Campaign for INtegration

old political cartoon featuring a African American with a shirt that reads ALL Americans, swinging a bat, and the words Democracy in Action!

Courtesy The Chicago Defender, July 19, 1947.


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"However, in its support of baseball integration and in its treatment of black athletes, the black press was at one with the black population. Never acquiescing to segregation in baseball, the Negro newspapers conducted a sustained campaign for sports integration that gave moral encouragement to the black athlete and the black population."
(Rogosin, 1983, pp. 87-88)

"In 1934, the Kansas City Monarchs became the first black team in the annual Denver Post tournament... The invitation to the Monarchs was partially the result of the campaign that was being waged by the black press for full citizenship rights for black Americans. The bottom line, though, was the promoters' recognition that a contest among the best teams in the Midwest had to include the Monarchs."
(Bruce, 1985, p. 75)

"The call for integration reached a fever pitch by 1945, with some black writers adopting showmanlike, theatrical methods to change opinion."
(Reisler, 1994, p. 6)

"With justifiable pride, black sportswriters pointed to the athletic and business achievements of the Negro leagues. But the assumptions of segregation were challenged most openly during the many interracial matches. Here, within the narrow confines of the sports settings, black athletes met the white man on his own terms and demonstrated their worth. The victories undermined the very ideology of segregation and chipped away at the status quo."
(Bruce, 1985, p. 129)

"Behind every victory many blacks saw a tiny step forward in their everyday relations with the white majority. The Call's sportswriter contended that the best thing that baseball did for Kansas City was to allow the races to mingle and meet each other as fellow human beings."
(Bruce, 1985, p. 130)

"Writers like Sam Lacy of the Baltimore Afro-American and Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier had been crusading against the color barrier for years. Their biggest obstacle was the commissioner of baseball himself, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, a judge who publicly maintained there was no discrimination in baseball and privately worked against any effort to end discrimination."
(O'Neil, 1996, p.165-166)

The black sportswriters were "extraordinary men. Jackie Robinson said that he could never have made it to the major leagues without Smith's help. Indeed, their most lasting collective contribution may have been an eloquent, persistent and occasionally bitter demonstration of words designed to urge the white baseball establishment to integrate."
(Reisler, 1994, p. 2)

"When Ric Roberts of the Pittsburgh Courier asked the newly named commissioner, Happy Chandler, 'What about the black boys?' Chandler answered, 'If they can fight and die in Okinawa, Guadalcanal, in the South Pacific, they can play baseball in America.' But those were just words until Branch Rickey found Jackie Robinson."
(O'Neil, 1996, p. 166)