The Impact of the Negro Leagues on Communities Between 1940-1947

A lecture by Mr. Derrick C. Jones ’79 for Dr. Ken Muir’s Sociology of Sport Class
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 / 11:00am
Chapell Wilson Hall, Room 207

Between the end of the Depression and the advent of integrated baseball in the late 1940s, the Negro Leagues enjoyed its heyday, as crowds came out to see teams such as the Kansas City Monarchs, Pittsburgh Crawfords, and Homestead Grays, whose star-filled rosters captured the imagination of fans black and white.

These games became a primary spoke in the cultural wheel of African American community activities and a centerpiece of social life – just as “the national pastime” continues to be. The Negro Leagues games could draw crowds upwards of 5,000. Teams were greeted with parades and cheers and adulation. Commercial enterprises centered around the games flourished as well.

The Negro Leagues impacted cultural, economic, social, recreational, and political realities on the national scene from 1930 on. Soon, however, the younger star players would draw the attention of the white major leagues, for whom integration looked increasingly to be an unprecedented opportunity to add both talented players and devoted, ticket-buying fans.

Within a few seasons of Jackie Robinson’s historic signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, the Negro Leagues had fallen on hard times. While they would struggle on for much of the decade that followed, black baseball’s moment had passed.

Resources for learning about the Negro Leagues

Mr. Jones’ “Traveling Museum of Artifacts from the Negro Leagues Era and Players” will be on display in the Multicultural Center and in the International Hallway on the first floor of Plemmons Student Union from April 13-April 17, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited.

The Derrick C. Jones Residency on the Negro Leagues Baseball Era is sponsored by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance, with support from Belk Library and Information Commons, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, and Dan’l Boone Inn.

Hosts for Jones’ presentations and lectures include the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, Appalachian’s Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Diversity Celebration, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Mabel School, the Department of Sociology and Watauga County Library.

For additional information, call 828-262-2144 or email Susan King at