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While Jackie Robinson is justly famous for breaking the color line in major league baseball in 1947, other young African American players, among them Hank Aaron, continued to struggle for acceptance on southern farm teams well into the 1960s. As Bruce Adelson writes, their presence in the South Atlantic, Carolina, and other minor leagues represented not only a quest for individual athletic achievement; simply by hitting, fielding, and signing autographs alongside their white teammates, African-American ballplayers helped to end segregation in the Jim Crow South.
In writing this book, Adelson interviewed dozens of athletes, managers, and sportswriters who witnessed this important but largely unrecognized front in the ongoing civil rights movement. When nineteen-year-old Percy Miller took the field for the Danville (Virginia) Leafs in 1951, his presence on the roster was not the result of altruism: the team's white owners saw attendance flagging and recognized the need for more African-American fans. Two years later, Hank Aaron and his two black teammates for the Milwaukee Braves' Jacksonville (Florida) farm team were regularly greeted by racial invective, even bottles and stones, on the road. And Ed Charles endured nine years of discrimination in the southern minor leagues before breaking into the majors and finally winning the World Series with the Mets in 1969.
Slowly, through the vehicle of baseball, these African Americans shattered Jim Crow restrictions and met the backlash against Brown v. Board of Education while simultaneously challenging long-held perceptions of racial inadequacy by performing on the field. Brushing Back Jim Crow weaves their firsthand accounts into a narrative that spans the long season of racism in the United States, gripping fans of history and baseball as surely as a pennant or a home run―race.
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Bruce Adelson is author, with Rod Beaton, of The Minor League Baseball Book and of four children's sports books. A past commentator for NPR, he has written about baseball for the Washington Post, USA Today's Baseball Weekly, Sport Magazine, and Baseball America.From Publishers Weekly:
Even after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, segregation ruled the minor league circuits of the deep South, the backbone of organized baseball's player development system. Interracial competition was still banned, and black fans were barred from the grandstands and public facilities. Circuits such as the South Atlantic League, the Carolina League, the Texas League and many others would not be fully integrated until 1964, after a combination of talented black players, economics (paying black fans thronged to root for their own) and local black boycotts forced even notoriously resistant leagues such as the Southern Association to integrate. Adelson's outstanding survey of the period examines the groundbreaking role of professional baseball, which paved the way for social mixing of blacks and whites and anticipated the victories of the NAACP and the civil rights movement that would soon follow (there's also an excellent account of legislative and judicial decisions throughout the 1950s and '60s). Most importantly, Adelson documents the moving experiences of such extraordinary men as Percy Miller, who integrated the Carolina League in 1951; future big leaguers Manny Mota and Felipe Alou; future Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Billy Williams; and visionary white owners, including Dave Burnett of the Texas League. Adelson's account of their struggles is much more than a good baseball book: it's a detailed history of how the struggle for integration and civil rights played out in the daily life of a profession that just happens to be the national pastime.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description University of Virginia Press, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0813918847
Book Description University of Virginia Press, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0813918847