Separate and Unequaled: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Negro League.
After the end of the Civil War in 1865 and during the Reconstruction period that followed, organized regional teams of African American and Latino baseball players formed in Eastern and Mid-Atlantic states. Philadelphian Octavius Catto applied on their behalf for membership in the National Association of Baseball Players. The association voted to exclude any club with a black player. Despite their rejection, the teams continued to develop their own regional leagues. These games drew large crowds across the United States.
On February 13, 1920, former baseball player and manager Andrew “Rube” Foster gathered eight other independent African American team owners to form the official Negro National Baseball League. Rival leagues then formed in Eastern and Southern states. This brought teams to major urban centers and rural towns in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. The leagues set a high level of professional skill and became centerpieces for economic development in many black communities, including here in Harrisburg.
Until 1947, when Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Negro Leagues were the only options for African American and Latino baseball players. Many players on Negro League teams are remembered by baseball historians as equally talented as those playing in the all-white Major Leagues. While Robinson’s signing with the Dodgers marked the beginning of the end of segregation in baseball, it was another 15 years before all Major League teams had even a single black player.
The 100th anniversary of the formation of the Negro National Baseball League is especially important to Harrisburg thanks to the proud history of the Harrisburg Giants. The Giants joined the Eastern Colored League in 1924 with Hall of Fame center fielder Oscar Charleston as playing manager. They played with the Eastern League through 1927.
Newly Reopened Museum Celebrates Baseball History, by Joseph and Barrie Ann George, The Carlisle Sentinel, June 17, 2020
Diamonds are Forever: Susquehanna Art Museum exhibition honors Negro League centennial, by Diane McCormick, The Burg, May 1, 2020
Third in the Burg
Friday, October 16, 2020
5:00 – 8:00 pm