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Looking Back At the Negro Leagues Centennial

Negro league baseball team Newark Eagles.
Negro league baseball team Newark Eagles.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

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This February, Black History Month coincides with an milestone for the history of baseball: the centennial of the Negro National League.

In the 1910s, African-American baseball teams often drew huge crowds, but white bookers controlled the profits and dictated when teams could play. That changed when pitcher Rube Foster organized the Negro National League in February 1920. Beginning then, African-American teams were able to compete against each other on their terms, nearly 30 years before Jackie Robinson broke the color line.

We’ve invited experts on the Negro Leagues to talk about what has changed in the 100 years since the Negro National League was founded.

Do you have questions about the history of African-Americans in baseball? Join the on-air conversation by calling 866-893-5722.


Exhibitions in celebration of the Negro Leagues Centennial are going on all this month at Whittier College’s Wardman Library as well as La Pintoresca Branch Library in Pasadena. Phil Dixon will also be speaking at two upcoming local events in celebration of the Negro Leagues Centennial:

 For more on Phil Dixon’s presentations, click here. For information on the Negro Leagues Centennial Exhibitions, click here.


Joe Price, professor emeritus of religion studies and co-director of the Institute for Baseball Studies at Whittier College

Phil Dixon, baseball historian, member of the Board of Governors for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO and author of six books on the Negro Baseball leagues; his latest is “The Dizzy and Daffy Dean Barnstorming Tour: Race, Media, and America’s National Pastime” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019); he tweets @NegroLeagueMan