Out of a segregated and persecuted black society, the Negro Leagues arose to provide a form of business, entertainment, and charity. The leagues served as a form of uplift within the race and as a tool to bring blacks together within their communities. In 1945, with the signing of Jackie Robinson to Montreal, baseball became a vehicle for integration. While Robinson broke the color line in professional baseball, he simultaneously broke the Negro Leagues. Black fans abandoned black baseball and turned to the Major Leagues to watch Robinson. Although the integration of baseball was the first major victory for integration in the United States, it was also the end of an era for the Negro Leagues, an institution that provided unity and pride within America's black communities. From both primary and secondary sources, it is obvious that the Negro Leagues played a vital role in black communities throughout the first half of the twentieth century. It is also apparent that there are conflicting opinions with regard to the integration of baseball, and whether it was a positive or negative event in black history. This essay examines the great paradox of the integration of baseball.
"More Than a Game: The Legacy of Black Baseball,"
Vol. 4, Article 19.
Available at: http://uknowledge.uky.edu/kaleidoscope/vol4/iss1/19