Jim Crow laws (sometimes referred to as Black Codes) were laws that mandated discrimination and enabled racial segregation through the common use of the ideological phrase, “separate but equal”. These laws regulated separate use of public facilities and services including that of water fountains, bathrooms and segregated seating on public transportation… not to mention participation in professional baseball. The Negro National League, established by Rube Foster in 1920, created an opportunity for baseball players (all shades of Black) to perform at a professional level within a professional organization. Many men (and a few women too) filled the rosters of the Negro Leagues in the forty plus years that followed… It is the collective team effort that ran Jim Crow out of Major League Baseball that we acknowledge and celebrate!
In the spring of 2003, I had the privilege of meeting John Borst, a documentary filmmaker and owner of Grandvue Productions. After sharing our plans for our Legends of the Negro Leagues program, John made a commitment to tell our story in a documentary film… a story wrapped within the great history of Negro Leagues Baseball. We have enjoyed working on this project with John and are extremely grateful for his dedication and willingness to cover this awesome topic.
Be sure to take a look at the following vignettes:
Vignette 1 (1:09)
Vignette 2 (39 Seconds)
Vignette 3 (33 Seconds)
In was early 1960’s; Negro American League Baseball was falling on hard times. Fanfare in the grandstands and bleachers was dwindling... The sun was finally setting on this twilight chapter of Negro Leagues Baseball History. Its purpose had finally been fulfilled.
Looking back now, we honor all of the men and women that played a part in making Negro Leagues Baseball History… those before Jackie… those that played alongside Jackie… and also those that continued the significant, less mentioned effort to integrate the majors after Jackie.
We are witnessing the twilight years of these wonderful men. So we set out in the summer of 1998, determined to share the compelling stories of a group of 59 humble and gifted Negro Leagues Baseball players and to create a very unique collection of baseball memorabilia that exists to generate a source of financial compensation for all the men that chose to participate in our effort. Each NLB Living Legend happily replayed for us the fading memories of their glory days of baseball past. They recalled being personally challenged by societal bigotry and oppression; disappointed by the harsh reality that their day in the majors might never come. Still they played on and their selfless effort blossomed into opportunity for the generations of baseball stars that would one-day follow; opportunities for a younger generation of men to display their skills upon the fields of Major League Baseball that they themselves would never experience.
Baseball in Living Color now takes Legends of the Negro Leagues into its very own final chapter… one whose humble beginning had witnessed a glorious journey. With Grandvue Productions by my side, I retraced some of my earlier routes of travel, documented moments past, and recorded developments and current events. Many hours of great footage have been recorded and will soon tell a fabulous story. John will be on hand to capture our “mission accomplished” celebration and later package our collective effort to once and for all acknowledge and preserve this dark side of professional baseball history. “Striking Out Jim Crow” – Celebrating Baseball’s Negro Leagues - will offer every viewer a poignant look at this great history.