When Baseball Went White: Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Dreams of a National Pastime

Ryan A. Swanson

Published by University of Nebraska Press, 2014
ISBN 10: 0803235216 / ISBN 13: 9780803235212
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Synopsis: The story of Jackie Robinson valiantly breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947 is one that most Americans know. But less recognized is the fact that some seventy years earlier, following the Civil War, baseball was tenuously biracial and had the potential for a truly open game. How, then, did the game become so firmly segregated that it required a trailblazer like Robinson? The answer, Ryan A. Swanson suggests, has everything to do with the politics of “reconciliation” and a wish to avoid the issues of race that an integrated game necessarily raised.
 The history of baseball during Reconstruction, as Swanson tells it, is a story of lost opportunities. Thomas Fitzgerald and Octavius Catto (a Philadelphia baseball tandem), for example, were poised to emerge as pioneers of integration in the 1860s. Instead, the desire to create a “national game”—professional and appealing to white Northerners and Southerners alike—trumped any movement toward civil rights. Focusing on Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Richmond—three cities with large African American populations and thriving baseball clubs—Swanson uncovers the origins of baseball’s segregation and the mechanics of its implementation. An important piece of sports history, his work also offers a better understanding of Reconstruction, race, and segregation in America.    
 


 

About the Author: Ryan A. Swanson is an assistant professor and the director of the Lobo Scholars Program in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico.

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Title: When Baseball Went White: Reconstruction, ...
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication Date: 2014
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The story of Jackie Robinson valiantly breaking baseball s color barrier in 1947 is one that most Americans know. But less recognized is the fact that some seventy years earlier, following the Civil War, baseball was tenuously biracial and had the potential for a truly open game. How, then, did the game become so firmly segregated that it required a trailblazer like Robinson? The answer, Ryan A. Swanson suggests, has everything to do with the politics of reconciliation and a wish to avoid the issues of race that an integrated game necessarily raised. The history of baseball during Reconstruction, as Swanson tells it, is a story of lost opportunities. Thomas Fitzgerald and Octavius Catto (a Philadelphia baseball tandem), for example, were poised to emerge as pioneers of integration in the 1860s. Instead, the desire to create a national game -professional and appealing to white Northerners and Southerners alike-trumped any movement toward civil rights. Focusing on Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Richmond-three cities with large African American populations and thriving baseball clubs-Swanson uncovers the origins of baseball s segregation and the mechanics of its implementation. An important piece of sports history, his work also offers a better understanding of Reconstruction, race, and segregation in America. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780803235212

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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The story of Jackie Robinson valiantly breaking baseball s color barrier in 1947 is one that most Americans know. But less recognized is the fact that some seventy years earlier, following the Civil War, baseball was tenuously biracial and had the potential for a truly open game. How, then, did the game become so firmly segregated that it required a trailblazer like Robinson? The answer, Ryan A. Swanson suggests, has everything to do with the politics of reconciliation and a wish to avoid the issues of race that an integrated game necessarily raised. The history of baseball during Reconstruction, as Swanson tells it, is a story of lost opportunities. Thomas Fitzgerald and Octavius Catto (a Philadelphia baseball tandem), for example, were poised to emerge as pioneers of integration in the 1860s. Instead, the desire to create a national game -professional and appealing to white Northerners and Southerners alike-trumped any movement toward civil rights. Focusing on Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Richmond-three cities with large African American populations and thriving baseball clubs-Swanson uncovers the origins of baseball s segregation and the mechanics of its implementation. An important piece of sports history, his work also offers a better understanding of Reconstruction, race, and segregation in America. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780803235212

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