Southern black baseball league celebrates 100th anniversary, remembers history of segregation


On March 3, 1920, a group of African American businessmen gathered for a meeting in Atlanta, to talk about baseball.

Just a month before, Andrew “Rube” Foster, the legendary pitcher and manager of the Chicago American Giants, had made history by forming the Negro National League, an association of black teams styled after Major League Baseball that would become the first professional league for black baseball players.

The businessmen in Atlanta followed suit, and the Negro Southern League was formed.

This month, the Negro Southern League Museum in Birmingham, Alabama, will celebrate the league’s centennial anniversary, and in remembering the league and its triumphs, the inseparable history of segregation resurfaces, too.

Kansas City Monarchs pitching great Leroy Satchel Paige warms up at New York’s Yankee Stadium Aug. 2, 1942 for a Negro League game between the Monarchs and the New York Cuban Stars.Matty Zimmerman / AP

“I think the entire history of the league is caught up in recognizing both sides of the picture, and acknowledging that you can’t talk about it without talking about segregation,” Leslie Heaphy, a professor of U.S. history at Kent University who has…

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