut’ Johnson
Feb 2020 article
https://www.npr.org/local/305/2020/02/13/805611719/remembering-d-c-negro-leagues-legend-mamie-peanut-johnson (Links to an external site.)
https://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/baseball-demographics-1947-2012 (Links to an external site.)