Can one person make a difference? Eugene Jackson loves baseball. Retired from a lifetime spent in the game, Eugene relocates to Chicago and opens a small neighborhood grocery store. Outside his back wall sits an old, dilapidated ball diamond that hoste
One day in July our Rochester club, leader in the Eastern League, had returned to the hotel after winning a double-header from the Syracuse club. For some occult reason there was to be a lay-off next day and then on the following another double-header. These double-headers we hated next to exhibition games. Still a lay-off for twenty-four hours, at that stage of the race, was a Godsend, and we received the news with exclamations of pleasure. After dinner we were all sitting and smoking comfortably in front of the hotel when our manager, Merritt, came hurriedly out of the lobby. It struck me that he appeared a little flustered.
This book brings into dramatic relief the dilemma, or devil's bargain, that faced the black press in first building up black baseball, then crusading for the sport's integration and, as a result of that largely successful campaign, ultimately encouraging and even ensuring the demise of those same black leagues. Taking a thematic approach, this book focuses each of its chapters on a singular event or phenomenon from and for each decade of the period covered, a period that spans the roughly four decades of the black leagues' existence. Thus, the book drills down on a handful of representative events and phenomena to present a history of the black press and black baseball. Themes include the many ways team owners and the weekly newspapers' editors and writers worked in concert to build up the leagues, the paired fortunes of black players and black writers, the desperation to save the Negro leagues when it became clear integration threatened their survival, and finally the black press's response to the residues of baseball's decades of segregation.
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