7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Negro League

7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Negro League

The Negro Leagues were founded more than a hundred years ago in 1920. In 2006 Congress recognized NLBM as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” which has allowed many past, present, and future generations to view this important part of our history. Finally, in 2020, there was a monumental announcement that the stats from the league would finally be included as part of the official MLB listings. For baseball fans and supporters of the culture everywhere, this was an important step in recognizing the sports talent of people of color. If you are new to baseball or simply a casual fan of Negro League baseball, we have a list of seven little-known facts about the league for you to enjoy.

#1 Original Negro National League Teams

The Negro National League was originally formed in 1920, however, not many people can list the names of the original teams. There were eight teams at the start of the league, all made up of African American and colored players. The list includes:

  • Cuban Stars
  • St. Louis Giants
  • Dayton Marcos
  • Chicago American Giants
  • Indianapolis ABCs
  • Chicago Giants
  • Detroit Stars
  • Kansas City Monarchs

#2 The First Season Of The Negro League Was Canceled

Due to the Chicago Race Riot in 1919, the National Guard occupied the Giants ballpark. As a result, no games could be played on the field. Rube Foster, the mind behind the Negro League and also an accomplished baseball player himself, canceled the first season for lack of play space. That didn’t stop the league from moving forward, and they went on to play their first season on a different date.

#3 Josh Gibson & His Negro League Success

There is an astounding number of Black baseball players that found fame and recognition in the Negro Leagues. Josh Gibson, however, is one of the lesser talked about but highly prolific players who participated in the Negro League. During his career that spanned 17 years, he scored over 800 home runs, 384 of which were accomplished during his time in the Negro League. He also went on to become the Negro League World Series Champion twice and achieved the title of All-Star 12 times.

#4 The Oldest Player In The MLB Was Black

Most sports players start out when they are quite young and tend to retire well before they reach middle age. You might be amazed to know that not only was the oldest player to start out in sports Black but also that he happened to be a part of the Negro League. Leroy Paige, often called Satchel, was one of the most prolific players and pitchers in the history of the Negro League. Unlike most players, he actually debuted as a rookie at the wizened age of 43. He played at the top of his game even over younger players for many years and played his last game just before his 60th birthday. Aside from being the oldest to play in an MLB game, he was the first Black man to pitch in the World Series and the American League.

#5 Negro Leagues Baseball Stamps

It is pretty common for commemorative stamps to be issued that mark special events in American history. While many sports, musical, and presidential stamps among others have been put into print, Negro League Baseball stamps were absent. In 2010, the U.S. Postal Service released stamps that were meant to all-black professional baseball leagues. The pair of stamps released was commemorative and have a face value of 44 cents. At the time of their release, this was the regular postage rate though current stamp prices have increased. The Negro Leagues were also honored with this stamp release and as a bonus, they were issued during the 20th-anniversary celebrations of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. One of the commemorative stamps features the image of Rube Foster, who is was the main person credited with the creation of the league in 1920.

#6 The Negro League Was Finally Recognized As A MLB

Although the Negro National League is well known and the stats of the players tabulated amongst baseball enthusiasts, it was not officially recognized as part of the major leagues. In 2020 the Major League Baseball association officially recognized the Negro National League as part of the Major Leagues. The stats and accomplishments of the players have been added to the official roll books which is not only a great honor, but a great sign of respect to the 3,400 players that participated in the sport from 1920 through 1948 as part of the Negro Leagues.

#7 The End of Sports Segregation & HBCU’s Caused The Negro Leagues Downfall

While it is well known that the exclusion of people of color in MLB led to the creation of The Negro Leagues, not many know inclusion was the cause of its downfall. The great depression hit America hard and affected people of color even worse. This caused the Negro League to begin unraveling which was further aided by the absence of Foster as the head of the league. Although the Negro League did rebound for a while under new ownership, HBCU’s and other graduate schools had a bittersweet effect of draining the leagues of many of their most talented players. Once MLB teams started recruiting Black baseball players and other players of color in 1946, the Negro Leagues slowly started losing their top players which eventually led to its disbandment in 1960.

Teaching The Past To Our Future Generations

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Image Sources:

  1. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/575968239814153579/
  2. https://news.wttw.com/2019/07/24/chicago-organizations-commemorate-100th-anniversary-race-riots
  3. https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/gibson-josh
  4. https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/paige-satchel
  5. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-negro-leagues-baseball-featured-on-new-stamps-2010jul15-story.html
  6. https://www.wgbh.org/news/commentary/2020/12/30/major-league-baseball-finally-recognizes-negro-league-achievements-it-needs-to-do-more
  7. https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2020/02/20/on-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-negro-leagues-a-look-back-at-what-was-lost/
Recent Corporate Commitments To Racial Equality

Recent Corporate Commitments To Racial Equality

Racial equality is an issue that has been on the books for quite some time. However, in recent years, the spotlight has been on companies and what they are doing to implement real change. The idea of inclusive growth is neither new nor a passing trend. The nation’s legacy of racism and the growing public outcry for inclusivity has spurred business leaders in the private and economic sectors to do what they can to help level the playing field.

The Corporate Response To Call For Change

The pandemic has affected the Black population more severely than any other in America. When paired with the wholesale abuse of power by the police department and the justice system, movements that support people of color have picked up steam. NAACP, Black Lives Matter, UndocuBlack Network, and the Color of Change among many others have called for those in power, specifically corporations, to support change and racial equality in the country. While businesses usually take a neutral stance in issues of politics, religion, and race, these calls simply could not be left unaddressed. Many leaders in both the private and public sectors have publicly shown their support of the African American Community. The method in which support has been shown varies depending on the company, but every ounce of support is appreciated.

How Corporate America Is Supporting Racial Equality

Some companies are using philanthropy to show their support while others are giving direct donations to communities in need. While these are welcomed, they are more of a stop-gap than a working solution. Changing business practices by investing in POC communities and making racial equality changes from the top will support more lasting change. In various industries, CEOs have taken note and made a point of adding more black and other people of color not only to their employee roster but also into higher positions of power. To take things even further, a large number of companies have used their influence to force or encourage change within local institutions and civic organizations.

Supporting The POC Community Where It Counts

Companies from all industries such as fashion, technology, beauty, and more have committed their wallets to the cause. These funds have gone to help raise awareness about racism and its effects in addition to helping communities that have a high population of POC. Not to be overlooked are the billions of dollars corporate America has poured into funds that are dedicated to increasing diversity in the workplace and also ending police brutality. In fact, by the middle of 2020, there were close to 2 billion dollars pledged by operations to help and address racial inequity as a whole. One of the most notable contributions is by Google. As the world’s largest and most used search engine, they are in a unique position to effect real change in the USA. They provided $25 million dollars worth of Google Ad Grants to groups and organizations that are fighting racial injustice and working towards racial equality. The importance of these grants is that they allowed groups that may not have been able to afford prime placement to disperse critical information to the public.

Companies Fighting Back Against Racial Inequality

While not everyone has joined the fight, there are plenty of companies both large and small that are supporting the fight against racial inequality. PayPal has pledged $530 million to help support businesses owned by black people and other minorities. Google has made a point of increasing the number of blacks and other POC represented in the C-Suite. Bank of America has pledged $1 billion to help with racial inequality caused by the pandemic. PepsiCo used $400 million to create an imitative that deals with racial inequality in business relationships and hiring decisions. Amazon has distributed 10 million dollars to a dozen organizations fighting racial inequality.

More than money is needed to help root out and cure racial injustice. Corporations have also issued statements and promise to address internal issues that cover a lack of diversity and racially charged business practices. Diversifying the leadership is one of the main ways corporations have stated they will start remedying racial inequality. A diverse power structure will better place companies in a position to not only identify bias but to mitigate it more effectively. At the retail level, many popular chain stores have made a commitment to remove theft deterrent casing from black products which have long been seen as symbolic segregation in the POC community. This year has already seen major rebranding of many products that were racially charged or otherwise formed on antiquated ideas that supported racist stereotypes.

Is It Enough To Make A Difference?

Race has been a problem in the country since well before its formal creation. As long as it has taken for the country to be formed, you can expect it to take just as long for the population to reach some semblance of equality. Slavery was abolished more than a century ago, but segregation was abolished less than 60 years ago. Racial discrimination has been a problem ever since, but with time, education, and a concentrated effort, the population can start to put real changes into effect. While the monetary pledges and even the changes to the corporate structure may never be enough, it is a great start to help the nation start to heal. True racial equality will happen when people stop viewing those around them as different, but rather as fellow human beings. Until then, changes in the corporate field will help fuel changes from the top down.  

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Image Sources:

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  2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/dec/28/tech-platforms-vowed-to-address-racial-equity-how-have-they-fared
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  4. https://www.brookings.edu/essay/from-commitments-to-action-how-ceos-can-advance-racial-equity-in-their-regional-economies/
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Racism and Mental Health In The Black Community

Racism and Mental Health In The Black Community

Racism has always been an important topic in the black community, and in recent years the spotlight has brought an increased awareness of the issue to the nation as a whole. Mental health is also an important topic, but one that is not often admitted or addressed in communities of color. One aspect of racism that many healthcare providers are starting to point out is the emotional and mental side effects of systemic racism on people of color. Although Clinicians of Color have been speaking on this topic for years, it is only recently that non-POC experts started paying attention.

Source: https://www.statnews.com/2020/06/09/systemic-racism-black-health-disparities/

The Effects of Racism on Mental Health

People of color, especially those in the African American community have completely different life experiences than other races. As a whole, black lives have been marginalized since before the formation of the country, and have always been viewed as “less than” in just about every aspect of life. Bigotry, oppression, fear, and lack of proper access have created a generational mental health burden that is unique to the black community. In addition, the usual mental health concerns and triggers that affect society as a whole are also present. Living in a society where racism is a normal part of life causes mental trauma that is not fully understood. These traumas directly translate to an increase in mental illness which should be taken seriously, but is often overlooked.

Source: https://www.alexandriava.gov/dchs/adultservices/default.aspx?id=116118

Trauma & Mental Health In The Black Community

In the majority of mental health conditions that exist, the most common reason is past trauma. This can be as simple as a difficult childhood to a traumatic event. However, until recently racism and bigotry were not viewed as traumas that could lead to various mental health problems. Racial trauma that is obvious is very much a concern, however, the subtle and repeated traumas that black people experience on a daily basis are even more harmful.

Being a target of suspicion or being avoided due to fear and ignorance plays on the psyche in a myriad of ways. The systematic denial of services, loans and even proper medical care breeds inherent distrust that can seldom be remedied. The constant fear of arrest and incarceration is an ongoing trauma that is further exacerbated by wholesale racial profiling.

Source: https://dworakpeck.usc.edu/news/why-mental-health-care-stigmatized-black-communities

The Effects of Racism Against African Americans Seeking Mental Health Services

The black community has a strong distrust of doctors and psychiatrists, all with good reason. Aside from the fact that the black community has long been used as an unauthorized testing ground for all manner of treatments, many doctors overlook basic problems in lieu of giving severe diagnoses. For example, the percentage of people of color who suffer from schizophrenia is on par with that of whites; however, clinicians tend to focus more on psychotic symptoms when dealing with a black person. As a result, major depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health concerns are overlooked in favor of a schizophrenia diagnosis. 

As a whole, it has been proven that people of color are given a schizophrenia diagnosis at a much higher rate than other races, even when other mood conditions are present. Of course, this leads to the patient being overmedicated and their actual problem left undiagnosed and unaddressed. What’s worse, black children and black teenagers who are suffering from various mental health disorders are referred into the juvenile justice system due to behavior instead of being referred for mental health services.

Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/10/23/racism-fuels-poor-mental-health-outcomes-black-students

The POC Community & Avoidance of Mental Health Concerns

Aside from being denied care or given inaccurate treatments, there is a rather large stigma in the black community regarding the need for mental health care. The general distrust of the medical field and the constant burden of racism has led to a generational avoidance of mental health services as a whole. If you suggest a black person visit a therapist, most will deny the need or state that such help is not effective. The fact that there are so few mental health professionals of color further limits the desire or the ability of those in the black community to seek help when needed.

How Racism Affects Individual Mental Health

Constantly being bombarded with outward and systematic racism leads to a myriad of mental health issues. Often this turns to anger and rage when there is no outlet or help is available. The most common condition caused by racism is depression, and in many cases, racial trauma actually results in PTSD. Increase racial stress causes problems not only with mental health, but also one’s physical health. Experiencing and observing racism both result in increased stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Unfortunately, racism and discrimination occur almost on a daily basis, this sustained pressure leads to often permanent changes in the brain due to sustained production of stress hormones.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Mainstream clinicians accepting that racism has a very real and tangible effect on mental health is the first step on a long path to health. Now that more medical professionals are aware of how racism can affect the mind and body, those seeking help from the black community have a better chance at receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment for their conditions. Convincing the POC community to actually seek help will take time, but knowing that there is a listening ear is a good place to start. 

Paying Attention To Your Health For The Future

Here at The Narrative Matters, we are dedicated to speaking about topics that matter to you and to the culture. We pride ourselves in partnering with Content Publishers to bring topics and areas of interest that impact our readers to the forefront. If you are interested in growing your audience with content that matters, you can find out more here. We cover a range of genres from pop culture, lifestyle, and emerging trends to health, politics, education, and more.