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Black America Library Series

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Our Visual Library Series serves as a powerful antidote to attacks on diversity, Black history studies, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and books by Black Authors by providing a comprehensive perspective on American History.

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They highlight the often-overlooked contributions and experiences of Black individuals and organizations, promoting inclusivity and challenging stereotypes.

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They foster a deep understanding of the Black American Experience, encouraging open dialogue and ultimately promoting a society where diversity and racial justice are celebrated, not attacked.

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  • Writer's pictureT. Brookshire

Sunday Baseball: More Than a Game - How Baseball Shaped African American Communities





Seattle Owls Club was a black women's softball team formed in the 1930s which won the Washington State’s first and second Softball Championships in 1938 and 1939. The ‘38 championship was played at what was then Sick’s Stadium. During the ‘39 championship, Owl’s left-handed pitcher Lillian Brown struck out twelve batters on the Manette team in the final championship game at Civic Field, the site of the current Memorial Stadium.

Baseball (and Softball for women), at the turn of the 20th century, was the centerpiece of some black societies in rural America. Games were hosted on Sundays so ministers would cut their sermons short and churches would dismiss early. Many of the attendees and fans were still in their Sundays Best... It wasn't just a ballgame… Sunday Baseball was an social occasion. It was part of the African American social fabric.


For local and rural Black communities, especially during the era of segregation, baseball took on even more profound significance, serving as a vehicle for economic opportunities, bolstering morale, and instilling a deep sense of community pride.





Economic Impact

During a time when opportunities for Black individuals were constricted by the heavy chains of segregation and racial prejudice, baseball emerged as a potential means of livelihood. The formation of Black baseball leagues and teams provided job opportunities not just for the players, but also for coaches, umpires, team staff, and venue operators. Furthermore, games attracted audiences, leading to business for local vendors, restaurants, and transport services, infusing much-needed economic vitality into these communities.





Morale and Identity

Amidst such racial adversity, baseball served as a respite. It was a realm where talent shone brighter than skin color. For many Black individuals, watching players who looked like them excel on the baseball diamond was an antidote to the daily humiliations of segregation. It gave young kids someone to look up to, stories of success and triumph to share, and most importantly, it offered HOPE. Baseball games became gatherings where community spirit was fostered and where collective joys & sorrows were shared.





Community Pride

The success of Black baseball teams was a source of immense pride for local communities. These teams became symbols of what Black community pride looked like. When your local Base/Softball team emerged victorious, it wasn’t just a win on the scoreboard… it was for bragging rights until you met again. Baseball and Softball reverberated beyond the confines of the baseball diamond … igniting a sense of unity, pride, and communal identity. Towns rallied behind their local teams, and success on the field became intertwined with community reputation.





The impact of baseball during segregation is a testament to the resilience of Black communities and their ability to carve out spaces of Success, Joy, and Unity even in the harshest of circumstances.





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