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Donald Scott

educator, activist, and baseball pioneer, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to Sara Isabella Cain, a woman from a prosperous mixed-race family, and William T. Catto, a Presbyterian minister. When Catto was about five years old, his father relocated the family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after being “called” to the city by the Presbytery and after some time to the ministry of the First African Presbyterian Church, a historic black church formed by the Reverend John Gloucester, a former slave, in 1807.

As a youngster Catto attended a number of Philadelphia-area public schools, including the Vaux Primary School. By 1854, though, he was enrolled in the newly opened Institute for Colored Youth, the forerunner of historically black Cheyney University, just south of Philadelphia.

William Catto and other black ministers convinced the Quaker administration to focus on classical topics including Latin Greek and mathematics and not just ...


Claude Johnson

was born George Daniel Crowe in Whiteland, Indiana, the fifth child of Morten and Tom Ann Crow. He was the fifth of ten children—eight boys and two girls. Crowe’s father, Morten, was a lifelong farm laborer for hire. His mother, Tom Ann, was a homemaker. Both parents were from Adair County, Kentucky. A left-hander who stood six feet four inches tall with a brawny build and exceptional athletic ability, Crowe earned the nickname “Big George.”

He attended Franklin High School in Franklin, Indiana, where in 1938 as a junior he became the school’s first ever African American varsity basketball player. In 1939 he led the Grizzly Cubs to the final game of the Indiana State High School Athletic Association Basketball Championship and was named to the All State team as a center In addition as the leading vote getter for Indiana s newly instituted high school basketball All Star ...


Byron Motley

baseball player, was the second child born to John Henry Crutchfield, a coalminer, and Carrie Kirby, a housewife, in Ardmore, Missouri. After spending his formative years and briefly going to college in his hometown of Moberly, Missouri, Crutchfield began a fifteen-year career in the Negro Leagues, beginning with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1930. In his first league game, the diminutive 5'7”, 155-pound outfielder homered, giving pitcher Satchel Paige the win and earning himself a spot in the daily lineup.

After briefly playing with the Indianapolis ABCs for the 1931 season, Crutchfield jumped to the Pittsburgh Crawfords for the 1932 campaign, earning $150.00 a month and playing alongside the finest Negro League outfielders of the day, including Cool Papa Bell and Ted Strong. To supplement his baseball salary, Crutchfield also worked as a hotel bellhop and shined shoes.

Overshadowed by a powerhouse lineup that included ...


Adam W. Green

baseball player, was born Charlie Edward Hinton Jr. in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Charlie Hinton, a cabdriver, and Ada Hinton, a homemaker. The second son of seven children, Hinton became the oldest male child after his older brother Charlie Leonard died of double pneumonia, aged three months.

Hinton starred on the football and basketball teams at Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount, while also playing semipro baseball with older men and his younger brother, James “Checho” Hinton. Following high school, which he graduated in either 1952 or 1953, Hinton briefly played semipro ball in the Washington, D.C., environs, but his brother convinced him to attend Shaw University in Raleigh on a baseball scholarship. Both excelled athletically in college; Checho would later sign with football's New York Titans. Chuck attended Shaw from 1955 to 1956 leaving in the summer of his sophomore ...


Joe Dorinson

baseball player, was born Monford Merill Irvin in Halesburg, Alabama, the seventh of ten children of Cupid Alexander Irvin and Mary Eliza Henderson, sharecroppers. When his father challenged a white sharecrop boss, the family had to flee, first to Albany, Georgia, and then to Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Irvins ended their flight in Orange, New Jersey. There Monte attended integrated schools. But the restaurants were segregated, and movie theaters confined blacks to the balcony. Like Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson, with letters in football, track, basketball, and baseball, Irvin earned a reputation as his high school's greatest athlete. On graduation night, however, Monte and his date, along with two other black couples, could not eat at a local restaurant near school because of their color.

Sports provided opportunity A scout from the University of Michigan offered Irvin a football scholarship Unfortunately he lacked the funds to reach ...


Negro League baseball player and manager, was born in Whitehall, Louisiana, the youngest of the eleven children of Martha, a midwife, and Henry Louis Malarcher, a plantation worker. His mother had been a slave in Louisiana prior to the Civil War. Malarcher's family emphasized religious and educational training. His grandparents were founding members of the local black church and his family relocated in order to increase the educational opportunities for their children. As a young boy, Malarcher attended a country school in Union, Louisiana, and played on a local black youth baseball team known as the Baby T's. From 1907 until 1916 Malarcher attended New Orleans University (later Dillard University). There he starred on and served as a coach of the school baseball team, which went undefeated from 1913 until 1916.

Malarcher s stint at New Orleans University was productive both personally and professionally While there ...


J. Todd Moye

Negro League baseball player, coach, and manager, was born John Jordan O'Neil Jr. to John Jordan O'Neil Sr., a farm and sawmill laborer and small-business owner, and Luella O'Neil, a homemaker and cook, in Carrabelle, Florida. O'Neil realized early on that his baseball talents could earn him a ticket out of the area's celery fields, and he began playing semipro ball at the age of twelve. He received his nickname through a case of mistaken identity in his twenties. A bootlegger named “Buck” O'Neal owned the all-black Miami Giants. When O'Neil left Florida to play on national barnstorming teams he was billed as “Buck”—perhaps as a result of innocent confusion, but more likely in an effort to capitalize on O'Neal's name recognition—and the moniker stuck.

O Neil attended segregated public schools in Sarasota Florida and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville He left college before earning ...


John B. Holway

Negro League baseball player, was born in Winchester, Virginia, the son of French Poles, a laborer, and Matilda (maiden name unknown). “I played baseball since I was six years old, using a broomstick and a tennis ball,” Poles once reminisced. At age fifteen he was playing for the Hello Bill boys' club, graduating to the Springdale Athletic Club. In 1906 he joined the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Colored Giants. “I looked like my name,” he said, “a bean pole.”

He joined the illustrious New York Lincoln Giants as an outfielder in 1909. With the Hall of Fame shortstop John Henry Lloyd, the pitchers Joe Williams and Dick Redding, the catcher Louis Santop, and Poles, the team was one of the best in black baseball history. They claimed a record of 105 wins and only seventeen losses in 1909 Although most of their opponents were semiprofessional teams ...


Lou Manzo

Negro League baseball player and soldier, was born in West New York, New Jersey. Seay's family was the only black family in the community, and Seay was accidentally marked as white on his birth certificate. He worked as a batboy with local New York baseball clubs and quit high school after one year to pursue a career in the game.

In 1924 he broke into Negro League baseball with the Philadelphia Giants. He would play only one season there before signing in 1925 with both the Pennsylvania Red Caps of New York and the Brooklyn Royal Giants. Both were lower-echelon Negro League teams, and neither played full seasons. In 1926 Seay signed with the Baltimore Black Sox of the Eastern Colored League, which competed for the Negro League World Series. Seay and the team struggled in 1926 He played shortstop hitting 160 and the Black Sox finished the ...


R. Iset Anuakan

baseball catcher, was born in Carrier Mills, Illinois, the eleventh of twelve children of Joe Dennis Taborn and Mary. A rural settlement in Saline County, Carrier Mills had a population of less than two thousand. Country life was conducive to outdoor activity, and Earl, with plenty of access to playmates, developed his baseball skills in a racially unrestricted climate. His parents were descended from residents of Lake View, a mixed-race community where black, Indian, and white heritage were part of nearly everyone's family background. The founders had migrated out of southern states like North Carolina to escape legal restrictions and persecution of free blacks. They established the town after the War of 1812 and built a thriving unsegregated enclave in southern Illinois that was a stop on the Underground Railroad As a consequence of his unique upbringing Earl was not adapted to the proscriptions and parameters of ...


Kenneth H. Williams

basketball entertainer, was born Reece Tatum in Union County, Arkansas, the son of a farmer who served as a traveling Methodist preacher on the weekends. Tatum admitted that the 1921 birth date was “an estimate,” and claimed not to have a birth certificate. Some guessed that he was as much as ten years older.

Although gangly, Tatum was an athletic youth while growing up around the Arkansas towns of Calion and El Dorado. He got his nickname as a teenager when he leaped to catch a pass during a touch football game, prompting an onlooker to yell “look at that ol' Goose fly.” He also played a little basketball, but his best sport was baseball, and after high school he took a job with a sawmill in the Ozarks that fielded a semiprofessional team.

The origins of Tatum s professional baseball career are unclear but one story is that ...


Stephen Eschenbach

Negro League baseball player, first player to integrate the St. Louis Browns, and second player to integrate the American League, was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the son of Ollie Thompson, a railroad worker, and Iona Thompson a cook and domestic His parents separated when Hank was five or six and he reacted by playing baseball constantly even skipping school to do so This practice caught up with him when at age eleven he was arrested for truancy and sent for six months to Gatesville Reform School near Dallas Texas It was here that Thompson played on his first organized team Released after a year Thompson lived for a brief period with his father then went back to his mother but he did not go to school Instead he hung out at the Texas League Dallas Steers ballpark eventually getting the job of throwing batting practice and shagging ...


David A. Joens

, educator, athlete, and politician, was born in Alton, Illinois, the fourth of seven children raised by Jesse White, the owner of a janitorial service, and Julia Mae White, a-homemaker. In 1943 White's family moved to Chicago, where he attended Schiller Elementary School and Waller High School (later Lincoln Park Academy). A star athlete in high school, White earned all-city honors in both basketball and baseball. He attended Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) on a scholarship and earned all-conference honors in both sports. After graduating from Alabama State with a degree in Physical Education, White signed a contract to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs organization. Shortly after the contract was signed, the U.S. Army drafted him. White spent two years in-the army (1957–1959), serving as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division.

In 1959 he received an honorable discharge from the army ...


Lou Manzo

Negro League baseball player, was born in Remington, Virginia, of parents whose names and occupations are unknown. As a teenager he played baseball on sandlots in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. As he matured, Wilson grew into a squat five feet eight inches, weighing 185 pounds. He had wide shoulders that shrank to a small waist—reminiscent of a smaller but similarly proportioned Babe Ruth. Although Wilson was pigeon-toed and had bowed legs, he possessed great speed. But before he could sign professionally with a Negro League team, he was drafted into the U.S. military near the end of World War I. He served as a corporal in Company D, 417th Service Battalion, Quartermaster Corps.

Upon discharge, Wilson signed with the Baltimore Black Sox in 1922. As Wilson laced line drives off the fence during his Black Sox tryout, Negro League great Satchel Paige gave him ...