Clark: Preserving the legacy of black baseball history in Detroit

From Anna Clark at CityLab on March 29, 2019, with mention of SABR member Gary Gillette:

Only a few are left.

Negro League ballparks were a vibrant centerpiece of African-American life in the early 20th century, when black people were banished from the major leagues. Their venues read like a map of the Great Migration: at one end, places like Jacksonville, Atlanta, and Hot Springs, Arkansas; at the other, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Cleveland.

It’s taken more than a century, but the historic-preservation movement is finally reaching this neglected part of the cultural landscape. And it’s about time: By one measure, only five still stand.

They include Hamtramck Stadium, where the Detroit Stars played. After sitting as essentially a vacant lot for two decades, it’s gotten a big restoration push recently from local champions of baseball history, family members of a former star player, and also, of all people, Jack White. The rescue campaign interrupts the pattern of preservation tending to favor the structures built by dominant wealthy white people, a pattern that presents a distorted view of the past.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 1, 2019. Last Updated: April 1, 2019.