Heiderscheidt: The Negro National League and African-American mobility, 1920-31

From SABR member Drew Heiderscheidt at the University of Northern Colorado on November 7, 2018:

I’m a member of SABR and also a senior at the University of Northern Colorado, writing my thesis on the Negro National League. As a companion to the thesis itself, I’ve created an interactive story map that I thought members of SABR may be interested in.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Negro League baseball was critical to African-Americans. During Jim Crow—an era when state laws across the country discriminated against blacks—, African-Americans had little to no mobility, socially or economically. As a result, they turned to baseball–specifically the NNL–as a vehicle for mobility, which offered them three avenues for improving their status. First, baseball let players exhibit their athletic skills, which disproved early 20th century racial theories of black athletic inferiority, showed their equality to white major leaguers, and earned them respect from many (though not all) whites. Second, baseball offered African-Americans a chance to prove their worth through supporting local communities, undermining segregation, and attracting thousands of spectators to their games, both black and white. And finally, baseball was an economic boon, making money not only for players, but also for the African-American community as a whole.

View the full interactive story map here: https://unco.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=31d6c266ae694812a044118af2e2ec73

Originally published: November 8, 2018. Last Updated: November 8, 2018.