Whirty: The black press: a complex past, a pivotal future

From SABR member Ryan Whirty at Home Plate Don’t Move on April 3, 2017:

Aside from boxing and track, ground zero for the clashing of sports journalism and society has been — or at least throughout the sport’s history — baseball. We need look no further than the film, “42,” which depicts the role African-American writer Wendell Smith played in Jackie Robinson’s entry into and first season in the major leagues.

In fact, as Negro League historians, we know that it was often members of the African-American media, particularly newspapers, who pressed for the integration of Organized Baseball and the end of Jim Crowism in the national pastime. Popular sports columnists arranged tryouts for black players with white teams, and scribes dogged MLB owners by consistent peppering them with question about whether the time for integration was upon the baseball business.

While it was usually black journalists who instigated the discussion, sympathetic white writers gradually took up arms with their African-American brethren and crusaded for equality and justice in the American pastime by vocalizing their beliefs in their own work, as well, as standing up for black writers in press boxes across the country.

Read the full article here: https://homeplatedontmove.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/the-black-press-a-complex-past-a-pivotal-future/

Originally published: April 5, 2017. Last Updated: April 5, 2017.