Friday, July 29, 2011
Satchel Paige and integrated baseball in North Dakota in the 1930s
I love stories about things like the House of David (and their Jewish counterparts) because they demonstrate that, most often, semi-pro baseball was about competition in some fundamental, Adam Smith's Baker-kind-of-way, fun and money, the story of the Bismarck Churchill's is a great read or even listen, and essential for understanding the complexity of the history of race, ethnicity, segregation, and integration across all of American society. I'm still putting together a post on Japanese baseball in the West in the early 20th Century, which I hope to post soon. One of the most striking things about reading a large number of early newspapers is breaking down how often these different communities and businesses played each other and together on the ball fields. The mostly end, at least legal, of segregation in America was engineered at the 'high' level by Thurgood Marshall and NAACP legal team, working for 30 years to build precedence that would create Brown vs. Board of Education. The rest of it, the real part that made integration stick (and probably, in a paradoxical way, keeps it going), where the true momentum came from, the change that was beyond the law and in the mind of America, was from the ball fields, dance halls and factory floors.